Re: MD Self-consciousness

From: David MOREY (
Date: Fri Oct 24 2003 - 18:40:48 BST

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    Paul -I like most of what you say below.

    Of course, it would be simpler to just call people a mix of DQ and SQ,
    but the MOQ doesn't allow that

    I take people as being a mix, can't see anything else as plausible.
    What would be the static pattern nature of consciousness exactly.
    The most obvious thing about being conscious is the flow of time,
    this has to be driven by DQ surely, otherwise it is all static repetition,
    would there be any time/consciousness if there was only SQ present
    in experience. Experience is mainly DQ, even if I keep seeing a dog
    (static pattern), it keeps moving, it keeps enduring through time,
    it is a unique experience, it will never be the same dog in the same place
    at the same time, therefore there is always a DQ element of SQ things
    being experienced, in fact SQ things are an abstraction from DQ experience.
    Only through memory, through noticing repetition can we talk about SQ.
    But why does SQ happen, why do things repeat and go static. I like to
    thjink that for the sake of there being a real-finite world of SQ, then DQ
    somehow withdrawn, stopped changing, to allow SQ to occur. Even then,
    when we experience something dynamically as in our consciousness, there is
    an SQ element. There goes my dog flying by, I recognise her instantly, this
    re-cognition is only possible because old SQ is somehow ready at hand, I can
    dog-experience with well-known my-dog static memories, and somehow we create
    these static my-dog memories from lots of pretty dynamic-unique experience.
    experience is ever the same as another (DQ) yet we build up static patterns
    to make
    sense of the flux of experience, and also some how, and rather
    coincidentally, the world has
    enough static structures in the flux to do this static knowledge building,
    Heidegger thinks this is
    very shocking and should disturb us, Schelling also -who he nicks a lot
    Clearly the same sort of pattern building that we do with our minds has
    occurred in what we call
    the world. Hence we can re-cognise it. Hence truth is aletheia or
    un-concealing, because, perhaps,
    the static patterns we intellectually-percepytually create are not so
    different from the ones that
    seem to be popping up in the flux of our experience.

    David Morey

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Paul Turner" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Friday, October 24, 2003 12:47 PM
    Subject: RE: MD Self-consciousness

    > Hi Scott
    > Scott:
    > One feature of human experience on which the MOQ is silent is
    > self-consciousness.
    > Paul:
    > Whilst I agree self-consciousness is not covered explicitly by Pirsig,
    > I'm not sure the MOQ is silent on the subject. It is certainly a very
    > difficult topic to grapple with. I'll throw some initial thoughts into a
    > post and perhaps we can work through it?
    > First, I'm not sure on this but you appear to be making an assumption
    > that the "self" or the "I"- of which one is conscious of - came first,
    > is the creator or locus of consciousness, and thus through
    > self-consciousness becomes aware of "itself." This seems to be the wrong
    > way round. I think the MOQ, and Buddha, says that the "I" is a creation
    > of intellect, as are "objects," to cope with or explain experience and
    > is not itself a primary empirical experience. Therefore, given this
    > definition of self, "self-consciousness" is the same as e.g.
    > "tree-consciousness." Pirsig states the MOQ understanding here:
    > "..the big self invents intellectual patterns that invent the small self
    > and that collection of small selves known as "we." [Lila's Child p.536]
    > Scott:
    > In MOQ terms, self-consciousness would need to be expressed as some SQ
    > being aware of itself.
    > Paul:
    > Since the small [static] self is described as a collection of evolving
    > static patterns at all levels, and consciousness is described as static
    > intellectual patterns emerging from Dynamic Quality,
    > "self-consciousness" is intellectual patterns standing for patterns at
    > all levels [including other intellectual patterns] around which a
    > conceptual boundary of "me" has been drawn to organise and explain
    > experience.
    > In the case of big [Dynamic] self, self-consciousness is perhaps
    > something like Zen "direct seeing," in which the static self is absent.
    > However, this changes the meaning of "self-consciousness" from the way
    > it was used above [i.e. in a static sense] and is probably better
    > replaced with another term, or better still, left undefined.
    > Scott:
    > With self-consciousness, SQ (sticking to MOQ terms) has the ability to
    > create SQ.
    > Paul:
    > I don't see the argument that leads to this conclusion.
    > Scott:
    > If one thinks of any SQ (like biological reflexes) as fixed programs,
    > then SQ that is aware of itself can reflect on such programs and so
    > become a programmer.
    > Paul:
    > Yes, intellectual patterns manipulate social patterns, social patterns
    > manipulate biological patterns and biological patterns manipulate
    > inorganic patterns. Is creation involved in such manipulation?
    > Scott:
    > So the jump in dynamism from SQ that is not aware of itself to that
    > which is, is a jump in kind, not degree.
    > Paul:
    > A jump from social patterns to intellectual patterns is indeed a jump in
    > kind. Symbolic representation of experience manipulated as independent
    > patterns of thought begins with intellect in the MOQ.
    > Scott:
    > Of course, it would be simpler to just call people a mix of DQ and SQ,
    > but the MOQ doesn't allow that.
    > Paul:
    > I don't think there is anything in Pirsig's writing that says that
    > people aren't DQ and SQ. I think it is more that DQ and SQ together is
    > ongoing experience from which emerges "people." As such, Dynamic Quality
    > is not something which people can have or not have as part of what or
    > who they are, Dynamic Quality "has" them. This side of intellect, we are
    > static selves in a relationship with other static selves and patterns,
    > the other side of intellect, we are the whole universe.
    > From such an understanding, creativity, invention, excellence, does not
    > arise from an individual in the static sense, but from one's "big self,"
    > or "Buddha-nature", but it is not necessary to use such [arguably]
    > esoteric terms, you know it when it happens. Mark's investigation [in
    > his "Edge of Chaos" essay] into a less grandiose term - sweet spot -
    > demonstrates that, as does Eugen Herrigel's poignant realisation of "It"
    > in his famous book:
    > "'Do you now understand,' the Master asked me one day after a
    > particularly good shot, 'what I mean by "It shoots", "It hits"?'
    > 'I'm afraid I don't understand anything more at all,' I answered, 'even
    > the simplest things have got in a muddle. Is it "I" who draws the bow,
    > or is it the bow that draws me into the state of highest tension? Do "I"
    > hit the goal, or does the goal hit me? Is "It" spiritual when seen by
    > the eyes of the body, and corporeal when seen by the eyes of the
    > spirit-or both or neither? Bow, arrow, goal and ego, all melt into one
    > another, so that I can no longer separate them. And even the need to
    > separate has gone. For as soon as I take the bow and shoot, everything
    > becomes so clear and straight-forward and so ridiculously simple....'
    > 'Now at last', the Master broke in, 'the bow-string has cut right
    > through you.'" [Eugen Herrigel, Zen in the Art of Archery p.86]
    > Interestingly, what most people report when they achieve something of
    > exceptional quality is an absence of "self-consciousness," that is, [to
    > my understanding] an absence of static self.
    > Finally, I recognise that you have given self-consciousness more thought
    > than me and I look forward to hearing why I've got it all wrong :-)
    > Paul
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