[MD] kill all intellectual patterns

118 ununoctiums at gmail.com
Tue Dec 4 00:26:52 PST 2012

dmb provides is opinion below and mark responds.

On Sun, Dec 2, 2012 at 1:33 PM, david buchanan <dmbuchanan at hotmail.com>wrote:

> Mark said to Horse:
> Pirsig gives us examples of how this is discussed.  There are many
> writings throughout the ages that does this.  What do you think many
> discussions of God are.  This is done through rhetoric.  Please remember
> that no thing can be defined.  What we work with are agreed on analogies.
>  Certainly we can find agreement within Quality.  A metaphysics of Quality
> is exactly of Quality.  That is what it discusses. I hope this makes sense
> to you.  But please ask questions if it does not.
> dmb says:
> No, it doesn't make sense and it directly contradicts Pirsig's explicit
> comments on the matter. You persist with this line of thought even though
> I've explained this several times. Why solicit comments on the issue if
> you're just going to ignore them?
> Look, Pirsig speaks to this issue directly AND he shares this stance with
> other philosophical mystics. This is what he shares in common with
> philosophical mystics. Pirsig says,...
> "The central reality of mysticism, the reality that Phaedrus had called
> "Quality" in his first book, is not a metaphysical chess piece. Quality
> doesn't have to be defined. You understand it without definition, ahead of
> definition. Quality is a direct experience independent of and prior to
> intellectual abstractions.  ..Quality is indivisible, undefinable and
> unknowable in the sense that there is a knower and a known, but a
> metaphysics can be none of these things. A metaphysics must be divisible,
> definable, and knowable, or there isn't any metaphysics."

Mark steps in:
Sure I can interpret this quote.  It is no different from saying that God
cannot be named, that the Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.
 This is the standard way of pointing to these things.  But this does not
stop discussion on these things.  People have learned how to discuss things
such as Quality.  dmb needs to do a bit more reading on this and realize
that all philosophies (some which have become religions) discuss Quality.
 Pirsig wrote two books discussing Quality.  It seems that dmb may have
missed that point, and thought that MoQ was a metaphysics about something

> Do you understand what Pirsig is saying here, Mark? This explains why
> "Quality" can't be discussed. Metaphysics must be definable but Quality is
> direct experience PRIOR to and INDEPENDENT of all intellectually definable
> concepts. He says the same thing in the first book too, although it's
> explained in different terms. Pirsig says "Quality is the source of
> substance of everything. It is the basis of all our concepts, of our static
> reality, of the world as we understand it. All of our analogies were formed
> on the basis of Quality, as Pirsig explained it to the faculty in Bozeman.
> This is the context in which he says,..

dmb, dmb, you do not seem to understand what experience is.  Experience
requires that we participate in its arising.  All experience is direct.  I
have no idea what an indirect experience is.  It can so happen that our
intellect can bring about new experience as well.  For example, when we
learn how to enjoy opera, the direct experience is different.  Thinking
itself is an experience, as direct as it gets.  dmb has created a false
line in the sand here.  If we think about something, then we don't
experience it?  This is complete nonsense.

I think that dmb better explain what he means by "direct experience" and
how it is different from indirect experience.  He throws out these phrases
without even taking the time to consider what they mean.  What we are, is
the interaction of our bodies with the environment, at all times.  One
cannot separate intellectualization from everything else, it is all
happening in the present.  It is a constant flux, if you will.  By
separating the intellect out, dmb has created a ghost.

> "Now, to take that which has caused us to create the world [Quality], and
> include it within the world we have created, is clearly impossible. That is
> why Quality cannot be defined. If we do define it we are defining something
> less than Quality itself." (ZAMM, chapter 20)

Mark inteprets:
Yes, what Pirsig is saying is that the sun cannot shine on itself.  So
what?  This is beginners philosophy.  Did you know that nothing, absolutely
nothing can be defined, for exactly the same reasons that Quality cannot be
defined.  Any definition is always limiting of that which it seeks to
define.  One can sit in a park for a whole day creating definitions for a
rose, and still only scratched the surface of all possible definitions for
a rose.  Definitions for a rose are only limited by our imaginations.
 There is nothing special about Quality not being definable.

> But metaphysics must be definable and knowable or there isn't any
> metaphysics. Quality remains undefined even though Pirsig builds a
> metaphysics around that central term. Quality is the focal point around
> which metaphysical concepts are re-arranged. The MOQ is a system of
> concepts despite the fact that Quality itself is direct experience and not
> a concept, not a metaphysical chess piece. Quality itself is not discussed
> or analyzed, but reason and rationality sure are. His quest was a search
> for the ghost of reason. And his project is an improvement of reason, a
> root expansion of rationality, a new spiritual rationality in which science
> and philosophy are no longer "value-free".

