I will try to explain myself better since it seems I have not so far.
I will do this in response to your well put disagreements below.
On Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 4:44 PM, David Harding <davidjharding@gmai...> wrote:
> Hi Mark,
> You sure do talk to me a whole lot when I'm not talking to you :-) Regardless, there are things I disagree with here.
> First and foremost, I'll restate how I see the difference between SOM and the MOQ. Within SOM everything is relative and there is no way we can say whether anything is better than anything else. Moreover, we don't really have free will as A causes B and thus everything is determined.
The point is, that we do say things are better all the time. From an
analytical point of view, one that requires measurements, sure we
cannot say whether anything is better. This is because "betterness"
cannot be defined in such terms, unless we agree on the criteria we
are referring to. However, we are stuck with feeling some things are
better than others whether it follows some sq logic or not.
From my readings of Lila, Pirsig states that everything has free will.
I think this is the only way in which MoQ will work. From this, it
seems, is how he arrives at a Moral universe, guided by Quality. A
chooses to cause B, we are just not tuned in to realize that. Much of
this distraction from accepting free will comes from our education,
and is certainly not the only way to see things. I can point to
American Indian tribes that ascribe a spirit to everything. By
definition, a spirit is not governed by cause and effect since it is
not attached to the material.
We could define DQ as a reference by which our actions are completely
undetermined and free, and then explore where that takes us. This is
what I think metaphysics is all about. There is nothing safe or
absolute about metaphysics as you state by its always changng. This
does not necessarily mean we relegate such a thing to sq. We speak of
"gravity", but we can not see it, all we can see are its effects. We
define gravity in terms of its effects, rather than its true nature.
This is the same as DQ. We cannot approach DQ, but we can point to
its presence. If we could not, then it is merely a phantom which does
not contribute at all to our lives. I think that it does.
> The MOQ solves all this. Quality is fundamental so we can say whether something is better than something else. Moreover in regards to static quality, yes our actions are completely determined, but in regards to DQ our actions are completely undetermined and 'free'. It is important to keep DQ undefined as it gives the MOQ its strength. All things going well the MOQ as sq will be replaced by something better. As far as I know this is the first ever philosophical system to say so!
Yes, I think that Quality is much more fundamental than that. Saying
that something is better is but one expression of Quality. I am not
sure about the determined part. There is no way to prove that our
actions are completely determined, and there is no way to access
Free-will since it is also undefinable. The fact that we believe in
free will is proof enough for me that it exists. We would behave
completely differently from a personal level if it did not. We would
not even be thinking about it. We think about it, because as you say,
this is the way in which we present DQ as a concept. DQ can present
itself as free will. Notice I am not saying that DQ IS free will, it
is not even close.
Everything is replaced in sq, but that does not mean to me that the
spirit of DQ does not live on. This does not mean that sq does not
depict DQ as it passes through. I am not sure what "strength" you are
referring to. What I consider strength would be acceptance by others
as a useful way in which to see the world. If we tell them that we
cannot talk about DQ, I would find this to be a weakness. If you mean
strength in terms of protection from argument, then the biggest
strength would be to not talk about DQ at all. Metaphysics is only as
strong as the agreement that it is blessed with.
>> Perhaps truths are static representations, but truth is not sq. Truth
>> is a dynamic awareness from which we form truths. This would be the
>> interaction of consciousness, as you present it, with DQ. It is
>> important to make this distinction.
> Truth is sq. It is a static representation of reality as per a dictionary definition.
I am not talking about truth in its sq apparition. I am speaking of
what is required to create the static truth. This truth is not a
static representation, it happens before the static representation.
It happens in DQ. What we later formulate are truths. At least that
is my interpretation of the impact of DQ.
>> If indeed truths are static patterns, then such a truth (about truths)
>> is also a static pattern. If this is the case then we can not claim
>> dominance of one such truth over another. We cannot say that it is
>> true that truths are static patterns, for that would imply that one
>> such truth is more important than another in the description.
> Yes, and what is wrong with this implication? Some things are better than others right? Being that truths are static quality, they can be ranked like qualities. Some truths are better than others.
David, the point I am trying to make is, that to claim that "some
truths are better than others" is a truth in itself. To then insist
that this "truth about some things being better than others" is a
better truth is simply redundant. I can say that apples are better
than oranges because apples are better than oranges. But how do you
explain to someone that this is because of an apple being better?
