Date: Thu Oct 06 2005 - 09:34:54 BST
Ham, Rebecca and Group
5 Oct. Ham wrote:
To Rebecca who had written:
> > It seems to me that if we're looking at Metaphysics,
> > a good place to begin might be with the guy who 'invented'
> > it... Aristotle. Thinking as an activity is probably not a
> > useful distinction ...
> > Aristotle makes Rationality the defining line between
> > humans and other animals. Rational, being the ability to
> > grasp universal concepts (God, triangle, Justice... etc).
> > Perhaps this is the intellectual level we're looking for?
> Good point, Rebecca. But it will unfortunately be dismissed by the MD
> group because, as Bo Skutvik reminds us, "Pirsig has rejected the
> 'thinking' intellect." Remarkably, the MoQ does not recognize
> consciousness, awareness, or intellect as a proprietary attribute of
> the human being.
Ham, you really made my day. It looks like the MOQ may be set
straight after its long sojourn in SOM-land. As you know, my
thesis is that the original insight by Phaedrus was the SOL one,
namely that the development that came to a head with Aristotle -
described as SOM - was the intellectual "component" of his
Romantic/Classic MOQ. (no levels yet) .. and ought to have
become the intellectual level of the full-fledged MOQ.
> And Aristotle, who defined rationality as "the
> essence of man", has been relegated to the scrap heap of Greek
> Idealism to be superceded by a philosophy of patterns and levels.
In the MOQ Aristotle's "rationality" isn't exactly scrapped but
degraded from the metaphysical throne to the highest static level.
> If you follow the doctrine, you'll soon become convinced that there is
> no "self" with an inside view of reality, that everything worth
> explaining is "outside" of individual awareness. The only bit of man
> remaining is what they call "experience"; but even this is regarded as
> mainly a "group activity" that draws upon the socio-cultural Intellect
> for its ideas and concepts. That this idea has a parallel in Eastern
> mysticism appeals to the MoQers because of its atheistic foundation.
> And, because "selfness" and "consciousness" are anathema to
> scientists, doing away with these proprietary functions seems more
> appropriate for our postmodern nihilistic culture.
This and the following - included Pirsig's letter - is worth a follow-
up post, as it is let me bask in this unexpected support for a
I spoke of jumping in my chair at you first message, but upon this
I am still floating up there. I immediately wrote a reply but it did
not show up this morning so I simply attach it.
4 Oct. you wrote:
> Now I'll gracelessly dive into the fray. It seems
> to me that if we're looking at Metaphysics, a good place to begin
> might be with the guy who 'invented' it... Aristotle. Thinking as an
> activity is probably not a useful distinction, as cited in the letter to
> Paul above: " If one extends the term intellectual to include primitive
> cultures just because they are thinking about things, why stop there?
> How about chimpanzees? Don't they think? ...snip."
Right, thinking is useless. I have harped on that from the Jurassic
period (MOQ-wise) and finally in the said letter from 2003 Pirsig
corrected that, but was unable to come all the way to
RATIONALITY or SOM as the intellectual level. Maybe my "the
value of the subject/object distinction" makes the SOL look
complicated, but rationality (or objectivity) necessarily have its
irrational counterpiece. It is however the VALUE of this distinction
which is intellect
> Aristotle makes Rationality the defining line between humans and other
> animals. Rational, being the ability to grasp universal concepts (God,
> triangle, Justice... etc). Perhaps this is the intellectual level we're
> looking for?
Right, Aristotle as one of the SOM (intellect) instigators does that,
but in a MOQ view there is a value stage between biology
(animals) and intellect - the social one - thus we can't accept
Aristotle un-modified. Rationality=Intellect. Yes, but as said
above rationality's hidden premise is distancing itself from
irrationality. Thus the next equation is Rationality=SOM and
those two combined making Intellect= SOM.
> This might be a better compromise than the SOL that
> Bo has proposed (which, admittedly I don't know a lot about) because it
> is more fundamental.
Better? It is the SOL undiluted and unabridged!
> Thoughts? Comments? Inspirational Messages??
I may add that this argument has gone in circles - and what
geometric figures there are - one example is that Pirsig began
by leaving intellect to common sense. I pointed to dictionaries as
the most common-sensical there are and that they define intellect
as the capability to distinguish between what's subjective and
what's objective (in so many complicated ways). But then the
objection suddenly was that dictionaries aren't the place to look
for what Pirsig means. Phew!
Will return to yours of 5. Oct:
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