Mark instructs dmb:
Definitions are agreed on terms such that we can have a conversation.  We
understand what a word or phrase is supposed to mean by convention.  This
is what makes a metaphysics possible.  Unfortunately, in this forum people
seem to create their own definitions, like dmb seems to by "direct
experience".  How are we to have a reasonable conversation with such as

dmb harps on this whole defined thing, which only means he does not want
any understanding of Quality.  He wants to leave it out of his life as
something separate from himself.  This makes all that Pirsig has written a
waste on dmb.  If we cannot discuss Quality, then what is MoQ for?

MoQ is a system of examples of how Quality can be used.  MoQ is an
textbook, not a manifesto.  Again, if Quality is not a concept, then what
is MoQ?  The metaphysics of "not a concept"?  This is plain ludicrous.  No
wonder things have not progressed in this forum in the last decade (or
however long it has been around).  dmb is still stuck in Lila and has never
learned what Quality is.

dmb has completely removed Quality from the metaphysics of Quality.  He
should call this metaphysics by another name.  Or else he will simply
continue to confuse everybody.

Pirsig did not quest for a ghost of reason, he labeled SQ as ghosts of
reason.  This is very important, for it allows one to become aware of what
reason is.  It is something we create.  By becoming aware of this, we can
then become free of SQ's bewitchment.  We can become free of viewing books
like Lila as true depictions of reality.

> "He did nothing for Quality or the Tao. What benefited was reason."

Mark interprets:
Yes, indeed.  What benefitted was reason in terms of depicting SQ as
static.  Of course we can do nothing for Quality because Quality is not a
thing.  I thought this was obvious.  dmb must be putting this forth for
himself rather than the rest of us that get it.  Quality is not something
that happens to us before we intellectualize.  The Tao is no thing either.
 dmb seems to want to objectify everything.  It is probably for this reason
he does not want to discuss Quality because he has not learned that
rhetoric is not about objectivity, it is about persuasion.  How does one
learn about Quality if it cannot be discussed?

> "the thing to be analyzed, is not Quality, but those peculiar habits of
> thought called 'squareness' that sometimes prevent us from seeing it. ..The
> subject for analysis, the patient on the table, was no longer Quality, but
> analysis itself."

Mark interprets for dmb:
Pirsig here speaks of "seeing Quality".  This is important.  What he means
is "becoming aware of Quality".  One way towards becoming aware of Quality
is to discuss it.  In order to become aware of Quality, one must question
what this becoming aware is, analyze what it is to become aware.  This is a
technique that Socrates used throughout his dialogues.  Let us not forget
that Socrates was a mystic, and had visions.  He could see past the
bewitchment of words and thoughts.  He tried to get others to see Quality.

> "Quality was healthy and in good shape. Analysis, however, seemed to have
> something wrong with it that prevented it from seeing the obvious."
>  "He did nothing for Quality or the Tao. What benefited was reason."

Mark notices.
Oops, dmb put this in here twice.  He must not be paying attention to what
he is contributing and simply copying and pasting like a robot. He is
becoming obsessive with quotes, he must have run out of words and is simply
presenting scripture to show that he is right.

> "He [Phaedrus] felt that the solution started with a new philosophy, or he
> saw it as even broader than that...a new spiritual rationality...in which
> the ugliness and the loneliness and the spiritual blankness of dualistic
> technological reason would become illogical. Reason was no longer to be
> "value free." Reason was to be subordinate, logically, to Quality."

Mark interprets:
Reason was never value free, so Pirsig is writing this for those who are
stuck in SQ, and believes that Science is more than opinion.  When he says
that Reason is subordinate to Quality, he is discussing Quality much to
dmb's astonishment.  Unfortunately dmb does not understand this because he
does not want to discuss Quality for fear that it may be destroyed.  This
ugliness and loneliness is no different than many preachers try to explain.
 This world is more than the objective, it is also the spiritual, which
cannot be pointed to.  They use a different term, which means the same
thing.  They say that reason should be subordinate to faith, for faith is
no thing either and cannot be pointed to.  Those that objectify faith have
no idea what they are talking about and are creating dragons to fight

> "I'm trying to say is that the solution to the problem isn't that you
> abandon rationality but that you expand the nature of rationality so that
> it's capable of coming up with a solution."
>  "Now I want to show that that classic pattern of rationality can be
> tremendously improved, expanded and made far more effective through the
> formal recognition of Quality in its operation."

Mark inteprets:
Rationality is a tool which forms patterns.  What is suggested is that we
adopt a different set of tools and interpret our existence on the basis of
Quality.  In order to do this, we must discuss Quality.

> These passages are quite explicit and clear. The MOQ or Pirsig's project
> is an improvement in the ways we think. To improve philosophy, science and
> what he means by "rhetoric", the excellence in thought and speech that
> results from recognizing that Quality is central to its operation.

