RE: MD Where am I?

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Oct 03 2004 - 23:06:21 BST

  • Next message: David Buchanan: "RE: MD MOQ DQ SQ Awareness"

    Howdy gents and welcome to Simon:

    [Scott prev:]
    The MOQ says that I am a set of inorganic, biological, social, and
    intellectual SQ, capable of responding to DQ. I disagree with this
    definition, preferring to think of myself as a locus of DQ/SQ interaction.

    [Simon asked:]
    What's the difference?

    [Scott answered:]
    The difference is that I consider the Dynamic to be a part of me, and not
    external to me.

    dmb says:
    I think this short exchange reveals a misconception on Scott's part. The MOQ
    does NOT assert that DQ is "external to me". The MOQ asserts a concept of
    self that does not allow such a thing to be possible. It is intended to
    REPLACE the concept of an isolated self opposed to an external world. The
    MOQ says there is no self apart from the patterns. You ARE the patterns. And
    ultimately these patterns are not seperate from the dynamic reality from
    which they emerge. The mystical reality is undivided, but metaphysics
    divides it anyway.

    [Simon said:]
    Both 'me' and 'other than me' are static differentiations therefore neither
    can apply to DQ. The MOQ is not dualistic in this sense i.e., the SOM

    [Scott replied:]
    The error of the MOQ (and of SOM, and all nominalisms) is to see
    differentiation (categorizing, conceptualizing, etc.) as something that only
    intellectual humans do, and as being a static covering up of something prior
    and pure and dynamic. Instead, one should, in my view, see differentiation
    as dynamic and creative. Of course, one should not become attached to any
    one pattern of differentiation.

    I'm trying hard to be polite here, but I have to say that this repeated
    point, that intellect (categorizing, conceptualizing, etc.) goes on in the
    organic and inorganic world is very bad idea. Frankly, I'm tempted to say
    something insulting about your intelligence. Instead, I'll simply ask WHAT
    IN THE WORLD DO YOU MEAN? You can't be saying that atoms and worms are
    capable of skillfully manipulating abstract symbols, can you? And why would
    it be a problem to admit that such things are responding to reality in a
    much more primitive and limited way? Why do rocks have to have "intellect".
    It seems very clear to me that the pattern of preferences that holds a rock
    together has nothing to do with abstract symbols. Within the terms of the
    MOQ, its just plain wrong and in the larger context of the forum, its just
    too confusing to describe the first three levels in terms of intellect.

    As for the idea that static patterns cover up, this is just another way of
    saying that the world is an illusion. Its not to be taken literally. Its an
    idea about the ineffable. Its a way of distinquishing the world of everyday
    experience from the world as it is revealed in different states of
    consciousness. The difference is stark. A mystical experience is often a
    life-altering, mind-blowing, and deeply profound experience. I suspect that
    if you'd ever had one you'd be far less interesting in undermining the
    distinction between that kind of knowledge and intellectual knowledge.

    Scott sad:
    Or as Nishida Kitaro might put it: the self exists by negating itself, and
    negates itself by affirming itself. This is an example of his logic of
    contradictory identity. If one ignores it, for example, by just rejecting
    the concept of self, one falls into nihilism, and not the Buddhist "Middle
    Way". The Middle Way is about keeping one's thinking in an undecidable
    state, neither rejecting nor affirming the self.

    dmb sez:
    Hmmm. As you've presented it here, I'm having trouble seeing the difference
    between the "logic of contradictory identity" and plain old equivication.
    I'm not sure if Nishida's idea is the one I have in mind, but as I
    understand it, this idea basically says that dynamic reality is
    undifferentiated and therefore inconcieveable. The only way to grasp it is
    to shatter it into dualities that define each other such as up and down, hot
    and cold, being and nonbeing. The idea here is that by so shattering, by so
    dividing the undivided reality, we have created a necessary illusion. Or
    think of it this way - behind two opposite concepts like being and non-being
    there is actually something more primary and immediate that somehow includes
    them both. And just as your mind is now incapable of imaging what sort
    "thing" could exist and not exist at the same time, so is the mystical
    reality. It is beyond and prior to all these categories, all these pairs of
    opposites. And so it is with the DQ/sq split. The mystical reality is
    undivided, but we just can't express that with concepts, you gotta split it
    up to comprehend it. And so it is with subjects and objects. In both cases,
    in all cases, something more immediate and primary has been divided. This is
    how the mind works regardless of culture or the metaphysical assumptions it
    produces. In the beginning was the word.

    [Scott:] I am aware that Pirsig considers the MOQ to be, as he puts it,
    anti-theistic, not just atheistic. Of course he is referring to theism as a
    belief in a personal God, and there is none of that in the MOQ. However,
    unless mysteries like "where does intellect come from" get better answers
    than "DQ created it", the MOQ verges on the theistic.

    dmb says:
    Well, the MOQ's explantions might be a mystery to you, but I fail to see how
    theism or faith follows from that. The MOQ is not a creation myth, its a
    evolutionary metaphysical explanation and its assertions are based on
    empiricism. Pirsig paints a picture of evolution as a process of ever
    expanding levels of value, increasingly complex patterns of preferences.
    These patterns do not exist IN the world so much as they ARE the world. And
    in within this evolutionary unfolding, one level gives birth to the next so
    that intellect is the level that transcends the social level, is born of the
    social level of values. I do not find this mysterious in the least. As I
    understand it, nothing in the social sciences or biological sciences
    contradict this interpretation. And as a student of intellectual history,
    the idea that intellect only arrived on the scene seems not only right, but
    absolutely brilliant in terms of explanatory power. The tricky part is when
    we turn back to the undivided reality. The tricky part is when we turn back
    to the notion that the world is an illusion. And again, we ought not take
    this too literally, we ought not take this to mean that the world is just a
    meaningless hallucination. Remember that immediate reality is undivided and
    that the DQ/sq split is one of those necessary illusions, one of the
    divisions that is inherent to thought and language itself. I think the
    paradoxical meaning of Sri Ramana Maharshi's pithy summary expresses what
    Pirsig is doing with the DQ/sq split....

    The world is illusory;
    Brahman alone is real;
    Brahman is the world.

    A clumsy translation...

    Static patterns are an illusion;
    Dynamic Quality alone is real;
    Dynamic Quality is the patterns.

    Or, as Ken Wilber explains it...

    "THE PERENNIAL PHILOSOPHY has as its core the notion of 'nonduality', which
    means that reality is neither one nor many, neither permanent nor dynamic,
    neither seperate nor unified, neither pluralistic nor holistic. It is
    entirely and radically above and prior to ANY form of conceptual


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