RE: MD Irrationality

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Tue Sep 24 2002 - 16:41:42 BST

Hi Kevin (also Wim, Jonathan, Matt)

> I'm glad we could find some common ground. I suspected we might be
> simply talking past each other or simply having typical vocabulary
> trouble:-)
> In that light, I still think we have both latched onto differing nuances of
> the term 'solidarity'. I recognize your apprehension towards the
> connotation of conformity. I have a similar visceral reaction to conformity
> most times. I like Wim's comments on the term.
> Wim said:
> 'appealing to solidarity is a healthy and necessary counterbalance
> against class/national/ethnic/whatever selfishess' You replied 17/9
> 16:08 -0400: 'class, nationalism, and ethnicity are prime examples of
> appeals to "selfish" solidarity'. In Dutch 'solidarity' has the distinct
> flavor of 'unselfishness'. Some types of unselfishness are of course still
> relatively selfish from an even more 'unselfish' point of view. Appeals to
> class, national and ethnic consciousness are indeed 'selfish' from my
> humanitarian or even holistic point of view. Solidarity is from my point of
> view an individual choice and not inconsistent with individual liberty.
> 'Enforced solidarity' needs no 'appeals'. 'Collective solidarity' should be
> no more than the aggregate of individual choices and as such I see no harm
> in it.
> Kevin:
> For me, Wim's 'collective solidarity' captures the flavor of the word
> that I'm trying to convey.
> Perhaps the difficulty arises from a sq/DQ cut in the 'solidarity
> event'. The unification of collective choices made from individual
> liberty forming a Movement towards some broadly appealing goal (Dynamic
> Solidarity, if you will) which then stagnates (as things always do from an
> MOQ POV) into the rigid social pattern that carries the nuance of
> conformity that you find (rightly so) so distasteful. Is that an acceptable
> solution?

That's certainly a better connotation of "solidarity" than I usually assign
to the word. However, I'm innately suspicious of all "Movements" except
those which champion individual liberty. Many Movements are
fundamentally totalitarian. That's my fear.

> Platt:
> Social and intellectual static patterns are subject to influence by DQ, but
> static inorganic and biological patterns are no longer in flux, i.e., they
> are universally fixed by nature. Man can tinker with DNA and create
> unnatural life forms, not as a result of DQ, but of amoral intellect run
> amok. Nanotechnology threatens the physical make up of the universe, but if
> as a result we all disappear into a black hole it won't be DQ's fault.
> Kevin:
> Surely there continues to be flux in biological patterns-- Has evolution
> ceased?

To all intents and purposes, yes. Outside of a few viruses and man-
made freaks (like fruit-flies with 14 legs) there hasn't been any new life
forms since the cave man to my knowledge (Jonathan can correct me),
especially no new species (which evolution arguably still can't explain). I
remember reading somewhere that scientists generally agree that
humans have ceased evolving biologically. Moreover, in the MOQ what
has evolved are social and intellectual patterns. Biological patterns at
the biological level are pretty much stuck there. Finally, "flux" by itself is
no sure indication of moral evolutionary change. Things can "flux" for
better or for worse.

> As for inorganic patterns, I'm curious what QM would say about the
> amount of flux in the material universe. But even outside of the
> sub-atomic relm I would suggest that erosion, glaciation and other
> natural forces introduce flux. Wouldn't Pirsig suggest that inorganic
> patterns have DQ even if it's almost imperceptible to the naked senses?
> Perhaps this is being overly nit-picky about language, but isn't that
> fundamental to rhetoric?

As said above, mere "flux" is no certain indication of DQ's influence.
Static patterns of change are what's involved at the lower levels. For
example, scientists have discovered static patterns in chaos. So just
because something changes doesn't mean DQ is responsible. Also
keep in mind that Pirsig says only a living being can "perceive or adjust"
to DQ. (13)

> Your comment also reminded me of a question that I've seen discussed
> here but I'm not certain if I've seen the answer. Can DQ be destructive?

Since DQ temporarily suspends all static patterns, it can sometimes
give the appearance of destruction. But overall, DQ is the creative force
for Good.

> Your concerns about the ramifications of nanotechnology suggest to me
> that you would attribute benevolence to DQ. Or at least some kind of
> anthropomorphic sense of concern over the plight of the human animal on
> this rock we call Earth. If a more robust organism is introduced to the
> planet that ends the period of human domination we find ourselves in, is
> this NOT DQ at work? Could DQ be manifest through the Dynamic actions of
> human Intellect even if the action results in massively distastrous
> consequences for human Static patterns?

You suggest some scenarios that are hard for me to imagine. Are you
talking about an invasion from outer space? A worldwide atomic war
perhaps? If you could be more specific it would help.

> My own feelings on the subject are greatly conflicted, I must confess.

You're not alone. This site is a wonderful place to air our conflicted
feelings for they are often in conflict with others, too. Sorting out all
these conflicts for ourselves is what leads, as Matt and others have
suggested, to individual, personal excellence. At least, that's the hope.


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