Re: TLS Bodvar's Mother of All
an email from Renselle to Bodvar Skutvik of The Lila Squad on September 16, 1997.
The acronyms in the letter:
Allow me to take each of your paragraphs and mark them:
I will mark each of my responses (some are multi-paragraph):
Before I begin, I want to make a few observations. [Doug lays one anthropocentric foundation. Caveat: an anthropocentric perspective of Reality is a limited perspective of Reality.]
First, in my opinion (IMO), humankind is an evolved species. Our recent ancestors are Neandertal and Cro-Magnon. We (Homo sapiens) survived. Why? Because as Richard Dawkins says, "We practice a better evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS)." However, our entire being is moving forward on many levels. It is evolving on micro, intermediate, and macro (all) scales. At the quantum level, we are evolving in the smallest of time [h-bar action] increments. Our minds are evolving in millisecond to multi-year intervals.
Mentally none of us is near as primitive as we were when we joined TLS. Using the scales of geologic time: eon, era, period, and epoch, we are evolving as a species at ever accelerating rates. The time period between Neandertal and Cro-Magnon was approximately 210 millennia. Neandertal evolved and lived between 250 and 35 millennia ago and Cro-Magnon evolved and lived between 40-25 millennia ago. The time period between Cro-Magnon and modern Homo sapiens is much shorter, say less than 50 millennia. I believe that the next iteration is imminent. I call it Neo sapiens. I believe it will happen within the next 5-10 millennia. Neo sapiens will find it difficult to believe why Homo sapiens found MOQ so difficult to understand and use habitually.
Second, IMO, any productive, non-dissipative entity in the macroworld which does not evolve, becomes extinct. Stagnation is not an ESS. Even things which evolve at a rapid pace will be replaced by superior species with superior ESSs.
Third, IMO, humans and some other animals in the biological kingdom share architecture which has a biformal bias: two arms (wings, fins), two legs, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils (gills), a bilongitudinal digestive tract, and perhaps most important two brain lobes. This biformal architecture has much to do with current human thinking and MOQ.
Our language is extremely constrained by primitive forms. This is true for Western and Eastern languages. The difference is Western languages are more formal and left-brained. The Eastern languages are more artistic and right-brained. But both are constrained by primitive forms (fonts, brush-strokes, local contexts, etc.).
This was one of Niels Bohr's greatest concerns. It is why he said we have a language problem. It is why he said we are immersed in language. It is why few of the classical minds understood what he meant by complementarity. (By the way (BTW), this is one excellent test of MOQ. IMO, MOQ makes it possible to understand complementarity!)
The biformal bias is what Phædrus' Chautauqua was about when he discussed how the Aristotelians (left-brained analytical types) won (IMO, temporarily) the battle against the Sophists (right-brained romantic types) for eminent domain over Quality. All of this is important because, IMO, Quality via the MOQ is about to regain eminency. I believe TLS is part of that process. I believe we are part of that process!
Finally, why did the Aristotelians win out, short term (epochs-to-periods) over the Sophists? IMO, ESS! Homo sapiens need to survive, just like their ancestors. Their biformal bias gives them the edge, short term. The reason is the king of all metrics in our global society today: speed. The forms of human thought which are the quickest from a survival perspective are binary.
Classical science evolved a plethora of binary tools: deterministic classical substance properties (whose presence or absence may be answered yes or no), Hegelian dialectic, tautology, dichotomy, difference, centricity, schism, objectivity, Aristotelian syllogism, deduction-induction, analysis-synthesis, and on and on and on. Virtually all of these are exclusive and oppositional. Almost none is inclusive. They all bifurcate subject and object. But they are fast! Because of our innate biformal architecture, they are intuitive. They produce ESS results. That is why the Aristotelians won. The Sophists (and our children, as Pirsig says in Lila) intuit quality. Classical science needs speed and efficiency. MOQ values Quality.
Bodvar resides more in his right brain. He is an artist. It is grand that Bodvar makes his living doing what he loves. I have taken tests to discover that I am, compared to most other humans, somewhat balanced: I use both halves of my brain about equally. But you have all seen that I am more left-brained and rational than Bodvar. My guess is that most of the TLS are more balanced or more right-brained.
To Bodvar, and all of The Lila Squad, I want you to know my true position, and my allegiances. I think MOQ is the new reality for us. As I said, Pirsig has birthed a wonderful gift. Given my predilections and proclivities, I want to share this gift with as many of our kind as possible. IMO, it is the future. There are some caveats, however. I will share those as apropos. Each caveat finds its basis in what I have said above, and each is related to some of the visceral and zealous interactions infant TLS experiences.