This is what I mean about being careful not to go in circles. We
cannot support a statement with the statement itself. We do not go in
circles if we suggest that the truth itself has underlying DQ.
I am still not sure if I am being clear, but that is the best I can do
at this point.
>> It is this sinking into a morass of relativeness that is important to
>> guard against, otherwise the conversation becomes meaningless.
>> Indeed, if one proposes a heirachy of truths, and at the same time
>> states that such a heirarchy is static quality no different from that
>> which it seeks to encompass, then one has no firm ground on which to
>> stand. We cannot claim that the "heirachy of truths" is itself at the
>> top of the heirarchy, for this would be self-proclaimed dominance. We
>> must be careful about the truth about truths. One is dynamic quality,
>> the other is static quality.
> Nowhere have I claimed that truth is DQ? DQ is undefined quality. Truth on the other hand can be defined. It is intellectual patterns of value.
No, I have. The way you use the word Truth, it is not DQ, I agree
with that, as I tried to explain above. I am not sure if you want to
define DQ as undefined Quality. There are many things in Quality that
are undefined, but many of them are sq. Definitions are only part of
what makes up sq. We can share undefined things like a laugh. In
order to share, such things must be objectified.
How would you define Truth? I suppose we could say that truth is
something that is true. Or we could say that truth is the best we can
do at a certain time. But what does that "best" mean. Or we could
say that truth is an agreement between people as to what works, but
here we are talking about perspective and not truth. Truth is not a
convenience, or a tool we use. Truth is different from "a truth"
don't you think? Of course this subject has been discussed forever by
philosophers, so I don't want to get into it, except to say that I do
not think it is useful to present truth as some kind of phenomenon
that is described by sociologists. They pretend to observe from afar,
what they themselves are.
>> If RMP claims that static quality represents everything
>> conceptualized, then where is he speaking from? We can certainly
>> agree with him, but such agreement is dynamic, not static.
> Agreement being something that can be defined is static not dynamic.
Yes, certainly we can give it a definition, but the definition is not
the actual thing, is it? The definition is a concept nothing more.
We are creating an sq so that we can converse about it, but Agreement
itself has nothing to do with the definition. It is an event, not
some static concept. While it is happening it is completely dynamic.
Only in hindsight do we then write it down to make it static. Most of
what we do is before the static reflection. I think it is important
to distinguish between what we present as static quality, and the
thing itself. We have no words for the actually doing, all we have
are shadows on the wall of such doing. This is why simple questions
in Buddhist training are answered with actions, and not words. All my
opinion, of course.
>> conceptual understanding of conceptual understandings is a circle
>> which does not promote dynamic quality. If we rigorously claim that
>> what Pirsig presents is dogma instead of rhetoric, then we get stuck
>> with no way out. One must appreciate the importance of DQ rather than
>> try to subject it to sq parameters. This is why Pirsig writes the way
>> he does about rhetoric. Presenting verses from the Bible is putting
>> MoQ into a stranglehold, which many seem willing to do. We are better
>> than that having learned from the disasterous consequences of dogmatic
> I agree. But I don't think that simply pretending some such a static quality is dynamic solves the issue. Any new idea which anyone presents is more static quality. We're surrounded by static quality on this discussion board and we can't get away from it. We can talk about DQ through analogies but those analogies themselves are still yet more static quality. How do we get out Mark? We're trapped!
No I do not think we are not trapped. I may seem we are trapped if we
mistake the shadow on the wall (sq) for what is actually throwing the
shadow. The sq we create is not the real thing, it is an sq
representation. It is a representation of something that is not
static. By talking about it we do not make what we are talking about
sq. If I write a book about my travels, those travels are not sq, the
book is. I think there is a big difference between a representation
and the real thing. So long as we acknowledge that we are delivering
sound bites which represents something else, I don't think we can get
> Weirdly, I think the way out is through that circle of 'conceptual understandings'. The real way to free oneself from static quality is to go over and over and over it. To perfect it. And once it is perfected, it no longer grates on our conscience and is gone. Thinking about Lila over and over and over again has helped free myself to some extent from the book and the MOQ. It is like a Zen Koan. If you think about something long enough, you end up becoming that thing, and it's gone! If people are presenting Pirsig as dogma then I don't see any trouble with that. So long as they are thinking about it when they repeat it and don't forget that it is there to represent DQ.
