Sun, 7 Dec 1997 18:48:57 +0100
Diana McPartlin wrote:
> PROGRAM Basics of the MoQ
> Aim = establish the basics.
> The first aim of the Lila Squad must be to establish the basics of the
> MoQ. As I've said from day one, if we don't have some sort of agreement
> on the basics then any subsequent discussion is open to
> misinterpretation and confusion.
> Method = develop principles
> I propose that in order to reach this aim we establish a set of
> principles. I believe that it is only by trying to state clearly what
> you think that you force yourself to examine what you think. I also feel
> that the nature of the MoQ is such that it is impossible to talk about
> one part of it without talking about every other part at the same time.
> The only way to deal with the whole thing at once is to reduce it to its
> barest elements, ie principles.
> If anyone's got a better method, speak now.
I nominate two documents as being "basic". Bo did a great job of pulling
together the consensus of the LS (or at least a clear picture after the
smoke of discussion cleared.) And at the same time, I nominate Platt's
Primer (Simplified FAQ). I have included both below.
It appears to me that Pirsig has given us much more that is useful, but the
ramifications are not clear. Stepping from his words into our own fields,
brings up many paradice* and resolving them is not the work of a few
weeks. I personally expect to spend the rest of my life doing this.
The LS discussion is largely a free-for-all brainstorming session, and I
value that highly. In the midst of this dynamic excitement, there are
occasional pieces of real connecting work, incredibly good, "factual", hard
stuff. It would be a good project to sift through the correspondence, pull
some of it out, and edit it. But by its nature, this will come slowly.
That's not bad.
We have a couple of basic documents. We have Pirsig's words (and getting
permission to put Lila on the web would be a big step) which I think are
still the best printed explanation of anything beyond the basics. We have
the forum and links to each others' pages.
So, I nominate the 3 documents below as "basic", and propose that other
questions be added on the forum as individual questions with multiple
answers or links to answers.
Hope this helps.
1: Lila (text)
PRIMER ON THE METAPHYSICS OF QUALITY Platt Holden
What is Metaphysics?
A theory of reality.
What is the Metaphysics of Quality?
The theory that reality is awareness, the ultimate good.
Why does Pirsig say reality is awareness?
Because without awareness reality wouldn't exist.
Why does Pirsig say reality is the ultimate good?
Because we can conceive of nothing better than awareness.
What is the Quality Event?
The event that creates our level of reality from awareness.
What is Dynamic Quality?
Pure awareness, uncontaminated by thought.
Is Dynamic Quality another word for God?
If you mean by God the ultimate good, yes.
Then the Bible is right when it says God created Heaven and Earth?
Yes, as long as you think of God not as a captive of any one
religion, but as the principle of good.
Is the Metaphysics of Quality a religion?
No. Religion is a static pattern of Social Quality. (See below.)
How does morality fit into the Metaphysics of Quality?
Morality is another name for Quality.
Does that mean that reality is moral?
Isn't morality about how people behave?
Yes, but also about how everything in the universe behaves.
What is Static Quality?
The evolution of awareness in the universe, stabilized into
What are the levels of Static Quality?
Inorganic, Biological, Social and Intellectual.
What is Inorganic Quality?
Patterns of physical matter.
What is Biological Quality?
Patterns of life.
What is Social Quality?
Patterns of culture.
What is Intellectual Quality?
Patterns of thought.
Are you saying that patterns of matter are aware?
How can anyone believe that?
If humans are aware, and humans are composed of particles, it
particles are aware too.
What is the evidence?
Quantum physics sees particles as events requiring the presence of
What exactly are values?
Whatever is good.
Who determines what is good?
Each level determines its own good.
What is the highest good?
Freedom from all static patterns.
How do you know that?
Freedom is the driving force of evolution.
How can anyone believe that?
Each evolutionary level contains more freedom of action and greater
awareness than the level below it.
How do the different levels relate to each other?
They fight each other for dominance.
Each level considers itself better than other levels.
Are higher levels better than those below it?
So it's moral for a higher level to dominate a lower level?
Yes, but in doing so it has to be careful not to weaken or destroy
the lower level.
Because a higher level depends on the lower for its existence.
How come different people have different ideas about what is good?
Each person has a different pattern of life history.
Why did Pirsig say Lila had Quality?
He didn't say she had Quality He said Quality had her. Each of us
is possessed by the patterns of Quality. Your collection of patterns is
the unique set that defines you.
How is Dynamic Quality expressed in each level?
In the Inorganic level, it's expressed as light, in the Biological
level as birth, in the Social level as play, in the Intellectual level as
1. What is a metaphysics?
A metaphysics is a theory that explains the fundamental nature and
structure of reality.