(In reference to Doug's email calling for patience in learning
MOQ and noting that some TLS members, e.g. Bodvar, intuit
MOQ more easily than others.)
Yes, I agree. A certain amount of introspection is natural and called for, but the MOQ cannot be put to test otherwise than applying it to various fields and see how it fares compared to the SOM.
Bodvar, is the MOQ too fragile to be put to other tests?
Your book's definition of metaphysics is better than mine which says it is about the study of the supernatural and/or idle speculations (a Scandinavian heritage from the German misnomer "Spiritual Sciences") Still, the part "...including the relationship between mind and matter", demonstrates that the author regards the SOM to be the most fundamental level of reality.
Actually, it is very close to Pirsig's definition on page 71 of the Lila paperback.
I appreciated what you said about my arriving at the MOQ, but as hinted on, I have had my scares about the validity of the quality idea. They relate very much to this "reality" question so allow me to tell about the latest and gravest one. If I have related this before, please overlook.
For the TLS in general:
It was after reading the "Subjects, Objects, Data...." paper. In an assembly of SOM based people Pirsig obviously tried to cater to their views as far as he could, so - superficially seen - his came to resemble a SOM approach. It struck me that the search for the reality of Quantum world gives the impression that there (in an MOQ view too) is an objective reality - although on a still more basic level. I had in my essay used the map metaphor, i.e. that reality is the terrain a theory has to match or "represent" to be credible (Pirsig had in a way also, by using the map projection metaphor, I now realize that he has the better one). But then; what is this experience/terrain that the MOQ/map is supposed to match better than the SOM one? I went cold as I saw that I had introduced good old objectivity through the back door, and pondered this heavily. The relief came from the said Dr Harris (who I still hope will turn up here) who mentioned the Lorenz transformation equations which are applied when going from Newton physics (NP) to General Relativity (GR). I am no expert, but I know that GR in a sense "contains" the NP; it is principally possible to calculate a moon trip based on GR but it is far too accurate; NP suffices with wide margins. Still, when speeds are high enough, as in particle accelerators, GR must be applied. But NP does not give room for relativistic effects and the Lorenz equations are used when switching between the two physics' mode.
The material Pirsig covered in SODV took an incredible amount of research. Pirsig, by his own admission, is no mathematician or physicist. My perception is that he did very well. I read SODV over and over. He captured much. Each sentence is a metastatement like a huge iceberg whose mass is mostly hidden. Pirsig is, undoubtedly, one of the finest minds of the 20th century. IMO, Pirsig would not spend the time he did if he did not see the duality (mapping) between quantum physics and MOQ. For me, he bottom-lined that when he said that, "If the atomic world is composed of probability waves and if probability is equal to value then it follows logically that the atomic world is composed of value."
Pirsig rejects classical science (born of SOM, child of SOM) because of its inability to classify quality correctly and its resulting disjunction of subject and object with the latter as the center of worship. If we are adherents of MOQ, we can only agree. This is Pirsig's great discovery!
We reject classical science with some concern, though, because in the macroworld it works very well albeit approximately. And look at where we have arrived. But not for classical science, had the Sophists won, Pirsig would not have discovered MOQ in our lifetime. Hmmm... Would that have been better?
Now, Bodvar, I must counter a few of your views above. I may be misinterpreting your gist. If so, push back. I mean no offense.
Pirsig was not among a group of classical scientists in Brussels. He was invited by quantum physicists. IMO, you cannot be exclusively a classical scientist and a quantum physicist at the same time. Classical science simply does not work or apply in the quantum realm. (One of the biggest problems physicists have is that classical science is intuitive and quantum physics is not. Even quantum physicists revert to classical mental models because they are intuitive. They have to get really good at switching mentally back and forth. I think this is another problem MOQ will help to solve.) The reason he went to Brussels was because some quantum physicists saw duality twixt his work and theirs. IMO, they saw this duality for very, very good reasons.
Einstein, one of the two acknowledged greatest minds in mankind's history (the other is Newton), is an enigma to me. He was a classical scientist. He disavowed non-determinism. "God does not [roll] dice." He claimed quantum theory is incomplete. His argument was the famous (but fatally flawed) EPR experiment. (See David Bohm's effective confutation of the EPR.) Yet, amazingly, Einstein unified space and time, matter and energy, etc. What an enigma! Classical science had a brain-lock on his mind. He believed and had absolute faith that the universe HAD to be deterministic. That was his failing!
