[MD] killing truth, again

X Acto xacto at rocketmail.com
Sat Dec 1 16:21:37 PST 2012

Ron said:

...The trick is and I think this is what was hindering me, is to not look at experience, that perceptual flux, as disassociated with meaning. What really interests me is how the term "precision" and it's operable functional meaning as it directly relates to the perceptual flux integrates, because it seems to me to be rather odd that precision is so directly related to that which is allways and eternally changing.

dmb says:
Well, just think about the title of the book for moment. Let me frame the issue that interests you in those terms just to see what it looks like.
How can motorcycle maintenance, which demands so much technical precision, be considered an art form? 

"I talked about caring the first day and then realized I couldn't say anything meaningful about caring until its inverse side, Quality, is understood. I think it's important now to tie care to Quality by pointing out that care and Quality are internal and external aspects of the same thing. A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares. A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person who's bound to have some characteristics of Quality." (ZAMM 275)

"If you want to build a factory, or fix a motorcycle, or set a nation right without getting stuck, then classical, structured, dualistic subject-object knowledge, although necessary, isn’t enough. You have to have some feeling for the quality of the work. You have to have a sense of what’s good. That is what carries you forward. This sense isn’t just something you’re born with, although you are born with it. It’s also something you can develop. It’s not just ‘intuition,’ not just unexplainable ‘skill’ or ‘talent.’ It’s the direct result of contact with basic reality, Quality, which dualistic reason has in the past tended to conceal.” ZAMM 284

[I snipped out the quotes which I feel are most relevent to my query ]Pirsig seems to be saying
 art pertains to the beautiful in terms of measure and proportion. I found it interesting that he would
assert the idea of Quality having "characteristics" because this is the real source of what I'm driving
at, the sense of what is good, Whether it be precision, truth or the beautiful is the direct result of
contact with basic reality and it would seem that "that" basic reality has characteristics like "care"
as a perenial "truth" within our system of thought. Also what I thought was interesting was that this
sense of what is good is not just intuition nor an unexplainable skill or talent like some of our contributers
would paint, but it is the direct result of contact with basic reality and developable, meaning it is
understandable I would imagine.

Ron said:
I fully realize that comparing and contrasting what has been said about the perceptual flux and conceptions of the true in Pragmatism with the ancient Greeks particularly Socrates and Aristotle has been very unpopular with you, but to me it's a terribly interesting topic of discussion and I respect your opinion even if you disagree with the bulk of my aim. It's just you and a few others are the only ones capable of having a reasonable philosophic discussion without alot of un-needed drama and I value your contributions greatly.

dmb says:
Yea, I guess my basic attitude is that Pirsig traces the root of the problem (with Western rationality) all the way back to ancient Greece and not simply condemning Plato and Socrates in general, as if they did everything wrong or that they are the only ones to blame for what has gone wrong. I think Pirsig's critique is more specific and so many other philosophers issue the same complaints that I just don't think it's really even debatable. These days, especially among pragmatists, the term "Platonism" is used as a general term for an obsolete way of thinking about truth and reality.

Wikipedia: "The central concept of Platonism is the distinction between that reality which is perceptible, but not intelligible, (DQ)and that which is intelligible, but imperceptible(SQ); to this distinction the Theory of Forms is essential. The forms(doctrine of ideas) are typically described in dialogues such as the Phaedo, Symposium and Republic as transcendent, perfect archetypes, of which objects in the everyday world are imperfect copies. In the Republic the highest form is identified as the Form of the Good, the source of all other forms, which could be known by reason. In the Sophist, a later work, the forms being, sameness and difference are listed among the primordial "Great Kinds". In the 3rd century BC, Arcesilaus adopted skepticism, which became a central tenet of the school until 90 BC when Antiochus added Stoic elements, rejected skepticism, and began a period known as Middle Platonism. In the 3rd century AD, Plotinus added mystical
 elements, establishing Neoplatonism, in which the summit of existence was the One or the Good, the source of all things; in virtue and meditation the soul had the power to elevate itself to attain union with the One. Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought, and many Platonic notions were adopted by the Christian church which understood Platonic forms as God's thoughts, whilst Neoplatonism became a major influence on Christian mysticism, in the West through St Augustine, Doctor of the Catholic Church whose Christian writings were heavily influenced by Plotinus' Enneads,[2] and in turn were foundations for the whole of Western Christian thought.[3]"

Please dont take me as supporting Platonism but what I do see is that it does have some very similar roots
in accordance with Pirsigs ideas. I know I'm not the only one who considers Socrates and Aristotle
as part of the Pragmatic tradition but I really find it fascinating that the very roots of SOM are resting
in the soil of Pragmatism and what is even more interesting is pin pointing how and why it changed.
It think it would be an interesting subject for a paper.

Thanks for taking the time, I really do appreciate it and thanks for clarifying a few of my questions.
I think I understand a bit better.


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