Re: MF April 2004 - Metaphysics and the mystical reality.

From: Valence (
Date: Tue Apr 27 2004 - 00:36:23 BST

  • Next message: Sam Norton: "Re: MF Call for Topics May 2K4"

    Hey Glenn, DMB, Sam and all,


    >> One could argue that SOM is a metaphysics (albeit one
    >> that no one completely believes), yet it makes little
    >> sense to call SOM a Quality metaphysics unless the
    >> constituents of its first cut are kinds of Quality,
    >> and this would only happen if you were convinced that
    >> subjects and objects are not really subjects and
    >> objects but instead kinds of Quality. In short, saying
    >> that SOM or any metaphysics you can think of is really
    >> a Quality metaphysics in disguise is less an insight
    >> than it is a demonstration of the extent of Pirsig's
    >> bias.

    I think it's a rhetorical insight from the MoQ perspective to the extent
    that it suggests a way in which the MoQ can completely redescribe and
    therefore, conceptually "contain" SOM (as subjective quality/objective
    quality), while the reverse is *allegedly* not possible. That is, I think
    it's a consequence of accepting the MoQ perspective, and not necessarily an
    argument for it. I believe you and I are in general agreement here.


    >> Pirsig says in LC that "ideas come first" except for
    >> DQ, which exists prior to ideas. So if this is true
    >> then how could Pirsig also think that the Dynamic part
    >> of static/dynamic Quality *only* exists as a concept
    >> within human understanding?

    One thing you and I certainly agree on is that Pirsig uses the terms
    inconsistently throughout his work and that it is confusing. You see, I
    would think in those LC quotes you refer to, he meant to say that Q exists
    prior to ideas, not DQ. I think DQ is an idea.

     Admittedly, there is a

    >> certain difficulty about using terms like Quality,
    >> Dynamic Quality, and static quality and being
    >> completely understood because they serve dual
    >> functions as ideas in and of themselves and as
    >> pointers to other aspects of reality, but since ideas
    >> and reality are so intimately intertwined in the MoQ,
    >> as they are in any metaphysics based on philosophical
    >> idealism, it is often impossible to set straight the
    >> system's interior logic.

    Well said. I think the answer is to break with idealism (which I know is
    contrary to some of Pirsig's recent ideas).

     I hope we can get at

    >> something with more soul and substance. Please don't be distracted by the
    >> clumsy way I formed the question. Just because it can't be squeezed into a
    >> 'yes or no' question certainly doesn't mean it is an unimportant question.
    >> (I wonder if any interesting questions can be answered so simply.)

    "What is good and what is not good Phaedrus, need we ask someone to tell us
    these things?"... "Does Lila have Quality?"... Those are yes/no questions.
    Are they not interesting?

    [quote snipped]
    ..the quote tells us what the MOQ is in

    >> essence while it also points out one of the major distinctions between
    >> metaphysics and the mystical reality. The former must have definitions

    >> the latter is beyond all definitions. This is a very clear line and a

    >> place to start the discussion, no?

    I'm not sure how describing anything as unknowable and beyond all
    definition is a good place to START a discussion about it. On the contrary,
    that something is unknowable and beyond all definition seems like a great
    place to END a conversation about it. I mean, once we've agreed that the
    mystical reality can't be known or defined, what could we possibly say about
    it that we wouldn't already know to be wrong? If we accept this as a
    starting point, in the end, all we're going to be able to talk about is
    metaphysics, since mysticism can't be known or defined. And as soon as we
    try to know or define mysticism, we'll just be doing metaphysics again (and
    bad metaphysics no doubt). So why bother?


    >> The true nature of reality is undivided. That's the pre-intellectual

    >> edge of experience.

    S (to DMB)
    So when you say: "The true nature of reality is undivided. That's the
    pre-intellectual cutting edge
    of experience" I think you are eliding the distinction between Quality (the
    true nature of reality
    as undivided) and Dynamic Quality (the pre-intellectual cutting edge **which
    we experience**)
    because the latter is relative to the static patterns it is based in.

    Again, I'm with Sam on this one. And I think the problem may be that the
    modifier "pre-intellectual" is a relic of ZMM that doesn't really fit well
    into the MoQ (something I've talked about in the past).

    But language and intellect divide by their very nature

    >> and create an illusion of separateness.

    I remember some conversations between you and Matt K. in which (if i
    remember correctly) he argued that mysticism was merely one way of reviving
    the appearance/reality distinction. I believe that idea is evident in your
    statement here which plays off of a distinction between the "true nature of
    reality" and the "illusion of separateness". I think the idea of a
    Metaphysics of Quality is self-contradictory (as alluded to in the Pirsig
    quote you used) only when the appearance/reality distinction is mystically
    revived and SQ aligned with appearance and DQ aligned with some "realer"
    mystical reality. Once that happens, we suddenly get all this weird,
    self-contradictory stuff about a metaphysical description that describes a
    mystical reality as being indescribable, etc. If one deprives mysticism of
    its claims to having an inroad on a 'realer' reality, then it is revealed to
    be merely one more set of philosophical/religious beliefs; just another set
    of static intellectual patterns which we can consider true to the extent
    that they are good in the way of belief. This way of reading the MoQ would
    cast DQ as the name we use to retrospectively separate the evolutionary
    saints from the evolutionary sinners and jettison all the stuff about it
    being a realer, more primary, or mystical reality. This is not to write DQ
    out of the MoQ, but rather, by ambiguously leaving DQ as the name for that
    indescribably positive something that we perceive in evolutionary goods, and
    by refusing to describe DQ as some other order of experience or reality, we
    are simply refraining from giving it any of the characteristics of a static
    pattern, while simultaneously preserving the static patterns' claim on being
    just as real as DQ. It's to say that DQ only exists in our hopes and in our
    evaluations and not in any static pattern.

     Even further, I was hoping

    >> we'd get practical and personal on this one because the distinction, the
    >> line if you prefer, is between static intellect and dynamic experience,
    >> between the illusion of dividedness that plauges all mankind and the

    >> transforming experience that shatters said illusion.

    And here I personally think it's the difference between one set of static
    intellectual patterns and another set of static intellectual patterns.

    take care

    If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and
    don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the
    endless immensity of the sea. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archive -
    MF Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_focus follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Apr 27 2004 - 17:40:28 BST