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Other papers on this website:

Inspirationality-Part 2

Inspirationality-Part 1

The 1993 AHP transcript-Part 1

The 1993 AHP Transcript-Part 2

The 1993 AHP Transcript-Part 3

Selections from the 1993 AHP transcript

David Granger's Aesthetics Paper

PhD Commentary

An Open Letter to Sam Harris

Art & the MOQ by Robert Pirsig

An Introduction to
 Robert Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality

Khoo Hock Aun's Paper

David Buchanan's Art & Morality Paper

Pirsig Annotations on Copleston

Gavin Gee-Clough's "Brisbane Winter" Paper 

 Henry Gurr's MOQ presentation

 

Sneddon Thesis

- Part One

 

Sneddon Thesis - Part Two

David Buchanan's 2006 Paper

Observer Interview

Notes on the tetralemma

The MOQ & Time

The MOQ & Education

Pirsig & Pragmatism

Chai at the Lazy Lounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quality and Inspirationality (Part 3)

by John L. McConnell

originally written in 1990

updated July 2012 followed by a debate with Paul Turner 

 

Disclaimer

          In this essay I will continue to tell the truth, at least my piece of it, but I can’t tell you my “whole truth”.  In order to do that I would have to use some theistic language, and I can’t do that here.  Please understand that I’m not protesting.  My essays are posted here by the gracious hospitality of Anthony McWatt, who manages this website, and by the tacit assent of Robert Pirsig.  I appreciate the opportunity they have given me, and I will not abuse it.  However, if you have the sense that there’s more to the story than what I am telling here, you’re right, and you may contact me offline if you want to pursue it.

jlmcconnell@bellsouth.net

 

Introduction

          In Parts 1 and 2, I related how Robert Pirsig and I, by different pathways of experience and reasoning, discerned flaws in conventional rationality and sought a remedy.

          Pirsig sought and found the root of the constitutional flaw in rationality among the Greek philosophers.  Under the influence of Plato and Aristotle the Greeks had subordinated Good to Truth, but had declared Truth to be determined through the method of dialectic.  Thereby they had made Good (Quality) “subject to debate” and had excluded values from the rational process of arriving at truth.

          My search led me to the work of the French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941), specifically his Introduction to Metaphysics and Creative Evolution.  Through the influences of Bergson and of Teilhard de Chardin, I concluded that the flaw in rationality lay in permitting the exaggeration and dominance of the inherently biological attributes and habits of intellect.  Following its biological inclinations, rationality tends to view everything statically and to select out only those aspects of reality that allow manipulation and exploitation of it.  This, too, leads to the exclusion of values.

          Both of us then set out to find ways to reconstruct rationality so as to reintegrate it with values.  Pirsig, with his gift of penetrating analysis, went to the heart of the matter and attacked the very architecture of rationality.  The result was the brilliant Metaphysics of Quality he developed in Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.

          With an inclination toward synthesis, my approach was sort of an operational overhaul of rationality.  I began with Pirsig’s philosophy of Quality, as derived in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZMM), and developed what seemed to be an expanded version of “rational thinking”.  This value-enriched alternative to value-free rationality came to be known as inspirationality.

          I found that I couldn’t “define” inspirational thinking, just as Pirsig found in ZMM that he couldn’t define Quality.  Maybe that’s a good indication that it might be worthwhile.  But I found that I already had a sense of how to do it, and the more I was aware of it, the more applications that I found for practicing it. This essay attempts to provide some characteristics and examples of inspirational thought.  It shows how inspirationality parallels rationality but adds a dimension to it and enriches it with reintegrated value.

          The following imbedded essay was really the medium in which I discovered an actual instance of my own practice of inspirational thinking.  I must caution you that it was written in early 1991, before Lila was published; before the MOQ.  But it turns out to have been remarkably consistent with the MOQ and remarkably adaptable and supplemental to it.  Please bear with me and read through it.  I know what some of you will be thinking, but please go with it. There’s going to be a Hitchcock twist at the end, but you have to read it as I originally wrote it, before the MOQ, in order to get the dramatic impact.  Then I’ll show you how it is enhanced with the MOQ and integrated with it.

 

IVAPS:  An Inspirational Work Form  

            I was once asked to write a GOSPA for the regional sales organization to which I belonged.  "GOSPA" is an acronym for the terms of a very rational work form:  Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Plans, Actions.  From the GOSPA viewpoint, the way to succeed in an enterprise of any kind is to specify a goal, analyze the goal in terms of the interim objectives that must be satisfied in order to achieve the goal, derive strategies for meeting the objectives, determine plans for implementing the strategies, and specify the actions required to carry our the plans.  This is an entirely reasonable and effective work form based on traditional and habitual rationality.

            But when I was challenged to write a GOSPA, I found myself completely at a loss.  I couldn't even propose a goal!  So I decided to approach the problem by "looking over my own shoulder" to see how I organize my own work.  I suppose it was not much of a surprise to observe that I have no goals in my work or in my personal life.  But how can anyone operate almost entirely without goals?  As I continued to observe my own way of working and living, the following structure began to emerge.  At each level of the rational hierarchy embodied in the GOSPA structure, I recognized an inspirational analogue.

