I liked your critical reading of Chapter 8 of Lila.
On the point "A thing without value does not exist", I argue that this is
possibly true at the biological level, and almost certainly false at the
intellectual level. I am quite capable of discriminating all sorts of things
on the screen in front of me that have no conceivable value to me, and
unless you are inclined to see Pirsig's word as law, I find no convincing
argument to support his statement.
I agree that
1) A thing without value does not exist.
2) "The thing has not created the value. The value has created the
is poor logic.
"We are helplessly confined to experience and quality - for better or
worse - and trying to grasp outside it: some believe there are Objects and
Subjects (but cannot really prove their existence), some believe there is a
God (but cannot prove his/her/its existence). . Perhaps MOQ just means to
stop this grasping and start just experiencing. Then it appro-aches Buddhism
closely - but turns against what is gene-rally consi-dered a typical human
I see it rather differently. Experience is indeed primary. Experience is
value infused for the most part, and possibly completely at the biological
level. However what occurs in human development is that we begin quite early
in life to conceptualise experience, using language and intellect to
categorise our experience. Increasingly our 'knowledge' of the world is
separated from experience and becomes dominant. New experience (and every
experience is in a sense new) is pigeonholed rather than encountered. Hameed
Ali, who has developed the Diamond Approach, which incorporates
psychological insights into a modern mystical approach, puts it thus: "What
you know is mainly words; what you know is so veiled by all these words that
you haven't the vaguest idea what it is you are actually perceiving."
('Indestructible Innocence', p 256)
In this understanding, the MOQ is part of the problem. I originally saw
mysticism as a sort of reversion to the biological level, like throwing out
the contents of the mind. I am now largely convinced that mysticism is not
interested in denigrating the mind and language, which have very real uses
and hence are valuable, but rather in retrieving direct experience which has
become almost lost to us largely because our mental knowledge has grown
out-of-control. I agree with you that the MOQ potentially could lead to
something like "stop this grasping and start just experiencing", but as a
metaphysics it can at best only point indirectly to such an outcome.
As I read Pirsig he is quite clear that his solution is not the mystic
solution, and despite much reference to the mystics in his books, I regard
him as a 'mystic-manque', who has experienced enough to feel the lure of
mysticism, rather than a genuine mystic. This is pretty much my position
I appreciate your scepticism.
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