Re: MD Socratic Mysticism and Pirsig

From: Phaedrus Wolff (
Date: Sat Dec 18 2004 - 17:47:37 GMT

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    Hi Sam,

    I sent this yesterday, but it didn't post. Here's another try;

    Sam) So: are we agreed that the process of definitions is a bad thing,
    especially when it comes to
    mysticism, but disagreeing on where Socrates fits? Or are we disagreeing
    that definitions are a bad
    thing, and agreeing that Socrates wanted definitions?

    In the term mysticism, or defining mysticism, I don't see Plato or Socrates
    concerned with this. Socrates' mystical experiences were related as 'Fits of
    abstraction' which brings me to believe they were mystical experiences, but
    it could have just as well been a medical problem, so I am not ready to
    agrue in either direction.

    In the Dialogues of Plato, it seems to me Socrates was concerned with 'The
    Good' which is not mystical, other than he had a mystical skill of dialectic
    interchange with those such as Phaedrus you mentioned.

    As far as what we have been discussing, it seems, at least to me, that you
    are trying to tie in mysticism with DQ. A mystic experience is a DQ
    experience, but there is no need to limit DQ to mystical experience, nor
    define every DQ as a mystical experience.

    An acceptance of another culture, such as in the analogy using the Zuni,
    doesn't need to be defined as mysticism, but can be considered mystic or
    semi-mystic. I think the better term would simply be DQ.

    When you speak of Socrates and definitions, or philosophy and definitions,
    this does not need to be extended to mysticism, and mysticism is not
    dependent on definitions. It can be a defining experience, but it can also
    be a non-defining experience, and can be an experience beyond defining or
    dialect or rhetoric.

    Plato's "essence of mysticism" you speak of, I do not understand. Plato was
    concerned with "The Good," and I don't see this as being related to
    mysticism, other than the ability of Socrates in a DQ sense which relates to
    your original simple statement about mysticism being something that can
    change the society of which they live in -- DQ, not mysticism, but with a
    possible link to mystic events or experiences.

    I do see mystic events/experiences closely related to DQ, but see DQ as not
    limited to mystic events. A person who is capable of bringing happiness to
    those around them is skilled in a DQ way, but not necessarily in a mystic

    I see mysticism as subordinate to Quality, but possibly as one of the
    highest Quality experiences.

    For those who might be confused as to what mysticism is, maybe it would be
    best to drop the 'ism' in the word, and only used mystic as an adjective to
    describe an event or experience. If you cannot know mysticism without it
    being defined, then the definition is not going to further your ability to
    recognize a mystic event/experience.

    The term I feel best to drop would be Jamesian or Platonic or Socratic as I
    do not see either of these total philosophical offerings from everything
    that was written as describable unless you spent most of your life studying
    these and other philosophers and trying to piece together the puzzle of what
    went where. I feel that most could use the term mysticism much better
    without reference to these or any other philosophers. Mysticism is a fifth
    grade word, and I feel it is better served as a fifth grade word.

    When you try to use 'Better than' with mysticism, it doesn't have the same
    flavor as 'Better than' with Quality. Everything that is can be described as
    'Better than' with Quality, but you cannot describe all mystic experiences
    as 'Better than' any other mystic experience.

    With DQ, you do need a base to build on, unless as you stated, you are an
    infant or reduced to an infant mentality. A mystic experience does not
    depend on a base. As you are in the physical world, you have a base -- the
    base that you are not in the heavens -- you are not in the Milky Way.

    If as some believe, the Milky Way will open, and the sun at the center of
    the universe shines through, all will be equally exposed to the
    enlightenment as far as anyone can know. You may be able to prepare to
    receive this mystical experience, but no one can say for sure which culture
    is best set up to prepare themselves to the experience/event. (the changing
    of garments may help, but how knows?)

    It would be difficult for me to believe we can define all mystical
    possibilities we could experience before, and possibly even after the
    experiences (and this includes all experiences as defined by the MOQ).

    With respect, and the admission that you may be much more advanced, I would
    ask you to keep any thoughts, words, phrases, or sentences you use to the
    subject of mysticism, and not try to tie in DQ or philosophy, as I see DQ
    and philosophy as confusing when coupled with mysticism. We are simply
    hammering dialectic nails into the coffin of mysticism.

    I read everything you offered in the reply, but feel that we have been
    drifting away from mysticism into these definitions of philosophy and DQ.

    Yes, I did state I felt mysticism subordinate to Quality/DQ, but mysticism
    is too big to get confused by limiting it to only what we think fits with DQ
    or philosophy. These may be interchangeable in some scenarios, but not
    totally interchangeable as they hold separate characteristics that do not
    fit into all scenarios.

    I personally don't feel confused using the term mysticism, but I use the
    term as meaning tied to 'The Mystic' which covers a tremendous area of man,
    the world, and the universe. All that is required is the universe, and the
    knowledge we are no more than medecinewshakedown zozaudiocean
    millenniumailing-listoned bad tripicturesting witchistory listless and
    satisfie to the universe. ( just thought I would throw a couple new words to
    describe it myself :o)

    Please forgive the play these words I have no idea of the meaning, but it is
    just an example of how much we might have to expand our vocabulary in order
    to define the mystic. We may even need to define meaning.


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