Re: MD Speaking of musical excellence

From: Platt Holden (
Date: Sat Feb 14 2004 - 14:01:12 GMT

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    Hi Steve,

    > Steve:
    > But can gears really be compared to music based on degree of reflecting
    > Spirit? Can the Mona Lisa be compared with Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, or
    > The Grapes of Wrath, or fine crystal stemware, or Einstein's Theory of
    > Relativity? I don't think so.

    I don't see why not. Excellence is excellence regardless of its physical
    > You might also ask, "which would you rather store jelly in?" Some
    > things are better than others within a specific context.

    The contexts I think important are Pirsig's evolutionary levels. Storing
    jelly is a biological level good. Drinking champagne out of a crystal
    goblets is an aesthetic level good. Higher levels always trump lower
    levels in the moral hierarchy, though the lower levels are necessary to
    maintain the higher.

    > comparisons can be made, but the postmodern claim that truth is context
    > dependent is important.

    Truth is a species of good whose 'context' is always the intellectual
    level. Perhaps inadvertently you have run into the postmodern paradox by
    asserting truth is context dependent. What "context" can you cite that
    makes your assertion true?

    The "everything is relative" mantra is passe, having been hoisted on its
    own petard. Postmodernism will be replaces by Valuism.

    > > In addition to emblazoning "Truth is a species of good" on every page of
    > > the MOQ syllabus I'd add "Some things are better than others." In other
    > > words, great art is drenched in Spirit while lesser art (like most art
    > > being created today) is as Spiritually dry as dust. What's more, I claim
    > > all of us can tell the difference! (Recall Pirsig's experiment with his
    > > students regarding their ability to discern quality writing.)
    > >
    > What Pirsig concludes in ZAMM in his discussion of building up
    > analogues is that if we have similar experiences we will make similar
    > judgments. I don't think that Pirsig would agree with you that all will
    > experience the same thing when they hear a song or make the same comparison
    > when they hear two songs. A child who has never before heard music for
    > example is likely to be turned on by sing-songy melodies that have long ago
    > gone stale for us and also likely to hear more sophisticated music as
    > noise. With enough experience of sing-songy melodies a song with a simple
    > harmony may make the hair on the back of their neck stand up and cause a
    > shiver down the spine. Later, hearing simple harmonies will not be such a
    > dynamic experience. It will be a while before the child will have the
    > prior experience that would be needed to appreciate one of Bach's fugues.
    Well, in making my observations I assumed an adult perspective. What you
    say about children applies I think to adults who claim banging on garbage
    cans is high quality music. :-)


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