[MD] killing truth, again

david buchanan dmbuchanan at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 1 20:29:33 PST 2012

Dan said:
... there is a difference between seeking zen enlightenment and the performance of art, be it motorcycle maintenance, music, philosophy, writing, painting, whathaveyou. Art always resides on a reference point. Take motorcycle maintenance... the artful mechanic does not master the needed skills to the point they are completely forgotten. If that happened, there would be no reference point. ...The skill sets cannot be forgotten though. Otherwise they will butcher the job. It would be like a drunk attempting to fine tune a motorcycle. The act of caring would be non-existent.

dmb says:
I see what you mean. But the problem here is really just the result from taking the meaning of "forgetting" too literally. The forgetting is presented in the context of extensive practice and mastery, right? So he's talking about it in the same way that we "forget" how to peddle and steer a bike. You've mastered it so that it requires no deliberate thought. You can just do it without thinking about it. 
This is why we can't take those lines about killing the intellectual pattens literally either. Pirsig is not advocating drunken butchery or emtpy-headed nihilism. Obviously. And so the more poetic interpretation makes tons of sense, where this forgetting and killing is about a certain kind of groovy proficiency, while the literal reading cuts against the grain of his thought and leads to really bad conclusions. 
I don't want to equate this with enlightenment, exactly, but we can see how at-one-ment and just sitting and just fixing can all be equated or at least related. 
"Phædrus felt that at the moment of pure Quality perception, or not even perception, at the moment of pure Quality, there is no subject and there is no object. There is only a sense of Quality that produces a later awareness of subjects and objects. At the moment of pure quality, subject and object are identical. This is the tat tvam asi truth of the Upanishads, but it's also reflected in modern street argot. ``Getting with it,'' ``digging it,'' ``grooving on it'' are all slang reflections of this identity. It is this identity that is the basis of craftsmanship in all the technical arts."  ZAMM 290-1  		 	   		  

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