2. What is Quality?
Quality is moral value. It may also be described as goodness or
rightness. Quality may also be understood as experience, the pure
direct experience of "now".
(Quality may be understood as the pure, pre-everything experience.
It may also be called value, goodness, rightness and morals.)
3. What is the Metaphysics of Quality?
The Metaphysics of Quality is a theory that says that the
fundamental nature of reality is that it is moral value (also called
Quality, goodness, experience etc). This value is divided first into
dynamic and static patterns of value. The static patterns e further
divided into four levels of value -- inorganic, biological, social
(The Metaphysics of Quality (MOQ) is an all-embracing theory whose
first claim is that there is nothing but value. It goes on to say
that in the dynamic ocean there have formed stable wave patterns
called Static Value. It recognizes four such Static Value Patterns
(also known as: Levels, dimensions, areas. planes or phases.). They
are in rising order of good: Inorganic-Organic-Social and
4. What is dynamic quality?
Dynamic quality is the source of all things, the pre- intellectual
cutting edge of reality. It is recognized as freedom, newness,
beauty, change, wonder, the unexpected, any phenomenon that
transcends the run of everyday experience.
(Dynamic Quality is the fluidity-change component of existence.)
5. What is static quality?
Static quality is what gives order to the world. It provides a latch
for the advances made by dynamic quality. It is recognized as
routine, structure, normality, organization, conformity, the
expected, stability, any pheonomenon that shows resistance to ange.
(Static Quality is the structuring-stability component of
6. What is inorganic quality?
Inorganic quality is what is usually understood as matter.
(Inorganic Quality is what resists chaos. It is also known as the
7. What is biological quality?
Biological quality is life and that which propagates life.
(Static Biological Quality is what resists Inorganic dissolution.
It is also known as Life.)
8. What is social quality?
Social quality is any phenomenon that propagates social order -
laws, institutions, manners, classes, castes, religion, fashions and
(Static Social Quality is what resists biological indulgence for the
sake of a greater good.)
9. What is intellectual quality?
Intellectual quality is any phenomenon that propagates
subject-object thinking - democracy, freedom of speech, mathematics,
philosophy and so on.
(Static Intellectual Quality is what resists social coercion for the
sake of individual freedom. Its most basic expression is the sense
self as different from environment (more worth than society), but
manifested lately as Habeas Corpus, Magna Charta, The right to vote,
Human rights, Democracy etc.)
10. How do humans fit into the four levels of Static Quality?
People are cohesions of changing static patterns of value. All
living humans and all animals and plants are biological value
of the very fact that they are alive. A human who has been raised in
a society will also be possessed by social values. T se values may
recognized in the form of beliefs, behavior, speech patterns,
and so on. Humans raised in most modern societies are also possessed
by intellectual value. This is recognized as an ability to reason.
(People are cohesion of changing static patterns of value. Humans
are Inorganic value because the body is composed of matter. Humans
are Biological value because they are living organisms. Humans are
Social value to the extent that their community determines their
thoughts and actions. Finally: Humans are Intellectual value to the
extent that individuality dominates thoughts and actions.)
11. Why did Pirsig say that Lila had quality?
Lila Blewitt, the subject of Robert M Pirsig's novel LILA, was
described as having high biological quality because she was an
attractive, voluptuous, and presumably fertile woman. Biologically
her body was high value both for itself and for its implied a lity
bring forth more life. Lila was also described as having low social
quality -- she was working class, had no social connections nor
standing, and was a sometime prostitute. Neither did she have much
intellectual quality, her thought patterns show ttle rationality or
sense. However Lila was also described as having high dynamic
quality. This is because she was a person who sought to break free
from her static patterns of value.
(RichardRigel, who asked Phædrus if Lila had quality, viewed things
from the Subject/Object vantage point, and from there Society is
merely an assembly of rules that the subjects are supposed to abide
by, while Intellect is the said subjct's ability to think fast and
smart about how to rise in social esteem, and Lila failed badly in
both aspects. From the MOQ perspective however, the perspective
changed (see FAQ no.10) Lila has lots of value. Or, as Phædrus later
emphasized: Quality has lots of Lila(s)).
12. How do the different levels of quality relate to each other?
(The relationship is of a one-way dependency kind, like an upper
storey of a house is dependent upon the lower one. The Inorganic
quality is the basement upon which everything is raised and it can't
be removed without collapsing the whole edifice. According to the
MOQ, each quality level started "in the service" of its parent
and as such indistinguishable from it, but grew to become an
13. What exactly are values?
[This question is the same as "What is Quality".]
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