RE: MF Discussion Topic for February 2004

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Feb 15 2004 - 00:53:54 GMT

  • Next message: Wim Nusselder: "Re: MF Discussion Topic for February 2004"

    Bo and all focusers:

    BO said:
    And that's my point: the SOL is in accordance with Pirsig's work ...except
    some annotations in LC, but ZMM and LILA are his legacy.

    dmb replies:
    Maybe we can get at this month's question by looking at Bo's assertion. He
    says that, except for some notes in LC, his view of intellect "is in
    accordance with Pirsig's work". First let me say that my defense of Pirsig's
    MOQ is not motivated by hero worship or religious zealotry ( some
    holy scripture the Talibans. "Born-Again Sophism" "Scientology
    Church".)and it does not imply the narrowness of interpretation that some
    have suggested. In fact, I think there is a wide range of valid
    interpretations of the MOQ. But I also think the range of invalid
    interpretations in infinitely wider. Its not just that some are better than
    others, its also true that some views are simply incorrect, incompatible,
    irrelevant or are otherwise flawed. Having said that, its my assertion that
    SOLAQI contradicts Pirisg's MOQ and so it can't rightly be taken as a valid
    interpretation. This contradiction does not come from LC notes either. Take
    a look at these two exerpts from LILA and, dear reader, please take notice
    of how Pirsig describes the relationship between SOM and the MOQ.
    "Now, it should be stated at this point that the MOQ SUPPORTS this dominance
    of intellect over society. ...But having said this, the MOQ goes on to say
    that science, the intellectual pattern that has been appointed to take over
    society, has a defect in it. The defect is that subject-object science has
    no provision for morals. Subject-object science is only concerned with
    facts. Morals have no objective reality. ...Now that intellect was in
    command for the first time in history, was THIS the intellectual pattern it
    was going to run society with?" ch 22 LILA

    "Phaedrus thought that a MOQ could be a replacement for the paralyzing
    intellectual system that is allowing all this destruction to go unchecked.
    The paralysis of America is a paralysis of moral patterns. Morals can't
    function normally because morals have been declared intelllectually illegal
    by the subject-object metaphysics that dominate present social thought.
    ..It's this intellectual pattern of amoral 'objectivity' that is to blame
    for the social deterioration of America, ..." ch 24 LILA

    dmb continues:
    I think these passages show that Pirsig's idea of the intellectual level is
    one that allows room for both metaphysical systems. In the first he laments
    the flaw in SOM and shows us the need for an alternative. In the second he
    offers the MOQ as a replacement for SOM. Everybody understands this to a
    point, but what I think it shows is that the relationship between SOM and
    the MOQ is a kind of rivalry and that both intellectual systems can fit into
    Pirsig's fourth level.

    Or, let me put it like this....

    If SOM is the enemy
    And intellect = SOM
    And the MOQ is the cure
    Then intellect is the enemy and the MOQ is not intellectual.

    I'm not trying to mock or joke here. I sincerely think that SOLAQI leads to
    these disasterous conclusions. If intellect itself is the enemy, instead of
    the flaw in it, I'm almost afraid to imagine what SOLAQI does to the MOQ's
    moral codes. And then there is a need to create a fifth level so the MOQ
    itself, which is somehow above the intellectual level, has a place to call
    home. Its all too complicated and absurd for my tastes, but more to the
    point, it simply is not compatible with Pirsig's ideas. I think Pirsig has
    already successfully defeated SOLAQI, not to mention Paul, myself and
    several others. As far as I'm concerned, the issue is settled. SOLAQI
    defines intellect too narrowly, so narrowly that Pirsig's moves, desribed in
    these quotes from the climax of the book, become unintelligible. I dare say
    SOLAQI is a monkey wrench in the MOQ and it jams up one of Pirsig's most
    central concerns; addressing the flaw in the "metaphysics that dominate
    present social thought."


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