LS Re: 4 levels of being vs. DQ

Troy Becker (
Mon, 31 Aug 1998 17:37:02 +0100

do not be offended, Donny. your post allowed me to say some things i've
been wanting to say. i have pretty much torn this sentence by sentence,
but it has been said that great classics should be read in the same way.

read as far as you like, everybody. donny's statements are denoted by the
greater than signs. my responses are not. please cut, paste, and respond
to anything that so inspires.

On Fri, 28 Aug 1998, Donald T Palmgren wrote:

> I've been arguing here that Pirsig has set-up a little schema in
> which the universe evolves from static to Dynamic.

i utterly disagree. i see how Pirsig has set up a schema in which the
universe evolves to Dynamic Quality. static quality are the latchings the
universe takes along the way.

> It's created 4
> evolutionary levels in this process and they move from the oldest (start:
> big bang) to newest (about 2500 years old or-so).

these four evolutionary levels (Quality) were there before the beginning.
they 'created' the universe--not vice verce.

> They move from the least
> freedom of choice (atoms and even quanta rarely do anything totaly wiggy
> or completly unpredictable) to maximum freedom of choice (get 10
> scientists or philosophers into a room and get 5-10 different sets of
> intellectual patterns),

i read a good piece somewhere on preference and probability that relates
to this. to me, this shows the "connectedness" of everything and how my
human actions are related to the 'action' of a particular electron
spinning around a nucleus. note that this pattern toward "unbound choice"
is not as dependent as the rising of the sun. a lower level electron may
suddenly spin out of it's predicted orbital level while at the same time,
i can talk to my mom about politics and predict nearly exactly what she
will "think". i think 'freedom of choice' is not a quality of the four
evolutionary levels, but rather the four evolutionary levels of quality
are found in 'freedom of choice'.

> and they move from the most preduring (InOrg don't
> really change much, Bio evolve slowly) to most ephemoral (societies rise
> and fall, and ideologies come and go over breakfast).

likewise, durability is not an attribute of any of the four levels.
instead, the four levels precede durability. like i mentioned above, the
four levels precede all of existence.

> This schema is very practical. It has one big problem. It
> endorses the idea of the objective, "thing-itself" reality "out there"
> somewhere.

well, i can see how you have reasoned that. read on for some MOQ

> Like: It explains (nicely so!) the existance of a rock as a set of
> InorgPoVs... but this picture leaves something out: US!! Us -- the
> subject, imaginativly rojecting this object of the world. S and O arise
> together out of the Quality Event. They are inseperable. Heidegger called
> this *Erignis*, which is usually translated as "belonging-together."
> (I'm going to make more than my normal philosological refrences,
> so i'm appologizing in advance.)
> This rock doesn't exist "out there" in the world. It exists -- it
> *really* exists as an abstraction, a token passed around in our
> conversation. The InOrgPoVs are *only* abstractions -- schema, part of
> the correct picture of the world (CPOW).
> And that's the key. It's all an abstract projection. As Pheadrus
> says in ZMM: It's all alegory. The truth is always alegorical.

well, Metaphysics does its best to transcend humanity. accepting MOQ, i
would very much like to believe that it was around before pirsig found it.
so MoQ is not "a human perception"--it's a human explanation of things and
meaning, designed to be 'above' human.

> The 4-level cosmology gives us this schema: At time-zero, the
> InorgPoVs came into being. then, a coupple of hundred million years ago,
> BiopoVs formed. Between 40,000-8,000 BCE the SocPoVs grew out of the
> BioPovs, and, just "reacently," the IntPoVs grew out of the SocPoVs
> between (say) 399BCE and November 11, 1918.

eh? well, i'll let this go. i have seen these 'timelines of Quality',
but to me, they are too local for metaphysical discussion. they are good
for analogies and clarification of the four evolutionary levels, but these
timelines are a lot of "context" of which we MOQers could use less.

> But, of course, all this is only abstract projection ("ghosts" in
> ZMM's lingo). The past exists only as memory and (in this case)
> recapitulation. The only time that exists -- really -- is the preasent
> situation. From our present situation, we project this abstract schema:
> the "time of record" (as in "Let the record show that...") -- a timeline
> that streaches from t=0 to now and on into the future where we have AIs
> and take apes out to dinner and a movie. But what *really* exists is what
> we're doing right here, right now.

MOQ says no. MOQ says simply that "existence progresses toward Dynamic
Quality." plans for the future exist. memories exist even when we're not
thinking about them. relationships exist. lots of things exist that
aren't distinguishable at t=now. i am reminded of the integral of f(x)
from x to x. no matter what is the value of f(x), we'll never know only
looking at the infitesimile slice between x and x. your definition of
what *really* exists is also as thinly sliced. (nevermind my mathemtical
jargon if it is not understood).

> And this is the answer to "Whose making the valuations at the
> Inorg level?

this is YOUR answer, Donny. my answer? a rock doesn't have to do any
thinking to be attracted to another rock. it's gravity. it's value, and
it's there. it's convenient that our human minds can conceptualize and
"evaluate" mass in such a way.

> Where is the Inorg consciousness?"

the rock can't conceptualize SOM, silly. but mass sure values mass. drop
something and it drops right to this massive earth we're on. if you mean
to say that value is consciousness, then i'll tell you about inorganic
consciousness like i'll tell you about MY consciousness: it's there
because of values, and i can prove it because of visible interactions, but
i can't trap a consciousness in a glass jar.

> It's *not* there.

MOQ says that inorganic quality has value. any pattern has some value
that makes it a pattern, set apart from chaos. that's your consciousness
at the inorganic level.

