Re: MF Solipsism

From: 3rdWavedave (
Date: Thu Jun 29 2000 - 16:27:40 BST

Marco, Richard & all

Marco asked:

> If static patterns of value are only intellectual, how do you explain this
> strange property of cats to produce always and only cats? Is this illusion?
> Why don't you answer?

If we start with these MoQ premises:

"Quality is a direct experience independent of and prior to intellectual abstractions." Lila-pp 64
"Quality was value. They were the same thing" Lila-pp 58 "
" A thing that has no value does not exist." pg 114

Starting from the bottom, Does your cat exist? You claim it does so I'll accept that. Then it must
have value, which is Quality, which is direct experience prior to intellectual abstractions. But is
this your "DIRECT" experience? No, it's your cat's. So the cat's values , its "strange properties",
emerge from its direct experience not yours. But a part of your direct experience includes
experiencing the "cat", in the wake of which you form static patterns of values "naming" or
"describing" your cat values. Are these "named" values resident in your cat, a part of your cat? I
don't think so. They are part of your values and while they may have some correspondence to your
cat's patterns of value in no way ARE THEY your cat's patterns of value.

You also suggest that position(s) such as this "fall in the solipsistic trap". I don't understand all
this concern with "idealistic" or "solipsistic" traps. You seem to accept that under the MoQ, "Every
existing "thing" is composed necessarily by DQ+SQ, as DQ without SQ can't exist and vice versa."
What we are discussing here is just one domain of the static side, intellect, and while Pirsig
rightly avoids applying terms like idealism and solipsism to SQ this is because both terms have and
can be interpreted to mean that reality is " all in your mind", an idea he (and I) reject.

My dictionary has two definitions of solipsism:

1 the theory that the self can be aware of nothing but its own experiences and states.
2 the theory that nothing exists or is real but the self.

Being neither trained nor naturally adept at logic my guess is one who was would say that if I
accept either one of these premises I must logically accept the other. But with some minor
qualifications I find little objection with #1 while completely reject #2. If "self" is defined
along the lines Ken Wilbur's develops in "A Brief History of Everything" as an entity that has "the
tendency to maintain its wholeness, its identity, its own autonomy, its own agency" while it "
simultaneously has to fit in as a part of something else" I don't see how #1 damages or is at odds
with the MoQ. That being said the static side of the MoQ is a provisional intellectual construct as
Pirsig has indicated in many places in quotes such as these.

"Metaphysics is not reality. Metaphysics names reality." Lila-pp 63

Within a Metaphysics of Quality, science is a set of static intellectual patterns describing this
reality, but the patterns are not the reality they describe.

Why is it BETTER approach to accept human SQ as intellectual patterns "that are not the reality they
describe" ? Because if past human experience is any indication, while "naming" or "describing"
reality we have a tendency to get it "wrong" almost as often as we get it "right". And that we,
includes me.

> where I come from the defining characteristic of a "religious" view is
> that it must be taken completely on faith... that is, the exact opposite of
> being "absolutely sure".
Living in the middle of the American "Bible Belt" I have found that the dominant "religious" view
here is that if one is willing to accept, on faith, their view, then you will be asSURED, absolutely
assured, (as regularly as you are ministered to) that your reality now and forever will be as that
"particular dogma" describes it. Irreguardless of your actual experience.
> Social patterns are always more moral than Biological ones
This is a common misinterpretation of the MoQ. Show me where Pirsig uses terms like "always" or
"never" in the context of establishing this moral order. For every quote you find that seems to
suggest that, I will show you one that qualifies it with conditions and cautions where this
"absolute" interpretation can be shown to be not so.

 I mentioned Ken Wilbur's "A Brief History of Everything" above. I would suggest that if you have
not read it to do so as it has helped me understand the MoQ particularly in levels and their
relationships much better.

3WD -

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