LS Re: Moral precedence in the four levels

Theo Schramm (
Tue, 18 Aug 1998 17:06:23 +0100


As we are officially unmoderated I will enclose my reply to Jonathan and
Bo which didn't make it through last time. I was going to enclose a few
words to Ant and yet each time I tried it became more negative. Suffice
to say that if you read my reply here and my initial post again you will
see that your accusation of confusing biological quality with dynamic
quality completely misses the point. Furthermore claiming that
intellectuals find it hard to perceive that police etc can have a
positive effect in controlling the biological level is just plain
ludicrous. One wonders if you just felt the need to share with us your
correspondence with Pirsig no matter how irrelevant it was.

>"Actually, Pirsig's discussion of the daily ritual of a Buddhist monk
>does offer a reasonable solution. By settling into regular >ritualistic
>patterns, one gets to take various things for granted. I don't wait
>anxiously every morning to make sure the sun rises and am not >obsessed
>with where the next meal is coming from. This gives me space to
>experience new things (like reading the LS debates). New planets were
>discovered by observing "deviations" in the expected orbits - but >only
>after Kepler firmly established what those expected orbits were. When
>I drive, I change gears, indicate turns and stop at red lights >like >a
>semi-automaton. If I didn't do this, I probably wouldn't notice the
>(unexpected) child chasing a ball into the road. Thus static patterns
>provide the latching which allows new experience, and INCREASES our
>powers of perception."

But this doesn't really address the issue of morality within marriage in
that it only provides a good argument for the morality of ensuring the
marriage stays intact and happy, but would seem to condone certain types
of illicit affair. Said affair would not necessarily be of any threat to
the marriage and also could provide opportunities for dynamic quality
events. As you put it, a stable marriage could, 'provide the latching
which allows new experience and increases our power of perception.' Call
me an old fuddy-duddy but I still feel that this cannot be right and
thus am led to the belief that Pirsig's grasp of morality is, at least a
little, suspect.

Bo tells me that the MoQ solves the big questions but leaves the small
ones, such as morality within marriage, to 'ordinary sensibilities.'

This sounds horribly close to 'just what you like subjectivism' to me
and I would suggest that the MoQ MUST be able to provide Quality advice
for mundane human morality, otherwise it becomes an intellectual mind
game making unproveable and mystical assertions, (of which, in my
opinion, there have been far too many of here recently), rather than a
practical, elegant metaphysics. To my mind, unless these questions can
be answered satisfactorily not
many people beyond the squad are going to be very impressed by a moral
metaphysics which pushes morality into the realm of 'ordinary>

Bo makes the comparison between relativity and Newtonian mechanics
saying that Newtonian mechanics is the best way of approaching everyday
questions of science. In the same way Bo feels that SOM is perfectly
suited to human ethical questions and the MoQ need not intervene. If (as
Pirsig claims) SOM ethics equals 'just what you like subjectivism' or
Emotivism then Bo, as has previously been suggested on this forum, is
suggesting that Emotivism is the best way to approach ethical questions.
If this is the case then what exactly does Pirsig mean when he calls the
MoQ a 'moral system' and of what PRACTICAL use is it to mankind? It
seems to me that in this scenario 'moral' is synonymous with so many
other words that the use of that particular word is obfuscation at its
worst. Ironic philosophy. Let us simply call it a system which has
little to say about morality and be done with it if this is what it
comes down to.


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu May 13 1999 - 16:43:38 CEST