Unlike purposeful entities, rocks are completely at the mercy of external
forces. However, particles, of which rocks are made, exhibit purpose.
"Particles 'prefer' to do what they do." (Lila, 8)
Biological organisms are no less at the mercy of external forces than rocks.
We just have the ability to hedge our bets. What Pirsig is saying in that
section is that once you have distilled things down to a certain level you
can equate preferance with causality. You seem to want to distill it down
then blow it back up as if nothing happened. In other words to reinstate all
of the problems that the distillation process removed. I am comfortable
talking about computers thinking; in diagnosing problems, it may even help.
They even have a purpose. It is a purpose we assign to them and factor into
their evolution and growth. But the purpose comes from us as the creator of
the computer. Is this the kind of purpose you wish to interject into nature?
To quote Pirsig: 'Neither is there a quarrel between the Metaphysics of
Quality and the 'teleological' theories which insist that life has some
purpose. What the Metaphysics of Quality has done is unite these opposed
doctrines within a larger metaphysical structure that accommodates both of
them without contradiction." (Lila, 11)
This seems to imply that any old theory is OK within the MoQ. Rather like
having an open mind lets any old thing wander in. Any idea has some Quality
so lets run with it?
> If the world is this probability field I have been talking about and
> if the past contains a degree of uncertainty only slightly less that
> the uncertainty of the future, then there are many possible futures
> that could flow from each present moment. However there is only one
> set of possible pasts that could lead to the present. Thus you could
> make a case that the present determines the past not the other way
> around. Which rather suggests that the future may determine the
> present. But I have not really figured this out yet and it is a little
like having bees in your head.
Sorry, I can't help you get rid of the bees. Your theory is not unique,
however. Others have postulated that the present moment is a devolution from
a much more expansive reality.
I am not postulating devolution at all I am saying that the present is where
probabilities are resolved.
Definition of purpose: the ability plus the inclination to choose
You are willing to grant this to all of nature as a fundemental property?
Betterness for who? Inclination, what is that? If you think that nature has
this is 'purpose' what is it? What was it's purpose in sitting around for 13
billion years until we got here. All of a sudden in the last seconds of this
act in the play we show up and finally nature has something really important
to do since 'betterness' has arrived? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Like Arlo, you apparently like to attribute novelty to things magically
"emerging" from some previous state without cause. Oops, suddenly there was
So far as I can recall the only emergence like this was the first umpteen
billionth of a second before or after the big bang. After that point
everything emerged, including the unbroken chain of causality leading up to
this moment. Light and gravity and all the other forces emerged in that
instant. In this place and at this time the forces of nature are in the
right balance to allow enormous complexity. The world we live in is special
that way. If it weren't we wouldn't be here. Are these conditions unique?
Could they be replicated elsewhere? How much variabilty can there be and
still have high level self sustaining interactions occuring?
Again, a magical emergence of something from 'biochemical interactions,."
like emergence of consciousness from firing neurons. "Oops" isn't much of an
explanation. Might as well just say, "It's a miracle."
Seems like a great explaination to me. It allows use to seen how our thought
processes work and how they can be improved upon through the use of medical
technology. We can look at the different structures of the brain and seem
how they influence emotions and higher order thought processes. Saying that
it is a miracle just leaves you sitting around hoping for another miricle.
Because beauty is transcendent it's not surprising to find it in a peacock's
lust as well as a physicist's equations. If it's in the eye of the beholder,
what's the eye in? The body. What's the body in? The world.
What's the world in? The eye of the beholder. And around and around we go.
So a hog finds beauty in the smell of a sow's girly parts, would you say
this then is intrically beautiful?
If this is all about the merry-go-round of existance I am not seeing how
your notion of beauty helps us find the brass ring. Solipsism resolves your
circularity for you. You, Platt, are all that is. You are making this whole
thing up to amuse yourself in the boredom of infinity. It is all
> But again if you could spell out what you mean by purpose that would help.
> Usually people get purpose all mucked up with intentionality,
> consciousness, divine purpose and other mushy terms that cause lots of
> problems because they are so hard to pin down.
> And the mushiest of all if supernatural. I have no idea what that term
> is supposed to mean.
It means not attributable to a material (physical) cause.
If something is sufficiently powerful as to be a cause and yet not
sufficiently tangable to be detectable, I find it hard to see how useful it
is. Further more if this acausal agency is not governed by any of the laws
that govern everything else, who is to say what it is. You seem to want to
throw out all of the explainations we have for how things work and replace
them with fuzzy notions of supernatural purpose, about which we know nothing
and can demonstrate nothing tangible.
Personally I find the notion of supernatural purpose, about which nothing
can be known or detected, to be no less disturbing that to say it is all
chance. At least with chance you don't have people standing up and saying
they know what the purpose is or that they have received knowledge about
this special purpose from supernatural sources and we should do what they
In short these definitions you have offered are not very clear or very