Re: MD Food for thought

From: Scott R (
Date: Wed Sep 11 2002 - 22:41:40 BST


Why were we expelled from the paradise of "natural" DQ? Without doubt,
the growth of the intellectual level, so far, is one of descent, that as
a result we have lost the connection to DQ enjoyed by our (very) distant
ancestors. Yes, our intellectualizing is weary, stale, and flat (but
profitable, in materialist terms). But my hope and faith is that there
is a reason for all this, and it is up to us, by seeing it through to
come out on the trans side of things, and not risk regressing to a pre

That seeing it through amounts to recognizing the intellectual level as
real, that words and ideas are as alive and real, no, are more alive and
real, than hot stoves (the existence of a stove depends on ideas, but
not vice versa). The kind of "intellectualizing" that would result is as
different from our current intellectualizing as the mystics view of
nature is different from the non-mystics, and for the same reason:
recognition of DQ.

So my point is that if you persist, on hearing the words "word, idea,
intellect" to interpret them in SOM terms, as tools for describing
objective reality, then you are stuck in SOM. Instead, try to imagine
that what to a SOM mind is "objective reality" is to a transcendent
consciousness, Quality speaking, Quality exploring ideas, etc. This,
too, is common in the mystic tradition. If the mystics you have read
don't talk about this, then I urge you to read some who do. I've read
both, and don't think they are contradictory, though I consider the
latter as more comprehensive. As Merrell-Wolff says, there are two basic
paths (with many variants), one through Wisdom and one through Love.
They get to the same place.

Your use of the word "passion" surprises me. What happened to
detachment? We need strong intellects to keep our social passions from
causing us to hit on each other, physically and verbally. We need more
than that, it is true, but it's a start.

- Scott

John Beasley wrote:

> Hullo Scott,
> A belated reply to your post of 2.9.02, in which you say
> "John prefers the pursuit of "immediate experience" over metaphysics. On the
> contrary, I believe that redemption for the masses lies in nourishing the
> intellectual level."
> and "As for putting down abstraction, as John does, I think one should
> ponder the utter mystery that lies in the ability to abstract. And without
> it
> there is no intellectual level."
> This has clarified the differences between us, and I think also overlaps my
> issues with Wim. I note he has recently affirmed his affinity with your
> position.
> I argue that abstraction is fine for sorting out all sorts of practical
> problems, and is necessary for the intellectual hobbies of philosophising
> and constructing metaphysics, or deconstructing them. I enjoy these pursuits
> too, so I don't so much want to 'put down' abstraction, as argue that the
> dynamic is not to be found, as Bo would have it, only in the intellectual
> level, but is clearly found in all levels. Pirsig uses the example of the
> hot stove. Bo would have to deny the dynamism of this event because it is
> biological, (though perhaps giving rise to some 'philosophical' reflections
> later). But I see in Bo's position, and in yours as stated above, a sort of
> worship of the intellectual level, whereas Pirsig, who is perhaps at times a
> little inconsistent here, seems quite clearly to find the dynamic in all
> levels.
> Where I was going in my comments of the past few weeks, as I hope I made
> clear at the time, was to examine where the mystic finds the dynamic. This
> also fitted my own weariness with much intellectualising, which was having
> the 'hang-over' effect that Pirsig noted. And it was also in the context
> (that I find increasingly important) of making human moral development (a la
> Wilber) the starting point for 'inquiry'. I found your intellectual view of
> human beings as always evolving patterns of value not so much wrong as
> insipid. Where is the passion? It's a bit like Wim's recent post on
> consciousness. Either consciousness strikes you as fundamentally 'given',
> and hence in a way powerfully inexplicable, or you end up as Wim did trying
> to sort out what behavioural patterns would equate with consciousness. That
> may be a valid enough intelelctual pursuit, but it seems to miss the point
> of the experience.
> I have no quibble with pondering the utter mystery of the ablity to
> abstract. What I understand the mystics to say is that that very ability
> grows at the expense of the ability to experience 'what is', here and now.
> And the mystic path seems to be to leave abstraction, at least for a time,
> and return to immediate experience, as a way out of the increasingly stale
> life of the intellect. Aubrey Menen makes this point very clearly in his
> 'The New Mystics'. Hameed Ali makes it in the sections I quoted in my
> earlier post. Tarthang Tulku says the same in his last book, 'Knowledge of
> Freedom'. And Pirsig effectively agrees that this is where the mystic parts
> company with his metaphysical pursuit. This does not mean that the mystic
> returns to an infantile immersion in experience that precludes intellect.
> All those I have just quoted, and many others, have written in great
> intellectual detail of the mystic path. But the description is not the path.
> Talking about consciousness is not consciousness. And the answer to the
> staleness of an overly intellectual life is not even higher realms of
> intellect.
> If you do not feel this staleness, then fine, my words will have no impact
> with you. But to offer the masses the intellect as their redemption is to
> give them, as someone else once noted, a stone instead of bread. Or a thirty
> thousand page menu. I'm hungry for real food.
> Regards,
> John B
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