Re: MD Value of thinking

From: Scott R (
Date: Sun Aug 17 2003 - 16:32:43 BST

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    > Paul:
    > Interesting, are you familiar with Kakuan's addition of the 9th and 10th
    > stages to the Zen Buddhist ox-herding poem?
    > Stage 9 (Returning to the source) seems analogous to the "high
    > indifference" stated above. Kakuan writes:
    > "The water flows of itself and the flowers are naturally red."
    > This seems to me to refer to the pre-intellectual aesthetic apprehension
    > of Quality, the empirical experience directly perceived.

    Yes, I've seen it. The eigth (empty) circle would be Nirvana, the 9th and
    10th the realization that nirvana is samsara. Where I quibble is with the
    "pre-intellectual" apprehension. I see it as pre- and post-intellectual.
    Otherwise one has to ask why samsara in the first place (and the whole
    probelm of evil).

    > Paul:
    > I also think that Quality should be considered as static quality and
    > Dynamic Quality together, differentiated and undifferentiated. I also
    > think the emphasis on Dynamic Quality you detect amongst fans of Pirsig
    > may be a Dynamic backlash against the western denial of its existence
    > when it is something we all experience and "know of" already. For
    > instance, it is impossible to describe the beauty of something we have
    > all experienced, such as a sunset, in terms of particles which we have
    > never seen or ever will see. Yet our culture would have us believe that
    > particles are more real than beauty!

    True, and as Platt says, well put. However, among those who *have* seen the
    impossibility of describing beauty in terms of particles, which would
    include most all readers of Pirsig, there is the tendency to want to dump
    the intellect entirely, for that "pre-intellectual apprehension". This is,
    IMO, the greater mistake among that group, the pre/trans fallacy.

    > > > Paul:
    > > > I would say that the intellectual level put one together based on a
    > > > pre-intellectual aesthetic evaluation of alternatives.
    > >
    > > Scott:
    > > Where did the pre-intellectual aesthetic evaluation of alternatives
    > come
    > > from?
    > >
    > > Paul:
    > > Dynamic Quality.
    > Scott:
    > But DQ is "pure" -- no alternatives, no differentiation, and hence no
    > reality, no world, no nothing.
    > Paul:
    > I disagree, "Dynamic Quality" is used as a term to throw off
    > connotations of "nothing" and is very much "reality", it seems like
    > nothing because it cannot be arrived at theoretically, which is the
    > western pre-occupation, taken to an extreme by logical positivists. So
    > the logic goes, if we cannot define it in order to verify its existence
    > empirically, it can't be real. The MOQ turns this on its head and says
    > that it is the ineffable that is the empirical source of what the
    > definitions are defining!

    I should have said "DQ without SQ" is "pure" -- etc. What you describe above
    as DQ I would say should be assigned to Quality. DQ by itself exists only as
    a mental abstraction as not SQ. In actuality, and in thinking (as opposed to
    thoughts) it only appears with SQ and in opposition to SQ.

    > Scott:
    > By adding Intelligence, one can accept primodial
    > Ideas into one's epistemology, even if we can't expect our sublunary
    > reason
    > not to distort them to some extent.
    > Paul:
    > This seems to me to be a very Platonic conception of reality.

    It is, suitably updated with an awareness of evolution and history, and with
    Buddhism (samsara is nirvana, not just a degenerate copy of the Real).

    > >
    > > Paul:
    > > 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.
    > Scott:
    > You are losing me, I think because you are not distinguishing between
    > figuration and alpha-thinking. I would say that figuration produces
    > particle-like and wave-like sense-data, while alpha-thinking deduces an
    > intellectual pattern to explain that sense-data. I would also say that
    > that
    > alpha-thinking would never get to first base unless there is structure
    > *before* the empirical experience. Our (alpha-thinking) concepts are the
    > same kind of thing as that structure.
    > Paul:
    > Something before the empirical experience? Like an "object"?

    Like whatever immaterial structure (non-spatio-temporal, non-S/O divided,
    non-individuated) is needed (e.g., Platonic Idea) so that a spatiotemproal,
    S/O divided, individuated appearance can occur. The unobserved electron, for
    instance, whatever that might be, if it is still possible to call it an

    > > Paul:
    > > 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.
    > Scott:
    > Is experience synonymous with Quality?
    > Paul:
    > In the MOQ it is.
    > Scott:
    > I would say it synonymous with the
    > division. Otherwise there is only an unknowable Pleroma. The Pleroma
    > undergoes withdrawal from itself *in order that* it can experience
    > itself.
    > Paul:
    > Sorry, I've lost you.

    You said: "In the MOQ, experience (as synonymous with Quality) is undivided,
    any intellectual distinctions logically come after". If there are no
    divisions, there is no form, and hence no experience. In Kabbalism, one
    talks of the Ain Sof (the infinite, that is, no definition, or division, aka
    the Pleroma, or absolute fullness), and so the kabbalists talk of the
    initial act of God to be a withdrawal of itself from itself (tzim tzum).
    Only through (apparent) separation can there be experience, although on
    another level there is no separation.

    > Paul:
    > That isn't what I mean, enlightenment would be the absence of what I
    > mean by explanation, not the ultimate. What I mean is basically
    > synonymous with Barfield's figuration.

    Barfield sees final participation as bringing figuration back into
    consciousness, but without losing the ability for and presence of
    alpha-thinking. I think this is different from a Soto Zen enlightenment --
    at least as Pirsig describes it.

    - Scott

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