[MD] Religion is not created by man. Men are created by religion.
ridgecoyote at gmail.com
Fri May 18 01:27:49 PDT 2018
thanks for sharing.
I can't really address your proposed solution to Pirsig's shortcomings
(there's a lot there to sift!) so I'll confine myself to just addressing
your differences with him.
"The second issue that Pirsig never fully addressed, and unsuccessfully
attempted to do so in Lila, is to reconcile the concept of Quality with
morality and values. What is Good and Evil within the construct of
JC: It seemed pretty plain to me, Good and Evil are values constrained to
an understanding of the levels - that is, an intellectual good might be a
social evil, but in the overall scheme of things, is more moral. I feel
like Pirsig deals with the question of Good and Evil within the construct
of Quality, better than any philosopher/thinker I've read.
Thanks for your efforts to improve upon him :)
To me, the concepts of Good and Evil are red herrings.
JC: I would say you are like a lot of people in that regard. The terms
get many people chasing a false scent, I understand what you mean. But it
can be very simple when you think about it. If you agree that, generally
speaking, it's more moral for a Doctor to kill a germ than it is for a germ
to kill a Doctor, Then you're on your way to getting the MoQ's morality.
When you really understand what it means for an idea to kill a society,
you'll have arrived.
Much like the concepts of “technology” and “wealth” they are conceptual
objects for which different subjects will have different views. This is
the crux of what philosophy has been pushing towards in recent years. It
is also what drives the religious faithful crazy. What is needed is a
framework that is more grounded in the fundamental nature of actions and
consequences which does not necessarily fall within a framework of “good”
and “evil” but, if observed in our own daily actions, would coincide with
what most would objectively observe as “good” consequences more often than
not. This I believe was what Rudolf Allers was referring to in that “every
being strives for the good”.
I Don't think your alternative to Pirsig is quite up to society-killing
good yet but then it's a question whether anything could possibly derail
the current social constraints upon intellect in place. One futile effort
is as likely as another, I suppose.
People intrinsically want to do what they believe is good. The huge
problem to date in human history is that we have never really agreed upon a
universal meaning of what is “good”. Nor will we ever due to the discrete
nature of individual subject object relationships.
On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 9:39 AM, Andrew Chu <andrew.chu at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello all,
> Also an infrequent poster, but this quote and this thread is critical to
> our current state of affairs.
> As the quote you highlighted pointed out, there is an unfortunate
> disconnect between the concepts of values, morality and faith and that of
> contemporary philosophy. I don’t think the two need be mutually exclusive.
> The question of subjectivity vs. objectivity of values is a key one. At
> face value, it seems irreconcilable. On the side of philosophy, you see
> examples of faith prescribing morality as an objective and Platonic truth
> (incidentally much like this story I came across in a great podcast from
> Radiolab which describes the story of a young woman who was born isolated
> and completely off the grid due to her family’s righteous and rigid view of
> “good vs evil”. Effectively, all outside influence including electronics,
> television, internet, etc. were deemed evil and wholly restricted for their
> 9 children even as the children grew to young adults 18+ years old.
> https://www.wnycstudios.org/story/finding-yourself ). While this is an
> extreme scenario, it is illustrative of the core ideological conflict
> between religion and the concept of subjective human predilection.
> On the other hand, from the perspective of religious faithful, Pirsig’s
> MoQ is devoid of a moral compass, leaving it unusable or at least less
> practical on a day-to-day basis for broad swaths of our population. The
> concept of “Dynamic Quality” is itself very much prone to the problem of
> “not knowing whether the goal really deserves the spending of so much
> energy”. On a separate email thread, I raised the example of a mad genius
> that is completely sociopathic and has no intrinsic understanding of human
> value and morality. However, the genius is a craftsman and channels
> his/her Dynamic Quality into the creation of the deadliest Weapon of Mass
> Destruction ever devised which he/she subsequently uses to destroy
> humanity. In Pirsig’s MoQ, broadly speaking, the creation of this WMD is
> an example of Dynamic Quality. However, to most of us, it would seem to be
> an example of Dynamic Quality channeled towards evil ends. Pirsig’s
> framework does not give us the tools to reconcile this unsettling scenario.
> So how do we reconcile these two worldviews and frameworks? In my mind,
> there are two fundamental misconceptions and flaws that our society at
> large holds. One Pirsig has dealt with and solved for. However, the other
> he was never able to fully address. The first flaw, at its simplest, is
> the concept that quality (small q) is intrinsic in the things that we
> observe. Whether this is an object, a race or a theoretical concept, we
> see this play out over and over and over. Consistent with John Carl’s
> response, this is exactly what the current followers of the “Prosperity
> Gospel” are doing. They are attributing “money” or “wealth” with being
> intrinsic indicators of high quality. This is irrespective of the actual
> objective consequences that this blind faith leads to, irregardless of what
> destruction or conflict this creates.