> This is
> a flub that comes up when we mistake this abstract cosmology for concrete
> reality. The 4 levels are a map. They belong to Second Philosophy,
> really, along w/ the sciences, as the latest most correct picture of the
> world, but they are not an ontology and not ment by Pirsig to be so.

the four levels have created you, Donny, and provided you with meaning.
they are part of (not exclusively belonging to) a metaphysics that is the
most correct picture of "the world". i think that when fully understood,
MOQ does a succint job of uniting even your concrete and abstract

> Along w/ scientific description of reality, the 4 levels are just an
> allegory -- a metaphore. We can speak of a time before the earth was
> formed, but in what way does this time exist?

time is an inorganic pattern. maybe time was the first pattern to emerge,
instigated by that capital Q Quality. i like that idea. you can only
have "first" when dealing with time. how bout that? SUDDENLY, THERE

> Well, clearly it exists
> only as an imaginative projection we are making. I say "clearly," but of
> course that's not at all clear because it's so obvious as to go unoticed.
> It's hidden in plane sight!

i can call time a thing. so MOQ would argue that time exists, time has
morality, and so on. i think all students of math enjoyed your "plane
sight" statement.

> What really exists, exists in time. The universe before the earth
> formed, the dinosuars, Atlantis and the American Revolution all exist in
> time... but how? HOW do they exist? (That's metaphysics.) They exist by
> being a token passed about in our conversation -- and done so in a
> morally (socially) appropreate manner, I should say! That's really how
> they exist.

or you could say they exist WITH time in a wonderful universe of things
that are static latchings of quality dynamically progressing.

> We now might take a tip from Kant who suggested that metaphysical
> staments should always carry an implied "as if." We should:
> Play as if reality (experience) = value.
> Play as if this value is divided into Dynamic and static value.
> Play as if sq is divided into 4 levels or phases of "evolutionary"
> development.

hmmm... play as if Quality gives birth (metaphoricly) to value. play as
if all values are Quality manifested as either static or dynamic. play as
if the static latchings of Quality include four separate, all-encompassing
levels of static quality.
> So sq is alegorical and non-ontological.

as a section of MOQ (is MOQ an ontology?).

> Now, if you're a
> philosolologist, then a usefull comparison to Kant begins to form. On the
> one hand we have the world acording to us -- our usefull schema, our
> worldview w/ it's coordinates of time and space used to plot and record
> everything/history... But this is just how the world appears for us. Over
> against this stands the "nominal" world, the world as it really is, the
> world before we slice, dice and plot -- This appears analogus to Pirsig's
> DQ.

also analogous to Tom Robbins' "Whole Enchilada."

> Kant called it the "Moral self" (also, always w/ capital letters),
> and it's analogus to Tao, Brahman, Hegel's Spirit, Hericlitus' Logos,
> etc., etc. Both Kant and Pirsig say that this last realm is undefineable
> -- unassailable to the intellect. It is one, trancendent and
> undifferentiated. To me, Pirsig's philosophy is like what Kant would have
> said if he had read the *tao-te-ching* and wrote as well as Mark Twain.

that little bit about Pirsig's philosophy is great. but like so many
people don't quite get Kant, many readers probably don't quite get Pirsig.

> One point that's not yet clear is whether "DQ" should really be
> set along w/ those other ontological unities. Last month I (and I think
> Diana, also) started thinking, 'Well, maybe the only reason to talk about
> "DQ" is to conterpose something to sq and thus make sense out of the whole
> schema/worldview/cosmology/framework.' Maybe we should have DQ and sq
> together as phonominal aspects and contrapose them to just plane old
> "Quality" -- neither dynamic or static per-se. "Quality," as far as
> Pirsig defines it in ZMM, means the pre-intellectual, unified experience
> -- the at-one-ment -- before the Analytic knife comes into play.

yeah. i remember he had a hard time defining Quality. in fact, wasn't
that the big ah hah? Quality is undefinable. therefore, the analytic
split into DQ and sq and the four levels of quality ARe just a static
latching of human understanding. and they aren't ontological, but they
belong to MOQ, which is a good explanation for "the Whole Enchilada"
because it says: It is all for the sake of Quality, which is undefinable.

In Lila, Pirsig offers the first(?) static latching of
metaphysical/philosophical ideas to his MOQ metaphysics. as scientists do
all the time, i bet Pirsig would make way for progress when progress comes
about. and that is what's neat about MOQ. the human understanding of it
will grow as human understanding grows.

> I'm still thinking that Pirsig's real metaphysical insights came
> in ZMM, and LILA is really his attempt at a Rossetta Stone -- a way of
> integrating the Eastern/mystical/Romantic w/ the
> Western/metaphysical/classical(A/not-A). Bodvar, I think LILA *is*
> Pirsig's attempt at a set of "Lorentz equations" which would convert the
> present Western worldview into a more "Quality conscious" lingo.

you've read what i think of Lila. here's more: i think Lila is Pirsig's
first MOQ textbook.

> ZMM, more than LILA, has all the jucy philosophical insights.

Lila explains how we can use this juice practically.

> But
> ZMM has it's own roots in Eastern thinking. It's more akin to Eastern
> thought, and LILA (I say) is more like the German philosophical tradition
> which (consciously or not) has been primarily about the atempt to bridge
> Western emperical reality w/ (Eastern) spiritual/mystical reality.

i think it's all bridged in ZMM. Lila seems to me to talk about what it
means pertaining to our actions and behaviors. finally, we are offered a
solid 'ethics of metaphysics'.

thanks for the post, Donny. i realize that my defense is lazy and almost
crass at times, and i assume responsibility. if you read this, Donny,
please let me know whether or not my responses were at least insightful.

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