From: Valence (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sun Sep 11 2005 - 09:07:04 BST
Hi Erin and all,
Hope no one minds I re-titled the thread with something a bit more fun. I
just hate those boring subject lines. Anyway, sorry I didn't get a starter
post out on this. But to be honest I'm not sure one was really necessary.
All we're really doing is talking about some well used words in terms of the
MoQ. This one should be easy for everyone.
I think that there it is easier for me to approach these questions as
free-thinking and cultish thinking as a continuum of different types of
Using Pirsig's vocabulary, it's tempting to take your continuum and replace
the "free-thinking" end with "dynamic thinking" and the "cultish thinking"
end with "static thinking". DQ alone is chaotic and SQ alone stagnates so
we can speculate that to be too far to either side of the continuum is a
negative thing. A completely dynamic thinker would probably be an incoherent
mess (a la Pirsig during the break that followed the "avalanche") and a
completely static thinker would be incapable of any kind of learning or
growth. We'd have to assume that the highest quality place in the continuum
will be somewhere near the middle (depending on one whether favors a
skeptical or accepting bias towards new ideas). A "flexability" of thought.
Hmm, I'll have to think about that some more.
It is hard to answer yes/no to this being a cult or classifying
whether members are "free-thinkers" or "cult members" because the
discussions seem to be like a roller coaster with its highs and lows....
I'm reminded of the following passage from ZMM:
"The most striking example of value rigidity I can think of is the old south
Indian Monkey Trap, which depends on value rigidity for its effectiveness. A
hollowed-out coconut chained to a stake makes the trap. A monkey can put its
hand though a small hole in the coconut and grab some rice inside. The
monkey can put its hand into the hole but cannot take its fist out with rice
in it. The monkey's value rigidity traps it when it reaches in. The rice
cannot be revalued. He cannot see that freedom without rice is more valuable
than capture with it."
Although it predates the MoQ, the passage seems relevant to the issues at
hand (at least via analogy). I think that a dangerous level of "value
rigidity" is precisely the dangerous quality that makes a given group or
person appear to be "cultish". And I say "dangerous level" because I think
we have to admit that we're all value rigid in some senses, as we should be,
since life can't get by DQ alone (in fact, I'm suddenly moved to wonder what
the substantial difference is between "value rigidity" and "static
latching"? I mean, aside from the fact that one has a negative connotation
and the other a positive). The cultish thinker is the thinker who has
completely closed the door on DQ. And I think the problem of value rigidity
in the MD discussions is what you're pointing at when you say...
When you close off information/vocabulary in the discussions you are closing
the door on DQ.
Yeah. Having a chance at getting one's hand out of the coconut means
remaining open to reevaluation no matter how much one loves the rice.
Ok, it's late, got to get to bed now.
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