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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence

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Created for informal class(es) where we have been reading this book by Robert Pirsig and discussing it. It is a tightly woven tale integrating psychology, philosophy, epistemology, even some Zen, some Art and some Motorcycle Maintenance. However, a key focus is on the relationship between Quality, Care/mindfulness, and the impact this has on individuals and society

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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence

  1. 1. An Exploration: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Jim Isaak (v4, 2014.11.03) Based on Robert Pirsig’s books: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Lila: an Inquiry Into Morals part2 part3 part4 Lila
  2. 2. The unusual structure of the book and the long passages of philosophical discourse will cause difficulties for many students. They may want to take notes on the main points of the author’s discourse or to use graphic devices such as flowcharts to show the relationships of the ideas. You might assure students that even if they don’t understand everything in the book, they will enjoy reading it and will learn a lot from it. Publisher’s “mini guide”
  3. 3. “They know there is more to this book than meets the eye.” Author’s afterword in 25th Anniversary Edition Kulturbarer – Culture Bearer
  4. 4. What Color is Your Motorcycle? • What hobby, activity (physical) do you enjoy, perhaps even seek to master? − Fixing up cars/motorcycles − Quilting − Wood working − Carving − Computer programming ….. Pick something that frustrates you at times, but never- the-less you care enough to keep going
  5. 5. Pirsig’s Books Zen (aka ZMM) combines a few story lines with an overview of philosophy that provides the underpinning for the “Metaphysics of Quality” (MOQ) that is the primary topic of his second book: Lila Both books use an artistic 3rd person perspective in which the author manages to discuss and critique the opinions and perspectives of a character “Phaedrus” – who is mostly the author himself. This makes the presentation less of an essay and more “credible”.
  6. 6. Author's Note: "What follows is based  on actual occurrences. Although much has been changed for rhetorical purposes, it must be regarded in its essence as fact. However, it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either."
  7. 7. What is Real? • Pirsig & son Chris − Really did a trip in ’68 − Minnesota to San Francisco • But the book uses Significant artistic license to convey the author’s messages • But this is also a key topic of the book
  8. 8. The Trip Bozeman Montana University DeWeeses John & Silvia head back from here
  9. 9. The Author Robert Pirsig born 1928 − 1944-45 Biochemistry (yes, age 15) − 1946-48 US Army Korea − 1948-50 BA Philosopy -- 1951 India − 1954 meets Nancy Ann James --Chris born 1956; Ted 1958 − 1959 fall – teaching at Bozeman − 1961 on to Chicago (teaching and PhD program) − Dec. 1961 Chicago Univ. Mental Hospital − 1963 out of hospitals (Electro-Convulsive Shock Therapy) − 1966 obtains the motorcycle − 1973 ZMM accepted for publication − 1975 “Lila” boat trip − 1976 meets Wendy – Nell b. 1981 − 1991 Lila published From: http://www.psybertron.org/timeline.html
  10. 10. The World 1964-1974 (ZMM published 1974 after 4+ years writing and pitching it) • ’67: Hair opens on Broadway; SF Summer of Love, • Assassinations: M.L. King, R.F. Kennedy • Riots: College Campuses, Kent State • Nixon Elected, and Impeached • Significant disturbances in Europe, Mexico, Asia
  11. 11. This following program is dedicated to the city and people of San Francisco, who may not know it but they are beautiful and So is their city this is a very personal song, so if the viewer Cannot understand it particularly those of you who are European residents, save up all your bread and fly Trans Love Airways to San Francisco U.S.A., then maybe you'll understand The song, it will be worth it, if not for the sake of this song, but For the sake of your own peace of mind San Francisco Nights – the Animals, 1967
  12. 12. Always read the first paragraph “I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is eight-thirty in the morning. The wind, even at sixty miles an hour, is warm and humid. When it’s this hot and muggy at eight-thirty, I’m wondering what it’s going to be like in the afternoon.” A solid ‘grip’ on reality builds strong credibility – you can feel it
  13. 13. Classical vs Romantic • World views .. • Also can be considered: − Scientific, objective, rationale Vs − Artistic, subjective, irrational? Perhaps even right vs. left brain
  14. 14. What kind of person are you? • Classical vs Romantic? • Artistic vs Scientific? • Right brain vs Left brain? • Analytic vs Creative? • Synthesis vs Analysis?
