Re: MD Burden of Proof

From: johnny moral (
Date: Mon Mar 31 2003 - 21:44:40 BST

  • Next message: johnny moral: "Re: MD Burden of Proof"

    Hi Rick and other interested parties,

    >Hello Johnny,
    > In my last post I identified the problem I detected in your view as a
    >failure to recognize Dynamic Quality as a kind of morality. I suggested
    >that your view left no satisfactory way to explain how moral change occurs
    >and pointed to some of the awkward corners that your failure to offer such
    >an explanation had painted you into.

    Which I explained my way out of by pointing out that SQ contains many
    patterns of change, but you just re-ascribed those static patterns to DQ and
    said I was still in the corner.

    > In this post, I hope to further trace some of the consequences of the
    >lopsided vision of Quality you seem to be selling. What I'll try to be
    >pointing out is the ways in which you're dismissal of the notion of a
    >Dynamic morality has forced you to completely redefine 'static quality' in
    >such a way as to include the characteristics that Pirsig associates with
    >Dynamic Quality.

    Yes, it has been my attempt to deflate this self-righteous free-pass of a
    "different kind of morality" Pirsig calls DQ. I've taken everything out of
    DQ except the power and computation of change. DQ no longer has any
    mystical ability to choose what the change will be, independent of the
    influences of SQ. Static patterns interacting cause all changes.

    > But first, I'd like to respond this charge that I've "personified"
    >Dynamic Quality into some sort of God or "Tinkerbell". I'm sorry Johnny
    >your comments to this effect just have absolutely nothing to do with my
    >view. I've never said anything even remotely resembling the thought you're
    >attacking here and if you think I have, you might be kind enough to point
    >some examples so that I can correct your misunderstanding (or god forbid
    >might *ask* me if that is my position before you assert that is).

    By suggesting that DQ changes are independent of SQ, and that DQ gets its
    sense of value from 'outside' SQ, all that is left is to say that DQ is an
    arbitrary God. If it is not a God, then it is dependent on SQ.

    > All I've asserted is that Dynamic and static quality are aspects of
    >experience. Neither has any god-like characteristics or personality. They
    >are two different goods, two different species of morality. Both are
    >essential. But, of course, you could read all this for yourself in ch.9 of
    >LILA. I've ignored such misrepresentations of my position in this reply
    >and tried to concentrate on what I thought were some of your more credible

    There aren't two different goods or species of morality. You have just
    split the one morality into two in order to give yourself a free pass to
    ignore things you don't like about morality. Now you can say that one
    needn't do what one should do to be moral, one can be moral (even MORE
    moral, you seem to assert) by not doing what you should and appealing to DQ
    as your justification. What I am saying, is you can do things that aren't
    moral, but you can't claim that they are moral by some 'different' standard
    and that what is moral is not moral. Moral is moral. Claiming there is
    another morality that is in opposition to the one that we all call can see,
    and following this invented one, is the opposite of morality, pure and

    And I've read chapter nine again, now. I am amazed that Pirsig has no
    problem so blatantly associating 'white' with 'better'. Isn't it pretty
    clear that the peeping tom had been in contact with the static patterns of
    advancing settlers, and, on the outs with his tribe, just sold them out to
    the white culture to save his own ass? He had the tribe leaders put in the
    state pen! Where is the DQ? There were Zuni patterns and white patterns,
    and age old patterns of debauchery and treachery and revenge. It was a
    shameful episode, I can't understand how it could be a prime example of DQ
    at work. Can't you see how it is 100% SQ patterns coming into contact with
    each other in new ways?

    > > Where does he get the idea that custom cannot change custom?
    > He gets it from the way he defines his terms. In the MoQ a 'custom'
    >static social pattern. Pirsig asserts that static patterns do not change
    >themselves (LILA ch9 p133). Therefore, using Pirsig's definitions, customs
    >do not change by themselves. I think Pirsig's definition is a good one. I
    >like to think of settled patterns like parallel lines, if left undisturbed,
    >parallel lines will never cross each other. Similarly, if left undisturbed
    >(i.e. without Dynamic Quality) settled patterns will not conflict with each

    It is an artificial definition, bent over backwards, in order to build
    himself his comfortable little DQ that he can do what he wants with whenever
    he wants. Static patterns are not parallel lines, that is your mistake.
    They are relational, hip-hopping all over the place and constantly in
    contact with other patterns. They do not exist independently of anything.
    Think of them as multi-variable formulas: when this circumstance, plus this
    circumstance, plus this circumstance, come together, we can expect this
    circumstance to emerge. We only expect, because we aren't really sure about
    the formulas, there are always other circumstances that could play a role.
    The patterns are ALWAYS evolving. They are fuzzy shapes, not lines. Think
    of them as expectations, not absolute laws. But then apply the moral
    imperative to extend those expectations into absolutes.

