> Dan: > First of all, thank you for partaking in this discussion. Your posts > are full of thought and care. I deeply appreciate being able to share > my poor words with someone as well-versed as you.
Your too modest Dan. I could say the same thing. You force me to think and articulate myself more than most. It is very much appreciated.
> This snippet from LC comes to mind: > > "In German there are two words for “know,” kennen and wissen. The Zen > approach reduces Wissenschaft (scholarly knowledge) and thereby > improves Kenntnis (recognition without intellectual interposition)." > [Lila's Child] > > Dan comments: > This seems to have a direct bearing on what you say about freedom in > the East vs freedom in the West. Perhaps we could say the two cultures > approach freedom from different directions. In the West we are more > apt to use scholarly knowledge while in the East freedom is recognized > without imposing intellect upon reality. > > That doesn't mean there are two kinds of freedom, however. These are > but two ways of realizing freedom.
That's exactly right. In the west, freedom starts with an intellectual static pattern and then wants to be free from that particular pattern. While in East freedom starts with direct experience itself. But is Dynamic Quality the same as freedom? I think they are very similar. But freedom, to my mind, is simply a lack of static quality control.. This is confirmed by dictionary definitions:
1. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
2. the power to determine action without restraint.
Freedom 'can' be Dynamic Quality. But it can also be chaos as well. Both lack static determination..
So how do we differentiate between the two? I think if we follow that undefined betterness too much, then things can become very chaotic and thus not Dynamic Quality. The way freedom is venerated in the West it is seen as something which is synonymous with Dynamic Quality. But as the MOQ beautifully shows, there is this danger of chaos in not respecting static quality.
The MOQ also shows, that we actually do not need to find this 'freedom' or Dynamic Quality by doing something else. We can actually find this Dynamic Quality by mastery of static patterns as is more commonly realised in the East..
So this is why I say that there are two types of Freedom. There is what we would commonly call freedom. That is, freedom from a particular static quality constraint which goes in hand with an ability to do something else. And there is another type of 'freedom', which can be found through mastery by doing the same thing. Both types of 'freedom' are reflections of Dynamic Quality and not Dynamic Quality itself.
Now that I've made that clarification - I'm still confused as to why, whether we say those two ways of realising freedom are two different kinds, is wrong? What does it matter if we say there are two kinds if they both include the term 'freedom'? This is the same with quality. There are two kinds of quality, but they are still both quality. Both are still freedom, they are just different types.
>> Well as I've said, I'm not claiming we don't experience either type of freedom in the West. Just that we emphasise one more than the other… > > Dan: > I think it is better to say we experience freedom by coming at it from > different angles.
Yes okay. No disagreement with that..
>> >> I'm not sure what you seem to think I am claiming about Eastern culture? > > Dan: > I take it you are saying they seek to obtain a different kind of > freedom than do we in the West. I disagree. They may go at it in > different ways but the freedom they obtain is the same freedom we > obtain in the West. There are not different kinds of freedom. There is > only freedom.
Well further to the above, we could say there are not different kinds of quality. There is only quality. What does such a distinction give us in improved understanding however? Nada. Likewise, I think it is illuminating to say there are two different types of freedom to recognise this cataclysmic shift in perspective of freedom from one culture to the next.
> Dan: > I disagree that there are different kinds of freedom. Perhaps I > haven't been clear. There is freedom and there is constraint.
I agree. And quality is fundamental and what's good. Why split it up? I think it's valuable to split quality and freedom to improve our intellectual understanding of both..
Not forever either, perhaps just even for this conversation we are having now, but those two different ways of achieving freedom result in two different static quality results and are thus two different types of freedom...
>>> Dan: >>> We can only say what Dynamic Quality is not. What is there to point to? >>> >> >> Exactly. But you do point to no thing. You say 'wake up'! What are you pointing at? You are pointing at a thing we have called Dynamic Quality. If we didn't call it that we wouldn't be able to discuss it right now on a philosophical discussion board. So we can point to Dynamic Quality. We can even say what it is called. Perhaps the best description of Dynamic Quality is that it isn't anything. But then this is still a description of what it is, even if we say and know that it isn't. We cannot avoid static quality... > > Dan: > Nor can we avoid Dynamic Quality. It is right here! Point to it and it > is not there. Look for it and it cannot be seen. Yet it is everywhere > we point; it is all we see. > > Perhaps this will help: > > AHP Transcript Part One: > > Question: 'So that's how you determine Quality… this compared to that?' > > Pirsig: 'No, no. Not Dynamic Quality. There is a dynamic choice that > takes place and this is what I used in the classroom with the students > remember? I said, "Look, I've got four essays here. Don't think about > why these four essays are better or worse, just sit there and listen > to them and make a choice as to which one you find better of worse."' > > Question/comment: 'yes, but it's a process, a comparative process…?!' > > Pirsig: 'Well, that intellectualises… My process is just sitting there > and waiting for the words, there is no conceptualisation as I go > there. I just sit there in a kind of a zazen state. There is no > process going on that I'm aware of and this word just comes up, and > this sentence comes up and this concept comes up. What I do is I go > there in my room which is very silent at eight in the morning and I > may not come up with any process until eleven in the morning. What > will occur is just a dying away of junk that is getting in the way of > this pure value of Dynamic Quality that I'm looking for. Okay?' > > Dan comments: > See, there is no process going on; there is no static quality to avoid. > > I say wake up as short for wake up to the moment by allowing the junk > to die away. Dynamic Quality is the pure value of experience before it > has been chopped up into parts.