> Along a similar line, philosophers are no less innocent with respect to
> making this fundamental philosophical mistake. Case in point, in another
> thread we are having on a discussion regarding Ted Kaczynski, aka the
> Unabomber, whose manifesto villainized technology and its destructive
> nature. In that particular case, Ted K was applying his own personal
> negative subject-object relationship vs. technology and presuming that the
> “industrial/technological system” itself is intrinisically flawed, evil and
> What Pirsig discovered and realized is that both of these worldviews
> suffer from the same problem, they divert our attention from the real
> nature of Quality in that it exists between the subject and object.
> Quality is intrinsic not to either the subject or object but in the
> relationship itself. It frees us from the confines of a pure
> subject/object worldview and allows us to reconcile differing existential
> experiences whereby the same object can be observed to have two entirely
> different relationships with two different subjects. For the Prosperity
> Gospel followers, the realization that those that attain “money” and
> “wealth” are not intrinsically high quality would free them from an
> abundance of subsequently flawed assumptions, ideologies and beliefs that
> stem from that. Similarly, if Ted K had realized the same, he would have
> potentially freed himself from his dogmatic view and ultimately violent
> means to forcefully wage war against technology and bring us back to our
> “wild natures”.
> The second issue that Pirsig never fully addressed, and unsuccessfully
> attempted to do so in Lila, is to reconcile the concept of Quality with
> morality and values. What is Good and Evil within the construct of Quality?
> To me, the concepts of Good and Evil are red herrings. Much like the
> concepts of “technology” and “wealth” they are conceptual objects for which
> different subjects will have different views. This is the crux of what
> philosophy has been pushing towards in recent years. It is also what
> drives the religious faithful crazy. What is needed is a framework that is
> more grounded in the fundamental nature of actions and consequences which
> does not necessarily fall within a framework of “good” and “evil” but, if
> observed in our own daily actions, would coincide with what most would
> objectively observe as “good” consequences more often than not. This I
> believe was what Rudolf Allers was referring to in that “every being
> strives for the good”.
> People intrinsically want to do what they believe is good. The huge
> problem to date in human history is that we have never really agreed upon a
> universal meaning of what is “good”. Nor will we ever due to the discrete
> nature of individual subject object relationships.
> And so, let me be the first to say, that what I propose is just a
> framework, a simulacra if you will, for which I welcome feedback and
> arguments. That said, I have been stress testing this framework for a
> number of years and so far I have not come across an event, action or
> consequence that I could not reconcile.
> The framework is as follows: fundamentally, rather than Values, we should
> concern ourselves more with the concept of Intent. The pre-cursor to
> action. Furthermore, putting aside Good and Evil for the reasons discussed
> above, let us focus more on whether the Intent is Creative or Consumptive
> in nature.
> Let’s talk creative vs. consumptive. It is a natural law of physics,
> chemistry and biology that matter never gets destroyed, it changes form.
> That said, with all actions and reactions, something is consumed and
> something is created. The same is true for human action. With every
> action we take, whether it is breathing or walking or working, something is
> created and something is consumed. It is a fundamental law of nature
> (those who are more familiar with eastern philosophies will see this more
> eloquently articulated in concepts like Yin Yang and the cyclical movement
> of the Tao).
> Humans are distinct from all other manner of biological organisms in that
> we have a singularly unique ability to manifest our intent onto the
> physical world. We build, destroy and consume on orders of magnitude
> greater levels than any other sentient species.
> Similarly, in the construct of social, environmental or political
> landscapes, we also have the ability to channel our intent to create (e.g.
> imbuing our actions with expressions of our own unique nature) or to
> consume (e.g. extracting resources for our own growth, survival and/or
> My conceit is that, when one takes actions that are focused on maximizing
> High Quality relationships (e.g. increasing resonance with objects rather
> than dissonance) combined with Creative Intent (e.g. more concerned with
> investing or imbuing ourselves into our actions as a means of expression),
> we naturally optimize for our own objectively “good” outcomes as well as
> naturally optimize for objectively “good” social, political and
> environmental outcomes.
> Creative Intent, when coupled with High Quality, more often than not
> results in outcomes that we objectively observe as good (collaboration,
> creation, resonance and, yes, even wealth) whereas deviation from either of
> these towards Low Quality relationships and/or Consumptive Intent leads to
> outcomes that are predominantly observed as “Bad”.
> Again, describing an outcome as “Good” and “Evil” is not striking at the
> root since the observed outcome is a function of the Intent of the Actor
> and the subject/object framework of the Observer. What’s worse, ascribing
> universality to these concepts of “Good” and “Evil” is a recipe for
> disaster because, while most of humanity shares values to a large degree,
> there will always be edge cases either due to upbringing, environment or
> culture where we will fundamentally disagree (many a war has been waged for
> this exact reason).
