LS Re: The Intellect from Society "Theorem".

Diana McPartlin (
Mon, 15 Sep 1997 16:36:48 +0100

I'm covering some old ground and some new ground. I'm not answering
earlier posts directly because I want to go back a few steps to make
things clearer.

To avoid confusion I will use the word "community" to refer to a society
of more than one body.

Until now we have mostly been using the word "organic" for the second
level. I've looked through Lila and I've found that Pirsig uses the word
Biological. I haven't re-read the entire book but from skimming through
I can't find any instances of the word organic. Also in the diagram in
the EMM paper he has marked that level as "Biological Patterns". So that
is how I'm going to refer to it.

So to go back to the Social from, er, Biological theorem first:

1. In an earlier post I said that value is identified by what it does.
If a chair is used for a social function say in a restaurant or for a
conference then it is a Social pattern. It is not that the wood or metal
of the chair is social, it is the "function of having something to sit
on" that is social. Several people (including me) have agreed that the
Internet is primarily a Social pattern, because it facilitates

2. Looking at our bodies: Each organ in our body has a function and
these functions cooperate with each other. Our bodies can be seen as
societies of organs which are societies of cells and so on. As Magnus
pointed out you can replace these functions, say by a transplant or even
with an inorganic organ and the whole need not be affected. But the
question to ask is not, how do these patterns relate to each other? The
question is, what do these patterns do? And the answer is that,
ultimately, they facilitate biological propagation. They enable us to
survive and reproduce. Their function is biological. Just as the
Internet facilitates communication, so the patterns in our bodies
facilitate biological propagation. The fact that they may resemble a
society is not important, the important thing is what are these patterns
for. They are for biological propagation, so they are Biological value.

3. Looking at communities: The reason that the society patterns in
communities are different from society patterns in bodies is because
what they do is different. Communities don't facilitate biological
propagation, they facilitate social propagation. They actually work
against biology. This is the crucial difference and this is why Pirsig
took a big black marker and identified these social patterns as an
entirely different phenomenon.

4. Having society-like patterns in biological entities is perfectly in
accordance with the MoQ. Every higher level began in the service of the
lower level. So the Biological level evolved little society-like
patterns which were useful in propagating itself. It was only later when
these patterns started to engulf more than one body at a time that they
turned round and started using the Biological patterns for their own
purposes. The society-like patterns in our bodies, however, are not part
of this anti-Biological revolution so they are not part of the Social

5. Sometime ago, Magnus said:
>the society of robots I mentioned in an earlier post *is* a society,
>i.e. social patterns of value. And they can't reproduce themselves,
>they are organs anyway, to *that* society.
>This is also why I never use the word biology when I talk about
>organic patterns.

6. I agree that the society of robots is Social value. But the metal
that makes up the robots is Inorganic. Each individual robot is
Inorganic or Social depending on which aspect you look at. I do get
your point that the robots are the organs of the society, but that is
just a way of describing how the society is organized. (Now I come to
think of it, it may even have been to avoid this interpretation that
Pirsig used the word biological instead of organic.) We are looking at
the robots' function and that function is social so they are Social
value. The robots can be viewed as
a. cooperative functions
b. bits of tin

7. I may be getting off the subject but I recall some earlier questions
about how you could have Social value on Inorganic value without
Biological value in between. The robot example, as I've presented it
anyway, seems to imply that that's possible. However Biological value is
essential in the robot example because somebody had to build the robots.
As for whether the robots could survive if all Biological value was
wiped out, well I think not. Perhaps if everything stayed the same they
could. But the fundamental nature of reality is Dynamic so things cannot
stay the same. Inorganic value will always try to reduce things to its
own level, ie chaos. Without Biological values to fight against
Inorganic values, the Social values will collapse.

8. To get back to the debate. Later, Bodvar said (to Magnus)
>You wish to explain the
>Intellectual level's emergence from a kind of society, because you don't
>see how the macro society can produce mind. That's fair enough.

9. I'm starting to see why you (Magnus) are/were so focused on this
point. Is it because if we push the Social level outside of humans then
we push the Intellectual level outside as well? Our thoughts are not our
own, so to speak?

10. Then Bodvar gave the example of the wolf-boy who had no human
intellect. This ties in with my theory that the Intellectual level is
best understood as Rationality. It's one of many possible systems of
classifying and organizing reality. It's something we learn. Some people
are better at it than others. But it is not intrinsic.

11. Usual disclaimers and apologies apply;-)


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