[MD] kill all intellectual patterns

118 ununoctiums at gmail.com
Sun Dec 2 17:54:47 PST 2012

Hi Dan,
Many thanks for your response.  I will ignore the parts where you choose to
insult me, since I do not find those parts to be of philosophical value.
 Hopefully there will come a time when you are not so righteous in your
indignation.  However, I do understand your need to create an enemy.  The
problem is, that I am not your enemy, I am on your side which is the side
of Quality.  Try going after the religious fanatics or the arrogant
scientists that tell us what is good.

On Sun, Dec 2, 2012 at 2:03 PM, Dan Glover <daneglover at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello everyone
> On Fri, Nov 30, 2012 at 4:39 PM, 118 <ununoctiums at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hi Horse,
> >
> > Thank you for the questions.  I see my previous response was
> insufficient.
> >
> >
> >
> > Pirsig discusses Quality in terms of DQ and SQ.  Further discussion would
> > involve the manner in which DQ and SQ are used to provide meaning to the
> > reader in terms of Quality.  I am not sure why you think we should not
> > discuss DQ since Pirsig does.  Please refer to Lila for examples.  I also
> > think we should discuss SQ in terms of what it means fundamentally, not
> > simply discuss a "truth" in these examples that Pirsig presents, for
> those
> > are irrelevant and simply open the door to dialectic.  Pirsig presents
> > analogies to demonstrate how Quality can be used.  This is to get us away
> > from the "either/or" falacy we fall into.
> Dan:
> Robert Pirsig discusses Dynamic Quality by what it is not, not by what
> it is. The first cut in the Metaphysics of Quality is the
> Dynamic/static. Dynamic Quality is seen as the cutting edge of
> experience, pre-intellectual awareness, if you will. Though we are
> constantly defining it, it cannot be defined in its entirety. Static
> quality is further divided into four levels. This is the whole basis
> of the MOQ.

OK, I am fine to define by omission.  What it is not tells us a lot too.

By this first cut, I assume you mean the subdivision of Quality into S and
D.  Am I correct in this assumption?

The way I see it, is that experience is something that is created by the
body in response to the environment.  If you do not agree with this, then
we are talking across each other in terms of experience.  Perhaps I should
ask: How do you define experience.  Take for example the experience of

Assuming you do agree that experience arrises within us, then I will
question your "cutting edge of experience".  I assume you are pointing to
that place which symbolizes the primary spot where experience begins to be
created by us. As an example to try to interpret what you mean, when light
hits our eye receptors it is absorbed and a conformational change occurs
within a certain chemical that is then eventually converted into awareness
that we call ours.  So by the cutting edge, you are pointing to that
particular moment at which the light transfers its energy to us.  In this
way, where there was once nothing, there is something we can relate to.  Am
I right so far with this example?

But let me take it a step farther since you then speak of the
"pre-intellectual".  What this means is that you view DQ as the progression
of this initial impact of the photon, through its nerve propagation to the
visual cortex, which is then recognized through an algorithm as part of a
pattern.  This is still the pre-intellectual by the way.  This pattern then
become part of our intellectualization.  Before it becomes a conscious
thought, the pattern is combined with such things as memory and events that
are happening at the same time, as well as other things that I will not
detail, but can be found in any textbook of CNS anatomy.  Once this
happens, a variety of "thoughts" take place which are sieved through our
subconscious to become an active thought.  As humans we are trained to only
contain a single active thought in our heads.  However Zen training shows
how to be aware of multiple thoughts at the same time.

The intellectual process has much that is occurring before we become
consciously aware of it, otherwise we would be overwhelmed.  Therefore, you
pre-intellectual cannot be placed in a certain levels both anatomically or
experientially.  You can define the boundary.  You can call it
subconscious/conscious or whatever you want.  However, most of the
intellectual process occurs before we are aware of it.  Finally, this
active thought must be converted to words such that the thought can be
expressed.  These words are the endpoint of the process and can therefore
be referred to as SQ.  Does this sound right by your interpretation of MoQ?

Now it is impossible to demarcate where your "intellect" begins (thus also
where the pre-intellect stops).  In fact it is a continuous process which
has no strict point at which one can say it is converted from the
pre-intellect to the intellect.  I hope you are with me so far, since this
now becomes a little complicated to explain.

I will simplify here.  When a thought occurs, it is thought to be related
to nerve impulses in a certain region of the brain.  In this way we can
make the leap that nerve impulse is required for thought.  If we look in
detail at what causes this nerve nerve to fire we can point to a triggering
event caused by the transduction of a chemical event into a cellular event
(known in neurochemistry as ligand-receptor binding.  Once the triggering
is accomplished, the electrical impulse (or "action potential" in
scientific parlance) is propagated through the opening and closing of
sodium and potassium channels, which allow for the flux of ions into and
out of the nerve cell.  We can therefore suggest that thought is the
trigger plus the ion flux all within a temporarily hardwired matrix of
nerve cells.

>From this sort of model, we can say that this DQ or cutting edge is
happening each time a nerve fires since what is initially quiescent becomes
alive.  That is, the nerve is just sitting around, and then becomes active.
 What this points to is that our actual thoughts are always within this
cutting edge.  As we think, DQ is in progress.  Please ask questions if you
do not understand my logic.