  15. 15. There are two kinds of people • The ones who divide people into two groups … and the ones who don’t • Bifurcation vs holistic perception and of course the basis for bifurcation can vary “Mu”
  16. 16. Quick cuts • Emphasis on “good” rather than “time” the Journey as opposed to the destination • The people “aren’t going anywhere”, they are “here and now” • We saw it and yet we didn’t see it. Or rather we were trained not to see it.(z12) • “What’s new?” vs “What’s Best?” Page #’s for Zen from 25th Anniversary Kindle edition
  17. 17. Richardson’s Extract “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well” Mark Richardson’s “summary” of ZMM’s “Quality” focus Mark Richardson did the “Pirsig Pilgrim” road trip circa 2004, and wrote a book “Zen and Now” based on that trip, with excerpts from ZMM, meetings with folks mentioned, and some R.Pirsig biography
  18. 18. How do you “fix” it? • Dripping faucet • Running toilet • Squeaky door • No doubt there are bounds on what you will attempt … tune your car? Install new disk drive in your computer? Remove your own appendix? • Feelings towards “technology”
  19. 19. “The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of the mountain or in the petals of a flower” z18
  20. 20. Attention to work • Lack of “care” in service (of motorcycle) but in so many other things. • Not being ‘mindful’ ---
  21. 21. Mindfulness “It occurred to me there is no manual that deals with the real business of motorcycle maintenance, the most important aspect of all. Caring about what you are doing is considered either unimportant or taken for granted.” (z 27) 6 May 2014 WSJ article asserts 61% of college grads are not engaged in their work.
  22. 22. Disaffection “to see if in that strange separation of what man is from what man does we may have some clues as to what the hell has gone wrong in this 20th century.” (z 27)
  23. 23. Have you been in the Zone? • Mindful work, sports, meditation, … • Sometimes called “Deep Time” • Fully present in “now” • A difference from the “creative zone” and the “recipient zone” <writer vs. reader>
  24. 24. Ghost stories • “You look like you’ve seen a ghost” z29 • The scientific vs Indian vs other perspectives …. Of course including the narrator’s • Law of gravity, “mind” … numbers … all ghosts • “Phaedrus … has been with us all along. There is no escape.” • Your “Ghosts” (I’ve come to think of them as “the committee”) – worries, should haves, tomorrows, completing a dream, …
  25. 25. How to Read “I try to pick a book far over his head and read it as a basis for questions and answers, rather than without interruption. … some times we have spent a whole evening and discovered we have only covered a few pages.” z39
  26. 26. • What things “mean” vs what they “are” − The slipping handlebars and the ‘shim’ − Beer can vs factory supplied parts • Two realities − Immediate artistic appearance − Underlying scientific explanations (different levels, degrees of accuracy, perspectives)
  27. 27. • Chris has symptoms of mental illness z58 • “Causes and effects are a result of thought. I would think mental illness comes before thought.” • They [doctors] are not “kin” – kind .. Cannot be kind towards him • Leads to Goethe’s “Erlking” poem (mis-remembered to include ocean) • “Phaedrus – evil spirit. Insane. “ z61 (never buried right)
  28. 28. Phaedrus’ Case z64 “From his writings and from what other’s have said about him and from fragments of my own recall it should be able to piece together some kind of approximation of what he was talking about. … The purpose is to bury him forever.” Classical vs Romantic − Blue print vs the actual motorcycle − Classical analysis (“the knife”) – a taxonomy Missing: ‘Why’, The Observer, value assignments and the choices made in the dissection
  29. 29. Choices • How does one decide to segment things? • It is a question of selective awareness … on the part of the analyst as much as the audience • How do we separate the “noise” from the “signal”? – and one aspect of the signal from another? (piles of non-identical sand particles) • “…the Buddha that exists within analytic thought and gives that analytic thought it’s direction …” z75
  30. 30. Narrator discovers Phaedrus • Friday after work, went to party too much talk, too loud, too much to drink crashed in back bedroom • Awoke – next day .. But not the same room, place, people, clothes, • Hospital, nurses (name tags), doctors • “You have a new personality now” z82 • “These EYES! … gloves, motorcycle …were once his…”
  31. 31. Di Santo & Steele Distinguish 1. The Author 2. The Narrator 3. Phaedrus 4. The “apparent” Author How are these “persons” different?
