Re: MD Undeniable Facts

From: johnny moral (
Date: Tue Apr 22 2003 - 17:33:00 BST

  • Next message: Paul Turner: "Re: MD Metaphysics of Quality: An oxymoron?"

    Hi Platt,

    > > Why can't we think of static patterns of all levels more like ground,
    > > a foundation from which (and within which) we can act?
    >What's your point? Don't you step on bugs?

    My point was that by maligning static patterns as locks to break free from,
    you contribute to the 'anything goes' relative morality syndrome that you
    dislike so much and blame post-modernism for. The absolutes you yearn for
    are static patterns, so you should be careful not to denounce static
    patterns. Post modernists point out that absolutes only exist as shared
    static patterns embedded in culture(s), but do not denounce them like you
    do. We can learn from post modernists the importance of celebrating
    morality for being the coherent universe in which absolutes can be absolute.
      Surely you can figure out some way to say what you were saying without
    denigrating morality so much.

    > > Birds do not defy the law of gravity. To fly, they use static patterns
    > > such as wings and air pressure, and they rely on the law of gravity
    > > trying to thwart or undermine it. Gravity isn't demanding that nothing
    > > fly. The evolution of flying birds is the result of static patterns
    > > on earlier static patterns, always doing what they should.
    >Pirsig differs:
    >"The law of gravity, for example, is perhaps the most ruthlessly static
    >pattern of order in the universe. So, correspondingly, there is no single
    >living thing that does not thumb its nose at that law day in and day out.
    >One could almost define life as the organized disobedience of the law of
    >gravity. One could show that the degree to which an organism disobeys
    >this law is a measure of its degree of evolution. Thus, while the simple
    >protozoa just barely get around on their cilia, earthworms manage to
    >control their distance and direction, birds fly into the sky, and man goes
    >all the way to the moon." (11)

    Gravity is not a bad law. Even if every protozoa had one one vote, they
    wouldn't vote to rescind it, they rely on gravity as much as rocketships do.
      It's not a trivial point, people will assume all static patterns are bad
    and it is evolution to thumb their noses at them, just because they are
    these dreaded static patterns that you deride. Static patterns are moral,
    not respecting a static pattern is immoral. When a bird flies, it does not
    "thumb its nose at gravity", it continues to rely on gravity for air
    pressure and remains respectful of gravity, that's why it flaps its wings
    all the time. It celebrates, in addition to gravity, billions of other
    static patterns that exist ON TOP OF gravity and rely on gravity. Pull
    gravity out from under it all and there won't be a moon for man to go to.

    > >Artists likewise
    > > evolved their art by building on static patterns, applying patterns to
    > > other patterns. True, they regulary throw out conventions that have
    > > tired and confining and try new compositions and colors and methods, but
    > > that evolution is called for by the static pattern, the code of art,
    > > says that they shouldn't just copy everything all the time, they should
    > > and innovate and impress and excite people with art that inspires.
    >Where did you find that "code of art?" Is that yours or somebody else's
    >idea? It's certainly not mine.

    Pirsig mentions the "code of art" - I don't have it in front of me exactly
    where, but all we need to note is that it is a CODE. A law, a pattern.

    > > Someone asked recently how you can discern evolution from degeneracy,
    > > change from bad. Someone else offered an answer that it is by looking
    > > see if a "good" static pattern is left in its wake. (I think it was Wim
    > > and Sam?). I agree with that, but you can tell in advance too: you can
    > > look at existing static patterns (what else is there to look at?) and
    > > predict what would be a good change. We take a pattern we like and try
    > > make it stronger. Sometimes a change is made without predicting what
    > > happen, just applying one pattern to another pattern to see what
    > > and we don't see if it is better or worse until afterwards, but I think
    > > most of the time we push in the direction that static patterns suggest
    > > us is "forward". We may not be right all the time, often we will decide
    > > that what we thought was going to be good was actually bad, but most of
    > > time we can tell.
    >A few examples of how "we" do all these things would help clarify your

    Oh, writing a song, by starting from chords and styles as building blocks
    and twisting something a little in that Spinal Tap way, trying to create
    something that people will think is good.

    > > To me, you seem like the person who is advocating an "anything goes"
    > > morality, by maligning static patterns as something to be defied. When
    > > deny that there is an absolute good or truth, I am not saying that there
    > > no good or truth, I am saying that they are found in our shared static
    > > patterns, which are not all shared by everyone (hence not absolute).
    > > they are mostly shared. The more shared they are, the more absolute
    > > are. Doesn't "absolute" just mean "static"? A truth that was dynamic
    > > wouldn't be very absolute, though I certainly believe that as static
    > > patterns change, truth changes. This is why I feel static patterns need
    > > more respect, and not maligned as being chains that bind our freedom.
    > > respecting them, we treat them as absolutes so we can build on them.
    >Huh? I don't follow you.

    My first paragraph above reiterates this.

    >Just in case you're wondering, I completely
    >agree with Wim when he says:
    >"It is the value of change that cannot be predicted on the basis of static
    >patterns of value that constitutes Dynamic Change. Strengthening
    >existing static patterns of value constitutes static quality."

    Change that cannot be predicted is nevertheless a result of static patterns,
    it's just that we didn't happen to predict it. Aren't you a determinist
    like me and our mutual favorite Schopenhauer?

    >I also agree with Pirsig when he says:
    >"Dynamic Quality comes as a sort of surprise. What the record did was
    >weaken for a moment your existing static patterns in such a way that
    >the Dynamic Quality all around you shone through. It was free, without
    >static forms." (9)

    Why does not every new record strike us as great, then? The ones that we
    like are ones that fit our existing static patterns and extend them,
    affirming our expectations of what good music is. On those occasions when
    we hear something totally foreign to our ears and we like it, it is because
    we hear something in it that isn't foreign, some more fundamental pattern
    that we hadn't heard under the artifice of our favorite genre. But if we
    like it, it is because it is like some static pattern we know is good. All
    music has static form, perhaps Pirsigs music wears out for him because at
    first he is such a romantic clod that actually believes "the music is free,
    without static form" and when he realizes that it is as static as every
    other record in the universe and always has been, he gets depressed about
    it. He could keep liking it longer if he appreciated it for the way various
    static patterns came together in a great way.

    >Your "Metaphysics of Expectations" precludes Dynamic surprises. Too
    >bad, because those "surprises" created you and me.

    Well, I might have been somewhat of a surprise to some people, but it's not
    like I was a virgin birth and couldn't have been predicted if all the
    circumstances were known. Don't know about you, but I suspect you had
    similar predictable origins.

    What my metaphics precludes is unreason.

    Platt, do me a favor and say something nice about Static Quality. Don't you
    see how deriding it creates the "anything goes" morality you blame post
    modernists for?


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