Re: MD The Dynamic/Static resolution.

Date: Fri Feb 13 2004 - 18:08:52 GMT

  • Next message: MATTHEW PAUL KUNDERT: "Re: MD Objectivity, Truth and the MOQ"

    Paul, Bo,

    Bo said:
    Now, in ZMM it was Phaedrus' frustration over SOM that triggered his Quality insight, thus the big question is: Was there - are there - an Hindu "SOM" that could have caused Oriental Phaedrus to create a Metaphysics of Rta?. In his letter Pirsig speaks of an Oriental intellectual level arrived at at the Upanisadic times (1500-500 BC) which is definitely later than the said Myth era.

    Paul said:
    Here is where your SOLAQI interpretation forces you to go wrong. Because, to you, the intellectual level = S/O, when Pirsig, in his letter, says that, "the Oriental cultures developed an intellectual level independently of the Greeks during the Upanishadic period of India.." you are forced to look for an Oriental version of the search for "objective truth." But this didn't happen the way it did with the ancient Greeks.

    This is ultimately the line of thinking that I find persuasive in knocking down most of Bo's claim. There are two options: either you make the S/O distinction so ubiquitous that it becomes synonymous with thinking, or you are forced down the road of reading Eastern philosophy as attempting the same thing as Western philosophy. I think this tends to get Eastern philosophy wrong. What this further forces Bo to claim, as far as I can see, is that Eastern philosophy (and culture) is much, much further behind than Western because Bo's further claim after the Solaqi interpretation is that the MoQ is a fifth level above and beyond the intellectual level. If this were true, that would mean that Eastern philosophy never went through the fourth step of the dialectical progression of social-intellectual-MoQ that Bo has set up (iff he can't read Western problems into Eastern philosophy).

    So, I see this line as very bad for Bo's claim because A) he has to search for Western elements in the East (which I consider to be misleading) and B) if the West really were one step (let alone two) ahead of the East, there would be such a noticable gap between the two halves of the world it would be analogous to comparing gorillas and rocks.

    What I will concede is that there are persuasive ways of mitigating both A and B (providing the missing (persuasive) narrative of finding the West in the East without misreading the East and arguing that the relevant levels are still young and my analogy would only make sense given a fuller expanse of time). However, what I still find unpersuasive is that the MoQ is a fifth level. Given claims of distinctness, I still don't see how one can claim that the MoQ is radically different from other metaphysics. Given a "still too young to see it" claim, I would still argue that it would be unreasonable and premature, then, to claim distinctness for the MoQ if its still too early to see the signs.

    What I think the kernel of truth is in Bo's interpretation of Pirsig is that S/O thinking, i.e. binary thinking, is what is distinctive about the intellectual level, i.e. I take the first option I outlined originally above. I don't know how you think without adding distinctions to the undifferentiated mass of experience, without the kind of "objectifying gaze" that Sartre talked about. What Bo's formulation highlights as the problem is adding the -M, of hypostatizing S/O thinking, of taking Sartre and Kant's problem too seriously. I would concede to metaphysicians and SOMists that the Subject/Object divide is a "deep" condition of humanity, iff we don't take deepness seriously. If we don't take it seriously, as the pragmatists counsel, we wouldn't see it as a problem, as something to feel terrible angst about.


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