A game can be played on this MD. Or, if both members are not aware of the game being played, I suppose it's more of an infinite loop. The game is, one member emphasises the importance of either DQ or sq and claims that it is the most important thing, and then another member comes alone and says "Ah but at ta - you neglected the other". This is because it's impossible, though some folks on here try, to emphasise both - simultaneously. This is why it's important to keep ones eye on the balance being created. This is why, I think, the following quote which I post below for the umpteenth time, is really the crux of the MOQ...
"Good is a noun. That was it. That was what Phaedrus had been looking for. That was the homer, over the fence, that ended the ball game. Good as a noun rather than an adjective is all the Metaphysics of Quality is about. Of course, the ultimate Quality isn't a noun or an adjective or anything else definable, but if you had to reduce the whole Metaphysics of Quality to a single sentence, that would be it."
The above sentence could be read to stress the importance of DQ, or it could be read to stress the importance of sq. It really does depend on what's important in a particular situation..
A lot of disagreement on here happens, I think, because people aren't aware that this is a loop we can get caught up in. This lack of awareness I think, comes from a reading of Lila which sees an emphasis on one type of quality, at the neglect of another..
So in my own words..
Ultimately quality isn't something which can be defined, but we're alive, so we might as well get these definitions as good as we can. Included in getting our definitions as good as we can is to emphasise what DQ is not. That is - it's not silence or any thing else..
>> You can pretend all you like Dan, but as Pirsig says and you have told me, as far as static patterns go, you have no choice.. > > Dan: > I apologize. Either I am not being clear (which is likely) or you are > misreading what I am saying. I just said: Choice? What choice? > > I said that in response to you saying we have no choice, that our > silence is a protest. Not having a choice is a choice, however. > Silence comes before all that. So to say silence is a protest in > itself is to misunderstand. It is to chose no choice. It is to protest > silence with silence. This is not the way.
I think you are conflating 'silence' with DQ. Silence is something with very clear dictionary definitions. If you are silent when you are required by law to speak then you can be deemed to be protesting. Intellectually you cannot choose no choice. Remember Dan, DQ isn't anything - including silence, not choosing or anything else.. To not choose is a choice. It's all static quality.. Words are not Dynamic Quality. But then neither is wordlessness...
>> "To the extent that one's behaviour is controlled by static patterns of quality it is without choice. But to the extent that one follows Dynamic Quality, which is undefinable, one's behavior is free." >> >> 'Sitting silently', 'doing nothing', 'watching as the world unfolds' - all these are static things. Dynamic Quality is no thing. Not even these words which are pointing to Dynamic Quality. All of those things are a form of protest. A refusal to protest is a form of protest. > > Dan: > Ah. I see the source of confusion though I doubt I can explain it in a > way that makes any sense. Yes I am using static quality to point to > that which comes before all this. And I understand this recalcitrance > in letting go of this need to explain the world. The thing is, in > order to know the world one must let go of the world, so to speak. > Your refusal to protest as a form of protest is a refusal to let go.
I have no reluctance to let go Dan. I just recognise that we are on a philosophical discussion board. I recognise that static quality cannot be avoided. DQ exists. Yes. I argued that enlightenment exists remember? But, we cannot avoid static quality. Even when we say we are 'being DQ'. That is still static quality and a form of degeneracy. Everything is degeneracy. Every thing that is. So let's try and be as least degenerate as we possibly can be. This is what, I think, the MOQ points towards. To pretend that we are not being degenerate when we do something is going to result in worse degeneracy because it means we are not facing our issues and dealing with them..
>> Or to put it another way - who is to say your silence is 'directed' or not? > > Dan: > Who else is there?
