...this stems from a conversation I had recently in where the person I was speaking with asked how it is that you can understand something prior to conception when to understand and to concieve are essentially the same thing and I really had a hard time coming back with a sound explanation that did'nt sound like I was playing semantics.
Well, yes the term "understanding" CAN certainly refer to conceptual understanding but the word also means "sympathetic awareness", "overall assessment" or "judgement". There is enough flexibility with this word that Pirsig can use it in sentence as a contrast with intellectual things like definitions and abstractions. "Quality doesn't have to be defined. You understand it without definition, ahead of definition. Quality is a direct experience independent of and prior to intellectual abstractions."
This is more or less the same question you asked before about "knowing", except now the term is "understanding". In both cases you EQUATE them with definitions and abstractions rather than CONTRAST them. Isn't it clear that Pirsig is contrasting them, opposing them? I think so.
Now Dave to CONTRAST an idea that essentially mean the SAME as in Dynanic and Static "knowing"
or "understanding" is like contrasting Dynamic and Static "change"..in fact its the same godamn thing
I'm no fan of Marsha, but I'm even less of a fan of double standards.
If you can say the terms "understanding" and "knowing" have two contrasting meanings then
surely "change" can have two contrasting meanings, right? one Dynamic one Static..or
am I missing something?
The idea that conceptual and linguistic knowing is the only kind of knowing strikes me as bizarre and as obviously wrong. There are literally trillions of creatures on earth right now that are getting along just fine without any concepts. They can perceive and are aware enough to respond within their environments and this level of consciousness simply doesn't include intellectual abstractions. Perhaps other creatures have a symbolic order of some kind but if they do they're not talking about it. We have these other, more basic forms of awareness too and even without concepts we'd be far more than meat with eyes. We'd be something like a chimp.
I agree that it strikes one as bizarre that is why I find it a bit unclear when contrasted with the idea
of the cultural glasses which points to another meaning of DQ as being unknowable and indivisable
(without distinction) so seemingly there exist two meanings of DQ. it is pre-intellectual and posesses
a knowing and understanding prior to intellectual linguistic definitions AND DQ is unknowable and
preceeds any kind of understanding and knowing. Making DQ in our metaphysical definition BOTH
knowable AND unknowable.
A little more context around that little quote:
RMP: "The central reality of mysticism, the reality that Phaedrus had called 'Quality' in his first book, is not a metaphysical chess piece. Quality doesn't have to be defined. You understand it without definition, ahead of definition. Quality is a direct experience independent of and prior to intellectual abstractions.
"Quality is indivisible, undefinable and unknowable in the sense that there is a knower and a known, but a metaphysics can be none of these things. A metaphysics must be divisible, definable and knowable, or there isn't any metaphysics. Since a metaphysics is essentially a kind of dialectical definition and since Quality is essentially outside definition, this means that a 'Metaphysics of Quality' is essentially a contradiction in terms, a logical absurdity."
Now saying that DQ is both understandable and not understandable is a contradiction in terms it is a logical
absurdity it requires an explanation and clarity in meaning it requires context and if you think that a metaphysics
that rests on a contradictory statement requires no clarity in meaning then I think there are some problems
that need to be addressed.
Pirsig has 2 meanings for One distinction for that first cut given the context of his explanation and when
one attempts to connect those meanings into a consistant whole in which we get 2 types of interpretation
DQ is meaningless empty, unknowable and value free and DQ is knowable as the Good as the very nature
of value. When DQ is interpreted as knowable, the pre-concpetual/conceptual distinction holds value and
meaning when DQ is held as the unknowable and the value free it eviscerates the preconceptual/conceptual
distinction it generates an anti-intellectual interpretation.
I think this is enough of a problem to warrent a bit of clarification on the matter simply because the anti-
intellecual interpretation seems to be supported by Bhuddist examples of pointing towards the value-less
the meaningless and the no-thing-ness. Which Both Ant and Pirsig point to, yet they also point to the
expansion of reason. It is pointed to as BOTH the expansion of meaning AND the abandonment of
meaning. That the ultimate nature of reality is both value free and value, "every last bit". Quality both
is and is not.
Seemingly no one can claim that one is more correct than the other nor that Pirsig "meant" one over
the other nor that one has primacy over the other.