I’ve been browsing the MOQ threads for quite some time now – even subscribed – and I find myself a bit, perhaps put off, by a number of conceptual schemes…
I don’t know, take this statement:
“the basic argument in ZAMM is a pre-existing reality before the subject becomes aware of the objective world. Thus the pre-something (now called Quality) must necessarily be the DQ that
spawns static qualities.”
Ahhh, the wonderful effervescence of pre-suppositionalism… We may as well restate this paragraph to say something like; the basic argument of Christianity is a pre-existing reality before man became aware of the objective world. Thus the pre-something (called God) must necessarily be the thing that spawns human awareness… I’ll add to this that God created everything, but he didn’t create objects per se, he created Goodness; he created a man, called him Adam and said he was “Good”. Of course this sort of language being spoken before the time Plato fk’d us all up.
Sprinkling in that bit of dogma suddenly doesn’t make that paragraph sound so great now does it? Now of course, I can almost hear the screams of packeted electrons flowing across wires to servers all over the world. How dare I, you must not understand the MOQ at all…
The problem with Dynamic Quality, like Zen, and like Yahweh before the Christians got a hold of it, is that it’s (should be) well understood that one cannot talk about such things – as soon as it’s uttered it should be immediately discarded. Consider this statement (another quote from the board):
"Therefore, for Pirsig, immediate experience (or Quality) is experience where there is no distinction between what is experienced and the act of experiencing itself."
Yes, great, so what are we talking about again???
Here’s the deal; Rorty was, for me, always one small phrase/word away from mysticism – in practice his philosophy (as I’ll argue later) is the final act of a Buddhist play. You find Pirsig in the religious/Buddhist sections of book stores (as apposed to philosophy sections) because his language is necessarily mystical. He wants to be fully pragmatic on the one hand (and oh so Zen), while on the other hand he wants to be fully Kantian. People (it seems to me) who are drawn to his philosophy as apposed to his mysticism are those who want a “theory of everything”, a language within which we can capture the essence of all things; and this leads to the sort of pre-suppostional talk I seem to see here and there. Those who are attracted to his mysticism probably don’t do a whole lot of talking about it – although I’m probably wrong about that.
My bet is that Pirsig will forever remain a cult figure as apposed to a respected philosopher – and this is the way it should be. Dynamic Quality, as a philosophy, simply isn’t intellectually honest and shouldn’t be discussed in philosophy classes. If it ever came to pass that it was, then bring on Zen and bring on God…
What is the context under which we should discuss Pirsig and Dynamic Quality?
If we maintain a philosophical discourse, then what ground are we picking up? Why should I include Dynamic Quality in my philosophical language any more then I should include God or Zen?
It’s question begging, and it’s mysticism – why not leave it at that? Certainly his metaphysic makes sense within the context of the game he’s playing, but outside that why have a public discourse on Quality? Not that we are, or that someone is suggesting we should, but certainly as many would like to see Pirsig get his due it would suggest to me that we bring him into the world of philosophy.