LS Re: Four levels of Being--E F Schumacher

Thu, 6 Aug 1998 18:28:38 +0100

Bo wrote:

Sorry for being negative. I feel like a spoilt child after coming to
know Pirsig's ideas, but it is his initial shoot-out with - or more
correctly - his disrobing of SOM that was the great revelation to me.
I can only repeat my old metaphor: It is not difficult to cook up
complex and impressive systems. The medieval scholastics made a
living of constructing crystal spheres; the faulty basic cosmology
necessitated the complexity. After Copernicus it all crumpled. The
SOM necessitates complexities like the ones that Andy gives us
a sample of later in the letter, but after Pirsig it is superfluous.
I don't know why anyone find this attractive unless they have missed
the very Quality idea completely.

Will I be shot at dawn?


Bo, Everyone -

Not unless a group of low-Quality fascists has taken over your country,
you will not. I hope not anyway - we need you!

I must say I am confused. I'm not sure exactly what the point of your
was other than to label Schumacher and Wilber as
"SOM" thinkers and put Pirsig back up on his pedastal. You seem to
that the useful analytic divisions that Schumacher and Wilber make are
"superfluous", but I was under the impression that this was what the
Squad was all about. If that is superfluous, then everything we write is
superfluous; if Quality is all we need know, then why don't we just send
emails to the entire LS with the subject heading "Quality" and one word
the message: "Quality".

Point being, my gushing of Wilber was to try and illuminate several
of confluence in Wilber and Pirsig. I am aware that it's out of line to
present a raw abbreviated summary of someone's work here and to just
it like a bomb and say "watch this." I knew it would come across like
that. Didn't want it to.

If you truly believe that Quality is everywhere, and is everything, then
you might want to consider the possibility that there might be other
writers/theorists/philosophers/people out there that FEEL the same way
Robert Pirsig FEELS when he introduces this complex concept. Donny's
levels of this morning show me that he is on the same page - so, too,
Maggie (your research with Schumacher has led to some fantastic moments
illumination!) and Platt. (forgive me if I'm putting words in your
Glove's post just made me smile - nothing more, nothing less. Sheer
brilliance. The world needs more of that.

There is little point in having a group that emails one another and says
"this is what Quality is, everything else fails/ is SOM". That, to me,
abandons the point of the whole venture. What would be most beneficial
us, the world, and Quality itself, is not to sit here on our high
and shoot down everyhting that doesn't match Pirsigian thought
rather, if you *really* believe that *everything* is Quality, don't just
sit there and smugly say it. Show it!

>From reading Pirsig and reading Wilber, I believe that both have a good
grasp of Quality, or Spirit, or Zen, or what Freud called in a footnote
"oceanic feeling", or what Levinas calls "Infinity", or what Heidegger
calls the Opening, or what a number of theorists, mystics, and ordinary
people like you and I throughout human history have understood. I don't
think Pirsig is more privileged in his perceptions than any of them. I
think his "Quality" concept is brilliant, and helps to break the
of hundreds of years of domination by science and reason. But it is not
the be-all end-all of human history. And if it is, we need to find a
to get it out of this forum and into the quote unquote real world.

So Bo - if I've missed the point, PLEASE enlighten me. If you've read
Wilber, and you find that his work doesn't resound with Quality, perhaps
you can help me understand why. And if the moment the sun breaks the
sky isn't Quality, and your last post IS Quality, then God save us all.


"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the
point, however, is to change it."

- Karl Marx

 P.S. I'm overreacting on purpose. But this smug complacency does not
strike me as having much Quality at all.

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