Re: MD Lila's Child

From: Scott R (
Date: Sun Aug 10 2003 - 00:12:18 BST

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    > Maybe I'm being too picky, Squonk. But you, I, Paul and I'm sure others
    > are circling around the flame that's at the heart of the MOQ. I've been
    > convinced for a long time that the fuel for that flame emanates from
    > the realm of beauty and that DQ is the spark that lights it for us.
    > But, like everyone else who attempts it, I find it terribly hard to
    > pattern it intellectually, i.e., to put it into words. I need all the
    > help I can get and appreciate those who feel as I do more than I can
    > say.

    The best "explanation" I've found is from Coleridge. His initial split was
    the same as Pirsig's, which he called "free life" and "confining form" being
    "two forces of one power". Where his analysis gets to the heart of the issue
    is that he makes clear that though one can distinguish between the two
    forces, one cannot divide them. Each generates the other as it opposes the
    other, a circumstance he calls the Law of Polarity.

    This has relevance to the issues raised here, for example, saying that a
    level consists of static patterns of value. This works up to a point -- and
    in particular it works for what Pirsig is trying to cover in Lila, namely,
    how levels conflict. But it does not work if one asks such questions as:
    what is thinking? To get at that question it is necessary, for example, to
    make a distinction between thinking and thoughts. Thoughts are static
    intellectual patterns of value, but thinking is an activity -- not static at
    all. It involves DQ. In other words, the dynamic part is involved even when
    the thinking is not all that creative.

    In sum, it is impossible to "pattern it intellectually". It is
    self-contradictory identity, while patterns are non-contradictory
    identities. What one can do is -- to use Coleridge's terminology -- imagine
    it. For Coleridge, "imagination" is creative intellectual activity, and this
    attempt to imagine the law of polarity is the basic act of imagination. It
    is also how nature works (according to Coleridge, and it makes sense to me),
    that is, those same two "forces of one power" are responsible for

    (All this comes from Barfield's book "What Coleridge Thought")

    - Scott

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