Re: MD A bit of reasoning

From: Scott Roberts (
Date: Sat Oct 02 2004 - 15:03:13 BST

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    [Scott prev:] > > Now I'm not claiming that pre-SOM philosophy got
    everything right, but to
    > > restore Quality but not Intellect just makes no sense.
    > mel:
    > Sure it does. Quality is attributional by definition.
    > Intellect is evolutionary a process.

    [Scott:] The issue is whether Intellect is there in inorganic and
    biological levels. I don't understand "Intellect is evolutionary a process"
    with respect to this question. Also, I would think that to call Quality an
    attribute is non-MOQ. What is it an attribute of?

    [Scott prev:] > Something has value
    > > if and only if its value is appreciated.
    > mel:
    > You are equivocating on the definition of value
    > to something not compatible with MoQ, something
    > subjective.

    [Scott:] There is no value unless there is an awareness of better and
    worse. Such an awareness requires comparisons. It need not show itself in
    S/O form, but that's about the only way we know to think about it. There is
    no such awareness in a purely mechanical universe, for example, so we
    reject that there is a purely mechanical universe. So if value is
    omnipresent, then there is omnipresent an appreciation of value. In our
    experience, that appreciation shows in the various ways that we say that
    things are meaningful. All those ways involve the relation of a thing or
    event to a pattern. This is what Peirce calls a sign-event, the 3-way
    interaction of thing/event, pattern, and relating. This, it seems to me, is
    a more productive way to address Quality than the MOQ's.

    [Scott prev:]> Something is moral if and only if
    > > there is choice. An isolated thing has no value. Its value only exists
    > > the thing's relations and functionality, which are universals. In short,
    > > Quality and Intellect are two facets of the same thing.
    > In our experience,
    > > both value and intellect only seem to occur in humans, though one can
    > > see appreciation of value in higher mammals. For us to think that value
    > > exists in rocks and earthworms is a bit of a leap of faith, but a little
    > > reflection shows its plausibility.
    > mel:
    > even pre-instinctual tropism show the existence of value.

    [Scott] If there is a sense of better and worse in the tropism, if there is
    a choice of not turning toward the sun, and not just in our appreciation of
    it. Otherwise it is mechanical.

    [Scott prev:]> That is to recognize instinct and laws
    > > of nature as supplying the context for appreciation and choice. But
    > > these are intellectual processes. Without the universals, and the
    > > of how well the particulars fulfill their roles in universals, there is
    > > value.
    > mel:
    > It seems like you are trying to create a "subjective objectivism"
    > is belabored in the context of past flavored formalism.

    [Scott] I am trying to treat Intellect as neither subjective nor objective,
    but as ontologically prior to both. What past flavored formalism are you
    referring to?

    [Scott prev]> So it takes no more of a leap of faith to consider Intellect
    > > all-pervasive, as much as Quality, especially when a little thought
    > > they are identical.
    > mel:
    > Not in Pirsig's sense

    [Scott:] Correct. I am disagreeing with Pirsig's sense of Intellect.

    > mel:
    > Apprehension in Being is not the same as the
    > discussion of an experience in the past. To rely on the
    > portion of intellect trapped in the past, in language, is
    > to remain at a remove from Apprehension in Being...

    [Scott:] Not if language (or Language) is the Ground of Being. Nature is
    (speaking metaphorically) God's speech. Our speech is a response.

    > mel:
    > Mysticism is not a needed ingredient and adds nothing.

    [Scott:] It is data that a metaphysics must be adequate to.

    [Scott prev:] > But there is also
    > > the claim that what is experienced is prior to all conceptualizing.
    > > this is no doubt also true. But what it leaves out is that *there is
    > > conceptualizing*. That is, while the Ground of Being (or Be(com)ing, or
    > > whatever) may be said to be prior to all division, it is nothing without
    > > all that division. The two (the formless and form) are the same
    > > (non)-thing, a contradictory identity.
    > mel:
    > Hence the distinction Dynamic and Static Quality, in part.

    [Scott:] Yes, in part. In addition to the dynamic/static polarity, there is
    also the whole/(dynamic/static) polarity. One can't really think this
    through to a conclusion, as it violates Aristotelian logic.

    [Scott prev:]> But as soon as one has form one has
    > > value and intellect. To put it in mythical terms, all reality is created
    > by
    > > God's conceptualizing. Hence the error of the "go-beyond-intellect"
    > > is to treat intellect as just being about reflecting on what exists. It
    > > also the source of what exists.
    > mel:
    > This is an interesting weaving of post hoc ergo propter hoc and
    > an equivocation of intellect into something preceding intellect

    [Scott] On the equivocation, only if one defines intellect the way SOM and
    the MOQ do. I don't see how the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy applies,
    since I am not talking about causation.