Classical science often produces paradoxes! MOQ and quantum physics often eliminate paradoxes! Paradoxes value the precondition of classical science. Why? Because classical science values the precondition of unclassified Quality subordinated to subject and object. (See Pirsig on the causation platypus, page 119 of Lila paperback.)
Note that both NP and GR are classical science, or at best, steeped in the baggage of classical science. Einstein developed the special and general theories using his own innovative extensions of classical science's fundamentals. I agree with Bodvar that GR contains NP. Both are about the macroworld. Actually GR is about the super-macroworld of cosmology. Quantum physics is about the microworld. NP works approximately in the macroworld, but not in the cosmological world or the microworld. GR works in the macroworld and cosmological world but not in the microworld. Quantum physics works in all three. (But note, even as we speak, its successors are in the wings. Physics is evolving rapidly.)
Thus, in particle accelerators quantum mechanics unified with GR must be applied. I think this particular flavor of quantum physics is called QED or quantum electrodynamics. P.A.M. Dirac invented QED, and Richard Feynman invented graphical tools to make QED viable.
On the Hendrik Antoon Lorentz transformations: Prior to P.A.M. Dirac, quantum mechanics did not appear to obey the Lorentz invariance requirement. Dirac was able, however, to unify quantum mechanics and relativity theory and produce an Lorentz-invariant system. Systems are Lorentz invariant if their axioms remain unchanged across changes in system coordinates. This is but one test of the goodness of a theory or system. Note that Dirac was a prodigy, much like William James Sidis (pp. 63-5 of Lila paperback) except Dirac did not hide from society.
All of the above is, just as Bodvar intimates, part of the classical ugliness except for the quantum mechanics portion. Quantum mechanics awakens physicists in the same way that MOQ awakens philosophers. Isn't it interesting that philosophers and physicists now gain enlightenment through provocatively similar metaphors.
IMO, it is that provocative similarity which peripherally holds Pirsig's interest and I hope that of The Lila Squad.
However, relativity seen from the classic view has the same trouble as the MOQ when addressed from a SOM standpoint. We all know the space distortion quandary; if space curves, what straight measuring rod do we compare to? Or if time dilates what absolute time does it fluctuate compared to? It is used as a layman's 'disproof' of relativity but the physicists couldn't care less; GR works perfectly, they use the said transformation procedures and do not speculate about 'real' space or time (I guess this goes for Quantum Physics too, it predicts the outcome with great accuracy, but cannot be understood from a classic p.o.v.). [Note added 13Jun98 by PDR: In physics we need to always remember that the three categories mass, length, and time remain undefined in terms of any constructs more primitive than themselves.]
IMO, NP and GR, both being classical science, have no trouble when addressed from an SOM standpoint. Quantum physics and quantum mechanics share, with MOQ, the standpoint 'trouble' you describe.
It struck me that MOQ is a General Relativity of Metaphysics. History as we know it has been a relentless passage from absoluteness towards relativity. Euclid's absolute flat geometry has given way to a host of special geometries (ZMM on Bolyai and Lobachevski), and Ptolemaian cosmology has been replaced by the Copernican universe that ended absolute direction (up/down) and centre. Now the mother of all relativity is in the wings: There is no absolute reality, it "curves" due to the dynamism underlying it all. And the resistance and attempts to overlook it from the establishment recur with tenfold force. Was it Anders who said that the MOQ was an invention of Pirsig just as gravity was an invention of Newton?. That shows a deep understanding of what's at stake (and that he has read ZMM!).
What I see, and what the physicists in Brussels see, is that MOQ is a 'Quantum Theory of Metaphysics,' to paraphrase your words. That phrase is certainly more apt from what I know about NP, GR, and QT. MOQ clearly is more complete than SOM, just as quantum theory subsumes and is more complete than both or either NP and GR.
I wonder if anyone has anything to say about Quality's reconciliation of the evolution vs. creation quandary?
IMO, evolution is the methodology of creation.
I apologize for the length of this response. Bodvar put a lot of challenges on the TLS playing field. Be aware, as I, that I am human and of finite intellect. I have rendered a portion of my static pattern repertoire.
Some of the REAL patterns may have been perturbed by me. Note that this is precisely what Pirsig described as "...one enormous metaphysical problem unanswered...," with ZMM, and "became the central driving reason for the expansion of the MOQ into a second book called Lila." See bottom of page 12 and top of page 13 in the original SODV. "Both the DQ and the static patterns influence [Doug's] final judgment." Further note that without this, life would be extraordinarily dull, indeed.
Many truths to The Lila Squad,