  32. 32. Trained not to see it Dan Simons (“The Monkey Business Illusion”) has researched how we “pay attention” • Here is his classic example: Test 1 • And a second example: Test 2
  33. 33. Part II (z80) A bit more on Electro Shock Therapy: Dr. Sherwin Nuland has direct experience TED talk [Persig had 28 treatments in what is known as Annihilation Electo-shock therapy z77]
  34. 34. It is all “one” thing “On this machine I’ve done the tuning so many times it’s become a ritual” z89 We are talking about motor cycle maintenance We are talking about a “ritual”, a considered word choice We are in a very “real’ scene – sounds, temperature, …”the knack is almost purely a process of reason” Consider the ‘mindfulness’ of the narrator’s tuning activity
  35. 35. • OLLI Mindfulness class (11/17/14) asked the question “how did western culture become fixated on ‘thinking’ – I think therefore I am” … • This Romantic – Classical division is an active factor in many contexts • The motorcycle as a collection of parts The “whole” as a concept
  36. 36. “The System” − “The Establishment” − “The Military Industrial Complex” − The Government • “People arrive at a factory and perform a totally meaningless task from 8-5 because the structure demands that it be that way.” z93 • “There is so much talk about t he system. And so little understanding” z94
  37. 37. Levels of Systems (Lila) in conflict with each other • Physics/Chemistry – Big Bang to Planets Follows the laws of physics • Biological Systems – emerge from physics Follows the law of the jungle (survival of fittest) Rebels against physics – stands upright, flys… • Social Systems – emerge from Biological systems Follow the “Rule of Law” Resists the law of the jungle • Intellectual Systems – Emerge from Social
  38. 38. It’s all in our mind “Shapes, like this tappet, are what you arrive at, what you give to the steel. Steel has no more shape than this old pile of dirt on the engine here. These shapes are all out of someone’s mind. That’s important to see.” z94 “It sounds insane when you just jump up and say it without reference to anything specific like an engine. But when you tie it down to something specific and concrete the insane sound tends to disappear …” z95
  39. 39. “The romantic condemnation of rationality stems from the very effectiveness of rationality in uplifting men from primitive conditions. It’s such a powerful, all-dominating agent of civilized man it’s all but shut out everything else and now dominates man himself.” z120
  40. 40. What’s the Problem? • Why won’t the cycle work vs what is wrong with the electrical system? • Asking the right question is critical • Assumptions/given/dogma can yield wrong questions and wrong answers “We hold these truths to be self evident”
  41. 41. Scientific Method “The correct method for this inter-weaving {of inductive and deductive reasoning} is formalized as scientific method.” z99 An experiment is a failure only when it fails to adequately test the hypothesis z101 The formation of hypotheses is the most mysterious <aspect> of the scientific method z105
  42. 42. Steps of Scientific Method 1. Statement of problem 2. Hypotheses as to the cause(s) of the problem 3. Experiments designed to test each hypothesis 4. Predicted results of the experiments 5. Observed results of the experiments 6. Conclusions from results “The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn’t mislead you into thinking you know something you don’t actually know” z100
  43. 43. Almost hit by car passing another car z102 Role in story? “one can at last start to talk about Phaedrus’ break from the mainstream of rational thought in the pursuit of the ghost of rationality itself” z104
  44. 44. The Supreme Task (of science) “..is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience…” Albert Einstein, quoted z106 “The purpose of scientific method is to select a single truth from among many hypothetical truths. …but historically science has done just the opposite. Through multiplication of facts, information, theories and hypotheses..” z108 [vs Asymptotically approaching the truth as presented by Brother Consolmagno]
  45. 45. BUT • “At any moment … a single [hypothesis] has proven itself superior” (quoting Einstein) • With the infinite hypotheses delima Proliferation of changing truths => social chaos?
  46. 46. Eve of Destruction Barry McGuire (1965) “The major producer of the social chaos, the indeterminacy of thought and values that rational knowledge is supposed to eliminate, is none other than science itself.” (z108) “The problem is a genetic defect within the nature of reason itself. ….the structure of reason..is emotionally hollow, esthetically meaningless and spiritually empty.” z109
  47. 47. “We are following a creek to it’s source” z112 Cold – high country Where Phaedrus would go
  48. 48. Institutions “of every sort all tended to direct thought for ends other than truth, for the perpetuation of their own functions, and for the control of individual in the service of these functions.” z113 [compare with Ken Robinson's TED talk on how schools kill creativity asserting that education, world wide, is primarily targeted at developing University Professors.]
  49. 49. Pirsig’s “escape” from the box Essay question … provide eight to ten typewritten pages addressing the assertion: “Pirsig’s failure to complete college (at age 15) with it’s indoctrination and his subsequent insanity provided an essential basis for developing a clear picture of the true nature of reality.” [ok, I’m kidding … but …well … I think I am … at least about the essay test.]
  50. 50. High country of the mind • “What is the truth and how do you know it when you have it?” z119 • [Note lateral thinking is physically represented in the switch-backs going up the mountain … a traditional path to the high-country, and a metaphor here.]