    This is the key, I've said it a few times but no one has commented: the
    ontology of morality is based on treating expectations as absolutes. This
    is how the glass holds together, because we FULLY expect it to. And this is
    why we have a moral imperitive to do what is expected of us. This is why
    expected means both 'probably' and 'ought'. It isn't one word with two
    meanings, the meaning is the same. There is no probably without the ought,
    there is no ought without the probably.

    > One might disagree with Pirsig and redefine static patterning to
    >the ability to change Dynamically (as you have done). But then there's not
    >much point to a static/Dynamic split in the first place and you're probably
    >better off finding some other, more fundamental way to organize experience
    >(maybe 'subject/object' is more for you, or perhaps 'classic/romantic').

    You are right, the only point to Pirsig's split is to remove oneself from
    the purview of morality and assert a right to exist in your own 'different'
    morality. I don't see why a split is necessary. Reality (I won't say 'my
    MoQ' this time, because I'm not philosophologizing here) is expectation, and
    there are no splits necessary. Expectations are based on patterns, which
    reflect expectations.

    To live and appreciate beauty, a subject/object split is necessary, ie, we
    have to see ourselves as selves, and the world as real. The MoQ is useful
    to remind ourselves that everything is made out of morality, so we have to
    respect morality and understand how it works.

    >There are many
    > > examples of customs that change customs, such as the custom of artists
    > > basing new art and literature on old and bringing it up to date, the
    > > of learning from different disciplines and applying them to other
    > > the custom of making the world better for your children, the custom of
    > > fair to our fellow man, the custom of trying to discover what makes
    > > work, the custom of interacting with other cultures and applying what
    > > like about them to your own... You can see I could go on and on.
    > I think all of your examples are better explained as a combination of
    >static and Dynamic forces. For example, "New" and "bringing it up to date"
    >are signifiers for Dynamic Quality. If the artists just followed the
    >existing patterns without any Dynamic change they would just produce the
    >same exact artworks over and over again. Without DQ, the "new" art would
    >indistinguishable from the old.
    > Also, "Learning" implies Dynamic change from existing beliefs.
    >the world better" implies moral change and progress, both of which are
    >Dynamic aspects of experience. "Discovery" implies Dynamic change from
    >existing knowledge.
    > All of your examples contain some element of change, newness, or
    >difference from something already existing. Those are all *Dynamic*
    >Qualities. I feel that those "customs" you cited are better explained by
    >recognizing the Dynamic element of experience. You're left describing the
    >newness of discovery as either "static" or "amoral".

    Hre you go personifying stuff you can not explain into a God again. All
    dynamic changes occur because of static patterns. Ask yourself - why did
    the SPECIFIC change happen, and not some other change? Why did the artist
    start using a new form of perspective or brush stroke? Reason dictates that
    there was a reason for everything - and those reasons were particular static
    patterns that the particular artist came in contact with. Those changes
    were moral if it is felt that most people in that situation would have
    probably done the same thing, ie, if they were expected changes. If they
    were random changes, or changes for change sake, in order to flip the bird
    at expectation, they were immoral (as was probably the intent - to call it
    moral would ruin it for the shock artist who trades in immorality).

    >We do those things because we
    > > should. We don't like artists who make carbon copies of others'
    > > EXPECT artwork to be innovative in some way, or it isn't high quality.
    > > expect improvement, we expect to gain knowledge and apply it.
    >Yes, but "Innovation" and "improvement" are Dynamic Qualities. Other than
    >that, I agree with you. We expect that life will entail Dynamic change as
    >well as static repetition. Both are aspects of experience that might
    >in good or evil from the perspective of the other.

    I can't believe you dis SQ so much that you refuse to say that making things
    better is a static pattern, is morally expected of us. It is such a
    contrived understanding, a straw man.

    > DQ is just the energy and
    > > motive for the patterns to exert themselves into the future against
    > > patterns... it just changes things
    > > according to how the static patterns dictate that it must.
    > Static patterns would NEVER dictate anything should change. If they
    >they wouldn't be STATIC! If you think they do, then you're not really
    >talking about STATIC patterns anymore.

    Well, you are right, I don't see static patterns as being absolutely static.
      They are fuzzy expectations. Absolute static repetition is impossible, so
    don't worry about it. Two things have never been identical in the physical
    universe ever, and they never will be. A person has never done something
    the exact same way as someone else before him, ever. Zen monks spend their
    lifetimes trying to get into a pattern, but have never repeated anything in
    their lives.

    > Moreover, I agree with you when you say "DQ is...the energy and motive
    >for the patterns to exert themselves into the future...". That's what I'm
    >saying (and what Pirsig is saying). Dynamic Quality is the motive and
    >engine for change.

    Yes, but WHAT the change turns out to be is caused by static patterns from
    the present and past which determine our expectations of the future. DQ
    lovingly gives us what we expect.


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