Re: MD A bit of reasoning

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Tue Oct 12 2004 - 19:42:57 BST

  • Next message: Mark Steven Heyman: "Re: MD On Faith"

    Scott, Steve, all,

    Scott, thanks for taking the time to summarize your thoughts. A few
    of my own thoughts interspersed below. I haven't been following this
    thread as closely as I might have, so feel free to direct me to other
    posts if I'm covering old ground.

    On 12 Oct 2004 at 7:46, Scott Roberts wrote:
    The MOQ considers intellect to be the fourth level of SQ, and in
    later notes, Pirsig defines intellect as the manipulation of
    abstract symbols. Further, the self is defined as inorganic,
    biological, social, and intellectual SQ capable of responding to DQ.
    Now, what is DQ? The MOQ says it should be undefined, but it seems to
    me one can say a couple of things about it. One is that it is
    creativity, that it drives evolution -- it, and only it leaves new SQ
    behind. The other is that it is one, that is, there is not a DQ for
    the inorganic level, another for the biological, not one for Earth,
    and another for Mars, and so on. Now this may sound like I am
    reifying DQ, making it sound too much like God,

    msh says:
    This sounds right right, but the problem with using the word "God" in
    any discussion is all the baggage that goes along with it:
    personality, plan, a special loving (or vengeful) interest in human
    affairs. It's why I'd avoid that particular term. Otherwise, I have
    no problem with the reification of Quality as the ontological Source.

    but as I see it that is already implied in defining the self as
    capable of responding to DQ, rather being itself DQ and SQ. And it
    seems to deny creativity to the self, and that is what I object to.

    msh says:
    I'm not sure how DQ denies creativity to the self. I think of it as
    a poet's Muse. It's the connection with DQ that results in
    individual creativity.

    A difference between the intellectual level and the other levels is
    that I can only observe the SQ of the other levels, but I can make SQ
    on the intellectual level. To some extent I have control of the SQ
    that my mind churns out. Obviously not complete control, in that a
    great deal of time my mind seems to be running on automatic. But I
    can be more or less mindful, which pretty much means being more or
    less in control. These words that I am typing out are new SQ. Not
    earth-shaking, to be sure, like "e=mc^2", but new nevertheless, and
    not completely new, since I am mostly just putting old ideas in new
    words. Nevertheless, what I type could be radically new SQ, a new
    mathematical proof, a new philosophy, a new poem, a new scientific

    msh says:
    This sounds right. But the following sounds insufficient...

    Thus, as I see it, when we are being creative, we are DQ. And, since
    we can examine and change our own SQ (our beliefs and
    desires). we are self-evolving.

    msh says:
    But DQ is more than Dynamic (creative) it is also Quality, the
    maximum Good. The moral element seems to be missing here. Being
    creative is not sufficient; we must be moral in our creativity,
    which, I believe, usually means abandoning our SQ beliefs and

    Now the question is, is what I am saying just a different way of
    saying that I am responding to DQ. Am I just introducing confusion to
    make a point that has no great significance. Well, obviously I don't
    think so. The reason I don't think so is that if we ignore our own
    creativity we are ignoring our ability to see DQ and SQ actually

    msh says:
    I don't see how recognizing the source of our creativity is the same
    as ignoring it. Or are you suggesting that human beings are a
    special bundle of SQ patterns that have somehow become their own
    source of creativity? This would certainly pave the way toward
    assigning to humanity a special place in the chain of being, and
    you'd be well on your way to a kind of Objectivism. I hope that's
    not your intention.

    Our own minds are creating and letting us view creation. We
    have got the basic MOQ principle in microcosm right here in our

    msh says:
    Except that, again, the moral element is missing. Eichmann was

    However, the microcosmic MOQ of the self only applies to the
    intellectual level (I can only create intellectual SQ). So a question
    may be raised on whether it has anything to say about how the MOQ
    works on the other levels. I say that it does, for a couple of
    reasons. The first is that SQ consists of static patterns of value,
    and the difference between a pattern and a thing or event that
    instantiates the pattern is the old philosophical distinction between
    universals and particulars, and that is what intellect works with.
    This means that one needs to add particulars to the MOQ.

    msh says:
    Whoops. Well, ok, now you're talking about an entirely different
    metaphysics: Platonism, with the Forms existing eternally and
    perfectly apart form their temporal and earthly approximations. You
    know, with God the cookie-cutter sort of spitting out individual
    horses, wheels, carts. It's hard to see how the MOQ's powerful
    evolutionary ideas would come into play.

    So, from this point on, with your discussion of Universals and
    Particulars, and Peirce's Triads, I think we're away from the MOQ.
    But I'll inject a few comments and questions to see if I can lend a
    MOQish shape to what you're saying, for my own sake.

    That can be done by using Peirce's triads. For Peirce, any event is a
    sign-event, by which he means there is a particular, a universal
    which that particular instantiates, and an interpretant, which
    recognizes the universal that the particular instantiates. Unless all
    three are present there is no meaning, no value.

    msh says:
    So all three take on the ontological primacy of QUALITY (value) in
    the MOQ? There's a triad where once there was a monad?

    Now to reconcile this with the MOQ's position that value precedes any
    differentiation, one also observes that without value, there is no
    triad. That is, this is consistent with saying that value creates the

    msh says:
    So, here, the first split is three ways, not two? So the triad is,
    after all, secondary to the monad?

    In other words, creation is differentiation, the setting of
    limits, which limits are SQ. DQ breaks up old limits and sets new
    limits. That's Intellect.

    msh says:
    So, in this metaphysics, rather than emerging from DQ, Intellect IS

    SOM assumes that there is a subject that appreciates an object. I am
    only assuming appreciation, and that it is better to think of it, as
    Pirsig puts it, as between the subject and the object, or among the
    nodes of the Peircean triad. The point of bringing it up is that to
    get appreciation, *some* differentiating is necessary, however we
    might describe it.

    msh says:
    So, in MOQish terms, "appreciation" is what? Appreciation can't be
    Quality (Value), because Quality comes BEFORE the S/O split, not
    between them. So are you talking about the pre-intellectualized
    experience of Quality? What I think of as DQ?

    >steve said:
    > To me, your way sounds the same as SOM.

    That's because you have not grasped the idea that, while we
    differentiate (e.g., into subjects and objects, or into triads) to
    understand reality, Quality differentiates to create reality.
    Intellect, like Quality, precedes any particular differentiation.

    msh says:
    But this can only mean that Intellect and Quality are the same. Is
    that what you're saying?

    >steve asked:
    > Can you explain where the dq/sq cut fits in with your triad?

    No, because DQ seems to me to be used in two different ways (which I
    want to examine in a separate thread), as the creation of new SQ, and
    as the leading edge of experience. Is there DQ when I am running on
    automatic? I accept that metaphysically the DQ/SQ split is of utmost
    importance, since that is the basis of morality.

    msh says:
    Yes, I see an ambiguity in the way "DQ" is used. Sometimes it's an
    event; sometimes it's a driving force. But maybe the "spark" of
    individual creativity is the event, and the "sweat" of creativity
    stems from the drive. The difference between the inspiration and
    completion of a poem.

    And I'm glad to see you're finally bringing morality into the

    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)

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