Re: MD Lila's Child

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Sun Aug 10 2003 - 15:43:34 BST

  • Next message: Paul Turner: "RE: MD myths and symbols"


    > > 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 everything.

    Thanks for a most Interesting post. (The last line reminds me of the
    paradox that in order to exist we must divide indivisible existence.)
    I'm particularly interested in Coleridge's "imagination" as creative
    intellectual activity. He may be referring to the intellectual activity
    of mathematics, a thinking process that often bears no relationship to
    "objects out there." His "law of polarity" may exist in the imagination
    the same as the square root of minus one. And, as you point out, we can
    also imagine self-contradictory identities though we never see them in
    "real life."

    But, I suggest that the human response to DQ involves something more
    than imagination in that term's common meaning. I suspect it's a sense
    we have that responds to that which is transrational, transverbal,
    transmental i.e., beyond intellect. Many have identified it as our
    response to beauty. That's true, but I would go a step further and
    suggest our response is not only to the aesthetic but to the spiritual
    as well, i.e., to that which mystics aspire and, if they are to be
    believed, sometimes attain.

    In everyday experience, this sense of DQ does indeed, I agree, take
    place at the front edge of thinking. It also shows up when you get gut
    feelings about a situation or sense "vibes" between yourself and
    another. In fact, might not being "in love" consist of state when the
    DQ all around you shines through?

    I guess all I'm saying is that the DQ response is no stranger to
    anyone. But, pinning it down in an intellectual pattern so we can
    pursue more diligently is another matter. Perhaps, as you say,
    impossible. Education in aesthetics seems to be the most fruitful
    avenue to the goal of living a DQ life, a life in pursuit of


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