Re: MD md death penalty

From: Simon Knight (
Date: Wed May 30 2001 - 16:01:46 BST

Hi Platt (I tried to write this as a joint response to Rasheed as well, but
I couldn't work out how to do it, so I'm sending out 2 posts, apologies for

Perhaps I have missed the whole point of the MOQ, the whole thing is
becoming more and more obscure to me since I first started reading about it
a year ago now.

What I said yesterday:
> > No, it kind of means that morality is subjective doesn't it.

I stand by this, even though it runs against the MOQ grain. People have
different moral codes (which was the point of my arguments and counter
arguments, yet they share a lot of the same morals. Why? indoctrination
appears the best answer to me.
> and
> > Come to think of it, perhaps all quality is social. Would explain a hell
> > a lot.
I admit saying something wrong here. Read "morality" where I wrote "quality"
and you have a statement that I meant. I guess I have difficulty equating
quality and morality, as I have no difficulty accepting quality as reality,
and as a fan of ZAMM, I strive for quality in everything I do. I don't do it
for anyone else, I do it because I know it to be good.

> I can't quote all of Lila to illustrate the point, but that's what the
book is
> all about--taking morality out of SOM's subjective and social realms
> where practically everyone believes it belongs and making it the total of
> reality. Perhaps this paragraph from Chap. 13 sums it up as well as
> anything:
> "What is today conventionally called 'morality' covers only one of these
> sets of moral codes, the social-biological code. In a subject-object
> metaphysics this single social-biological code is considered to be a
> minor, 'subjective,' physically nonexistent part of the universe. But in
> Metaphysics of Quality all these sets of morals, plus another Dynamic
> morality, are not only real, they are the whole thing."

What is today conventionally called morality is the socio-biological code.
Pirsig admits this. Why not call a spade a spade and accept that this is
what morality is. Morality is ethics as far as I can tell, and ethics apply
to societies. The other levels of quality still concern quality, but you
have to bastardise the concept of morality to make it fit.

I said before I strive for quality, and yes the MOQ is a 'nice' metaphysics,
but it doesn't say anything new, and it broadens the whole morality issue by
equating it with quality. I could say that I know what is moral and immoral
to me because of my social background (including the ideas I have been
exposed to) and my own independent thinking. Or I could use the MOQ to
explain it: I know what is moral because of my static socio-intellectual
patterns that have been instilled in me from birth, plus the influence of DQ
that I have felt over the past nearly 19 years. Regarding quality, I could
say I know what is good because of my biological and genetic make-up, my
social background, and the ideas I have been exposed to, plus my independent
development. Or I could again describe it in MOQ terms talking about static
patterns and DQ. It doesn't really say anything different, and it certainly
doesn't help me make moral decisions. Apart from Pirsig's glosses on the MOQ
throughout Lila, I can't work out how the MOQ justifies that freedom of the
individual is more moral than slavery, and all the other examples he gives.
The only answer is by recourse to static social values, which is really not
saying anything new.

I agree that Pirsig's main achievement was highlighting the existence both
of quality and morality, but how many people really thought that they didn't
exist? Why else would we throw people in jail or go to art exhibitions. Once
you've written ZAMM, there's nowhere further to go without damaging the
concepts, and Pirsig himself recognised this. This was posted about a month
back now(can't remember by who), and it just seems relevant:
>It is for this reason that in the
> koans, whenever a novice asks the master to describe his enlightenment or
> "satori", the master whacks him with a stick. This beating is not a
> punishment, but rather the appropriate answer to his question which is

I'm not calling Pirsig a nut-case because quite frankly, I don't see that
there's much new in what he's saying. ZAMM reminded me that quality was what
I should be working towards, but Lila didn't say anything more to me about
where quality was to be found. Why? Because we all have our individual


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