  51. 51. How do we know things? • Hume (empiricist- all knowledge via senses) − Knowledge without any senses? (Tabula Rasa) z123 − But the world is entirely within our mind z123 • vs. Kant – there is knowledge that can arise independent of senses/experience (e.g. time) asymptotic developing of a “model” of an object oddly enough this “model” predicts reality, but never matches it. Z127 - A priori
  52. 52. A priori z126 To perceive the “motorcycle” you need to separate it from the background noise, and also from it’s constituent parts … and perceive the “form” (in Platonic terms) as it transforms in time, space, perspective … “What Copernicus did was take the existing a priori concept of the world {flat and fixed in space} and pose an alternative a priori concept of the world …” z128 This is also what Pirsig would like to do with the “Phaedrus” world view
  53. 53. “I suppose if I were a novelist rather than a Chautauqua orator I’d try to “develop the characters” of John and Sylvia and Chris with action-packed scenes that would also reveal the “inner meanings” of Zen and maybe Art and maybe even Motorcycle Maintenance. That would be quite a novel, but for some reason I don’t feel quite up to it. They’re friends, not characters …” z129
  54. 54. Tat tvam asi Sanskrit for “thou art that” Everything you think you are And Everything you think you perceive Are Undivided. Z135 Sanskrit ‘dhyana’ mispronounced in Chinese as ‘Chan’ and again in Japanese as ‘Zen’
  55. 55. Church of Reason z139 “accreditation” – education – desanctified church • “The real university is nothing less than the continuing body of reason itself.”z141 • “The legal corporation {university}, cannot teach, does not generate new knowledge or evaluate ideas… it is the location at which the conditions have been made favorable for the real church to exist.” This does not spit university into students/faculty or departments or fields….rather “church” vs “Location”
  56. 56. “When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals it’s always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.” Z144 Phaedrus was telling students to have faith in reason because there isn’t anything else … a faith he did not have himself. z145
  57. 57. Phaedrus emerging z152 • “…it isn’t anything like the way you told me about last night” Chris to narrator … who concludes ‘he must have been dreaming’
  58. 58. “Assembly of Japanese bicycle require great peace of mind.” (z156)
  59. 59. The Edge of Quality • “The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn’t any other test.” z157 • “Technology presumes there is just one right way to do things and there never is. …the art of the work is just as dependent on your own mind ands pirit as it is upon the material of the machine.” z158 • “Rotisserie assembly is actually a long-lost branch of sculpture” z159
  60. 60. A Tipping Point • “What is needed now is an expansion of reason to handle technological ugliness.” Z161 • I hope you are teaching quality to your students” z173 • “Quality… you know what it is, yet you don’t know what it is.” z176 • “What the hell is quality?” z176
  61. 61. Insanity I think this fear of insanity is comparable to the fear people once had of falling off the edge of the earth. Or the fear of heretics” (p163) “If you go too far beyond [rationality] you’re presumed to fall into insanity. And people are very afraid of that.
  62. 62. Part III (z164)
  63. 63. Subject-Object-Quality • The distinction between subject and object is created by the “Quality” event z215+ (or “process”?) • This gives rise to the “Rational Self” (conscious, …), but is not that self • Where does the event “occur”?
  64. 64. The “Knife” of Analysis • Quality bifurcates − Object and subject − Classical perspective from Romantic perspective − Square from Hip
  65. 65. Chris and Narrator • Headed up the mountain …. The “high country of the mind” .. Where they will “meet” Phaedrus • Narrator developing the concept of quality − While hesitating to go where Phaedrus went − While rising in the high country of the mind − While refusing to go where Phaedrus might be Chris (at times?) appears to reflect Phaedrus’ frustration/anger --- with the narrator
  66. 66. Di Santo & Steele (ss) • The Pre-intellectual self (z240 Phaedrus's term) (for which peace of mind is a prerequisite z265) • Subliminal self (Poincare's term) SS25 • Mystical self (SS26) (Ultimate Reality – an experience of union, not a speculation about it)
  67. 67. Quality/Values (/morality/characteristics…) Introduces the concept of “Quality”, undefined, and “above” the traditional bifurcation of concepts such as Object/Subject. “Quality Event” Pre/sub-conscious The brain’s process of interpreting input in terms of learned or innate qualities (values) Subjective “Mind” Conscious Awareness Unconscious actions
  68. 68. Quality vs. Value vs. … • NPR’s TED Radio Hour, 2014 May Brand over Brain set of discussions • There may be biological reasons to value “branded” products, sources etc • (Perhaps even “celebrity” values as discussed in Lila) • But is perceived value also Quality?
