RE: MD MOQ and idealism

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Oct 05 2003 - 18:59:23 BST

  • Next message: MATTHEW PAUL KUNDERT: "Re: MD Intellectual level - New letter from Pirsig"

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Scott R []
    Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2003 9:20 AM
    Subject: Re: MD MOQ and idealism

    Scott asked:
    How can Quality produce ideas if it is not Intellect?

    Paul replied:
    Quality produces ideas; intellect is the manipulation of those ideas.

    Scott countered:
    Our intellect manipulates those ideas and creates new ones. In the latter
    case is where we are connected to Intellect, as for example in Poincare's
    mathematical insights.

    dmb says:
    I think Paul makes an excellent case and the MOQ really does resemble
    idealism in many important ways, but I also think that the name is a bit
    misleading. What were really talking about here, I think, is the
    EPISTEMOLOGY OF MYSTICISM, or something like that. Let's start with
    Poincare. Here is where we get a very specific answer to Scott's question.
    In the quote from ZAMM he says that the subliminal self is "an entity that
    corresponds exactly with what Phaedrus called preintellectual awareness."
    Just as in the case of "subliminal seduction", the word refers to a level of
    awareness that is BELOW conscious awareness, not percieved by our normal
    waking consciousness. Its the UNconscious or SUBconscious self. There are
    whole worlds down there, but for our purposes its quite enough to draw just
    one line, the line between our normal ego consciousness, the front lobe kind
    of awareness that does the manipulating of intellectual symbols, and the
    subliminal self. As the same quote goes, the subliminal self "looks at a
    large number of solutions to a problem, but only the interesting ones break
    into the domain of consciousness." The intellect can look dynamic in a way.
    It can put the static patterns together in novel ways just as we can compose
    an infinite variety of sentences following the rules of grammer, standard
    definitions and all that only static stuff. The intellect can do work that
    only looks creative in a certain sense of the word, but when a genuinely new
    idea emerges out of the pre-intellectual reality I think we're talking about
    an actual expansion of the static universe. Something new has been born,
    rather than just shuffled around into a different order. And this is where
    we start to get at the mysticism of it all...

    The example of the hot stove serves to illustrate that the intellect need
    not be involved at all, but its also worth remembering that Pirsig also says
    that the mystics would be the first to jump off. We can even think about
    physical laws like cause and effect in terms of the preferences of inorganic
    static patterns, so that the whole of static reality is infused with a sense
    of value, an ability to respond to that undifferentiated, dynamic,
    pre-intellectual Quality. Its also worth remembering that "when we associate
    DQ with religious mysticism it produces an avalanche of information as to
    what DQ is". As I understand it this dynamic undifferentiated aesthetic
    continuum is called "nothingness" and the "the void". We in the West tend to
    misinterpret such words to mean something like "empty space", but I think
    both Paul and Scott know perfectly well that empty space is a static thing
    and is quite different. Instead, a better word for it in english might be
    William Blake's version of Eternity. "If the doors of perception were
    cleansed, everything would appear to man as it really is, infinite.". Its
    kind of like static patterns are only capable of representing a tiny
    fraction of the infinite possibilities, and the finite world of static
    patterns is in some kind of harmonious relationship with that eternity, and
    that its apparent independence as a separate reality is an illusion. As you
    likely know, in the East this illusory reality is called the "maya" or more
    descriptively, the "World of the ten thousand things" - or something like

    I can only sketch it. But this is why I think were talking about the
    epistemology of mysticism. Pirsig's empiricism goes beyond our biological
    senses to include an ability to respond to Quality at even the lowest levels
    of awareness and thereby paints a picture of reality that is nothing that
    but Quality. Cleave a piece of wood, and I am there. The Father and I are
    one. We see this same kind of mysticism in our own tradition too. And that's
    why its nothing new. As Pirsig explains, mysticism is not just some exotic
    imported notion from an alien culture, but a deeply submerged root in our
    own culture.


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