In short, we cannot escape from DQ being the very essence of our awareness
at all times.  What our participation with existence AT ALL TIMES is a
constant connection to DQ, even when we are thinking rational thoughts.
 These rational thoughts are, of course, on happening in the present since
we do not think in the past or the future, those are "dead" areas.

The question then arrises, how do we distinguish between SQ and DQ, if this
present tense we live in is DQ.  For this we resort to memory, or the past.
 We can then attribute SQ to that which is stored, even though every time
it is brought to the surface and becomes an active thought it is DQ.  In
this way we can say that SQ is a projection of ours, or, something we
create through our interaction with all else, and then store.  If we walk
into a tree in the pitch black of the night, we will store that and not do
it again.  The placement of this tree is then SQ.

I hope that makes sense.  You may need to read it a couple of times to get
it.  I have been thinking about it for a long time now, and I am still
learning to express what I am aware of in terms of Quality.

> >
> >
> >
> > In Lila, Pirsig discusses Quality using analogies.  What he does is
> provide
> > examples of how Quality can be used to solve issues.  These issues range
> > from philosophical questions concerning free will to more mundane ones
> > which evaluate political systems.  The truth in what he presents is not
> > important, what is important is how he uses Quality.  We can start with
> > these examples by evaluating how well Quality is presented by them.  That
> > is, according to our own understanding of Quality, are these examples
> > appropriate for bringing about an understanding of Quality to the reader?
> > But more importantly we can bring in more examples of how Quality can be
> > used.  I do this in some of my posts that are not dedicated to defending
> > myself.
> Dan:
> If we are to have any sort of productive discussion, we must find some
> sort of commonality. I for one find your use of 'Quality' here
> confusing. I suggest that we first form a solid foundation of
> understanding with the MOQ before attempting to expand upon it. To
> that result, I would suggest we start using the terms static quality
> and Dynamic Quality as they are expounded upon in Lila and leave the
> Quality of ZMM behind.

OK, I am fine with that.  I use Quality as the overriding principle which
is split up into S-Quality, and D-Quality.  So when I speak of Quality I
mean the whole enchilada.  Remember that DQ and SQ are something that
Pirsig created to explain Quality.  These things are simply creations which
are meant to bring awareness of Quality.  DQ and SQ do not exist outside of
our metaphysical presentation of them.  However, Pirsig thought it might be
useful to create two kinds of Quality.  Of course this is not new, and the
DQ/SQ division is done in many philosophies, it is just not called that.

Let us remember, that ZAMM was written shortly after Pirsig was neurally
electrocuted so as to bring him back to "sanity".  The reflections provided
in that book are closer to the actual experience he had, than a book
written 18 years later.  So if we want to truly understand Quality, we need
to look at ZAMM, and perhaps look at local newspaper articles that discuss
what he was going through at the time.  I did this back in the '70s with
help from my friends.  Lila is simply a book written for the
philosophically inclided who want to consider problems ranging from
free-will to societal structure.  As such, it is a narrow application of
Quality.  The Quality of ZAMM IS what is adressed in Lila since it all
stems from the experience that Pirsig had when he was insane, and which he
does his best to recollect so that he can explain it to us.  As I have said
before ZAMM is the story of a spiritual awakening.  It is the story of a
hero who travels to far off lands, and then returns to his home to tell the
story.  It is a classic hero tale if one goes by J. Campbell.

In short, never dismiss ZAMM.  It is an insult to what Pirsig went through
if you do.  Throughout Lila, Pirsig touches on the subject of this
encounter with Quality.  That is what started it all.  To dismiss ZAMM is
to not understand Quality.

> >
> >
> >
> > We could also discuss why these “particular examples” are used.  Again,
> for
> > example, why are the levels used to provide understanding of Quality?
> > These levels are borrowed from Science.  There is nothing new about any
> of
> > these levels, in fact they are rather outdated in the 21st century, where
> > more "mystical" levels can be brought into the discussion.  Any
> metaphysics
> > should be appropriate to the times, and these four levels are a bit too
> > scientific for this type of discussion, in my opinion.  Quality has been
> > discussed for thousands of years, and such discussion has included the
> > DQ/SQ analogy.  All through those years, Quality has also been explained
> as
> > that which cannot be named (or defined), but this has not stopped
> > discussion of such.
> Dan:
> I disagree with the bulk of this. The four levels are meant to provide
> a more expanded way of understanding reality. They are the whole basis
> of the explanatory power of the MOQ. In his first book, RMP states
> that everyone knows what Quality is but when they try to explain it,
> they find it is impossible. In his second book, RMP keeps the
> undefined nature of Quality (Dynamic Quality) while offering a
> solution for how we do define it in the real world (static quality).
> I guess I have to ask: what makes you think the four levels are too
> scientific for this discussion?

In order to understand what you present, Dan, is what you mean by
"expanded" way of "understanding" reality.  We create this understanding by
creating patterns.  In other words understanding is something we create.
 By the same token, reality as we understand it is something we create.  I
suppose you may mean by "expanded" that we have created more of such
reality.  I am fine with this.

