Re: MD Understanding Johnny Moral

From: Valence (
Date: Fri Apr 04 2003 - 19:10:32 BST

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    Hey Matt, Kevin, Johnny, all

    > Matt:
    > I've kinda' been watching some of the conversation Johnny's been involved
    > in and I agree to a certain extent with what he is proposing for our
    > interpretation of Dynamic Quality.

    Hey Matt. I'm really glad you decided to chime in on this one. If the
    conversation you're refering to includes the recent 'Burden of Proof'
    thread, then I'd ask you to run through it again because I'm going to argue
    that I think you're actually more in agreement with my position in that
    thread than with Johnny's. See what you think...

      I'll simply add these thoughts to the pile:
    > I've argued that DQ is an indeterminate quantity from the perspective of
    > the present.

    I essentially argued the same thing when I wrote to Johnny : "There are no
    easy or automatic answers and human beings are still going to have to argue
    things like which choice is really more Dynamic and whether 'all other
    things' are equal or not. No metaphysics will make us unanimous on such
    issues. The best we can hope of a philosophy is that it can draw our
    attention to the issues which are more worthwhile to argue about."

     "Dynamic Quality" is simply a compliment we pay to actions
    > after the fact, after history has judged those actions to be creative acts
    > of genius.

    Right. DQ is a perspective on experience. I essentially argued the same
    thing when I wrote to Johnny: "We expect that life will entail Dynamic
    change as well as static repetition. Both are aspects of experience that
    might result in good or evil from the perspective of the other."

    > In a simple gloss, this is the same thing that Johnny is saying above, but
    > not necessarily.

    I'm very interested to see if Johnny will also claim agreement with you.

    As I haven't paid careful attention to Johnny's argument
    > (its possible Johnny would gloss his statement the way I would), I can't
    > say what Johnny would agree to but this is how I would explain the
    > differences between the two positions:
    > My statement means that, while the current static patterns judge whether
    > past actions are Dynamic or not, the process of pushing forward is not
    > amoral, as Johnny's staccato statement of his project says.

    That was my position in the argument with Johnny. Change can be moral, it
    is not 'always amoral' (or 'always immoral'... Johnny seems to go back and
    forth on that point).

    Any push
    > forward will be a creative act and will be, to the single genius and to
    > growing community of followers, viewed as Dynamic Quality, as morally
    > superior to the static pattern it replaced.

    I essentially argued the same thing when I wrote to Johnny: "You'll notice
    that like Rosa [Parks], the brujo wasn't fighting for social change. Like
    her, he was just being himself. But Dynamic elements of the culture were
    inspired and united by the things they did and rallied around them. And *in
    a Dynamic sense* they were good."

    This reflects Dewey's notion
    > of a "means-ends continuum." Dewey said that as our means evolve, so do
    > our ends. This evolution of our society isn't a neat "first the means
    > change, then the ends" or vice versa, but a fuzzy, messy jumble. This
    > jumble roughly correlates to the static-Dynamic continuum.

    That's a great comparison. I think both Dewey and Pirsig would be very
    happy with it.

    > This is how a neopragmatist would gloss Dynamic Quality.

    I like the neopragmatist gloss more and more everytime I hear it.

    Hopefully Johnny Moral finds it a good gloss.

    Hopefully he does.

    take care,

    I've read several of the essays in "Consequences of Pragmatism" (including
    the one you specifically cited). When I get a nice block of free time, I'm
    going to put together a post on what I've been learning from Rorty and your
    own "Confessions' essay.

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