  69. 69. Object
  70. 70. Examples of innate quality • Sit on hot stove – discover “low quality” situation and take corrective action • Distinction (by qualities/values) of sound or light frequencies/patterns, touch, taste.. • Some qualities are innate (evolved/nature) • Some qualities are learned (culture/nurture)
  71. 71. The key Nothing enters our awareness except by the “quality event” – a process of brain filtered perception* * I’m adding my own interpretation with this phrase – aligning it with other literature
  72. 72. The train The cars contain the accumulated (static) knowledge (memories) (for an individual, or for society as a whole) The “cutting edge” of the engine is the “Romantic Now” – the point of dynamic change where the opportunity exists to acquire new knowledge, understanding, creative results, innovation, etc. The track is “Quality” which can only be perceived at the leading edge Persig could have used the point where the motorcycle tire “rubber meets the road” --- but it is a different image :^)
  73. 73. Train Tracks • Each person is a different train • The “track” (quality) is individual, based on cumulative experience (not universal) – you ‘discover’ what you are capable of discovering. • (you are never the same train twice you cannot step in the same stream twice)
  74. 74. On Intelligence • Jeff Hawkins "On Intelligence" book and TED talk • Outlines brain as 7 layers with even layers trying to predict what the patterns will be from the lower “odd” layer, bottom layer is perception inputs, top layer is conscious awareness
  75. 75. Poincare's Criteria for Facts • The more general the more precious • Choose simple (KISS) • Interesting? • Exceptions are significant • Test the greatest points of failure − Weakest links and most significant links
  76. 76. Gumption (z270) Enthusiasm – ‘filled with Theos / God’ Inner peace of unselfconsciousness => complete identification with one’s circumstances with self-awareness – so different from self consciousness. (p287) − Physical quietness − Mental quietness − Value quietness
  77. 77. Just Doing (z288) • Mindful attention = caring ~ meditation • “Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle. I think that what I have to say has more lasting value.” (z289) • A “Spiritual Sense of Gravity” (z286)
  78. 78. Shortcuts to Living Right “The real cycle you are working on is a cycle called yourself. The machine that appears to be ‘out there’ and the person that appears to be ‘in here’ are not two separate things. They grow toward Quality or fall away from Quality together.” (p317)
  79. 79. Part IV z295 Going to San Francisco Scott McKinzie
  80. 80. The Beginning • Note – this section starts “in italics”, behind the glass door – and finally we find out who’s viewpoint this is … Phaedrus • What are the apparent story arcs? − Here- the battle between Phaedrus and narrator − The related father son relationship battle • Together paralleling the earlier ghost story − Essay on values and metaphysics – “Quality” • Reconciliation between classical and romantic perspectives • Between art, science (maintenance) and spirituality (Zen) − Road trip across country
  81. 81. Convergence • Quality is all of Greek thought • The battles (real and imagined) at U. Chicago Aristotle, ‘value free’ science, “classics- Great Books” • “no one is accepted in Chicago until he rubbed someone out, it is time Aristotle gets his.”
  82. 82. Mythos vs. Legos (z316) Greek influenced languages create object/subject distinctions whereas languages like Chinese do not – the sacred “word” in western tradition Stepping outside the Mythos of a culture=“insane” Cumulative Mythos is the contents of the train… the unknown territory outside of the train is also outside of the culture => insanity
  83. 83. • Mindful welding & Loneliness & technology [“all the lonely people, where do they all come from” Beatles, Eleanor Rigby] • Rural Americana to California Glitz objectification of everyone/thing “My personal feeling is that this is how any further improvement of the world will be done: by individuals making Quality decisions, that’s all.” (z323) (parallels comment z289)
  84. 84. • “Phaedrus went a different path from the idea of individual personal quality decisions. I think it was a wrong one, but perhaps if I were in his circumstances I would go that way too.” ???? • “The underlying evil … <is the> tendency to do what is “reasonable” even when it isn’t any good.” (z324)
  85. 85. Growing tension in the Rhetoric class • [In the room with the crack in the round table across from the hospital building…] • Dialectic – logical argumentation – as a (the) path to truth • Or the physical/scientific path of observation • Aristotle, the motorcycle maintenance-detail- analytical person vs. Plato the generalist “Buddha” seeker (p332)
  86. 86. • That which is true vs. that which is good Plato vs. Sophists (z335) • Truth’s victory over Good (over Quality) • [consider what is “Good” in ZMM vs what is “True” in ZMM!] • Immortal principle(s) vs relative truths but actually Quality/Excellence/Dharma [Arête]
  87. 87. The Ending “Everything is alright now, Chris. That’s not my voice.” (z368) … “It has all come together” …. “Where you really insane?” “No” …. “We've won it. It’s going to get better now. You can sort of tell these things.”
