Re: MD Drifting

From: Martin Striz (
Date: Sat Sep 19 1998 - 21:11:38 BST

First I'd like to say hello to all my old friends and extend some
introductory salutations to the folks who have joined since I last left.
My name is Martin Striz and I've been an on-and-off regular of this list
for about a year. I've recently returned from yet another hiatus with my
pallette cleaned of a lot of built-up static thought patterns.

I was at once overwhelmed and intrigued by Donald's message. You certainly
have a good grasp of philosophy. It's probably good to be a
philosophologist before one becomes a philosopher. That way you find out
where everyone else has traveled so you don't have to trudge through the
same beaten-down paths. Certainly you know your philosophical history and
have become an excellent philosopher--offering your ideas about the MOQ
being an Idealism...

> Bodvar, the MoQ is Idealism. Track me on this:
> 1) "SOM" means, roughly, a metaphysical system based upon the
>ontological seperatness subject and object, mind and body, thought and
>matter, in-here and out-there, etc.
> 2) "Idealism" is a philosophy that holds that subject and object
>are two manifestations of the same thing; thoughts "in-here" and stuff
>"out-there" are identical the way 2 is identical w/ 1+1 or 3-1 or 4/2 --
>same thing, difrent *mode of expression*. Typically Idealsisms are an
>absolute monism.
> CONCLUSION: An Idealism can not possibly be a SOM! -- By

I am reminded of Theo Schramm's excellent description of the SOM, which I
have quoted on my webpage: "A subject object metaphysics is any one of a
family of explanations of reality which rest upon the tacit assumption that
there are two separate and irreducible fundamentals in the way we perceive
the universe, namely the experiencing subject and the experienced object.
Although not necessarily recognised by its proponents, this 'A or not A'
position leads to an irreconcilable tension between subjective reality and
objective reality with each vying for dominance within the subject object
metaphysical system."

Subject-Object thinking does not have to simultaneously include both the
subject and the object, but rather, it must start from the premise that the
world is subjects AND/OR objects. In fact, the two sides are often in
conflict and contradiction, which is why Pirsig found the MOQ in the first
place. Materialism is SOM thinking just as much as dualism, and so is
Idealism. IMHO, to say that the MOQ is Idealism is to say that the MOQ is
a part of the SOM, which is to destroy it.

With a metaphysics of Quality, the focus is on this Quality idea, which
seems elusive and illusional, or even downright delusional, from a
subject-object perspective (SOM). The focus isn't on subjects and objects.
 Those concepts come later, they are smaller and less important aspects of
the MOQ, they are not primaries. With a world composed of morals (or
values or judgements, as you will), the Quality idea gains meaning, which
it doesn't have from a SOM perspective. Be careful here, however. To say
that Quality gains meaning does not mean it is completely defined. From
our present understanding, only certain aspects of it are known...thus the
Static/Dynamic split. I mention this briefly now but will come back to it
shortly. The important thing to realize here is that subjects and objects
are a part of this static category: the physical and organic levels refer
to the SOM Objects, the social and psychological (intellectual) levels
refer to the Subjects. In this way, the use of terms such as "subject" and
"object" are avoided since they are the source of the trouble in the first

> But I would like to clairify this statment that the MoQ is an
>Idealism one step further.

> Anyway, in ZMM he writes, right after discribing the big Quality
>realization -- that Q creates S's and O's: (chapter 20)
> He [Pheadrus] begain to see that he had shifted away from his
>previous stand. He was no longer talking about a metaphysical trinity but
>an absolute monism. Quality was the source and substance of everything.
> A whole new flood of philosophic associations came to mind. Hegel
>talked like this, with his Absolute Mind. Absolute Mind was independent
>too, both of objectivity and subjectivity.

> However Hegel said the Absolute Mind was the source of everything,
>but then excluded romantic experience from the 'everything' it was the
>source of. Hegel's Absolute was completly clssical, completly rational and
>completly orderly.
> Quality was not like that.
> Pheadrus remembered that Hegel had been regarded as a bridge
>between Western and Oriental philosophy. The Vedanta of the Hindus the Way
>of the Taoist, even the Buddha had been described as an absolute monism
>simmiler to Hegel's philosophy. Phaedrus doubted that at the time,
>however, whether mystical Ones and metaphysical monisms were
>introconvertable since mystical Ones follow no rules and metaphysical
>monisms do... Metaphysical entities are defined. Mystical Ones are not.
>That made Quality mystical. No. Really it was both.
> The philosophy of ZMM and the MoQ certainly are Idealisms along w/
>Hegel, Kant, Taoism, Vedanta and Buddhism. Sorry Bo. Sorry Magnus.
> Some other observations about this passage (not relovent but just
>drifting) I'd like to make are:
> 1) His use of 'Absolut Mind' tells me he's read Baillie's
>translation of the *Phenominology*. Not good. Baillie (and all the British
>Hegalians) tried to 'psychologize' Hegel and stick him into some Cartisan
>mind/body paradigm; hence, Ballie translated *Giest* as 'Mind.' Literaly
>it means 'Spirit,' but the way Hegel uses it, it means something like
>'reciprocity,' 'identity through opposition,' 'absolute identity in
>absolute otherness'... Think *tat twam assi* and you've got the picture.

