RE: MD Is Morality Relative?

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Dec 05 2004 - 20:44:35 GMT

  • Next message: Joseph Maurer: "Re: MD Is Morality Relative?"

    Ham, Chin and MOQers all:

    Ham handed us a question:
    If creation "comes from" Quality, it must be the Creator or primary source.
    MoQers seem to have difficulty answering this question.

    dmb says:
    Please excuse my tardiness. I hadn't noticed your question until now. Given
    the larger context of your remarks, it seems you are asking how Quality is
    different than a "Creator", with a capitol "C". You're asking how Pirsig's
    evolutionary force is any different from the designer God? It should first
    be said that I'm with msh in thinking that you've been intellectually
    dishonest about your own kind of disguised theism. And its hard to believe
    that you've read Pirsig's books at all, which should disqualify you from
    participating here. Its nothing personal. You seem like a nice guy and all,
    but this combo makes it hard for me to take you seriously. Your question
    seems to ask us to prove that Pirsig is not a theist, and I can't help but
    wonder if you too are a graduate of the I'm-rubber-and-you're-glue school of
    debate. In any case, almost any of Pirsig's positions would run contrary to
    the idea of an intelligent designer. His anti-theism springs to mind.
    Mysticism asserts that God is not other, not outside of us and is in fact
    our truest identity so the distinction between creature and Creator does not
    even exist. There is no "design" in his evolutionary metaphysics, only an
    ever expanding quest for betterness. The creative force in the MOQ is pretty
    much the antithesis of a designer, but is instead undefinable,
    unpredictable, always fresh and new and forever on the move in every
    direction. In a word, its dynamic. I think you're question shouldn't even
    come up.

    Chin replied to Ham's question:
    ...The MOQ is both anti-theist and anti-intellectual as either lend
    themselves to a One-and-only truth. It allows religious beliefs as static
    patterns, called static Quality of culture while allowing these static
    patterns to be part of the intellect. A religious belief that places God
    before man's interpretation of 'The Word' of the Bible...

    dmb says:
    Huh? I'm not sure what you've going on here, but was alarmed at the way you
    seem to equate the MOQ's anti-theism with its anti-intellectualism. In fact,
    I think its very misleading to say the MOQ is anti-intellectual at all.
    Sure, he rejects the flatland objectivity of SOM and replaces it with a more
    generous idea of intellectual truth, but that can hardly be described as
    anti-intellectual. In fact, it seems that he's exerting great intellectual
    effort to deepen and improve our intellectual descriptions and that pretty
    much demonstrates that he's the opposite of anti-intellectual. Further, it
    seems pretty clear to me that Pirsig negative stance toward faith, theism,
    ritualistic religions and even James' Pragmatism are all motivated by this
    same respect for the intellect over social level values.

    Ham said:
    Use of the word "faith" for a metaphysical hypothesis is a little strange,
    isn't it? MoQ followers don't usually refer to their Quality belief system
    as a faith. Do you suppose this is because Pirsig insists that MoQ is an
    empirically-based philosophy, or is it because I have recognized and stated
    the "supernatural" aspects of Essentialism?

    Chin replied:
    Use of the word 'Faith' in the context of what I offered would not be
    "strange" of the inclusion of social and intellect. Faith would only be
    viewed strange if the intellect denied any relevance to Quality in the
    social, of which the MOQ does not allow this to happen, which upsets many
    who believe the intellect to be at the utmost highest level, and therefore
    religious or cultural beliefs to be of no significance. ...If you had read
    the writings of Pirsig, you would not even offer the idea that the MOQ based
    philosophy is "empirically-based." The MOQ as defined by Pirsig is only the
    1%, or the road map to philosophical progress.

    dmb says:
    If intellect is the highest, then religious beliefs are of no significance?
    That would be like saying 4 is more than 3, therefore 3 = 0. That would be
    stupid. However, faith and theism are still rejected in the MOQ. And maybe
    it needs to be said that Pirsig is not denying that such things exist or
    that they function at a certain level or anything like that. He's saying
    that faith and theism have no place in an empirically based philosophy.
    Which brings me to the other point. If you had read the writings of Pirsig,
    you would not even DISPUTE the idea that the MOQ is based on empiricism,
    Chin. Its a radical empiricism. Everything begins with experience at the
    very root of things, pre-intellectual experience is the leading edge of
    reality and in more practical, philsophical and scientific terms, it allows
    a greater range of experience to be allowed as valid data. The MOQ is quite
    thoroughly empirical.

    Ham said:
    I can't speak for Pirsig. My cosmology derives from Eckhart's
    intuitive concept that "man is a nothingness" and that "God creates being
    from nothingness." I posit man as a "negate" -- an entity whose
    essence-value is an "otherness" to him. To become cognizant of Being, the
    subject (self) re-negates this otherness incrementally (in experience),
    deriving its value as the positive result of two negatives. Since
    individual selfness has no place in absolute Essence, Value is man's link to
    Essence. To realize that Value, he must, as you say, "suspend" his
    selfness (ego), which is consistent with Buddhistic mysticism.

    dmb says:
    This reminds of a similar thought I had the other day. It concerns my
    cosmology, which is also derived from an intuitive concept, but is far more
    sophisticated insofar as it posits a triple negation of nothingness thereby
    producing a double-double postivity. The incremental valuation of the total
    quality range expands even as it reaches back around to form an enclosed
    circle. When this circle is bisected and a square is centered on the
    dividing line, its vertical sides touch that line to form three line
    segments, two of which are identical. (Disregard one of the twins here.) The
    ratio between the two remaining line segments can be found thoughout the
    forms, not matter what quality level we wish to examine. See? The triple
    negation and the double-double cancel or rather balance each other out and
    the magic of the ratio is revealed. Seen this way, God is mathematically
    provable, but such proof requires a human calculator. This is the thought
    that occured to me the other day intuitively.

    Oh, but I think you've mistaken the notion of nothingness. As I understand
    it, its a reference to the mystical reality, the undivided reality, and as
    such is beyond all categories like something and nothing. This is one of the
    most misunderstood ideas in the West and is usually taken for some kind of
    empty space, which usually then leads to some kind of nihilism. Its better
    to think of it in terms of no-thing-ness. You know how Pirsig describes the
    immediate experience as pre-intellectual, as coming before subjects and
    objects are concieved? Well, where there are not yet subjects and objects,
    there are no things. That is no-thing-ness. Or how about the same unmediated
    reality described as the UNDIFFERENTIATED aesthetic continuum? Same idea.
    Where there is not yet any differentiations, there are no things, there is
    nothingness. See? In that sense, nothingness is really quite something. Its
    everything before it becomes things and even then...



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