Mark is content:
Well i am glad that dmb has finally come over to my side.  Yes, Quality is
central.  What makes it central is that there is a metaphysics which
discusses Quality.  In order to improve (I prefer "change", since improve
is subjective, Quality is not for everyone) the way we think we must start
not by looking at objects as if they impart meaning, but to recognize that
it is we who impart meaning to these objects.  For it is we who give things
their qualities.  This is why I emphasize that DQ can be considered as "the
Self", but this will probably go over dmb's head since he has not improved
the way he thinks yet, he is still stuck presenting Lila.

> The "solution to the problem ISN'T that you abandon rationality", he says.
> Quite the opposite. You "EXPAND the nature of rationality." He talks about
> this root expansion in terms of the mathematical sciences, via Poincare,
> and of course in terms of motorcycle maintenance but he continues with this
> project in Lila too. The textual evidence from the second book SHOULD be
> equally clear and compelling, especially where Pirsig says...

Mark is concerned:
I am not sure why dmb thinks some want to abandon rationality.  A
metaphysics would not work without rationality.  Maybe he has come across
some who are irrational.  Or perhaps if he does not understand something
written by another he immediatly considers it irrational without even
trying to understand.  He needs to expand his own nature of rationality.
 This takes effort, and constantly repeating what Pirsig wrote will not do

> "I think that it will be found that a formal acknowledgment of the role of
> Quality in the scientific process doesn't destroy the empirical vision at
> all. It expands it, strengthens it and brings it far closer to actual
> scientific practice."

Mark interprets:
Yes, there are two sides to life, the material (scientific) and the
spiritual (DQ).  One does not detract from the material, but simply
complements it.  Science will find what the spirit imparts.  One must look
for reserves within to understand that without.  I do this all the time,
and I am a successful scientist making the big bucks.

> The MOQ "says that Dynamic Quality [is] the value-force that chooses an
> elegant mathematical solution to a laborious one, or a brilliant experiment
> over a confusing, inconclusive one" and "Dynamic value is an integral part
> of science. It is the cutting edge of science itself."

Mark interprets:
Yes, this is the basis for alchemy as well.  Alchemy is half chemistry and
half spirituality.  The chemistry will not work unless the alchemist is
prepared.  This is expanded rationality.  I am not sure if dmb understand
though.  Maybe because Pirsig did not write it.  In fact most of my posts
on Quality are not a derivative of Pirsig, because what kind of expanded
rationality would that be?  Pirsig is also referring to William of Occam's
Razor, which implies that Quality was understood even back then.

> This project puts Quality at the center of art and religion too. Pirsig's
> comparisons between Quality and the Tao, between Quality and the ineffable
> mystic reality, and his contrast with Hegal's Absolute, which was
> completely rational in the classic sense, shows us that the MOQ agrees with
> philosophical mysticism and the perennial philosophy. His extended lessons
> in creative writing, as depicted in the Bozeman classroom scenes, show us
> how Quality is central to art as well. When we add the art of rationality
> to this, we see that Quality has a way of uniting what SOM had kept apart:
> art, science and religion are now connected because Quality is the source
> and substance of all three.

Mark comments:
No comment, I know that dmb does not know anything about these things, so
he is just taking Pirsig's word for it.  In fact, he dismisses anybody who
brings in a concept from art or religion.  Therefore from what I have read
from dmb on these subjects, I do not want to embarrass him.  I will say
this though:  The intellectual creations are works of art, no different to
a painting.  Everything is a creation.  One can find oratories that are
great works of art.  All forms of art are ghosts which we bring to life.

> The idea of truth works the same way. It is the central organizing
> principle of the intellectual level in general, in the sciences and in
> philosophy. Like art and religion, the MOQ's truths have intellectual
> quality because Quality is recognized as central to its operation.

Mark comments:
Sorry, dmb does not know what is meant by truth.  He has relegated it to
opinion as the pragmatists would.  Still, I question his logic in his last
sentence above.  Does he actually say anything?

> Quality has to be central if we are going to properly think and talk about
> Pirsig's metaphysics BUT that is very different from trying to
> conceptualize pre-conceptual experience or trying to talk about pre-verbal
> experience. Logically speaking, that's impossible. You can have that
> experience and that experience is exactly what improves rationality but
> Pirsig explains over again that Quality cannot be defined, that it is prior
> to definitions and concepts. That is the sense in which DQ is said to be an
> undivided experience, i.e. prior to the divisions and distinctions imposed
> by concepts and definitions. We want concepts and definitions because
> that's what distinguishes a word from all the other words and that's what
> marks off one idea from another. But Quality isn't like that. It's
> undifferentiated, undivided, continuous and flowing. But discussions can
> never work like that.
> The Tao that can be named is not the real Tao, the mother of heaven and
> earth.

Mark completes his comments on dmb:
I don't think dmb knows if he is coming or going.  He seems very confused
about Quality.  What is this pre-verbal experience.  Most of our experience
is pre-verbal.  I have never heard my heart talk to me...For not wanting to
define Quality, dmb seems to end up with a whole bunch of definitions.  Let
me end with: As we speak, Quality is being expressed.

I hope I have made some sense of dmb's string of words.

Best regards,

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