Re: MD Intellectual level - New letter from Pirsig

From: David MOREY (
Date: Thu Oct 02 2003 - 19:33:01 BST

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    Hi Rich

    I do not like this, and a lot of people here seem to like it.
    What you seem to be saying is that there is this concept
    called quality, that is experienced by human beings but is
    impossible to define. I buy this much. Heidegger calls it Being,
    or later on Being under erasure. But then there seems to be a gang
    of you that says there is human being or thinking or whatever
    that is different from Quality. This is a trap. Heidegger tries not to fall
    into this trap, so does Pirsig, but a few people at this site seem to
    be embracing it. Quality is a holistic concept. You cannot say quality here,
    man there, or quality there, thinking here. Quality is never absent. Therefore
    what it is to think or be human involves quality. This is what Pirsig to break away
    from, the atomism and fragmentation of SOM, and we do not want to let it back in again.
    Quality helps us to put together a conception of what it is to be human, we can suppose
    that it has been around prior to human beings, but we cannot imagine a human being
    or thinking (& to Platt I say both SQ and DQ) without quality. I grant that it is hard to
    talk holistically rather than dualistically but can we please attempt try to quastion
    fragmentary notions on this site? Some people see to be associating being human with
    the borders of the body, in quality experience rather than a SOM reduced experience
    where could you possibly start drawing lines between the self and the experience?

    David Morey

    David Morey
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Richard Loggins
      Sent: Thursday, October 02, 2003 5:26 AM
      Subject: Re: MD Intellectual level - New letter from Pirsig

      Hi Sam,
      The common sense answer is that an intellectual person does the skillful manipulation, and the MOQ goes along with that. But the MOQ goes further and recognizes it is from Quality that we get our skill and our humanness, and that what the MOQ stresses above all is that the skillful manipulation of abstract symbols - the satisfaction if brings - is the pure experience and Quality which comes before the symbols, before ourselves, and before anything else we can name.

      Sam Norton <> wrote:
        Hi Paul, anyone,

        Just while I'm working on a few things relating to this.... ;-)

        In his letter to you, Pirsig writes:
    > You have to cut it off somewhere, and it seems to me the
    > greatest meaning can be given to the intellectual level if it is
    > confined to the skilled manipulation of abstract symbols that have no
    > corresponding particular experience and which behave according to rules
    > of their own.

        Do you have any idea about who or what might be *doing* the manipulation (ie, who or what has the
        'skill')? Or is it that the symbols react to Quality on their own, without an intermediary? Or
        something else?


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