LS Re: Four levels of being

Magnus Berg (
Sun, 30 Aug 1998 04:50:46 +0100

Hi Donny and Squad

You wrote:
> > Computers are parts of our society.
> Well ther's a big one right there. Computers are "parts of our
> society" as you say... but they are not *social entities* -- a
> computer
> is not a person. A person is to society as a player is to the rules
> of a
> game. The game exists in the lives of the players and the players can
> only be players because there are rules to the game. A like analogy
> works
> w/ persons and society. But computers are a very long way off from
> having
> person-hood. They are something used by our society, and valued by
> our
> society -- but they arn't our society. New York *embodies* itself in
> New Yorkers... but not in computers.
> Like I said: When Pirsig talks about society he always refers to
> new York, the victorians, etc. But he dosn't refer to computers... or
> trees or rocks or cells (well he does in the blood cell analogy but
> that I
> think really was analogy).
Ok, I'll quote this once more.
Pirsig writes in Lila ch. 11 (my caps)
"... collective organizations of cells into metazoan SOCIETIES called
plants and animals."

And BTW, I don't take neither New York, the victorians, the church,
the blood cell nor this last one as analogies. When you spot the
common denominator of these examples, you've got the essence of the
social level.

And aren't computers part of out society? Aren't schools? The fire
department? Airports? Are you saying that our society would be
exactly the same, or even remotely the same, with only the human
parts of these examples?

> The 4 levels are *only* a pragmatic tool -- a game of "play as
> if," and the real question is how useull is it.
This is where our greatest difference is. I don't think the four levels
are just a tool. If they were, the moral framework based on them would
collapse into emotivistic just-what-you-like-subjectivity.

> My computer does what it does because it is simply obaying
> natural
> laws of physics/elactricity -- Inorganic values!
No. It does what it does because it's completely static. It has no free
Take the free will out of a human, and she'll get only static too. Would
say that such a human would be inorganic only too? What's the difference
between her and one of the robots of the starship the other week? Don't
take these as open questions, I want answers you know. :)

> The question is: How many layers do you need to invoke to
> explain
> X? For computers (or dimonds, or super novas or entropy...) one. For
> fish: two. For Austrailan aboriginies or Native Americans (at least if
> Bo
> and I are getting "IntPoVs" nailed down right) three. for the LS:
> four.
How many layers are needed are contextual. If a diamond hangs around the
neck of a princess, it has quite a lot of social value I'd say. And the
ink in Lila is also intellectual patterns.

> Again you might re-consult the afterword to ZMM.
I did and what I see is the embryo of the four levels.
What did you have in mind?


homepage -
unsubscribe/queries -

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu May 13 1999 - 16:43:39 CEST