    > >
    [Scott prev:]> > The unfortunate consequences of the conventional
    interpretation of
    > > mysticism is a tendency to spurn the intellect. No doubt, our current
    > > intellects are faulty. But to reject it for some ideal beyond intellect
    > > to go in the wrong direction.
    > mel:
    > The earlier concern with Coherence, if I grasp it sufficiently,
    > is not to reject intellect, but to build upon the intellect as did
    > the untellect upon the social, upon the biological, upon the
    > physical, rather than to cantilever a philosophy over "empty
    > space."

    [Scott:] I lost you here. Is this an agreement with what I am saying or
    not? I can't tell.

    [Scott prev:] > It tends to result in falling into Wilber's
    > > pre/trans fallacy. But consider the last two of the Buddhist 8-fold
    > > concentration and meditation. What these do is discipline and train the
    > > intellect.
    > mel:
    > Not the intellect, but the mind.

    [Scott:] In the MOQ, the mind is social and intellectual SQ. So I think you
    are agreeing with me. As opposed to the notion that meditation is about
    shutting down the mind. Of course there is also the question of will, which
    the MOQ doesn't address

    [Scott prev:] > The basic characteristic of our intellect is the S/O
    divide, the
    > > ability to detach an observer from an observed and reflect on it. Now
    > > granted that there is no absolute division (that would be SOM), this
    > > detachment is what makes intellect possible. And meditation is the
    > practice
    > > of strengthening that detachment. Therefore, Zen works, but by
    > transforming
    > > intellect, not by going beyond it.
    > mel:
    > To know the limit of a thing you must exceed that limit.
    > The habitual use of mind is unsound, hence training and
    > Intellect is only one activity of mind.

    [Scott:] I propose that one learn to see limits as what intellect creates,
    that reality is created by setting limits.

    [Scott prev:] > Of course, one has gone beyond our
    > > everyday, SOM-drenched intellect. But if that is all that intellect can
    > be,
    > > one has fallen into the error of thinking that evolution has stopped.
    > mel:
    > Pirsig makes no such claim, but rather urges us towards the Dynamic.

    [Scott:] Don't ignore the "if" in my statement.

    [Scott prev:] > > There is a more general moral question, though, and that
    is how we
    > consider
    > > intellect in general, never mind those few who are mystically inclined.
    > I'm
    > > kind of surprised that in Lila and in this forum there is very little
    > > attention paid to intellect itself. Well, in Lila there wouldn't be
    > room --
    > > it is already a full-length book without going into it, except to make
    > > valid point that intellect trumps the social, and discussion around it.
    > But
    > > there is no discussion along the lines of "what is intellect", in fact
    > > LC, Pirsig says he purposely did not go into it, on the grounds that
    > > who read Lila know what it is.
    > mel:
    > Now you are getting to the hard nut burried in the meat
    > of the MoQ fruit's flesh...

    [Scott prev: ]> In a sense he is correct, but in another
    > > sense, we don't really know. The unique difference between intellect and
    > > the other levels is that intellect can reflect on itself. That means it
    > can
    > > be self-evolving. It is DQ and SQ all right here available to us to
    > > about, but nobody seems to care. I find that perplexing.
    > mel:
    > Our ability to get distracted in mind, and these discussions, may
    > create an appearance of "not caring", but the whole reason the
    > exists, unless I am badly mistaken, is to try and get a
    > focus on the mometary flashes of understanding we all got in
    > the reading/re-reading of Pirsig.
    > Intellect, as a level of evolution.
    > Intellect as an activity of mind
    > Intellect as a process in the past
    > small intellect versus BIG INTELLECT
    > Apprehension beyond the habitual
    > SQ becoming DQ, pointing to DQ
    > seem to be where the "value" (pun intended)
    > is to be found. Not in the over-painting
    > of Pirsig with possible related philosophical
    > ideas, or the assignment of his ideas to
    > dusty bins of classification in smoky
    > offices in schools with chairs named
    > for dead scholars.
    > We need a little conceptual circumcision
    > to free up Pirsig in our thoughts to focus
    > on the Static/Dynamic edge...
    > Not meant to be harsh...

    [Scott:] But beside the point, methinks. I believe that criticism of the
    MOQ also belongs in this forum. And criticisms of the criticism.

    - Scott

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