However, my question remains to the group.  Why use levels to explain
Quality?  There are many rhetorical techniques that have been used through
the ages to describe reality, and levels are certainly one of these.  If
you read through Buddhist texts there are levels.  If one reads about
Theosophy, there are levels.  The Christian mystics use levels.  The
Hermeticists use levels.  However, Taoism does not resort to levels, and
Taoism is the basis for Zen.  Zen is about immediate awareness and levels
are not needed.  Therefore, does Pirisig resort to levels to provide a
religion of sorts?  Does he build this structure as something that Quality
resides within?  I do not think so.  I, of course have my own opinion, but
I am tired of being beaten.  So I will leave it up to somebody else as the
the Why Pirisig uses the levels approach.

I will say, that the levels Pirsig uses are the traditional levels of
Western thought.  These levels were in existence in thought long before
Pirsig.  Being a biochemist I can say that the difference between the
inorganic and life is one of convention.  In the same way, the strict
delineation of the social from the intellectual is conventional and
sociologists can explain this much better than Pirsig.  So I do not think
that Pirsig chose the levels to pretend he was a sociologist or an
inorganic chemist, for he is not.  He is not an expert on any of these
things, he is an expert of Quality because that is what he called his
experience before ZAMM.  I am therefore not asking about what these levels
mean in an Aristotelian way,  I am asking what is it about this four level
system that allows one to understand Quality?

> >
> >
> >
> > What Pirsig presents is a paradigm of "what is".  This "what is" is the
> > same "what is" that has been discussed by man, forever.  Approaches are
> > different, but the subject matter remains the same.  All these
> philosophies
> > are discussing the same thing.  To comprehend this, all it takes is some
> > reading in these philosophies.  I have tried to impart some knowledge in
> > these areas throughout the years, as have others.
> Dan:
> It is called perennial philosophy.

Well, Dan, as you fully know, the perennial philosophy is the esoteric
tradition and not the exoteric one.  What Pirsig presents with MoQ is in
exoteric format.  Why would you consider that all these discussions of
"What Is" must reside in the esoteric realm?  Please explain.  If you do
not understand the question, then I suggest you read Huxley's book on the
subject.  Perhaps you misspoke not understanding what the Perennial
Philosophy was.

> >
> >
> >
> > Quality is an adjustment in view.  It provides a manner for
> interpretation
> > which is different to the objective approach that the West has succumbed
> > to.  This is why Pirsig brings in these alternate interpretations such as
> > Zen and such.  Quality can be analogized to the "fundamental substance"
> of
> > all these philosophies.  Like I said, we are not describing anything new,
> > we are just doing so in a different (modern) way.
> Dan:
> Well now, here you seem to be contradicting your previous paragraph.

Mark: No, I believe I am consistent throughout.  Perhaps you misunderstood
both paragraphs.  What I am saying is that Pirsig presents a different way
of looking at things and in this way creates a metaphysics of what is.
 Pirsig "fell" into this manner of interpretation (which was not pretty).
 Before one can fully understand what Pirsig is presenting, one must try to
use his examples in real life examples of their own.  With practice and
questioning, one can also "fall" into insanity.  Just surround yourself
with friends if you are planning to go that route, and be sure you know of
one thing that is True no matter what, for that is the grounding.  Believe
me, I have friends who did not recover.  MoQ is not trivial.  It points a
way to changing your life completely.  But one must want such a thing.
 Talking about Quality without the experience is like talking about skiing
without ever having seen snow.

> >
> [SNIPPED because Dan was up to his usual antics]
> Dan:
> I am more than happy to make available to you a vast set of resources
> pertaining to Robert Pirsig's work that I have accumulated over the
> years. Just ask...

OK, I am asking, thank you very much.

> >
> >
> >
> > In keeping with the discussion mandate, I will ask the following question
> > to the group:
> >
> >
> >
> > Why are the levels important in understanding Quality?
> Dan:
> Static quality... the levels are called static quality, not Quality.
> Again, your use of said term is confusing at best. The four levels
> form the whole basis of the MOQ. Remember that if one uses the four
> levels to construct an encyclopedia of reality nothing is left out.
> Without them, what are we left with?

Dan, my question was:  Why are the levels important for presenting Quality
metaphysically.  The levels are no more static than our brains are.  Let us
not confuse what is written for what it is pointing at.

However, you do answer by saying that a purpose of the levels was to be
comprehensive.  However, how does DQ fit into the levels?  As such, are you
simply pointing to an objective world?  As I understand it, MoQ is trying
to save us from such objective world.  I can think of many things we are
left with.  How about beauty?  Where does that fit into the levels?

Pirsig did not set out to write a manifesto about politics or sociology.
 He does not have enough information to do that.  What he does in Lila is
present how Quality is used to answer questions.  So, why are the levels
important for this?

> [Snipped because Dan once again regresses into name calling]
> I hope I have presented you with some understanding of the manner in which
I see things.  I am more than happy to answer questions about what I
presented.  I hope you will answer mine.

Best regards,

> http://www.danglover.com
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