Yes I agree with that. I think that by practicing we bring something
objective into the subjective. It becomes part of us so that we do
not keep it at arms length. When I am driving a car and not thinking
about it, it really is part of me, at least as much as my nose is when
I use it to smell.
I also have not problem with people using Pirsig as dogma to make
themselves understand what he is presenting. What he is presenting is
very very real. What I do not like is the way some prove a point by
presenting a quote from a Pirsig book. This to me is like reading
scriptures from the bible to "prove" we are all sinners. It just does
not work for me, I guess I have run up against too many people like
that. I prefer to be convinced with some rhetoric than by some book
that I have read countless times.
>> It is important to realize that the point from which the individual
>> views the world is DQ in essence. We are not provided this view from
>> the outside in, but from the inside out.
> I know that you like this analogy however it is more sq to me.. We've had this discussion before and using DQ in your mind as some static thing is dealing not with DQ but with sq!
I can claim that it is NOT sq. I do not see why you would say it is.
Would you consider the manner in which you look out before
conceptualizing to be sq? I think you are confusing what I am
presenting with the words I am presenting it with. I can say that I
am in the presence of DQ all the time, this is why I like what Pirsig
wrote. If you want to believe it is sq, that is fine by me, but it is
>> Try as we may to promote the
>> perspective that we must consider our awareness relative to everything
>> else, it is not possible to do so. We shine like the sun; the sun
>> cannot shine on itself. Quality can not be "before the individual"
>> since that would put us as separate from Quality, and we then return
>> to the "God-like" presentation of such a thing.
> Quality can be 'before the individual'. The quality which is before the individual is DQ, the individual is sq.
I guess it would depend what you mean by individual. If we are
speaking of the concept of individual then I would agree. But what if
we are referring to the individual that is not a concept, that is, the
individual that the concept is depicting? I would say that such
individual is not sq. Again, I think it is important not to confuse
the concept with the thing it is representing.
>> We are DQ as we
>> create experiences, we are not subjected to experiences.
> I would be careful here. Suggesting there is a 'We' always along with DQ implies that DQ is some thing. DQ isn't anything. We, on the other hand, is sq.
Yes, I agree, DQ is not an object, I am sorry if I gave that
impression. I am referring to being DQ that is not the object. When
you say, "we" that concept is sq, but that does not mean that we are
the concept. I keep saying this because I think it is important, and
Pirsig talks about this quite a lot too.
>> thought in areas such as evolution and psychology would deny this
>> free-will. MoQ seeks to dispel our estrangement from Quality, not
>> strengthen it. The relegation of our appreciation of existence into
>> static quality only works in favor of making the human existence
>> something relative, and in my opinion, meaningless.
> I do not see how relegating our appreciation of existence to sq, makes sq 'relative? If I appreciate some such a static quality that means I regard it highly. Regarding something highly like that is a sq act..
It makes it relative only in terms of measuring it against something
else. This whole premise of having to relate something to something
else is something I do not find instructive. We pretend to be outside
of ourselves, which we can never do. We create every experience we
have, that is the way the body works. To suddenly pretend to be
objective about something is just plain silly. But I can leave it at
that since I used all my energy on the subject in my walk through the
swamps with Marsha.
Existence is much much more than just the sq part of it, imo. We end
up conceptualizing very little of our daily input.
>> The "creation of
>> meaning" is DQ, (note that I do not state that "meaning is DQ"); It is
>> about as dynamic as it gets.
> Yes, DQ is the source of all things including meaning. However when we say, such and such 'means' something, this is a sq statement and thus it is instantly not DQ.
Yes, I am speaking of the creation, not the resulting meaning.
>> I, for one, know that my view out into existence is not relative. I
>> have nothing to compare it to since such view is all I have. To say
>> that this truth I present in the first sentence in this paragraph is
>> static quality is missing the whole point, in my opinion. Let's stay
>> focussed rather than drift into never ending circles of reason.
> In my view, quality solves all paradoxes and never ending circles of reason like this. As soon as quality is brought into the picture, so is common sense.
Yes, Quality does certainly provide me with a clearer view.
Explaining it is another thing altogether.