  88. 88. What just happened? • Who won • How do the story arcs “land”? − Narrator vs Phaedrus − Chris and father − Trip to the ocean − Understanding of the Metaphysics of Quality − Trip to insanity; return from insanity
  89. 89. Before we forget
  90. 90. Mindfulness • Physical Quietness • Mental Quietness • Value Quietness (no wandering desires) • Identification with what you are doing (z298)
  91. 91. 1972 letter Pirsig to DeWeeses (SS 210) “The story isn’t really about them [Chris, John, Sylvia, …] … they are like a Greek chorus there to “Oh” and “Ah” and give a semblance of reality to a tale that seems always to ride at the very edge of incredibility and needs all the help it can get.” …
  92. 92. (continued) “For reasons shown at the end of the story, the narrator’s perception of people around him is very weak and distorted…” [Robert Pirsig letter to DeWeeses in 1972] (also see Z120-121 on Chautauqua orator vs novelist)
  93. 93. Achtung! Sie verlassen jetzt den Zenishen Sektor
  94. 94. <Entering into Lila-Land> • Nothing is value-free – the observer is part of every observation and perceives it via their value system/filters • Value(s) = Morals = Quality ….. You get the picture
  95. 95. Lila Story Arc (surface) Boat trip from Kingston NY to NY to Sandy Hook NJ “Phaedrus” as 3rd person protagonist, picks up “Lila” – a lady of dubious repute – asserting to a lawyer who knows her well that she has “Quality” – the nature of Lila’s Quality drives the contemplation and story forward She ultimately has a mental breakdown and is “saved” by her lawyer friend Fairly tightly written – no pretense of “Chautauqua”
  96. 96. Native Americans c3 Peyote experience parallel to Buddhist meditation (perhaps exceeding it in overall cultural context) Awareness of “Plain(s) speak”, influence of Native linguistic style on “Western” speak L53/53 From there, awareness of influence of Native culture on “American Values” Rousseau ‘Nobel Savage’ is source of “all men created equal”
  97. 97. • Tom Sawyer (eastern/order) vs Huck Finn (western/freedom) • 60’s “rebellions” --- free love, free speech movement (also American Indian Movement) [what was won/lost – rebellion against society or intellectualism or both or ??] • But then today – Patriot Act that imposes more order in America and tension with freedom
  98. 98. Anthropology • So, create an anthropological dissertation on the values influence of Native culture on “America” But! • Anthro is dominated by “scientific positivism”, no values allowed; worse, no generalizations (just data and facts--- no theories, ….) • “Invisible wall of prejudice”
  99. 99. William James Sidis L72 • 1889-1944 • Passed Harvard exams at 8, admitted at 11 – graduated cum laude • Authored paper on the American heritage derived from Native American traditions • And other work paralleling that of “Phaedrus”
  100. 100. Persig’s approach ZMM is an example of philosophic critique and contribution via the popular press rather than academic paths Lila is (in part) an example of Anthropological critique and contribution via the popular press… Mysticism: the nature of reality is outside of language (or cannot be expressed in words) But then if words “About” reality are misleading, can words “around” reality lead to enlightenment?
  101. 101. MOQ is not unique Any more than polar coordinates are more “right” than Cartesian – some work better in given situations (z 255)
  102. 102. Static vs Dynamic quality • Static – that which is known, established, understood, proven, accepted --status quo • Dynamic – the “cutting edge” of the unknown – the point of creativity – discovery - insight … pre-intellectual inspiration • Analogy: a train where just the very leading edge is the “quality event horizon” (ZMM)
  103. 103. Existence depends on quality • Cannot distinguish between two things if there is no quality/value differentiation (This is a literal perception statement) • Particle physics acknowledges this, all electrons are created equal, indistinguishably equal – L99
  104. 104. Metaphysics • “about nature” • The “Philosophic” nature of reality − Scientific realism – the universe is all made up of particles and forces – this is the total reality (Platonic realism has the “forms” as “real”) − Idealism – only mind/ideas exist – objects are creations of our consciousness (or God’s) − Logical (empirical) positivism – discussions about metaphysics have no meaning (non-verifiable)
  105. 105. A (very) Small Problem 20th century physics has embraced Quantum stuff • Where objects can exist in two places at one time • Where effect may precede cause • Where a change in a particle here can affect a particle there, instantly –at any distance • Where particles are waves and waves are particles • Where particles can emerge from nothing • Where particles can tunnel though objects • Where God plays dice – in spite of Einstein
  106. 106. Addressing “gaps” (platypi) • Causation: ‘B’ values pre condition “A” L126 − Emergent characteristics like “substance” − Quantum mechanics surfaces issues in “reality” − A “table” is an inorganic (static) pattern of value • Consciousness values a specific bio-chemical pattern (Max Tegmark, 2014 TEDx Cambridge) • Zuni Koan – Brujo/witch vs priests – dynamic quality “applied”
  107. 107. Testing for truth − Logical Consistency − Agreement with experience − Economy of explanation • No “absolute” truth in MOQ • Seek the highest quality explanation or methodology currently available L100
  108. 108. Science • “…is a set of static intellectual patterns describing this reality [value/quality] but the patterns are not the reality they describe” L103
  109. 109. 4 Layers/Systems of Reality L149/179 c12 • Inorganic – “laws of physics/chemistry” • Biologic – --“laws of nature/evolution…” • Social – ---- “legal & cultural systems” • Intelligent – “inalienable rights” (relation to Memes?? To consciousness?) Each higher layers dominates/controls lower layers for it’s own purposes
  110. 110. Laws • Laws of physics – reflect the inorganic level influence over chaos • Law of the Jungle – reflects the biological level influence over the inorganic level • Human laws – reflects the social level influence over the biological level (Thou shalt not kill) • Intellectual principles – reflect the intellectual level influence over the social level (all men are created equal, die gedunken sind frei)
  111. 111. Impact of the Resistance: • Biological systems reverse “entropy” , like to move “independently”, stand up, even fly in spite of gravity, etc. – biological systems devour inorganic materials to grow • Social systems kill biological systems to grow- agriculture, animal breeding, anti-biotics – for the public good [nations, churches with ‘static quality’] • Intellectual principles kill people and societies – Live Free or Die; democracy, equality 9/11 and ISIS are a social system at war, in part, with an intellectual principles
  112. 112. Animal Intelligence • Large brain to body size ratio is associated with social animals – specifically complex societies (Bonobos, Dolphins, Humans) • PBS Nova April 2014 smartest animals • Complex social interactions including altruism, friendship, honoring dead (in non humans) (easy to see as pre-requisite to concepts like “all men are created equal”)
  113. 113. Different rules at different levels • We can’t describe how a human operates in terms of chemistry/physics – nor can we describe the meaning of a novel from the bits and operations of a computer at the hardware level L150 • “Emergent characteristics”
  114. 114. Life • “is composed of static patterns of value and these patterns are always evolving toward a dynamic quality” L139 • “one could almost define life as the organized disobedience of the law of gravity” L143 (or perhaps Entropy j.i.) 1 Energy is conserved 2 in all energy exchanges, if no energy enters or leaves the system, the potential energy of the state will always be less than that of the initial state. (Entropy) 3 all processes cease as temperature approaches absolute zero.
