|Subject:||[Quantonics}: Pirsig's Direct Experience|
|Date:||Sat, 14 Aug 1999 13:38:37 -0700|
|From:||Dan Glove <Flameproof>|
484 East Carmel Drive #353
Carmel INdiana 46032-2812
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Hello Dan and Quantos,
I am observing your dialogue with Roger. I am also relating that to our
I am having difficulty putting what you say in a 'framework' I can
understand. I sense Roger is too. Unsure about other Quantos.
One of Pirsig's best descriptions of direct experience is his 'hot stove'
"Any person of any philosophic persuasion who sits on a hot stove will
verify without any intellectual argument whatsoever that he is in an
undeniably low-quality situation: that the value of his predicament is
negative. This low quality is not just a vague, woolly-headed,
crypto-religious, metaphysical abstraction. It is an experience. It is not
a judgment about an experience. It is not a description of experience. The
value itself is an experience. As such it is completely predictable. It is
verifiable by anyone who cares to do so. It is reproducible. Of all
experience it is the least ambiguous, least mistakable there is. Later the
person may generate some oaths to describe this low value, but the value
will always come first, the oaths second. Without the primary low
valuation, the secondary oaths will not follow.
"The reason for hammering on this so hard is that we have a culturally
inherited blind spot here. Our culture teaches us to think it is the hot
stove that directly causes the oaths. It teaches that the low values are a
property of the person uttering the oaths."
From page 66/410 of Lila, Bantam hardbound, 1st edition, 1991.
From pages 75-76/468 of Lila, Bantam, softbound, 2nd. ed., 1992.
First of all, do you agree Pirsig is talking about direct experience here?
Doug, I feel Pirsig is talking about experience as value here. Not direct
experience. Pirsig writes:
"The value is BETWEEN the stove and the oaths. BETWEEN the subject and the
object lies the value. This value is more immediate, more directly sensed
than any "self" or any "object" to which it might be later assigned. It is
more REAL than the stove. Whether the stove is the cause of the low quality
or whether possibly something else is the cause is not yet absolutely
certain. But that the quality is low is absolutely certain. It is the
primary empirical reality from which such things as stoves and heat and
oaths and self are later intellectually constructed." (page 76, teal
Experience as value is Pirsig's primary empirical reality but it is not
direct experience even though it is "more directly sensed" by being what
might be called cutting edge experience. Before intellectual judgments and
categorizing begins. Experience as value. Quality. But value is not directly
experienced for value IS experience. I am not sure our language allows me to
say more than this and I realize what I say is unclear...
Second, do you agree he describes direct experience, and he describes its
evolution from DQ to SQ?
Doug, no I do not agree. Pirsig translates "karma" as evolutionary garbage.
After he'd been rid of Lila he asks himself if he really wants to go back to
his slips. "In their own way they were alot of karmic garbage too." Why? "It
attempts to capture the Dynamic within a static pattern. ...You never get it
right. So why try?" (page 457)
This is something I ask myself and something that bothers me greatly, and my
only answer is like Pirsig's. Even though I know I cannot get it right, I
pretend I care I can get it right, as if it matters whether I get it right.
But... "Not only would he never get it right; the longer he worked on it the
wronger it would probably get." (page 457)
If we could directly experience reality we could get it right, do you agree?
Third, does this agree with Bohr's view? If not, why?
Yes, as far as I can tell this agrees with Bohr's view.
Fourth, does this agree with your view? If not, why?
As you can see this is my view.
Fifth, do you agree with Pirsig's use of 'ambiguous' above? How does this
relate to Bohr's view of 'ambiguity?'
As you know, Bohr was first and foremost concerned with observing atomic
systems and thus his use of ambiguity primarily focused on communicating
results of observation. It seems to me that Pirsig uses ambiguity in
similar fashion as Bohr.
Sixth, can you show us how in this example, or by restating this example,
this is NOT an interrelationship between DQ and SQ?
I have tried but probably failed in attempting to point out what I mean. We
simply cannot pin down Dynamic Quality into relationships for when we do
"it" is no longer Dynamic.
Perhaps I am misguided, but I think this will help us understand our
different views on this.
Thank you for your comments Doug!