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Doug's response to Garn Lebaron's request that we review
his Pirsigean-ethics paper, The Ethics of Euthanasia:

 Subject:  Euthanasia.
 Date:  Thu, 29 Jul 1999 09:14:52 -0500
 From:  Doug Renselle <NOFLAMEqtx{at}earthlink{dot}netNOSPAM>
 Organization:  The Quantonics Society & Quantonics, Inc.
 To:  Garn LeBaron <>

Acronyms used in this post:

DQ - Dynamic Quality
ESQ - Exclusive Static Quality
MoQ - Metaphysics of Quality
SPoV(s) - Static Pattern(s) of Value
SQ - Static Quality


Thanks for writing and sharing. We are happy you enjoy our site.

Caveats: I am a student of Pirsig's MoQ. My obsession is to show its
correlation with quantum science and promote it as a candidate new
philosophy for Millennium III. I am finite intellect. I have no
absolute-truth answers for you. I can share opinion. So that is all
you get here: opinion.

Your paper is excellent! Well written, excellent scope and coverage.
Superb grammar with high readability. I wish I could write as well as

Your paper covers both sides equally well and refers 'experts.'

Your use of Pirsig is superb! You garnered essence exceptionally well.

OK, did you read our Quantonics Q&A on ethics (March, 1999)? I am
assuming that is what prompted you to copy us on your paper. If you did
read it, you know our position on ethics.

Pirsig tells us excellence or aretê is a local pattern. Local patterns
aggregate to emerse global excellence. The converse is ill-conceived
static quality.

He also tells us rhetoric is Value's language and dialectic is truth's
language. Further, rhetoric subsumes dialectic as a subspecies, not
other way around as classicists would have it.

I think we agree on all that.

You averred his 'many truths.' Many truths implies many contexts and
again we are back to inferring local autonomy sources excellence which,
again, may aggregate in multiple contexts, not vice versa.

In other words a union may not invoke Value on diverse groups. Diverse
groups may concord Value in a union, but individual autonomy still
reigns as Value's source. (Read our review of Mae-wan Ho's, 'the
Rainbow and the Worm.')

So that is one idea (i.e., local over global as Value's source) which
came to mind as I perused your paper.

Aside: I feel a need to clarify that parenthetical. To me, DQ is
flux. SQ is latched Static/Stable/Stabile Patterns of Value (SPoVs)
whose agency to DQ is imperative to actualize reality. DQ is absolute
change. SQ is change agency in evolutionary plateaus of temporary
stasis. SQ occurs locally and often aggregates. Local precedes
aggregation, not vice versa. If we view this from a quantum perspective
we need to add more comments. We can do that later if needed/desired.

Another idea is what Pirsig has to say about evil. You may recall he
tells us there is only one 'evil' in MoQ: Exclusive Static Quality,
ESQ! I.e., SQ which refuses/denies its agency to DQ.

I tend to see, anthropocentrically, a comatose patient as ESQ. So
purveyors of ESQ are in a MoQ sense, 'evil.' My perception of early
behaviors of public, state, and judiciary in Quinlan's case manifest
ESQ. But unchanging law is ESQ!

Finally, my own personal perspective is 'life' as defined by Western
anthro's. is what I call one-life-centric. Alpha, omega, that's it.

To me, what we call birth is a transition from DQ to SQ. Death is a
partial transition from SQ back to DQ. I call this a 'reality loop.'
It never ends! Life is: reality loop.

Using this idea, a comatose patient is on a major plateau in its
agency. Imminent transition awaits. Whether to defer it is an ethical

By contrast a vibrant human is, regardless of circumstances, an agent or
potential agent of change (including a mass murderer!) and thus to apply
euthanasia is again an ethical decision. Personally, in this case, I
want local authorities to abide group concord. But, am I right? What
about Brujo? Pirsig says priests were wrong.

You may be familiar with a few movies which depict transition flux,
among my favorites: 'City of Angels' (Nicholas Cage & Meg Ryan), 'Made
in Heaven' (Timothy Hutton & Kelly McGillis), 'Powder,' and a recent one
with Robin Williams whose title I forget. It is about a professor and
his wife who lose their teenage children in an accident and wife commits
suicide as a result.

I think a list of prominent suicides is informative: Hemingway, Gödel,
Turing, et al. All mentioned here of extraordinary intellect very
highly evolved.

Unsure all of this is helpful to you. However, it is to me. I am
considering several revisions to our March Quantonic Q&A given your
paper and my consideration of it.

Also, consider a Pirsigean ethical position on abortion and choice. I
think you might find some similarities and a few profound differences.

Let me know your opinions re: value of this response. Also, please
seek counsel here as you wish.

Many truths to you, Garn,


Doug Renselle
In Quantonics

"It is not the facts but the relation of things that results in the
universal harmony that is the sole objective reality."

Robert M. Pirsig,
on Poincaré's assessment of classical reality, in
'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,' p. 241, Bantam
(paperback), 28th edition, 1982.

©Quantonics, Inc., 1999-2006 — Rev. 4Aug99  PDR — Created 29Jul99  PDR

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