My apologies, it was just an expression of speech :-)
> >> I'm sure we can experience Dynamic Quality by sitting silently, doing nothing and watching as the world unfolds. But those things are not Dynamic Quality. They are actual activities. And activities by their nature are things. And things by their nature are values. And values can be good and they can be bad. And things which can be good and can be bad can be protests themselves or protested against. In other words, they can be judged. They can be valued. A protest is nothing other than a value judgement. > > Dan: > Everything I say, everything I do, everything that is, was, and will > be, all this is the result of this vast wave I call experience; a > result of that which has no name, of that which comes before it all, > of that from which all value springs. Once judgement starts I lose > this primal virtue. By ceasing the judgement I return to it. > > You will never know it by naming it.
Yes, I emphasised sq and you have emphasised DQ. Now what?
You are no more 'right' than I am. I think it is important to recognise what sq is so that we can know what it isn't. This is why I keep showing you that we can pretend otherwise but every thing is sq.
>>> Dan: >>> I have read that though writing was known during his life the man >>> known as the Buddha being a prince always had attendants and so he >>> himself never learned to write. Whether it is so or not who can say. >>> >>> That he did see a need to transmit his teachings is clear, though. The >>> story goes that when the Buddha asked an assembly of monks which one >>> of them would like to accompany him and be his personal attendant they >>> all eagerly volunteered. All except one, who walked away in silence. >>> Later when they asked him why he didn't volunteer his services he said >>> the Buddha knew which one to pick. >>> >>> Now you are wondering: why is this important? >>> >>> It speaks to knowing, not to believing. Every other monk believed they >>> were the right person to be the Buddha's attendant. One monk knew. >> >> Okay, can we speak from this perspective of 'knowing' (via experience). Can the Buddha's attendant, or indeed the Buddha, point to what he knows through speech? I think they can. Just because words are not Dynamic Quality, doesn't mean they can't be used to point to it. We can use words from the perspective of many different MOQ levels and they can have an entirely different meaning depending on which level they are spoken from… So we can, and do, use words from the perspective of our 'Buddha nature'. > > Dan: > I should think this is the intellect telling you that you can know the world.
So words are intellectual and that's it?
>>> Dan: >>> We are all human beings. Just because a person is born in Japan and >>> another is born in the US doesn't mean their respective cultures >>> emphasize one kind of freedom over another kind of freedom. There is >>> only freedom. Again, we may seek that freedom by walking different >>> cultural paths. That is my point, you see. >> >> Yes, it's the same freedom from static quality suffering. But the different paths result in different (static quality) results. One type of Freedom results in our doing something else entirely. While the other results in our mastery of a particular pattern. So each journey results in a different static quality result. Yes - we are all human beings and we experience the same Dynamic Quality. However, we reflect that Dynamic Quality differently through the way we emphasise it statically. > > Dan: > > That seems related to the attitude we have to Quality. Perhaps this > snip from the AHP Transcripts will help: > > Question: 'What is the role of attitude before you hit Dynamic or even > static? Does it exist? I'm not sure it exists.' > > Pirsig: 'It's a word I hadn't fitted in at all in the MOQ. On the > surface I don't know, I'll try to think about it but I'm not sure if > I'll come up with the right attitude, to use that word. I would say > that "attitude" is a static set that somebody has, facing a new > situation. They use it a lot in aerodynamics, you know, the plane has > a certain attitude and somehow that word comes to mind but, hey, I'm > just spitting this off, I haven't thought about this at all. It's the > condition of your karma perhaps, to use an oriental word which puts > you in a certain relationship to this oncoming experience.' > > 'I would say it's a cultural pattern which is a mixture of > intellectual ideas and social relationships to things. And also has an > emotional content, a biological content. I guess it might be a front > with which one presents to new experience as it's coming in. If I have > a bad attitude today, whatever comes in the door or down the chute I > am not going to like, you know, because my karmic predisposition has > put me in a negative mood.' > > Dan comments: > We each experience the world in a uniquely new way based not only upon > our cultural mores but on our attitude. I would say it is static > quality that is the same for everyone within that culture while > Dynamic Quality comes as a surprise. We are taught to expect certain > results. If we work hard and keep our nose clean we expect the same > results as everyone who works hard and keeps their noses clean. > > If we cultivate an attitude that coincides with the static aspect of > life then we shut ourselves off to the new. We lose the magic of > surprise. That's what I hear when I read you saying we master a > pattern to put it to sleep. To master something is to become an > expert. To experience life as a surprise, however, would seem to > entail beginners mind and not expert mind. The expert knows it all. > There are no surprises left.
