Re: MD Time

From: Scott Roberts (
Date: Wed May 25 2005 - 17:09:54 BST

  • Next message: Scott Roberts: "Re: MD Time"


    Ian said:
    You said - if I may condense ..
    "Pirsig's division into DQ and SQ is too simple ... [and is in error]
    ... because it privileges DQ over sq (explicitly)."

    Agreed, but let's not throw baby (MoQ) out with the bathwater here.

    Depends on what you consider baby and what bathwater. See below.

    Ian said:
    D/S - Every binary-chop classification is an intellectual convenience
    of some zillion shades of grey in complex reality. MoQ is not exempt.
    DQ / SQ simply identifies an axis, a dimension, a degree of freedom,
    an issue, our world view must recognise.

    The phrase "intellectual convenience" presupposes the modernist, nominalist
    point of view to which I object, and is one of my reasons for rejecting the
    MOQ, since it falls into this POV as well. My POV is that the zillion shades
    of grey in complex reality are created by a zillion binary (or ternary, or
    whatever) chops. That is, creation comes about by making distinctions, by
    forming boundaries, all driven by value.The word for this is Intellect.
    (N.b., I am not positing an Intelligent Designer here. Rather, I am positing
    Intelligent Creation, i.e., there is no need to assume a Being that Designs.
    There is just creativity, which necessarily involves value, awareness, and

    Ian said:
    Q/q - There absolutely is no doubt Dynamics is lost without the static
    latches - they depend on each other to be where they are. But, anyone
    trying to be radical is going to tend to favour DQ - it's more
    exciting, sexy, risky, etc. Anyone being passive and conservative,
    would have little reason to have an opinion on the matter let alone
    post one to a discussion board. We are a self-selecting bunch. Except
    Platt that is, whose reason to contribute is to have fun taunting the
    radicals :-) - but that makes him perversely Q IMHO. In other words,
    Q/q is just human nature.

    My objection to the privileging of DQ over SQ is not about debates over
    radicalism vs. conservatism. In the first place, it is not at all obvious
    who is radical and who is conservative, as Platt pointed out not too long
    ago. Plus there is the issue of degeneracy. Anyway, what I am complaining
    about is on a metaphysical level. It is not about static latches and change,
    but about the way Pirsig uses the concepts. In essence, he is using DQ as a
    substitute for the formless, and SQ as a substitute for form, in Buddhism.
    He then privilieges the formless, as the "driving edge", leaving form in its
    wake. But this is contrary to the Heart Sutra that "form is not other than
    formlessness, formlessness is not other than form". That is, the MOQ has
    reified DQ, by not exploring the issue in the further depth that leads to
    the Heart Sutra message. In short, the MOQ becomes metaphysical in the bad
    sense of the word (as Matt, and I think you, see it) with all its talk of
    the "undifferentiated aesthetic continuum" (Northrop's phrase, taken over
    into the MOQ), "pre-intellectual" or "pure" experience, and so forth. As
    long as DQ is privileged metaphysically over SQ one will not get an answer
    to Mike's query. That answer is, of course, that DQ is not other than SQ,
    and SQ is not other than DQ.

    Ian said:
    So rather than abandoning MoQ - just swap out Metaphysics for Model. A
    good useful working model of the real world (including human nature,
    by gad.) But nothing fundamantally metaphysical. There is no
    metaphysics anyway - MoQ is simply the best of a misguided bunch.

    Ok, on to the baby and bathwater question. I accept the MOQ premise that
    value is all-pervasive. But this is a given from any religious outlook. I
    accept the MOQ claim that the intellectual trumps the social, but any
    intellectual will say that (it is also Catholic doctrine, so it's hardly
    new). But as I see it, value implies awareness of value, and choice, all of
    which implies intellect. So I reject the nominalist, anti-intellectual bias
    of the MOQ, with respect to DQ. Specifically, I reject the view that the
    intellectual is the fourth level of SQ. And I reject it because it is a
    completely inadequate account of intellect, and therefore also of human
    nature. And, see above, I reject the version of "philosophical mysticism"
    which is the basis of the MOQ. That version (of more-or-less neo-Romantic
    origin, as exemplified by Northrop and Watts ) is itself a case of a static
    rut that one needs to move beyond. And the tool for moving beyond it is the
    LCI. So I disagree with your characterization that the MOQ is a useful
    model, especially when it comes to human nature, and I am far from seeing
    the MOQ as the best of a misguided bunch.

    - Scott

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