RE: MF Define the intellectual level

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2000 - 00:34:24 BST

Hi Focusers: I wish we could get Pirsig himselff to comment on this issue,
and especially the quote from McWatt. I think he and his MOQ are injured
every time someone posts it. You can read and read and re-read the quote
until the end of time if you wish, but it will always be illogical and
self-contradictory. There has to be a mistake. The last line contradicts
everything else that comes before it AND please notice how that last line
doesn't have the same right-hand margin as the rest of it. Surely this
margin shift indicates some kind of add-on or tampering precisely where it
goes bad and contradicts itself. I'm not suggestion any intentional
deception, but it just can't be right because it Contradicts itself and it
contradicts what he says in Lila. Please look at the quote to see what I
mean and then I say more below that...

> -----Original Message-----
> From: 3rdWavedave []
> Sent: Monday, June 12, 2000 2:17 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: MF Define the intellectual level
> > >"The section in chapter 3 (in ZMM) about gravity points out
> > >that the body of knowledge we call science is in fact
> > >subjective. The law of gravity exists only in the minds of
> > >modern-day people, who can change this law any time new
> > >information shows that a higher quality law of gravity can
> > >be constructed.....both the "law of gravity" and "gravity" are
> > >intellectual static patterns, but gravity (when you take
> > >the quotation marks off) is said, in a very high quality
> > >interpretation of experience, to be an external reality."
> > >Among these patterns is the intellectual pattern that says
> > >"there is an external world of things out there which are
> > >independent of intellectual patterns".
> > >That is one of the highest quality intellectual patterns
> > >there is. And in this highest quality intellectual
> > >pattern, external objects appear historically before
> > >intellectual patterns...But this highest quality intellectual pattern
> itself comes
> > >before the external world, not after, as is commonly presumed by the
> materialists..
> > (Correspondence from Pirsig to McWatt)
        [David Buchanan] See how everything after "..But this highest
quality" sticks out much further to the right? See how the margins don't
match? If we simply excluded that line Pirsig would be perfectly consistent
with the MOQ and with the context of the letter would NOT contradict itself.
Check out these quotes from Lila...

        Page 298
        "Gravitation is an inorganic pattern of values."
        "Truth is an intellectual pattern of values."

        Page 299
        "A science in which social patterns are of no account is as unreal
and absurd as a society in which biological patterns are of no account. It's
an impossibility"

        "Objects are inorganic and biological values; subjects are social
and intellectual values. They are not two mysterious universes that go
floating around in some subject-object dream that allows no real contact
with one another. They have a matter-of-fact evolutionary relationship. That
evolutionary relationship is also a moral one."

        Page 307
        "According to the MOQ these "human rights" have not just a
sentimental basis, but a rational, metaphysical basis. They are essential to
the evolution of a higher level of life from a lower level of life. They are
for real."

        Elsewhere he talks about these higher patterns being "as real as
rocks and trees" and of course so much of what he says is described in
historical terms. Its a metaphysical system that seeks to explain reality,
not explain it away. The McWatt just can't be correct for reason of pure
logic. It just doesn't add up. If it were true, Pirsig would be saying that,
based on the best intellecual patterns we have, stuff like gravitation is an
independent external reality...But those highest quality intellectual
patterns are wrong.

        Highest quality intellectual patterns are wrong?! Its equally
irrational to say that up is down and right is wrong. We shouldn't believe
that either, no matter who it's attributred to.

        All or most of the quotes I used here come from chapter 24, whcih is
extremely helpful in understanding intellectual quality. He exlains the
moral codes there two and uses that to explain the rest of the 20th century
right up to the time of Lila's publication.

        Page 304
        "The end of the twentieth century in America seems to be an
intellectual, social, and economic rustbelt, a whole society that has given
up on Dynamic improvement and is slowly trying to slip back to Victorianism,
tha last static rachet-latch."

        "The B's and C's were out in the suburbs and burroughs, doing static
things. But now, here, the F's seemed to be winning."

        Page 305
        "He had a sickening feeling that something like the fall of the
Roman Empire was beginning to happen here."


        If a civiliation collapses in the world, but there's no one there to
hear it, does it make a sound? Anyone care to play the fiddle? -

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