>But in spite of Ballie's hang-ups (a friend of mine who read both
>versions together, told me that Ballie's got extra sentences that he just
>stuck in there himself to 'clairify') it seems that Pheadrus probably got
>the gist of it.
> 2) Note that he's already got the foundation of the DQ/sq split.
>I don't care what he says in LILA, all he did was change the emphasis of
>Classic/Romantic. One page later than the above quote he gives his
>translation of the *Tao te Ching* and writes:
> Quality [Romantic Quality] and its manifestations [classic
>Quality] are in their nature the same. It is given different names
>[subjects and objects] when it becomes classically manifest.

Yes, when we take a broad look at ZMM and Lila together, we can literally
see the evolution of a philosophy. On a concrete level we are taken on a
journey through the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, and northeastern
waterways of the United States, but on an abstract level we are taken on a
journey through the evolution of value patterns.

The above quote wasn't very fair to Pirsig. He says that Quality is both
metaphysical and mystical, but appears to not have an answer as to how this
is possible. However, in Lila we discover that the metaphysical aspect is
static patterns while the mystical aspect is dynamic patterns. And yet,
they are both still patterns of and the same: Quality.

But back to your points:

> rQ = orientation toward the whole, unnameable One. cQ =
>orientation toward the parts we can cut up w/ the knife (our 4 sq

>sandpiles) and defind. ZMM presents them as an *attitude* -- a
>difference in orientation. LILA presents them as a difference in
>freedom/structure, but the essential idea is parallel.
> 3) This one I wanted to point out for Anthony's sake (hi
>Anthony!), who's re-rased the DQ question. At the hart of the question is
>the mystacism/metaphysics issue I raised w/ 'On Heidegger' and Pirsig
>raised in the above quote. Pirsig can't make up his mind about it. He
>wants it both ways and we want to know, 'Well, is it
>definable/communicable or isn't it?'

Yes, this is what I began to discuss above. It seems impossible to have a
nameable and unnameable aspect to the same thing, and IMHO this is exactly
why the first "cut" was made here. The strange way in which these two
parts are associated (through being known or not being known, or through
remaining the same or changing) makes it the perfect place to draw the
first distinctions in our view of reality. What is more primary than the
difference between change and permanence? Between the fact that there is
action and nonaction? Between the proposition that there is 'the known'
and 'the unknown'? Between the concepts of the future and the past? All
of these are different ways of describing the dynamic/static difference.

The above is the Why for the static/dynamic split. As for the How of the
static/dynamic split (which is what you and probably most people have a
problem with), I can speculate, but I may not satisfy you. On the one hand
I could say that since there is a mystical, unknown aspect to it, we can
never really know how the static and dynamic can be a part of the same
thing, since we would have to have a complete knowledge of both. On the
other hand, I could say that the answer is so obvious we missed it because
of its simplicity. Our 'chattering minds' were too busy building up these
megalithic concepts when the answer could be found by a small child or an
old man meditating in the fields. Perhaps this simple answer was already
given by Pirsig when he offered labels for the two parts of reality: static
and dynamic. One part is static, that is the nature of the moral patterns
found there. The other part is dynamic, that is the nature of the values
found there. They are BOTH values/morals, and thus Quality. However, they
have these two different natures, therefore they function in completely
different ways while still being parts of the same thing. The dynamic
nature of DQ makes it mystical, creative, fresh.....and unknown. The
static nature of SQ makes it metaphysical, foundational, boring...and
known. Just some food for thought. :-)

I doubt you are satisfied by my answer, but to me it seems this simple.
IMHO the MOQ is a very complete and simple philosophy. Quality has two
natures, dynamic and static, while still being Value. I don't see it as
being in the mind either, as the mind is pretty much avoided (more on this

Well, my fraternity brother's basset hound just crawled up to me and wants
to be petted. Enough of this intellectualization, it's time to have a
relaxing Saturday.


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