RE: MD MOQ and idealism

From: Paul Turner (
Date: Sun Oct 05 2003 - 17:47:37 BST

  • Next message: David Buchanan: "RE: MD MOQ and idealism"


    Our intellect manipulates those ideas and creates new ones. In the
    case is where we are connected to Intellect, as for example in
    mathematical insights.

    From reading his accounts of them, I would argue that Poincare's
    insights were achieved in the absence of intellectual imposition, whilst
    getting on a bus during a geology trip for example.

    "The incidents of the journey made me forget my mathematical work...At
    the moment when I put my foot on the step, the idea came to me, without
    anything in my former thoughts paving the way for it." [Henri Poincare,
    The Foundations of Science p.387]

    To restrict intellect to the manipulation of existing ideas
    is first unintelligible, since through manipulation one can create new
    ideas, and second reveals Pirsig's nominalist prejudice.

    Okay, the intellect may extend by metaphor or analogy, reorganise,
    synthesise and analyse existing ideas within predefined linguistic or
    mathematical rules and thus create "new" ideas or structures. I would
    associate "Dynamic insight" with something like the redefining of some
    of those rules into entirely new paradigms evolving to accommodate
    experience in new harmonious structures.

    The ancient philosophers had no problem conceiving (and in some cases,
    like Plotinus, of experiencing) the Divine Intellect. Though it would
    fit in so well with the rest of the MOQ, Pirsig prefers to impoverish
    the concept of intellect by assigning it solely to SQ.

    I disagree that Neo-Platonism would fit in well with the MOQ. In the MOQ
    framework, static intellectual quality is subordinate to Dynamic

    "The block at the top contains such static intellectual patterns as
    theology, science, philosophy, mathematics. The placement of the
    intellect in this position makes it superior to society, biology and
    inorganic patterns but still inferior to Dynamic Quality. The
    Metaphysics of Quality says there can be many competing truths and it is
    value that decides among them." [SODV]

    A divine intellect would contain the "divine truth" that inferior human
    intellects may aspire to, would it not?

    In any case, your reply doesn't answer my question. That which produces
    ideas has to be more than just Good. In conventional language our words
    it are "intellect", "reason", and "thinking". Not "value", "quality" or

    Reason creates value? Thinking creates value? Is this your argument?

    > [Paul:]
    > Firstly, he says value is the preselection of what becomes
    > before it is possible to be thought about. It is not an "observation
    > value", it is value that is observation. Observation creates the
    > "observer" and the "observed".

    I agree with this. But in the case of ideas, one has Thinking, creating
    thinker and the thought.

    I would argue that one has Quality, creating thought, and thought
    creating the "thinker". There is no pre-existing "thinker" in the MOQ.

    Ultimately they are the same (since I hypothesize
    only one Ultimate.) But this is why Pirsig's treatment of "subject" and
    "object" is a disaster. For Observation really and truly creates the
    observer and the observed, and they are qualitatively different. They
    not both SQ, since SQ is observable, but the observer as observer is
    Instead they exist in mutual contradiction. The same goes for thinker
    thought. All experience has this irreducible tripartite form.

    > Secondly, he spent a whole book demonstrating that Quality is
    > "recognised" without intellect. This also applies to recognising
    > that produced intellectual patterns. Remember his teaching experiment
    > "what is quality in thought and statement?" in Bozeman?

    He simply assumed it in the beginning.

    I believe he demonstrated that value exists by showing what a world
    without value would be like. He then demonstrated that value was not
    contained in either subject or object. He then hypothesised that value
    contained subject and object within it. He then identified value with
    empirical experience.

    Out of interest, do you accept the MOQ premise that value is the primary
    empirical reality, that everything is primarily an assertion of value?

    The brujo story produced the idea of
    the initial split into DQ and SQ. So far so good. But in the next

    "When A. N. Whitehead wrote that "mankind is driven forward by dim
    apprehensions of things too obscure for existing language", he was
    about Dynamic Quality. Dynamic Quality is the pre-intellectual cutting
    of reality, the source of all things, the completely simple and always

    My question is where did the "pre-intellectual" come from?

    It is the starting point, so logically speaking, it doesn't come from

     It appears to be
    related to the phrase "too obscure for existing language." But to have a
    apprehension of something that escapes existing language means that one
    thinking dynamically. One has an intimation from Intellect. One has a
    non-verbalized idea and one will either change the language to verbalize
    or come to the conclusion that it is beyond all language. So why does he
    call this "pre-intellectual"?

    Because it is not referring to "non-verbalized ideas" as you have
    assumed, it is referring to value, which is beyond thought.

    "The Dynamic reality that goes beyond words is the constant focus of Zen
    teaching. Because of their habituation to a world of words, philosophers
    do not often understand Zen. When philosophers have trouble
    understanding the distinction between static and Dynamic Quality it can
    be because they are trying to include and subordinate all Quality to
    thought patterns. The distinction between static and Dynamic quality is
    intended to block this." [letter from Robert Pirsig to Anthony McWatt,
    quoted in "Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality"]

    In my view because of a nominalist prejudice:
    he is convinced that all language and thinking is "flatus voci", all SQ,
    always merely tacked on to a really real non-linguistic, non-thinking,
    pre-existing universe of things and events.

    In my view, it is because, in the MOQ, value is reality. Things, events,
    language and thought are reducible to assertions of value and are
    therefore really real. Problems occur when you try and reduce things to
    words and thoughts, or thoughts and words to things.

    This makes the MOQ nothing more than materialism plus God.

    I think that clearly states what you think of Pirsig's ideas.



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