Re: MD Lila's Child

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Sun Aug 03 2003 - 16:10:48 BST

  • Next message: Steve Peterson: "Re: MD Lila's Child (SOM)"

    Hi Bo:

    > Hello All Philosophers.
    > I have at several occasions expressed my wonder about Pirsig from
    > "Lila's Child" who - from annotations presented - I don't really
    > recognize. I had till now not read the annotations in any systematical
    > way, but did so the other day and have maybe found the answer in # 102
    > which says:
    > * " I see more clearly today than when I wrote the SODV (Subjects,
    > Objects, Data and Value") that the key to integrating the MOQ
    > with science is through philosophic idealism which says that
    > objects grow out of ideas, not the other way round. Since at the
    > most primary level the observed and the observer are both
    > intellectual assumptions, the paradoxes of quantum theory have to be
    > conflicts of intellectual assumptions, not just conflicts of what is
    > observed. Except in the case of Dynamic Quality, what is observed
    > always involves an interaction with ideas that have been previously
    > assumed.....etc".
    > Ah! The "philosophical idealism" that I have spotted in several
    > annotations is a mere STRATEGY to get the MOQ integrated with
    > science (Quantum Physics). But why not say so to the MOQ readers?

    A 'mere' strategy? Remember Pirsig warned us to look twice at words
    like 'just' as in, 'It's just in your mind'? I think your use of 'mere'
    falls into that category. It's a casual dismissal of Pirsig's point
    without evidence or argument. It seems a 'mere' prejudice on your part.

    To my mind, integrating the MOQ with science, especially the conundrums
    of quantum mechanics, is important. Otherwise, the MOQ can never gain
    acceptance since science dominants intellect at the present time.

    > WARNING now I am acting the role as a SOM idealist!. For instance
    > the annotation that Rick presented to me. (I haven't found the
    > number)
    > * And in this highest quality intellectual pattern, external
    > * objects (matter) appear historically before intellectual
    > * patterns... But this highest quality intellectual pattern itself *
    > comes before the external world, not after, as is commonly
    > presumed by
    > * the materialist.".
    > But is such a strategy possible, or wise? Analyzing the above.
    > Pirsig says that SOM says that matter comes before mind, but this is
    > only the objective half of SOM, the subjective idealist half says the
    > opposite.

    Idealism is not the subjective half of SOM. Idealism says it's all S.
    SOM says it's both S and O, mind and matter. Materialism says it's all

    > With this erroneous opening it becomes a bit weird : SOM is
    > the highest intellectual pattern, but the MOQ is supposed to be still
    > "higher" (are there room at the top?).

    Yes, the MOQ subsumes SOM. It allows it but says it's not the best.

    > Still, the problem is that the
    > MOQ can't well adapt one half of SOM (the idealist) without becoming a
    > subset of SOM.

    The MOQ, being higher than either S and O or SO, can adopt one or the
    other or both, depending on its VALUE in a given experience.

    > This effort to make the MOQ an idealist philosophy is wasted because
    > he says lower down in # 102) the quantum findings are only weird from a
    > SOM p.o.v, but it has succeeded in the creating a lot of confusion at
    > this forum. But then, is it really a strategy? In annotation after
    > annotation Pirsig takes the idealist position - for instance in # 3 -
    > "Without humans to make assuptions, that assumption cannot be
    > made ..etc.
    > I don't know if this idealism follows from having defined the
    > intellectual level as thinking or it's the other way round: intellect
    > must be mind to "make assumptions", but any way it nullifies the insight
    > that P. arrived at in ZMM, namely that QUALITY is the creator of the
    > Subject/Object pair and thereby the materialist/idealist divide.

    If you see DQ as the creator of not only the Subject/Object pair but
    also Idealism, Materialism, Scientology, Mysticism and everything else,
    either singly or in combination, the problem disappears.

    > It
    > (idealism) also creates problems for the MOQ as presented in LILA where
    > intellect is supposed to be a static level - out of the static social
    > level - and in conflict with the parent level. But where is the static
    > element in "thinking"?

    The static element in thinking is grammar and/or logic.

    >One may principally think of everything! And the
    > conflict with social value? Totally absent.

    One can principally think and say everything at the intellectual level.
    But at the social level, one can only think and speak of what is proper
    or socially acceptable. There's your conflict.

    > But there is this little sentence in the opening annotation that saves
    > it all
    > "Except in the case of Dynamic Quality, what is observed always
    > involves an interaction with ideas that have been previously assumed"
    > DQ is excepted from the closed observer-observed circle, a reality
    > outside it.This is the most significant statement of the whole LC: Once
    > the Copernican Revolution was made the world became a QUALITY existence
    > and the static evolution began with the inorganic.The static levels
    > aren't quasi-intellectual patterns, rather the necessary base for
    > intellect.
    The static levels are simultaneously intellectual patterns (not quasi-)
    AND the base for intellect, like when pointing at the moon there's
    simultaneously a finger AND a moon.

    Where Pirsig stumbles, if you're looking for opening, is where he says
    Dynamic Quality is beyond ideas when of course DQ is an idea itself.
    But that's a paradox inherent in any metaphysics. We cannot use words
    to describe ultimate reality because the words we use become part of
    the reality we're trying to describe. We're in the system we're trying
    to see and so cannot see the whole system any more than an eye can see
    itself. But we can VALUE some descriptions (intellectual patterns) over
    others and eventually come to a silent understanding of how the world

    From previous correspondence, I know our understandings, beyond words,
    is the same. :-)


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