>> David H:
>> I agree with you that Pirsig argues rta is for 'socially patterned-dominated people to see Dynamic Quality'. However, I don't think this ritualistic repetition applies only in a social setting..
> Of course not. Right practice pertains to all artistic endeavors.
> Consider for a moment a baseball player going through a hitting slump.
> He has practiced countless hours, played innumerable games, and faced
> many and diverse pitching opponents. Now he cannot seem to get a hit
> to save his life. So what does he do?
> He goes back to basics. He works with coaches examining his swing for
> flaws. He spends extra time in the batting cage working out the kinks
> that may have crept into his game. The one thing he does not do is
> seek to forget those carefully honed skills until they're gone.
Yes, but how do kinks creep into his game? If he has previously mastered the art of batting, I think it is because he has lost sight of the undefined source of all things and that his batting has become too rigid and static. In other words he has 'lost touch'.
I agree with you, I don't think the way to get back in touch is to purposefully 'forget' those patterns. But I don't think that is what Pirsig is talking about when he uses that term. What I think he is talking about is that if you do something enough times over and practice it enough times over - eventually you'll master it without even having to think about it. At this stage you could be said to have 'forgotten' how to bat and are a masterful batter.
> Rather, he attempts to rediscover the skill sets that allowed him to
> flourish in the first place by putting in the necessary hard work.
> Now... if he is into meditation, he may sit quietly at times. And he
> may see how the mindfulness of meditation may spill over into greater
> attention in his aim to hit a baseball. But those skills are never
> gone, and if they are, he may as well retire.
Well, I think that so long as his physicality stays, with practice, he can always be a masterful and professional batter.
>> David H:
>> Repetition IMHO is necessary to 'master' anything. Intellectually, for instance, a Koan or any question you might ask is something which we naturally go over and over again in our heads - thinking about the question trying to find an answer to it which produces the most harmony and peace of mind. As you probably already know - Lila is one such Koan - It asks "Does Lila have quality?" over and over again until Pirsig was satisfied he had a solution which answered the question with sufficient clarity.
> A koan refers to principles of reality that stand apart from our own
> private opinions. It might be likened to perennial philosophy in that
> regard. In Lila, Phaedrus tells Rigel that Lila has quality and then
> spends the rest of the trip trying to figure out why on earth he said
> that about her when in fact it seems clear she's pretty far down the
> ladder of quality in anyone's estimation. And in the end, he realizes
> it's the only moral thing he has done.
>> David H:
>> While, as Zen Buddhism claims, we don't need to go to school to experience Dynamic Quality, it does take training and sacrifice to get good at something and experience Dynamic Quality on a regular basis...
> I agree it takes right practice to become skilled at any endeavor.
> However, experiencing Dynamic Quality is more about letting go. We
> experience Dynamic Quality all the time. We just cover it up in a
> shimmering cloak of intellectualism.
Yeah. And as I am arguing here, the only way we can let go on a regular basis is through practice.
>> Yeah. But where does that new form come from?
> Ah! Now that is an interesting question! I should think anything
> completely new and un-looked for arises in response to Dynamic
> Quality. In order to uncover it, we steep ourselves in whatever we
> happen to be engaged in at the moment and then forget about it. That
> isn't to say the original form is gone, however! Without that as a
> reference, the new form has no foundation.
Indeed. We can certainly get something new by doing something else but that doesn't solve anything. The only way to really solve things is by engaging the static quality which is the 'problem' and mastering it to the point where it no longer is (sq).
> Dave H:
>> I think it's only from mastering of the old form that the new, better, form can appear. The old forms are still there as Bill Evans claims - they're just made better as a result of mastering the old forms to the point where he 'mastered them with such proficiency, that they become an unconscious part of his nature. He got so used to them that he completely forgot them and they were gone. There in the most monotonous boredom the Dynamic Quality could be found.' And as DQ is the source of all new things, new patterns were created.
> Again, we may forget about the original form but it is always there,
> lurking under the surface, waiting for a moment of clarity when we
> suddenly see how we can weave something new into the old. I would say
> Dynamic Quality isn't found in boredom so much as in the 'ah-ha!'
> moments when everything becomes clear, if only for an instant.
I think that generally it is boredom which we find just before the 'ah-ha' moments of clarity. Well this is certainly true of me. Like trying to read ZMM or Lila for the first time. I'll have read a paragraph over and over again until I'm so bored of reading it and then... ah-ha!
> Absolutely... I don't know about you but I never learn much by being
> right. And I find much value in our discussions.
That's great Dan, me too. Please try and prove me wrong! Or alternatively see the value in what I'm saying :-)