  115. 115. Evolution • Survival of the most fit -> of the best -> of the highest quality • Starts to fill the gap between simple reductionism and “purpose” … • “steps” – improvements are a dynamic process, then latched in static, protected forms (DNA..) a “ratcheting” process
  116. 116. Evolution (2) • It is interesting to consider the evolutionary process at “all” of the levels --- • Susan Blackmore’s TED presentation • With Variation & Selection evolution occurs among social institutions as well as Biological systems and Memes
  117. 117. Mind vs Matter L155 Mu • Matter is at Inorganic level • Filtered though Biological level • Then through Societal level • Finally reaches Intellectual level = Mind
  118. 118. Free Will L156 “…behavior controlled by static quality patterns is without choice. But to the extent that one follows Dynamic Quality, which is indefinable, one’s behavior is free.”
  119. 119. “it sounds particular … to say that hydrogen and oxygen form water because it is moral to do so. But it is no less particular … to say chemistry professors smoke pipes and go to movies because irresistible cause-and-effect forces of the cosmos force them to do it.” p156 – Different explanations at different levels
  120. 120. Morality Everything is an ethical activity –higher quality is preferred Each level seeks to overcome/control the lower level (inorganic/Bio/social/intellectual) The virus wishes to live, but the Doctor fighting it serves the higher evolutionary level L159 The US Civil War was fought for “ideals” -”intelligence” over “society” ji (pps – the ideals were things like “Union” and “States Rights” not slavery) (pps – and economic factors like King Cotton and exclusion from western expansion)
  121. 121. Consider “Evolution” • Cosmos evolves higher level elements (literally - supernova’s create elements above Lithium (3) in the periodic table) • Darwin addresses the Biological level • Evolution of society is anthropology/history • Evolution of intellectual level is reflected in peer- review/research – ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’
  122. 122. Evolution in each case • Is the result of “dynamic quality” events that transform, and “latch in” the resulting transformations • In stable elements, DNA, RNA, proteins myth/sacred texts/history/codes/laws, publication
  123. 123. Now consider “Eco-Systems” • There are variations at every level − Elements and substances/objects − Virus, bacteria, plants, animals … − Tribes, villages, city states, nation states (corporations, churches, clubs, …) − Physics, art, philosophy Is the University a Social Institution, vs an Intellectual one?
  124. 124. EcoSystems continued • And at each level there are processes, divisions of “labor”/specialization … • valance/bonding … the flexibility of carbon • Variations of cells in an organism, and often roles among herds, colonies, …
  125. 125. Social specializations Hunters, gatherers, shamans, child-care Villages, towns, cities, states, nations Corporations, armies/police, legal systems Competition can be very real – battles between “city-states” of Greece
  126. 126. What is New York? C17 • The “Giant” that is sustained by people, but perhaps not for the benefit of people L219 • we talk about working for “the man”, “I owe my soul to the company store”, “ask not what your country can do for you” …, • Then go to L304/354 C24 – and the sinister side
  127. 127. 9/11 ji • was not an attack on people, it was an attack on New York, America • actually an attack on American Ideals a social institution – an Islamic cult – attacking a threatening intellectual constructs: freedom of speech, religion, etc. • Static social structure attacking a threatening intellectual system
  128. 128. Socialism vs Free Market L220 • “Socialism* is a higher form of evolution” but it fails to recognize dynamic quality • A free market is a dynamic institution driven by value (at least in theory) • Parallel operations (vs serial “planned” ones”) have inherit advantages *it is unclear if this includes communism, totalitarianism, etc. ..
