Andre said to Mark:
...With all respect Mark: NO!! Experience (DQ) is first. After this we form concepts. "Quality is a direct experience independent of and prior to intellectual abstractions". The attempts at describing this experience is secondary. Value will always come first, the descriptions second. When you are at the stage of forming a concept/trying to put into words what you experienced then you already are at the secondary, static level. ...You want to 'encase'/'encapsulate' DQ by making it part of the intellect? By making it part of the intellect you are making it into an intellectual pattern of value. ..
I think Andre is quite right and he says it clearly too. Think of the train analogy from ZAMM. In that image we can see that the boxcars full of concepts are always right BEHIND the leading edge of experience. The whole thing has direction and momentum and it would be a real train wreck if the boxcars full of static quality became detached from the leading edge - and yet the distinction between static and Dynamic is absolutely crucial for a proper understanding of Pirsig's thought.
Pirsig quotes William James at the end of chapter 29:
" 'There must always be a discrepancy between concepts and reality, because the former are static and discontinuous while the latter is dynamic and flowing.' Here James had chosen exactly the same words Phaedrus had used for the basic subdivision of the Metaphysics of Quality." (Pirsig, LILA, Chapter 29)
Please notice what Pirsig and James are saying about "the basic subdivision". The MOQ's first distinction is between static concepts and dynamic reality. There is always going to be a discrepancy, James says, because reality (the leading edge of experience) is continuous and flowing while concepts are chopped up and sorted into piles, stored in boxcars, or otherwise defined and latched.
All these static patterns are invented in response to DQ, evolved over time and the patterns that work are inherited by us through language and culture. "Man is a participant in the creation of all things." We've invented the whole of conceptual reality and yet these box cars are our reality and it's not something to be tossed aside as unreal or unimportant. Cosmos means order, baby. As Pirsig paints it, this static latching has been going on for few years. As Carl Sagan would say, billions and billions of static latches over billions and billions of years.
"The physical order of the universe is also the moral order of the universe. RTA is both. This is exactly what the MOQ was claiming. It was not a new idea. It was the oldest idea known to man." (Pirsig, LILA, chapter 30)
"Dharma, like rta, means 'what holds together.' It is the basis of all order. It equals righteousness. It is the ethical code. It is the stable condition which gives man perfect satisfaction.Dharma is duty. It is not external duty which is arbitrarily imposed by others. It is not any artificial set of conventions which can be amended or repealed by legislation. Neither is it internal duty which is arbitrarily decided by one's own conscience. Dharma is beyond all questions of what is internal and what is external. Dharma is Quality itself, the principle of 'rightness' which gives structure and purpose to the evolution of all life and to the evolving understanding of the universe which life has created." (Pirsig, LILA, Chapter 30)
The evolving understanding of the universe is all about intellectual quality and this forum should be too. I mean, it's quite alright for a person to have other interests but those who don't care what Pirsig really is and is not saying probably shouldn't be posting here. It's like joining a chess club even though you don't play. You're just going to spoil it for people who do enjoy the game.