> As a final example, let’s apply this to the example below. Take the
> extremes now with respect to our current leadership in America which has
> both a highly Consumptive Intent (self-gratification and aggregation of
> wealth) and Extremely Low Quality relationships (antagonism towards entire
> races, classes and concepts like “free speech” and even “government”).
> John Carl, the answer to your question on where the religious get their
> sentiment is that, because they share this same antagonism towards certain
> races, classes or concepts, they in turn observe a very High Quality
> relationship with their object, e.g. the wealthy ruling class that seems to
> espouse their political goals and ideologies. The antagonism resonates
> strongly with them, it strikes a chord. Subsequently, they are also
> blinded in that, while it is becoming increasingly obvious the current
> leadership is in it for their own consolidation of wealth, e.g. Consumptive
> Intent, the religious faithful value what they see as an opportunity to
> enact their own ideologies onto our broader society as an expression of
> their own Creative Intent. In short, the current consumptive leaders are
> their best bet to realize their own Creative Intents and create a society
> in their own image.
> We can follow this down the rabbit hole further and further but don’t want
> to barrage everyone with too much off the bat. Happy to continue
> discussing this further, but the basic concept is that the ideas of Quality
> and Intent are not mutually exclusive to either religion/values or
> philosophy, but rather bridge the gap between the two.
> From: John Carl<mailto:ridgecoyote at gmail.com>
> Sent: Thursday, May 3, 2018 6:14 AM
> To: moq_discuss at moqtalk.org<mailto:moq_discuss at moqtalk.org>
> Subject: Re: [MD] Religion is not created by man. Men are created by
> I'm a slow responder. An infrequent poster.
> A generally lazy person. But even a year later, I gotta respond to this...
> On Tue, May 2, 2017 at 6:53 AM, <erinnoonan74 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Hi all,
> > I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Mr. Pirsig. My thoughts,
> > and heart go out to his family.
> > He has had such an influence on so many people of different faiths that I
> > have been thinking about his above quote about religion. I wanted to
> > a quote I came across that reminded me of Pirsig. First a short intro
> > the author. This was written by Rudolf Allers M.D.,Ph.D. (1883-1963).
> > Allers was an Austrian psychiatrist – a Catholic taught by Sigmund
> > He later distanced himself from psychoanalysis. When the Nazis took
> > Austria Allers emigrated to the United States. He was master of Viktor
> > Frankl and a friend of St. Edith Stein
> > “A man may think well of himself because he is conscious of devoting his
> > energy to the pursuit of some goal he wants to reach, because he is
> > enthusiastic about it, because his whole personality has become wrapped
> > in his purpose. But there are few people who care to find out whether
> > goals really deserve the spending of so much of energy, and whether it is
> > right to let them occupy so large a place in life, or whether their
> > objective importance justifies the mental reactions associated them.
> > question is not asked because man loves to believe that objective values
> > exist necessarily wherever his personal likings are engaged. This
> > attitude has been strengthened by the unlucky course philosophy has taken
> > for more than a century. The philosophers have told mankind too often
> > there are no objective values, that values do not exist at all outside
> > mind, that they are but the result of human predilection, and the
> > projection, as it were, into the world of reality , of the subjective
> > attitudes.......
> > Every being strives for the good. This may be used as a kind of
> > definition of what is good or a value: good is what every being wants.
> > is quite true so long as it is taken in the right sense. Every striving
> > indeed is significant of some good having been sighted. The study of
> > strivings or human wants may, therefore, serve as a point of departure
> > an inquiry into the nature and the order of values. But is absolutely
> > to conclude that striving creates, so to say, the value; in fact it is
> > value or the good existing in reality or capable of existing there which
> > causes the wishes, the wants, the cravings and strivings of man to arise.
> > Modern mind has become thoroughly imbued with the utterly mistaken idea
> > the subjectivity of values.”
> > Erin
> What I see now , is Christianity objectifying the subject - the
> absolutizing of the self - that reinforces the metaphysical underpinnings
> that this"subjectivity of values" has knocked askew, leaving society in an
> existential crisis. This seen most prominently in the Prosperity Gospel, -
> Trump voters, mostly. but permeating the entire evangelical culture.
> Christianity has become the all-inclusive loving religion wherein God
> Himself sacrificed His very being, for me. ME, me. me. Ol' numero uno -
> The Self - An oft-heard homily is "Jesus would have died for just one
> sinner". I don't know where they get that sentiment, but I don't know
> where they get the whole prosperity gospel itself, since it's certainly not
> biblical. If there was anybody more vilified by Christ than the rich, it
> was the religious. So when those two go hand in hand, you know something
> is about to get crucified.
> I fear for the Truth.
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play *with* boundaries."
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