[MD] kill all intellectual patterns

Dan Glover daneglover at gmail.com
Tue Dec 4 21:57:44 PST 2012

Hello everyone

On Sun, Dec 2, 2012 at 7:54 PM, 118 <ununoctiums at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

Hi Mark,
I know I have become exasperated with you in the past but I am not
'going after' anyone, including you, nor do I see you as an enemy. The
thing is, and perhaps you do it without even realizing it, the tone of
your writing is quite sanctimonious. Even the above paragraph seems a
bit uppity. I mean, how can you possibly understand me or my needs?
Why on earth would I want to create an enemy? You don't even know me.

If I may suggest, perhaps we might try just writing about the MOQ,
leaving aside the personal parts. I am game if you are. Or not... it
is of course your choice. That aside, I am going to say some things
here that you might not like. They are not meant as an insult,
however. Please keep that in mind.

> 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.
> Mark:
> 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?

In a sense, yes. But it might be better to see Dynamic Quality as that
which comes before thought. Once defined into static quality 'it' is
no longer Dynamic Quality. So the division isn't division in the sense
we normally think of it. There are not two 'parts' to Quality. The
Quality of ZMM is best thought of as Dynamic Quality in the
Metaphysics of Quality.

> 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
> weightlessness.
> 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?

Dynamic Quality comes before all thought, before there is something we
relate to. The hot stove experiment in Lila is meant to illuminate
this idea. Before the pain, before the oaths, there is 'a dim
apprehension' of something we haven't put into thought. We just jump.

> 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.

No. Dynamic Quality isn't a progression of anything. What you are
describing is a biological response to light.

> 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.

It may or it may not, I have no idea. Again, you are attempting to
intellectually describe what is neither this nor that.

> 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?

Not really. You are using too many words and working too hard at
forming an understanding, an intellectual understanding, when simple
silence will suffice.

> 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.

In a way I agree. The process of definition goes on and on. When one
develops mindfulness there comes a point where thoughts are witnessed
as they arise, flourish, and pass away. There is a very definite point

> 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.

Again, you are lapsing into biological level functions in an effort to
describe the indescribable.

> 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 the MOQ, Dynamic Quality and experience are seen as synonymous.
Thinking is an intellectual process, however.

> 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.

Dynamic Quality is covered up in thought.

> 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.

What tree?

> 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.

I am of the habit of reading these posts several times before
attempting any response.

>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > 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.
> Mark:
> 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.

The MOQ is a set of intellectual patterns of value. I would wonder how
you know Mr Pirsig's thought? And no, there are not two kinds of

> 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.

Each time I read ZMM I get a fresh perspective of it. And if you have
read it, you know RMP specifically states Quality cannot be defined.
In Lila, he decides to go ahead and do it anyway. Actually, if you
have read Lila you would know it came to Phaedrus during a peyote
session with Dusenberry and a group of Indians at a meeting of the
Native American Church.

There are many levels to ZMM. Yes, it is a travel story. But if
anything I would say it is more of an anti-hero tale, a story of a man
running from the ghost of himself. More, it is a philosophical warning
to those who would climb too high too quickly. To lose oneself is to
become completely isolated from everyone. This metaphor is expounded
upon more in Lila with the exchange between Phaedrus and Rigel when
they breakfast together.

In that vein, ZMM can be seen as a manual for bettering oneself. At
the same time though, it makes a point that the path we walk (or ride)
is not of our own choosing. By relegating the ego to the demands of
society we are forced to abdicate our own desires and dreams in order
to fit in.

Anyway, I digress...

> 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.

Well, again, I am not dismissing ZMM. It is in my opinion probably one
of the most powerful books ever written. But you will never understand
the MOQ by reading it. You will only get a handle on it by reading
Lila and absorbing what is between its covers.

>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > 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?
> Mark:
> 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.

No, that isn't what I mean at all.

> 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?

You didn't answer my question, I see. No matter. Again, the four
levels are not about understanding Quality. They are a road map to
understanding static quality. Quality cannot be defined. Try it.

>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > 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.
> Mark:
> 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.

I am not sure at all that we are on the same wavelength here... I
think you mistook my reference to perennial philosophy for the book by
Huxley. That is not what I meant. Rather, I was referring to the
rudiments of philosophy found in every region of the world. Again,
rather than worrying about my understanding I would suggest you look
to your own.

>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > 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.

Yes, well...

>> >
>> [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.

I will contact you off list about this...

>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > 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?

You are only showing your extreme lack of knowledge concerning the MOQ
here. Dynamic Quality doesn't fit into the levels. The levels contain
everything EXCEPT Dynamic Quality, which cannot be contained in any
intellectual paradigm. Chapter 12 of Lila, the first two paragraphs,
if you are at all interested.

>  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?

I could go on explaining this but really, Mark. Read Lila. Seriously.
It is glaringly obvious you haven't a clue as to what we are on about
here. And I don't mean that as an insult. It is simply that you would
get so much more by actually reading the book than you would by me or
anyone else attempting to answer these questions.

> 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?

Again, Phaedrus actually began the book by researching and writing
about sociology. You would know this if you read it. The whole story
of Dusenberry is about sociology and how one cannot study a culture by
simply observing it like God looking down from heaven. One must
immerse oneself in it in order to gain the trust of the people. If you
took the time to read the book you would find the answer to your
question there, I assure you.

>> [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.

I have no doubt disappointed you. The answers you seek are right in
front of you but your continued refusal to take advantage of Lila and
the lessons it offers continues to confound me. You are only doing a
disservice to yourself.



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