RE: MD Begging the Question, Moral Intuitions, and Answering the Nazi, Part III

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Oct 26 2003 - 00:46:51 BST

  • Next message: MATTHEW PAUL KUNDERT: "Re: MD Begging the Question, Moral Intuitions, and Answering the Nazi, Part III"

    Matt and all MOQers:

    DMB had said:
    Didn't I JUST tell you that an unmediated experience is a mystical
    experience? Didn't I? And now here you are two seconds later pretending like
    it was never mentioned.

    Matt replied:
    Nah, no pretending. You did tell me that unmediated experience is a
    mystical experience. And that formulation doesn't allow me to say what I
    want to say about mysticism. It begs the question. So I rehabilitated it.
    ...Here's what my rehabilitation of DQ and mysticism has to do with:
    ineffability. The question I ask about unmediated experience as mystical
    experience is what the consequences of it are? The main consequence that we
    can all agree on, as far as I can tell, is that we can't talk about it and
    as soon as you do you start to "move away" from it. So, somebody has a
    mystical experience, a religious experience, a shift in consciousness, an
    experience of Dynamic Quality. What do they do? If they try to explain the
    insight they gained from it, the words they use will not quite convey what
    they experienced.

    dmb says:
    The main consequence is that we can't talk about it? Main consequence? Its
    not a consequence at all. Ineffability is one of the main features, I give
    you that much. But your "rehabilitation" has confused mystical experience
    with one of its noteworthy attributes, an attribute one could use to
    describe things other than a mystical experience. But this sloppiness
    doesn't irk me so much as your treatment of the concept in question. You say
    that equating unmediated experience with mystical experience "doesn't allow
    me to say what I want to say about mysticism". This doesn't irk me because
    its my final vocabulary or its an assumption I need to sleep at night. Its
    wacky because its so contrary to the meaning of the word as Pirsig uses in
    Lila. Using Pirsig's terms here to refer to something other meaning or
    definition is confusing, to say the least. This piracy, and the
    "rehabilitations" that can turn mystical experience into ineffability
    itself, using a logic so tortured that it verges on dishonesty.

    Matt said:
    A pragmatic interpretation of mysticism says that words are sometimes
    incapabable of dealing with the experiences we have.

    dmb says:
    Words fail us. Yes. No doubt. But that is not an interpretation of
    mysticism. Its a description of the limits of words. Again, you are not
    talking about mysticism or the mystical reality, only one feature of it.

    Matt said
    So what do we do? We make up new words, we start fudging the meaings of old
    words, we use _metaphors_ for that which cannot be conveyed literally. All
    of the words you can use to describe, point at, convey the meaning of
    mysticism... all ultimately fail at being literal, at conveying a meaning
    that is assimilable into an established language game. That's what it means
    for DQ and Quality to be undefined. They are metaphors, and also new terms.
    The terms "DQ" and "Quality" themselves, like all terms, ultimately fail.
    Simply saying the words are an attempt to literalize the unliteralizable.

    dmb says:
    I think its safe to assume that everybody knows DQ is a metaphor and is not
    to be taken literally.

    Matt continued:
      So, when I say that DQ is a compliment we pay after the fact, I'm saying
    that Dynamic Quality is a static pattern that we use to try and make sense
    of an experience that does not make sense within any established pattern.
    When we say something was Dynamic as a term of endorsement, it is a
    compliment because there is no way, at that point, to explain why we value
    that experience. If we could explain it, that would mean it was assimilable
    into a language game and so not really Dynamic. As we become able to
    explain it, it loses its Dynamic status and becomes static, and so
    referencing a now static pattern as Dynamic references the past origin of
    that pattern. Saying a new static pattern was Dynamic is paying it a
    compliment, saying that its good that it originated.

    dmb says:
    You're saying DQ is a static pattern. (that we use to try to make sense) I
    know. That's the problem. These Pirsigian terms are opposite and mutually
    exclusive and you're saying that one IS the other. Its illogical and
    confusing. The definitions have nothing to do with the author's intentions.
    "Saying a new static pattern was Dynamic" might sound like a compliment to a
    pragmatists, but to a Pirsigian its just a contradiction in terms. Its such
    a blaring contradiction that I can only conclude that..

    Matt said:
    I'm shifting the meaning of the words, phrases, and concepts we use to try
    and cope with mystical experiences so that certain purely philosophical
    problems do not arise. And I think my interpretation loses nothing of
    mysticism's significance.

    dmb says:
    Shifting meanings, words and concepts. I am blown away by that. I'm amazed
    that you think such tactics are A) an effective way to communicate. B)
    honest. C) fair. D) helpful or E) otherwise a good thing to do. Hear me now
    and believe me later. Your interpretation of mysticism, your rehabilitation
    of unmediated experience, has destroyed the meaning of the word. Whatever it
    is you are talking about, its not mysticism or the MOQ.

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