From: Sam Norton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Jun 09 2005 - 15:53:43 BST
After a few weeks being distracted, time to come back to this question. Two
bits of reminders first. In my original post I quoted ZMM, where the
"I think it's about time to return to the rebuilding of *this* American
resource - individual worth. There are political reactionaries who've been
saying something close to this for years. I'm not one of them, but to the
extent they're talking about real individual worth and not just an excuse
for giving more money to the rich, they're right. We *do* need a return to
individual integrity, self-reliance and old-fashioned gumption. We really
I am interested in exploring this question of 'individual worth' more
closely, and how the MoQ addresses the question. Put differently, I want to
know how the MoQ answers the question "what sort of people should we be?"
(and how does the MoQ help us become them?) Is there any link between theMoQ
and "individual integrity, self-reliance and old-fashioned gumption"?
Part of the answer to that comes from exploring the inter-relationship
between DQ and the forest of static patterns. So I asked a conceptual
question: If we accept that a person is a forest of static patterns, how
does DQ interact with those static patterns?
Is DQ just on the top, ie you have to ascend up the levels to get to the DQ
(and therefore, presumably, become like the LILA character Phaedrus)?
Or is DQ the product of the interaction of the various levels (along the
lines of Mark Maxwell's 'sweet spot' imagery) - and therefore the pursuit of
DQ involves the enhancement of all the levels in different and mutually
reinforcing ways? (and therefore we aren't obliged to become like the LILA
To put that in graphical terms, is it option a:
Or option b:
L3 -> DQ
Mark SH fed back: It is neither. It's more like this:
UNKNOWN NEXT LEVEL
L4 -> DQ
L3 -> DQ
L2 -> DQ
L1 -> DQ
For my purposes, that counts as option 'b', ie that DQ is available
_other_than_ through becoming like Phaedrus.
Now, because saying that last sentence might raise the temperature, and
because it also raises the questions about Socrates etc - which for the time
being I want to put to one side - I want to describe option a as 'the Spock
option', or 'becoming like Spock', and I want to call the second option b
'the Picard option', or 'becoming like Picard'. (I imagine everyone will
recognise the references)
So option a is about maximising the higher level (intellect) so that it
controls the process. Quality/DQ is maintained, extended and developed
through the accumulation and refinement of the fourth level static patterns.
What enables the transcending of, eg, social level thinking is fourth level
thinking. Individual worth involves maximising the intellectual side, and
one pursues the path of becoming like Spock. Spock represents the
understanding of individual worth that is valued, and the metaphysical
structure of the MoQ delineates the various options and understandings that
enable the transcending of the lower level, and so one becomes like Spock as
Option b, on the other hand, is about balance and discernment (phronesis).
In other words, there will be times when, to pursue DQ, the fourth level
patterns are *less* important than the lower levels. Because the nature of
the good life, what provides individual worth, is to be found in a harmony
between the different patterns, and may involve all of them in a creative
interaction, so individual worth is found in a 'sweet spot' where all the
different levels harmonise together. Pursuit of intellectual excellence is
one component of the good life or the worthy person, but it is not the whole
of a life, and the pursuit of a good life cannot solely involve the
development of the intellect or other fourth level (manipulation of symbol)
So: Spock or Picard? In terms of my own values, as I have indicated before,
I think the Picard option is the right one, and that the Spock option is
deluded (and philosophically incoherent). Where my qualms about the MoQ come
in are that I think Pirsig has structured the MoQ along the lines of option
a, ie Spock, not option b. I think the MoQ can be structured along the lines
of option b, but I don't think that's what Pirsig had/has in mind.
But I could be wrong. Any and all thoughts/comments appreciated.
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