Re: MD Intellectual Art (Dynamic Morality)

From: johnny moral (
Date: Thu Apr 03 2003 - 01:25:42 BST

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    Hi Steve,

    I have some more comments, this time I come strapped with explosive Pirsig

    You had written to me:
    >Not at all. When I say something is more moral, I mean it actually is
    >better--as if quality is real. If you can't make this basic assumption, I
    >wonder what value you could possibly find in reading Pirsig. Without it, I
    >don't think we have enough common ground to make discussion of the MOQ

    Lila chapter 26:
    "Phaedrus recognized that there's nothing <i>immoral</i> in a culture not
    being ready to accept something Dynamic."

    So, I think Pirsig and I are using it the same way. Assuming that what he
    means by Dynamic is 'better' (a defintion of Dynamic that is
    self-referential and circular, if you ask me) he is specifically saying that
    moral DOES NOT equal better.

    He also had written in the previous paragraph:
    "It had never occured to him to think he was in a whole different harbor!
      It was a parable for students of scientific objectivity. Wherever the
    chart disagreed with his observations he rejected the observation and
    followed the chart. Because of what is mind thought it knew, it had built
    up a static filter, an immune system, that was shutting out all information
    that did not fit. Seeing is not believing. Believing is seeing.
      If this were an individual phenomenon it would not be so serious. But it
    is a huge cultural phenomenon too and it is very serious. We build up whole
    cultural intellectual patterns based on past "facts" which are extremely
    selective. When a new fact comes in that does not fit the pattern we don't
    throw out the pattern, We throw out the fact. A contradictory fact has to
    keep hammering and hammering and hammering, sometimes for centuries, before
    maybe one or two people will see it. And then these one or two have to
    start hammering on others for a long time before they see it too."

    Now, first of all, note that while Pirsig put the first "facts" in
    quotations, he chose not to put the second use of the word in quotations.
    All facts are in quotations, is the implication here, except the ones that
    we believe right now, which are true. Need I point out that time marches on
    and the any new fact can grow quotation marks? They are not true because we
    see them, they are true because we believe them. The "static filter" in
    your mind is unavoidable. A person can be "open-minded" and relatively
    more willing to ditch his assumptions, but he can't escape from his static
    filter and get to the point where what he sees, he believes. Believing is
    ALWAYS seeing.

    Then, note that a fact "has to keep hammering and hammering and hammering"
    until one or two people see it, and THEN the one or two have to start
    hammering ON OTHERS before they see it too, and, the implication, only then
    does the new fact become a fact and the first fact get replaced. Now,
    doesn't "has to keep hammering for centuries" sound a lot like it must
    provide a burden of proof? The new fact isn't immediately accepted as being
    true or factual at all, until centuries of hammering on OTHERS makes it so.
    People do not all of a sudden ditch their beliefs just because one or two
    people insist that they are wrong, they have to be convinced with
    "hammering". If they are not convinced, then it is the new "fact" which
    wears the goat horns of quotation marks, and the old fact remains true.


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