  129. 129. Enabling dynamic quality L222 “No minority has a right to block a majority from conducting the legal business of the organization. No majority has a right to prevent a minority from peacefully attempting to become the majority.” (attributed to Roberts Rules of Order)
  130. 130. Science vs Religion L222 “Scientific truth has always contained an overwhelming difference from theological truth: it is provisional.” “Science always contains an eraser” (“The pencil is mightier than the pen”)
  131. 131. Radical Idealists vs Hooligans L223 • Both oppose the status quo • It may be hard to tell them apart • It is only with a century or so of hindsight to determine that a specific change is evolutionary (i.e. towards Quality; Moral)
  132. 132. Celebrity L253 • An organizing force of the social level • The charismatic hunter, shaman, etc. • Potentially destructive for the ‘star’ (narcosis of mirrors enhancing image) (brings to mind Don Quixote and the “mirror cure”)
  133. 133. Technology & Society L282 • Lack of “values” understanding in the objective- scientific technology may underlie the dissatisfaction with “devices” • Movies (virtual realities?) metaphorically are the projected reality in which people operate
  134. 134. 5 Moral Codes L301/351 c24.5 1. Inorganic – chaotic 2. Biological – inorganic 3. Social – biological 4. Intellectual – social 5. Dynamic - static
  135. 135. The “Nightmare” L308/359 “We are living in an intellectual and technological paradise and a moral and social nightmare because the intellectual level of evolution … has ignored the social level’s role in keeping the biological level under control.” The Great Satan hated by the Muslem cultures
  136. 136. Victorians L309 • White man’s burden • See intellectual as subordinate to society • “Victorian aristocracy knew what quality was and defined it very carefully for persons with a less fortunate upbringing than their own.” L117 • Rigel is the ‘Victorian’ character in Lila • Victorians have “manners”, Intellectuals have causes L329 [Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd?]
  137. 137. Historical “Battles” • “Socrates died to establish the independence of intellectual patterns from their social origins” L315 • Scopes Trial – Intellectual vs Society and parallels into today on many topics L319 • 1914 “Christmas” truce – Shared institution (religious) vs National institutions at war • Battles within ‘institutions’ – − Universities (social role, intellectual “home”) − Churches (schisms – on issues gay bishops, …) − A “Jesuit” Pope will be interesting (leans towards intellectual, poverty, …)
  138. 138. Happiness: Pursuit Thereof • A technical mechanical rabbit that stays just ahead L330 • 20th century “hamster wheel” (Lila format: Paradise => Paradise => Paradise ) • A movie/illusion that keeps individual from actually experiencing life and other people [Parallels Sam Harris in “Waking Up”, and others]
  139. 139. Philosophology L322/376 c26 Criticism of Philosophy, parallel to art or literature (all liberal arts?) … Studying literature or art history does not make you an author or artist … nor does study of philosophy make you a philosopher
  140. 140. Insanity • Is culturally defined – independent of causes… • Psychiatrists enforce the status quo Getting out means playing along with their game (… I think I may be getting a bit better) --- role playing (like ZMM narrator)
  141. 141. Believing is Seeing We tend not to see data that is inconsistent with our expectations Wrong buoy, wall in wrong place, etc. – only to find he is in unexpected harbor Scientific observations, etc. are similar Dan Simmons example 1 and Example 2
  142. 142. Dharmakaya Light L337/393 c26 end • Culturally filtered out? • El Greco paintings • Enlightenment, torch of knowledge, why is “light” associated with intelligence, knowledge, etc. • Auspicious indicator? (aura?)
  143. 143. Movies (etc) as hypnosis L357/415 c29 • We accept movies, books – alternate realities – immersive – • A powerful force for cultural reinforcement (ergo censorship in literal and implicit ways) • Insanity may be the viewing of a different movie – which is more valuable?
  144. 144. Suffering p360 “Is the negative face of the Quality that drives the whole process. All of these battles between patterns of evolution go on within suffering individuals…” • “Life is trouble, only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and look for trouble” (Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis)
  145. 145. Rta – Arete L380/440 c30 • Cosmic order, right, virtue, moral order • MOQ “Not a new idea, but the oldest known to man” L382/444 • Moral order
  146. 146. Karmic Garbage disposal L399/463 c32 • “Karma Dump” − You invent a devil group (Jews, Blacks…) and then say that group is responsible for all your suffering, then hate it and destroy it L398/463 − Akin to scapegoat in the literal sense • Christ, Lincoln, Gandhi – “cleansing the world though the absorption of karmic garbage”
  147. 147. ?? Dynamic Quality ?? Intellectual Systems Social Systems Biological Systems Inorganic Systems Where does it lead? … Singularity?
  148. 148. A cut at Maslow Alignment 1. Physical Biological 2. Security Bio/Social Edge 3. Love & Belonging Social 4. Self Esteem & Esteem of Others Intellectual 5. Self Actualization Dynamic Quality
  149. 149. Informing our Dialog • How do the MoQ concepts inform our dialog in various areas? − Ethics − Understanding the Scientific-cultural tensions
  150. 150. Resources • Web site - http://is.gd/ZenMM • Also books: − Santo & Steele; Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; Harper-Collins, 1990 − Richardson, Mark; Zen and Now; Alfred A. Knopf, 2008
  151. 151. The End For now

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