On the Structure of Reality

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“… static patterns of value are divided into four systems: inorganic patterns, biological patterns, social patterns and intellectual patterns. They are exhaustive. That’s all there are. If you construct an encyclopedia of four topics – Inorganic, Biological, Social and Intellectual — nothing is left out. No ‘thing,’ that is. Only Dynamic Quality, which cannot be described in any encyclopedia, is absent. But although the four systems are exhaustive they are not exclusive. They all operate at the same time and in ways that are almost independent of each other. This classification of patterns is not very original, but the Metaphysics of Quality allows an assertion about them that is unusual. It says they are not continuous. They are discreet. They have very little to do with one another. Although each higher level is built on a lower one it is not an extension of that lower level. Quite the contrary. The higher level can often be seen to be in opposition to the lower level, dominating it, controlling it where possible for its own purposes… now atoms and molecules are just one of four levels of static patterns of quality and there is no intellectual requirement that any level dominate the other three”.

Robert M. Pirsig, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals

This structure of reality, which we could alternatively call ‘nature’, I also call ‘place’. Nature is the place of processes, which range from inorganic (or physicochemical) to intellectual (or symbolic), passing through biological and social.