Re: MD What have you freed lately?

From: Matthew Poot (
Date: Wed Mar 31 2004 - 21:17:19 BST

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    I am in the process of freeing myself


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Steve Peterson <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 2:29 PM
    Subject: Re: MD What have you freed lately?

    > Hi Platt, Leland, Mark, all,
    > On Mar 30, 2004, at 4:35 PM, Platt Holden wrote:
    > >
    > > "Dynamic Quality is the pre-intellectual cutting edge of realty, the
    > > source of all things, completely simple and always new. It was the
    > > moral
    > > force that had motivated the brujo in Zuni. It contains no pattern of
    > > fixed rewards and punishments. Its only perceived good is freedom and
    > > its
    > > only perceived evil is static quality itselfóany pattern of one-sided
    > > fixed values that tries to contain and kill the ongoing free force of
    > > life." (Lila-9)
    > >
    > > Of all the passages in Lila, none is more significant than this one. It
    > > describes how Pirsig views the mysterious mystic force he calls Dynamic
    > > Quality.
    > > First, it is a force, an energy, drawing all creatures great and small
    > > towards betterness.
    > > Second, it created and continues to create everything new under the
    > > sun.
    > > Third, its highest good is freedom from static patterns.
    > >
    > > So I keep asking myself, "What have you freed from a static pattern
    > > lately?" Unfortunately I can only answer, "Nothing special."
    > >
    > > Perhaps in raising two children Iíve had a hand in freeing them from
    > > the
    > > static patterns of childhood dependency. Thatís about it, but at least
    > > itís something.
    > >
    > > What patterns have you broken? What have you set free? How have you
    > > responded to DQ? Is there a brujo among us?
    > >
    > Pirsig had something else to say about freedom in his afterword to ZAMM:
    > "The hippies had in mind something that they wanted, and were calling
    > it ``freedom,'' but in the final analysis ``freedom'' is a purely
    > negative goal. It just says something is bad. Hippies weren't really
    > offering any alternatives other than colorful short-term ones, and some
    > of these were looking more and more like pure degeneracy. Degeneracy
    > can be fun but it's hard to keep up as a serious lifetime occupation."
    > DQ puts freedom in a positive light. The DQ/sq split suggests how we
    > don't necessarily have to speak in negative terms about freedom since
    > freedom can lead to dynamic improvement. We always knew that there was
    > something good about freedom. The MOQ helps us to articulate it.
    > However, Pirsig's connection between degeneracy and freedom still
    > applies. Though from the DQ perspective all static patterns are evil,
    > there is no dynamic improvement without static latching as Leland
    > pointed out.
    > I think this is where Mark's thinking about dynamic-static tension and
    > sq-sq coherence comes in. From each static level's perspective every
    > other level is evil as is DQ in it's ongoing assault on the stability
    > of static patterns. From the DQ perspective every static pattern is
    > evil. It is only from the Quality perspective that the two are
    > reconciled in the whole of the One. Freedom may be the highest good
    > from the DQ perspective, but from the Quality perspective, DQ is only
    > one kind of Good that needs to be integrated into a "sweet spot."
    > Pirsig said "This book offers another, more serious alternative to
    > material success...It gives a positive goal to work toward that does
    > not confine." There is a positive goal (sweet spot) because of static
    > latching of betterness. Without the static latching, DQ could only be
    > understood in negative terms rather than in terms of betterness.
    > Talking about DQ, freedom, and mystical experience alone without static
    > latching seems to me like the Hippie's talk in that it's not any real
    > alternative to static patterns since there is no way to be a living
    > being and be literally free of static patterns. It just doesn't make
    > sense to think of freedom from all static patterns as absolute good.
    > Perhaps DQ, freedom, and mystical experience perhaps can be fun but
    > hard to keep up as a serious lifetime occupations. I've never had a
    > mystical experience, so I don't know.
    > Anyway, breaking static patterns does not necessarily increase freedom.
    > In fact, doing so can decrease freedom, so I think "what have you
    > freed?" needs to be clarified. Freeing a sick patient from germs is
    > good, but freeing your 13-year old from her curfew could be
    > catastrophic.
    > If we want to talk about freedom as a positive as we Americans love to
    > do, we should be talking about freedom to flourish or something like
    > Mark's sweet spot rather than freedom from all static patterns.
    > Instead of being a negative, I would define MOQ informed freedom as the
    > condition of openness to dynamic improvement.
    > Social conservatives can argue that society's laws help make us free
    > since we could not flourish as human beings without society. Liberal's
    > can talk about how to create the conditions for more people to
    > flourish. Perhaps the two groups could even find some common goals if
    > they can begin to see freedom in a positive light as the sweet spot in
    > a DQ/sq relationship.
    > Thanks,
    > Steve
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