RE: MD Value of thinking

From: Paul Turner (
Date: Thu Aug 14 2003 - 20:23:45 BST

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    Hi Scott

    Insofar as one considers the intellectual level as static patterns, it
    different from intelligence, which in some way works on static patterns
    learn them, to create new ones). As mentioned, I think the MOQ could be
    rewritten as an MOI.

    OK, but what do we gain from replacing Quality with Intelligence as a
    central mystic reality?

    > Paul:
    > This seems to lead to the philosophy of idealism. In the MOQ, and in
    > Mahayanistic Buddhism of Nagarjuna, both the "material" and the
    > "immaterial" are further reduced to something fundamental to both and
    > without conceptual distinction. As I recall Barfield, he doesn't make
    > the step into metaphysics (he isn't concerned with the fundamental
    > nature of reality) but is content with an explanation of consciousness
    > and perception. Have you extended Barfield's thought into a

    Barfield's metaphysics appears to be the same as Coleridge's, which he
    outlines sympathetically in "What Coleridge Thought" (and with which I
    also sympathetic). In any case, there is ontology and epistemology
    and scattered throughout "Saving the Appearances", even if it is not
    systematized as such.


    Also, he doesn't explain consciousness so much as
    chart its evolution. One can call it idealism if one wants to
    distinguish it
    from materialism or dualism, but a better word would be monism, in much
    same way as is the MOQ. To put clothes on this would take quite a while.
    Perhaps it can be hinted at by saying that on analysis, the material is
    to be ideal, and the ideal is seen as material. In the end, one gets to
    Buddhism: nirvana is samsara, form is not other than emptiness, and
    emptiness is not other than form.

    That would bring it in line with the MOQ, if that is the aim.

    > Paul:
    > I would say that the intellectual level put one together based on a
    > pre-intellectual aesthetic evaluation of alternatives.

    Where did the pre-intellectual aesthetic evaluation of alternatives come

    Dynamic Quality.

    I think my capital-I Intelligence is just another name for that.

    Yes, but why is it better to give it another name?

    > Paul:
    > Yes, inorganic nature is actually postulated and confirmed by a
    > correspondence to the deduced consequences of a hypothesis, but I
    > say that sensation is empirical and immediately apprehended, but of an
    > aesthetic nature, that is, value differentiates the experience, not
    > "things-in-themselves".

    I would phrase it more as the value and inherent conceptual structure of
    what we perceive through our senses is what makes it that we see the

    Pirsig's explanation denies an inherent conceptual structure, to use a
    recently used passage again:

    "What guarantees the objectivity of the world in which we live is that
    this world is common to us with other thinking beings. Through the
    communications that we have with other men we receive from them
    ready-made harmonious reasonings. We know that these reasonings do not
    come from us and at the same time we recognize in them, because of their
    harmony, the work of reasonable beings like ourselves. And as these
    reasonings appear to fit the world of our sensations, we think we may
    infer that these reasonable beings have seen the same thing as we; thus
    it is that we know we haven't been dreaming. It is this harmony, this
    quality if you will, that is the sole basis for the only reality we can
    ever know" ZMM Ch22

    Which is why I think that Quality provides a better term for fundamental
    reality than Intelligence.

    However, that value and conceptual structure includes more than what
    we see. Or rather, what we see is that value and conceptual structure
    projected into spacetime. Quantum mechanics makes this pretty clear.
    Particles and waves are two different projections into spacetime of
    something that can't be confined to spacetime measures.

    Yes, the projection into "spacetime" is a harmonious conceptual
    organisation of experience. However, remember that particles and waves
    are two deduced entities which explain different patterns of data; they
    have never been empirically experienced.

    > Paul:
    > Not aimed at your or anyone in particular but I think the use of "S/O"
    > is ambiguous and used too freely. It can mean at least three things:
    > 1. Metaphysical "subject-object" distinction
    > 2. Epistemological "subjective vs objective" distinction
    > 3. I/Other distinction

    True, and opposed to Squonk, I think we need all these meanings if we
    going to have a metaphysics that includes our current reality. We can
    recognize that the metaphysical S/O distinction is not fundamental, but
    the same time we have to acknowledge that experience comes to us in S/O

    In the MOQ, experience (as synonymous with Quality) is undivided, any
    intellectual distinctions logically come after; thus I think it is more
    a matter of common sense that "experience comes to us in S/O form"
    rather than an empirical experience.

    > Paul:
    > The something labelled "experience" is Dynamic Quality, the conceptual
    > organization and explanation becomes static quality. Part of that
    > explanation is the postulated "object" (inorganic-biological) and
    > postulated "self" (social-intellectual).

    I disagree. Experience is the polaric interaction of DQ and SQ.

    I think that experience is Quality differentiating into Dynamic Quality
    as the pre-intellectual immediately apprehended cutting edge and static
    quality as the distinguishable universe of sensation, thought and
    response - with a scale of awareness between the two aspects, the
    polarity of which may be termed as "tension".

    Conceptualizing is another polaric interaction of DQ and SQ. By
    "polaric" I
    am referring to Coleridge's Law of Polarity, as I remarked in a recent
    to Platt. Roughly, Coleridge's central metaphysical concept is that of
    forces of one power", which forces he calls "free life" and "confining
    form". Without SQ, DQ would instantly expand infinitely, producing only
    chaos, which is not experience.

    Without static quality there is undifferentiated experience but not
    necessarily "chaotic", whereas I think chaos must be a form of
    experience. Let me think some more about this.

    > Scott:
    > Yes. It is also in an S/O form. I don't disagree with the idea that
    > there are explanations, nor that an explanation cannot be a creation.
    > with the notion that explanations can escape S/O thinking.
    > Paul:
    > But not a S/O metaphysical form? I think that the value of thinking
    > may be " / ", that is "the value of differentiation".

    Doesn't a cell differentiate between food and non-food?

    I don't know, does it carry around an idea of "food"? Remember that the
    "cell" and "food" are differentiated by intellectual patterns first and
    superimposed on our "observation" of the "cell".

    I see the value of thinking as the ability to hold on to
    differentiation, and so question it, and build explanations for it.

    That sounds good.

    > Paul:
    > The MOQ says that aesthetic experience creates ideas which create
    > explanations of experience, which includes things like "objects".

    Except that one perceives an object as an object -- something isolated

    before one has an explanation.
    I would say that an "object" is part of the explanation. By
    "explanation" here I mean something closer to perception which
    intellectual patterns provide without awareness, not necessarily a
    deliberate and conscious verbal or written explanation. They are
    happening all the time, and you can become more aware of the process
    with closer attention. Deliberate perceptual tricks can highlight the
    process too.
    In Lila's Child p505, Pirsig and Dan Glover are discussing intellectual
    patterns as being "a rational voice inside our heads", Pirsig states:
    "It seems loudest [the rational voice - static intellectual patterns]
    when new things are happening that need explanation. Soto Zen meditation
    is a carefully contrived situation where as little as possible is
    happening and this rational voice tends to run down like an alarm clock
    that nobody is winding. When it stops completely enlightenment can
    happen." [My brackets]
    This is what I mean by "explanation" in the sense that I have used it
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