Well this is not what I intend when I say mastery. A master of a Zen art is not an 'expert' who is caught up in his ideas and misses directly what is in front of him. Quite the opposite. Mastery is but a commanding expression of the beginners mind. This is best explained in the final chapter of Zen in the Art of Archery, a part of which I quote below…
"What is true of archery and swordsmanship also applies to all the other arts. Thus, mastery in ink painting is only attained when the hand, exercising perfect control over technique, executes what hovers before the mind’s eye at the same momentas the mind begins to form it, without there being a hair’sbreadth between. Painting then becomes spontaneous calligraphy. Here again the painter’s instructions might be: spend ten years observing bamboos, become a bamboo yourself, then forget everything and ˙ paint. The swordmaster is as unselfconscious as the beginner. The nonchalance which he forfeited at the beginning of his instruction he wins back again at the end as an indestructible characteristic. But, unlike the beginner, he holds himself in reserve, is quiet and unassuming, without the least desire to show off. Between the stages of apprenticeship and mastership there lie long and eventful years of un−tiring practice. Under the influence of Zen his proficiency becomes spiritual, and he himself, grown ever freer through spiritual struggle, is transformed. The sword, which has now become his " soul ", no longer rests lightly in its scabbard. He draws it only when unavoidable. Thus it may easily happen that he avoids combat with an unworthy opponent, a cockscomb who brags about his muscles, accepting the charge of cowardice with smiling indifference; though on the other hand, out of esteem for an opponent, he will insist on a combat which cannot bring anything but an honourable death to the latter. These are the sentiments that govern the ethos of the Samurai, the incomparable " path of chivalry " known as Bushido. For, higher than anything else, higher than fame, victory and even life, stands the " sword of truth " which guides him and judges him.
Like the beginner the swordmaster is fearless, but, unlike him, he grows daily less and less accessible to fear. Years of unceasing meditation have taught him that life and death are at bottom the same and belong to the same stratum of fact. He no longer knows what fear of life and terror of death are. He lives ˙and this is thoroughly characteristic of Zen˙happily enough in the world, but ready at any time to quit it without being in the least disturbed by the thought of death. It is not for nothing that the Samurai have chosen for their truest symbol the fragile cherry blossom. Like a petal dropping in the morning sunlight and floating serenely to earth, so must the fearless detach himself from life, silent and inwardly unmoved. To be free from the fear of death does not mean pretending to oneself, in one’s good hours, that one will not tremble in the face of death, and that there is nothing to fear. Rather, he who masters both life and death is free from fear of any kind to the extent that he is no longer capable of experiencing what fear feels like. Those who do not know the power of rigorous and protracted meditation cannot judge of the self−conquests it makes possible. At any rate the perfected Master betrays his fearlessness at every turn, not in words, but in his whole demeanour: one has only to look at him to be profoundly affected by it. Unshakable fearlessness as such already amounts to mastery, which, in the nature of things, is realized only by the few."
>>>> Yes words are not Dynamic Quality. But words can, and do point to Dynamic Quality. Because of this we can say we know (via experience) the perspective of the Buddha and that enlightenment and Dynamic Quality exists. >>> >>> Dan: >>> If one sees enlightenment as something that exists, then it exists. >>> Without being the man known as the Buddha I don't see how anyone else >>> can know that perspective, however. It is like saying flying in a >>> plane gives a person the perspective of a bird. No, it doesn't. One >>> would have to be a bird to have the perspective of a bird. >>> >>> Now, if one wishes to argue we all have Buddha nature that is a very >>> different argument. Perhaps this is what you are saying? >> >> Yes that is what I am saying. Seems I have been reading too much Buddhist literature and forget that it is a shorthand for Buddha nature. > > Dan: > I on the other hand have probably been writing too much Buddhist > literature. Does a dog have Buddha nature, or not? Does Lila have > Quality, or not? > > No matter how we answer the question we will go to hell. No, not the > christian kind of hell with the devil sticking pitchforks in our ass > and flames waiting to devour us but a hell of our own making. By > answering the questions one way or another we become ensnared in the > intellectual pitfalls of explaining the unexplainable. > > So, you say, the only alternative is the degeneracy of silence. I do > not accept that. By opening up to the moment without conceptualization > we know the world without classifying the world.
Yes. Indeed. That silence is possible. And in that moment is it degenerate? Of course it isn't. We can and do experience the world without classification..
So I am not saying the *only* alternative is the degeneracy of silence. But from a Dynamic Quality perspective, if we defined what we experienced or were doing when we experienced that DQ, then that is degeneracy. If we were to say we were 'silent' while experiencing DQ. That silence of course, is not DQ and is thus degeneracy and ruining the DQ nature of the universe. Everything, every thing is degenerate for it is ruining this undefined nature of the universe.
>> Sometimes I want to rip my hair out because we seem to be getting nowhere(exageration), but if we go over it again and again, I think eventually the writing becomes better, our ideas better formed and also, our understanding of each others viewpoint better as well. >> >> Thanks for your patience Dan - I'm still very much enjoying this intellectual discussion. > > Dan: > I would like to thank you for rescuing me from my own delusions. Often > times the most profound of discussions seem to lead nowhere.