Re: MD About Quality.

Date: Wed Feb 19 2003 - 00:52:50 GMT

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    Squonk asked me ever so politely:
    How do you feel you have improved understanding of Quality?

    I don't think I can answer that question. My own attempts at explicating
    Pirsig's writings will be judged by time, not by me.

    Sq: Indeed.

    But if you wanted one example of what I think I may have helpfully pointed
    out to some people, it is that Quality is not an essence. It is an

    Sq: Essences belong in a substance based metaphysics. The MoQ is not a
    substance based metaphysics.

    The thought following from that is that, if metaphysics is
    the search for essences, then we should stop doing metaphysics because we
    will never find any essences.

    Sq: If is a big word. Back in the world of the MoQ, which, if you will
    forgive me treading dangerously close to the crumbling edge of the obvious,
    is an appropriate concern of mine, and i quote: " exists to provide a
    forum for discussion and study of the Metaphysics of Quality as proposed by
    Robert M Pirsig in his books Lila: An Inquiry into Morals and Zen and the Art
    of Motorcycle Maintenance" because that's the name of the forum.
    When Pirsig historicized Quality in Lila, he
    made explicit that Quality was an existent, he made it something that
    evolves over time. In this way, he resembles Dewey who suggested that we
    think of experience and nature as quasi-synonymous and that when we ask,
    "What evolves?" we answer "experience."

    Sq: Static patterns evolve towards DQ. DQ does not evolve. Experience
    composed of static patterns evolves, but DQ is unpatterned.

    People disagree with this, though, so I don't know what you are looking for
    Squonk. Are you looking for me to agree with your picture of the Truth of
    the MoQ, your obscure and barely enunciated interpretation of Pirsig's

    Sq: Pirsig speaks well for himself and requires no explication from me. I am
    sure Pirsig is grateful for the explication you provide, and i feel sure he
    would be lost without it. If only he had consulted you before he had two best
    selling books published? Anyway, when i have something worth saying i hope to
    say it.

    You say there is no Quality in what I write, so how do explain
    other people finding Quality in what I write, let alone the Quality I find
    in what I write?

    Sq: I'm beginning to worry about you. I don't feel there is much Quality in
    your writing. It's up to others to view it for themselves. If you feel your
    good then i'm happy for you.

    Are we just flat out wrong? But how can we be wrong
    about Quality? Hasn't Pirsig already said that we are everywhere and
    always in touch with Quality?

    Sq: Yes, there is no doubt about it: I AM worried about you. Who is this,
    'We' you speak of? I feel you have taken on more than you can handle? You
    quite simply cannot over turn Pirsig in this forum without doing yourself
    serious damage. Bo tried it and look where it got him?

    Maybe the problem is that you think I'm trying to pose as a Prophet of
    Quality. But I'm not. The only Prophet is Pirsig. I'm a simple literary
    critic, putting some of the books I've read side by side, seeing what pops
    up. As far as I can see, that can't be anymore degenerate than creating a
    metaphysics. Afterall, aren't we supposed to compare metaphysics to see
    which one works better?

    Sq: I certainly do not think you are a prophet. Actually, i wish you would
    knock the religious metaphors on the head altogether. I do think you are a
    bit sad. But i only say that cos you asked me.

    Isn't that what Pirsig's doing when he constructs
    SOM and compares the MoQ to it?
    Isn't SOM just the picture Pirsig's drawn
    out of the materials supplied by the books he's read, like Kant and Boas?
    Isn't he just doing literary criticism when he does that?

    Sq: No. There are patterns of thinking that are so abstract they move beyond
    literature. These patterns may be embedded in literature, they may appear in
    metaphor, but the abstractions are not within the purview of ordinary
    culture. Even then, they may be questioned on higher levels - the levels
    Quality appears as Pirsig first saw it. SoM is a construction along the way,
    but its not Pirsig's construction as such; its too deep. Your mucking about
    doesn't go near.

    I don't know Squonk. I'm not sure what you want, what you are looking for
    here, or what you are looking for me to say. I just hope people don't buy
    into the funny looking caricature of me that you've drawn. Hell, I don't
    see how you can buy into the funny looking caricature of me that you've
    drawn. Out of all the absurd things that go on in this discussion group, I
    think your reaction to me is the funniest and most absurd of them all.


    Sq: You flatter me surely! I sincerely feel you are obscuring things, but if
    there are those who like your writing, then what more can be said?


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