RE: MoQ & Mu, an email from Renselle to The Lila Squad on January 24, 1998.
The acronyms in the letter:
DQ Dynamic Quality
GUTs Grand Unifying Theories
MoQ Metaphysics of Quality
QM Quantum Mechanics
SOM Subject-Object Metaphysics
SPoVs Static Patterns of Value (Note: SINPoV is Skutvikian for Intellectual SPoV.)
SQ Static Quality
TLS The Lila Squad
ToEs Theories of Everything
ZMM Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
In this reproduced email, we paraphrase the exact words of Bodvar Skutvik to avoid verbatim copying of his original email. Renselle's words are verbatim.
Context: In his prior 23Jan98 email Renselle made the point that SOM was necessarily inconsistent because SOM insists absolute truth is accessible within SOMs single context. Given that, Renselle further asserted that SOMs GUTs and ToEs are forever doomed to inconsistency. In comparison, MoQs local and finite contexts offer the potential of local consistency by foregoing an assertion of completeness.
Here's the email -
Bodvar Skutvik pushes back: He says he still feels Renselle's view of MoQs many truths is "indigestible."
I think you broached a crucial issue for TLS.
Magnus, look what your reference to 'Mu' has wrought!
Bo, I need to use material from ZMM to address your topics. Of course,
Pirsig discusses 'Mu' in ZMM, and he does not in 'Lila,' so I guess we
were already back in ZMM. I am saying this because we are The Lila
Squad, and our focus is 'Lila.'
Bo pushes again: He avers that no two contradictory interpretations or statements can be true.
The above statement
["...no two contradictory interpretations or statements can be true..."]
is true in the SOM context, what I call SOMland.
In a way, this is fundamentally what is wrong with the Church of Reason
(CoR). This is what Pirsig rails against! If reality is one big SOM
context then all dialectics (reasoned analogies by dialogue) are true or
false in that one big context. This is our Greek Western culture
heritage handed down from, etc., Parmenides, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle.
SOM folk believe and practice this heritage. It is the SOM mythos.
They believe that we can arrive via dialectic, tautology, syllogism,
etc. at THE truth. MoQ says, "No, you cannot do that because there are
many truths. Not only that, but 'truth' is the problem."
More Skutvik pushing back: He bluntly asserts that MoQs highest moral levels interpretation of reality is TRUTH!
SOM seeks TRUTH.
MoQ seeks GOOD!
In SOM GOOD is subordinate to TRUTH.
In MoQ TRUTH is subordinate to GOOD.
Remember, prior to the Greeks approximately 2.5 millennia ago, the
Sophists practiced aretê. They practiced EXCELLENCE! Along came the
Greeks mentioned above.
The Greeks waged an enormous battle with the Sophists over GOOD versus
TRUTH. The Sophists placed GOOD at the top of their hierarchy for more
than 10 millennia before the Greeks came on the scene.
The Greeks took GOOD and put it down at the level of the dialectic.
This is one of the things that infuriated Phaedrus so much. His precious
rhetoric was down in the bowels of Aristotle's babelian hierarchy, not
on top where he thought it belonged. The Greeks put truth at the top.
We live with that legacy.
That legacy gave us technology. We think that is great. Technology is
great. But the Greek legacy also gave us the ills of the CoR.
Pirsig figured this out for us. He showed us this in his three
published works. We are learning that he is right! It is time to put
GOOD above TRUTH again, in its proper role. He does not say dump
TRUTH. He says demote TRUTH so that the ills of CoR may be cured.
Admit there is no such thing as one truth, but indeed there are many.
Just that one move [i.e., change] cures many of CoR's ills.
In the larger frame, I see this as DQ at work on a grander scale. The
Sophists lost a battle, but not this war. TRUTH needed to be on top for
a time so that we could [both] reap its benefits and simultaneously discover
its ills. Now it is time to put GOOD - Quality - back on top. That is
our role - to do just that. It will take decades if not centuries.
Longer term, when Neo sapiens reigns, the pendulum may swing the other
way. If so, we may recognize DQ at its fecund best.
Bo proceeds: Bodvar says Society still shares control with the Intellectual patterns of value in MoQ. He says our present eras struggle centers on the battle between those two levels. He declares that the Social levels truth is ubiquitous in many forms.
And Renselle continues:
Honestly, I am not as good as you (yet) at assessing the applied aspects
of SQ. I am trying to get the theoretical pieces in order and find
affirmation with co-linear efforts in other disciplines.
If you are saying that the SQ levels all have their roles to play within
the Pirsig system and its five moral codes, then I agree.
If you are saying that tribes and cultures have a Quality right to
coexist peacefully, then I agree.
Bo further states: In Western Culture Intellect reigns. Science and reason are truth. Religion is a subject of study. Democracy replaces all of the ISMs. Finally Christianity is now an intellectual endeavor with a strong humanistic flavor.
Renselle stays on the fundamental MoQ
For me science/reason are appropriately intellectual SPoVs or SINPoVs.
They have moral precedence over all lower levels under one very
important condition: that science/reason practices MoQ truth and not
SOM truth. SOM truth practiced inside of the Pirsig system at the
SINPoV level is just a continuation of SOMland. It is imperative that
we practice MoQ truth within the SINPoV level.
Bo queries: Do you accept my views on many truths?
If you believe in ONE TRUTH SOM TRUTH my answer has to be, "No!"
MANY TRUTHS TO YOU, Bo,
"Don't throw away those Mu answers. . .They're the ones you GROW on!"
By Robert M. Pirsig, in 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,'
p. 290, Bantam (paperback), 28th edition, 1982.