Re: MD Making sense of it (levels)

From: johnny moral (
Date: Sat Feb 22 2003 - 23:18:43 GMT

  • Next message: David Buchanan: "RE: MD Making sense of it (levels)"

    Hi Platt, thanks for responding,

    >How do you define "idea?" Is a buzzard swooping down on an a gazelle
    >carcass acting on an idea? How about a bee looking for nectar, or a
    >germ looking for a cell to infect, or a sunflower following the sun
    >across the sky? Where do ideas end and instincts begin?

    This is why I think using "idea" is problematic. I do think bees have
    ideas, and I could even, if drunk enough, defend the idea that sunflowers
    have ideas too, just not very many. Schopenhauer's "The World As Will and
    Idea" suggests that everything is an idea of itself and what it will.
    Certainly we humans have ideas that we would put at the social level,
    anyway, right? Like 'adultery is a sin' and stuff like that?

    > > I think to
    > > qualify as itellectual a pattern has to be observed over a wide
    > > area, of space and time, like democracy or universal health care.
    >Whatever gave you that intellectual pattern? Can you cite a passage in
    >Pirsig's work that supports that idea? Or is this an example of your
    >adopting the MOQ to fit your static intellectual patterns?

    It came to me in a flash of DQ ;-) I don't consider Pirsig the one-and-only
    source to explain how everything works, even his "own" theory, which I don't
    think is free from intellectual biases. Of course my scale idea fits my
    static intellectual patterns, I don't have alzheimers yet.

    > > So a single
    > > bicycle is an inorganic pattern, but the knowledge of how to build
    > > bicycles and the idea of people riding bicycles to get around is
    > > an intellectual pattern.
    >Which came first, the intellectual or the inorganic pattern of a

    OK, my admittedly circuitous answer is: If the idea of personal two-wheeled
    self-powered transportation was spread around on a large scale for a while,
    and then someone finally built one, then the intellectual pattern came
    first. But if someone just built one out of the blue, without any thought
    that other people might see it and build others, then it was inorganic.
    Seeing that no one just builds things out of the blue though, and that it
    was surely the evolution of an existing product and emerging opportunities,
    it was surely an intellectual pattern that come first. But I still say
    that, apart from its world-changing abstracted powers, it is an inorganic
    pattern. "Hey everyone, let's build and ride something to get around
    quicker" is intellectual, the actual bicylce is not. But the bicycle
    wouldn't exist without the intellectual pattern first. Without the large
    scale petterns of industry and consumerism and maybe celebrity for
    inventors, it wouldn't have been invented.

    >Your "wide scale" criteria for an intellectual pattern sounds like a
    >rationalization to fit your static intellectual pattern unless you can back
    >it up with a Pirsig quote. What you describe sounds more like
    >biologically-based emotional patterns of fear.

    I think Pirsig didn't explain this very well and probably didn't have a very
    clear idea himself. He does describe ideas like democracy as intellectual
    patterns though, doesn't he? And ideas like marriage as social? Doesn't
    that imply he was thinking of their scale?

    > > I disagree with Pirsig's notion that intellectual patterns are
    > > automatically superior to social patterns, in fact I think most of
    > > them are terribly fascist and anti-human.
    >Including the intellectual patterns in your e-mail? Can you provide any
    >evidence for your general assertion about intellectual patterns?

    I think the nature of an intellectual pattern is facsist, in that any idea
    that society would be better off in such and such a way, is fascist.
    Including my idea that society ought to come to respect morality more.
    Well, no, maybe to be technically fascist imposing a pattern would have to
    be done with a huge army and police force, and trying to get society to
    respect morality through persuasion, against the might of the Giant, would
    not be fascist. It just seems that most intellectual patterns end up being
    forced on people.

    > > I also have a problem with Pirsig's notion that evolution has to be
    > > toward some goal. He admired Lemark's theories and found Darwin's
    > > survival of the fittest nonsense, because it was simply 'survival
    > > of the survivors', which he felt was meaningless. But it IS just
    > > survival of the survivors.
    >To say it just IS survival of the survivors makes as much sense as it
    >just IS arrival of the arriveds.

    Just because it goes without saying doesn't mean it is meaningless or
    doesn't make sense. 2 = 2 makes sense, doesn't it? Granted, it doesn't
    explain anything, but it makes sense. I think the selfish gene theory is
    pretty much accepted these days. Bees explode their penis and die when they
    mate, leaving it blocking the female, not because it is good, just because
    that gene emerged and survived. The only thing good about that is that they
    are bees and I'm not.

    >Where did you get the idea (intellectual pattern) that DQ was
    >"indifferent?" According to Pirsig, DQ is a "moral force" whose
    >"perceived good is freedom." Hardly having a "nature" that's indifferent or
    >purposeless. Quite the contrary.

    I think I can reconcile those quotes with my understanding. I see DQ as the
    energy or force that moves things from expectation to reality, but it itself
    is indifferent - it is the expectation that is moral. Its only "goal" is to
    move things according to expected static patterns of morality, and it can't
    help but do so. Repeating the patterns, doing what should happen (should
    meaning both 'predictably' and 'ought to'), is the goal. So, I agree it is
    certainly a "moral force" because it moves things according to morality and
    not according to some randomness.

    It is the patterns that are moral (we all agree right?), and DQ is the raw
    force that repeats them, the desire for expectation to be real. Certainly
    you have to admit that morality has to exist first before a 'moral force'
    can exist right? Otherwise what does a moral force mean that is different
    from an immoral force?

    The "perceived good is freedom" quote I can reconcile to an indifference of
    DQ using Augustine's concept of freedom that you agreed with Sam about
    before (21 Feb 11:28).
    >Sam: "- as Augustine puts it in a prayer to God, 'in your service is
    >perfect freedom'.
    You also agreed with Sam that "to the extent that one follows Dynamic
    Quality, which is undefinable, one's behaviour is free."

    So, the perceived good of dynamic quality, then, is service to God, or
    following dynamic quality. But though that may seem circular and
    meaningless to you, it doesn't to me. Like evolution, it is as true, and as
    indifferent, as 2 = 2. Of course it is good to follow dynamic quality,
    because dynamic quality is what makes things do what they should, what we
    expect them to. And that's what we like, when our expectations are met.


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