> Hi Ham,
> Thank you for your always respectful and valuable contributions,
> laced with some arrogance. Arrogance is of course needed in
> promoting a value, but we should always balance such arrogance
> with the sardonic, at least as far as self-evaluation.
Where does that maxim come from? I've always admired those who express
their thoughts forthrightly, leaving "the sardonic" comments to their more
cynical respondents. (At least that's been my history here.)
> You are quite correct about the doctrinal component of MoQ.
> This is indeed a method for teaching of knowledge that involves
> the esoteric. In this day and age we tend to dismiss such a method
> and base our presentations on the exoteric or objective. In modern
> times the metaphysical is firmly based in the physical, as science
> provides great examples. Yet how does one describe that which
> lies outside of the measureable without measuring it?
I don't much like the label "esoteric" for intuitive concepts, especially
theories expounded to explain Reality. If ultimate reality is esoteric, how
much more ephemoral must existential reality be? The term "spiritual" is
often used in that sense, which also disturbs me. For isn't spirituality a
major factor in the appreciation of Value? Indeed, we both know there are
some here who would categorize the conscious self as an illusionary
abstraction, meaning "unreal" of course.
The rest of your post seems to be mostly a rambling dissertation on DQ/SQ
interaction which I find rather difficult to follow. However, I will
comment on a few of your more problematic statements.
> As you well know, MoQ does dwell partly in the esoteric
> since that is where our intuition of DQ comes from.
Frankly, I've found nothing particularly esoteric about Pirsig's philosophy.
equates Value (i.e., differentiated Quality) to direct experience, offering
the pain felt when sitting on a hot stove as his prime example. Where does
he describe the esthetics of art, music, or fine literature? Why does he
avoid explaining the epistemology of love, desire, awe, and inspiration by
which our value-sensibility is experienced? Is it that emotional feelings
are too closely associated with the lowly "biological level" or that they
are too esoteric or insufficiently "exoteric" for philosophical analysis?
> Within MoQ there is the notion that everything is SQ that can
> possibly be thought of, therefore there can be no intellectual
> understanding of DQ (for such a thing converts DQ to SQ)....
> In fact there are those in this forum that find "solace" in this
> paradox of SQ. For it points to the ever-unattainable
> understanding of DQ through the persistence of SQ. However,
> for one to succumb to such a paradox simply shows the lack of
> education of such a thing.
I don't understand your point here, Mark. Why should an insoluble paradox
give one solace? Isn't it philosophy's goal to come up with a solution? If
we can't approach DQ through experience, intellection, or intuitive logic,
what justification is there for positing it as a fundamental tenet, let
alone "educate" ourselves on its properties?
> For once awareness is converted to words, it is no longer that
> awareness. The "Quality that can be written, is not Quality".
> One must therefore always keep in mind what one is doing
> with MoQ, so as to not provide it more reach than it deserves.
> Any written or spoken metaphysic is conveyed to the willing
> listener by giving clues as to what underlies such metaphysics.
> Once these clues are assimilated and used, the clues themselves
> disappear, and the student is then able to move forward without
> remembering them. ...
> Therefore, there is a subtle difference between doctrinal and
> dogmatic. If the dogmatic were the words one must utter in a
> prayer, then the doctrinal is the church in which the praying
> is done. There are many prayers in a church.
I disagree with this whole premise which stems from Pirsig's statement that
once something is defined it is destroyed or rendered useless. Words don't
destroy awareness. The fact that ultimate truth cannot be defined doesn't
make attempts to do so less important or useful. Theoretical Science and
Philosophy are kept alive by the desire to know the unknowable, and
"definitions" don't have to be verbal. I've often said that truth is in the
concept, rather than in facts and numbers. A plausible concept, properly
developed, is often more explanatory than a doctrinal tenet or rhetorical
maxim. To really know something is to understand it conceptually, not as a
set of rote definitions.
> I would have to say that DQ is not synonymous with Value.
> However, I am hard pressed to explain this. Having said this,
> I cannot find a useful definition for Value which is not somehow
> self-referential and therefore redundant. ...
All value is self-referential in that it relates to the self who experiences
it. What makes that "redundant"? And since Pirsig himself equated Quality
with Value, I don't see why the "ultimate Quality" DQ should not be
synonomous with Value as well.
> That we do not know intellectually the exact nature or dynamics
> of this essence is exactly what MoQ is about. This is no different
> from Essentialism in that it is difficult to understand the nature (the
> why) of Negation. However, this does not mean that Essentialism
> is useless, far from it, you book is very revealing. ...
Again I beg to differ, Mark. MoQ's author didn't wrote ZMM and LILA to
prove that the nature and workings of Quality are unknowable. Obviously he
had developed a philosophy based on Quality and wanted to demonstrate the
potential of this value in a moral or social context; hence, the novel
format. He reduces subjects and objects to quality patterns, but doesn't
explain how they are formed, what created Quality, why we are here, or where
"betterness" leads. I consider that an incomplete philosophical exposition.
You may find negation intellectually challenging. However it is but one
principle in a valuistic cosmology which I have laid out in full detail,
including the Primary Source itself and the ontology of creation, causation,
selfness, and value-sensibility, none of which are discussed in Pirsig's
philosophy. There is no "mystery" in my ontology. If you read 'Seizing the
Essence' carefully, you'll see that it offers plausible answers to the
meaning of life, why individual freedom requires our innocence of absolute
truth, and how the essentialist perspective can lead to an authentic
I'm disappointed that you don't recognize the difference between an
evolutionary paradigm developed around a moral platitude and a cosmology
founded on a transcendent, all-encompassing Source. (Maybe that's why
you've stopped corresponding with me.)