Many Truths To You, an email from Renselle to The Lila Squad on October 15, 1997.
The acronyms in the letter:
Magnus and Platt and TLS,
One of the reasons I say "Many truths to you" at
the end of my emails is
that one of the most powerful aspects of MoQ is that it (like QM and
vastly different from SOM) eliminates paradoxes via the reality of many
truths. MoQ and QM are compatible with many truths, SOM is compatible
with one absolute truth (yes/no, true/false, etc.).
But MoQ's code of ethics is not locally relativistic as 'many
may have you believe. Platt eloquently explained this to us in his
recent email on extrinsic vs. intrinsic. MoQ works as an ethical system
because it is the best metaphysics of reality man has today. But its
'many truths' nature carries extra responsibility and work for its
practitioners. We are used to living in a SOM world. Some of us (IMhO)
have become lazy in our thinking habits. Let's see if I can explain why
I think this is true...
I ran the above paradox past Pirsig a couple of years ago,
but he did
not bite. I also distracted him with a textbook by Christopher
Alexander entitled, "Notes on the Synthesis of Form," that appeared to
him very SOM-like. Actually the book was about context. I think
context is a very important part of MoQ. If I am wrong I need to know,
and perhaps more important TLS needs to know.
I stated the paradox to Pirsig a little differently:
o A: Statement B is true.
o B: Statement A is false.
If you place both of these sentences in one context (which
is what SOM
does with everything) you get, guess what, paradox(es). You feel this
kind of brain-locked looping stupor. It makes you dizzy.
My point to Pirsig and to my fellow TLS mates (this paradox
is not new,
I did not originate it, countless others have used this example - except
I have not seen anyone else solve it the way I am about to show you - if
you know of another person who has already done this, please share) is
that MoQ and QM and the concept of many truths eliminates the paradox.
The reason I am spending so much time on this is that I see
this as part
of the problem we have deciding which example and its SPoVs fits in
which level(s). Then we seem to have trouble knowing which context we
are in and communicating that consistently to our fellow TLS mates.
I see this concept as imperative! It, at least for me, points
to gaining consistency of understanding and communication of the four
levels in MoQ. Each level is a different context within the MoQ. Yet
we need to use MoQ itself in an unlimited variety of cultural and other
contexts. Each example we discuss may be in its own local context and
yet prefer multiple precondition MoQ levels. (As an example think of
Eskimo culture vs. Victorian culture on sexual mores.)
It says to me we need to do several things (this is a lot of
so you may want to say, "Doug, we are having fun. Just take your many
truths/contexts and go away."):
o we need to be sure we state our assumptions,
o including which local context we are in,
o including which MoQ level(s) we are in, and
o state when we change to another local context,
o state when we change MoQ level(s), and
o there may be more.
Note that in the SOM-paradox which we solved using MoQ's many
there are two different moralities, just like there are two different
moralities in the Victorian vs. Eskimo mores. When you view the other
context from your local context, you can judge the other context's code
as immoral, but within your local context your own code is moral. If
there is something wrong in your local context MoQ will help you assess
that negative value and find ways to correct in the direction of
As Platt said, we may be assessing our own personal moral code
to other cultures' codes, our own culture's codes, or a friend's code
within our mutual culture. IMhO, in each case, if we are responsible
practitioners of MoQ, we must know and state the context(s). If we do
not, we will confuse us and we will confuse those SOM-folk we wish to
I see this as the major source of confusion in TLS when we
four levels and their applications to various examples.
So now you see I am very serious and intent when I say...
Many truths to you,