            I have no goals, personal or professional.  What I have instead is Intent, the pinnacle of a hierarchy which I subsequently named IVAPS.  The IVAPS philosophy may be described as a non-rigid expression of a motivating and unifying Intent by which one is driven; subjective Values derived from that Intent; Attitudes shaped by those Values; a Process of working in which those Attitudes are manifest; and a State of Mind conducive to the Process.

 

Intent

            An Intent may sound similar to a Goal, but it is quite opposite.  A goal must be a well-defined fixed point, metaphorically "ahead" of you, toward which you work.  The terms which most readily come to mind to describe the effort required to reach a goal are "strive" and "struggle", indicating working "uphill" against an inherently resistant ambient medium, against the opposition of external forces and circumstances.

            An Intent, by contrast, is a direction in which you are driven by an energy which you experience within, but which seems to originate metaphorically "beneath" or "behind" you, driving forward through you and carrying you along with it.  It often generates tremendous expenditure of effort by you, but this effort requires no "strife" or "struggle".  I have previously characterized this driving, motivating agency as Quality. The Intent that it generates is the Intent of Excellence.

 

Values

            Objectives, like Goals, are external fixed points.  They are intermediate landmarks leading toward the ultimate achievement of the goal.  They are specified in terms which allow any observer to determine when, or whether, they have been reached.  A person working in IVAPS mode may support the designated objectives, but they serve little purpose in the motivation or organization of his work, even though his work will, nonetheless, serve the objectives effectively.

            In IVAPS, the inspirational analogues of "objectives" are "subjectives", or Values.  Unlike Objectives, Values are internal, not external; continuing, not fixed; dynamic, not static; non-defined, non-rigid, non-measurable.  They are derived from, and shaped by, your Intent and tuned by your awareness of, and response to, Quality.  Note the deliberate assertion that your Values are determined by Quality, not the other way around.

            Values are not rigidly or formally defined, nor can they be enumerated.  The best you can do is give examples.  I value relationships, with family, friends, colleagues, and customers.  I value integrity.  I value craftsmanship.  I value ownership of work.  I value Beauty in the works of God and man.

 

Attitudes

            As a GOSPA specifies Strategies for achieving the Objectives, An IVAPS contains Attitudes derived from the Values.  Attitudes are inspirational working strategies for expressing Values.  Because I value relationships, I have developed attitudes of concern, compassion, and desire for the happiness and success of those with whom I relate.  These attitudes nourish and cultivate those relationships.  Valuing craftsmanship engenders attitudes of personal responsibility, ownership of work, care for the quality of it, and joy in the doing of it.  Valuing integrity fosters attitudes of openness, candor, and honesty in all dealings, regardless of the attitudes, motives, or practices of those with whom I deal.  Valuing beauty brings about an attitude of reverence and wonder toward those things and events which transmit Quality.

            It must be noted that, in fact, I have not chosen or developed these Attitudes, any more than I have chosen the Values from which they derive, much less the compelling, impelling Intent.  Rather, the Intent of Excellence and its attendant Values and Attitudes have chosen and developed me.  They have determined who I am at this moment in my personal history.

 

Process

            The consequence of these Attitudes with respect to my working has been to place me in such relationship with the work that my focus is on the Process of working rather than on the outcome.  It is not that I don’t care about the outcome.  Indeed, I care deeply.  But I have found that the most effective way to express that caring and to promote the desired outcome is through the practice of excellence in the Process.  "If the process is right, the product will follow."

            The details of the Process are, of course, largely specific to the task, but an important generalization can be made.  The right Process for any task is to "Prepare the climate, and get out of the way!"  We have been taught (rationally) that we must "make it happen", "just do it", "work hard", "strive and struggle", and all those "action" things that stimulate and inspire us.  But the fact is that the right things already "know how to happen", and sometimes its more important to "not do" than to "do".  A physician I once knew had a slogan:  "To heal, Nature needs no help, just no interference."  Working is like that.  When it's right, it just flows through you, and you find the groove and ride it in.  I have never surfed, but that’s what it must be like when you find that sweet spot in a perfect wave and ride it all the way in.  What a ride it can be!!

            Remember how it felt when you got it right, and try to envision and anticipate that feeling.  What you are attempting to do is to recreate a mental image of a metaphysical state of Being in which you become a direct channel through which the work can flow, without interference, without turbulence, to a favorable outcome.  I choose to say "a favorable outcome", rather than "the specified outcome", because if you do a good job of "letting go" of the script, the outcome is often better than any you could have specified in advance.

 

State of Mind

            This Process, as you can see, is more dependent on how you think than on what you do.  The State of Mind that facilitates the Process is a certain "peace-of-mind" state of consciousness characterized by relaxed alertness ("Alpha" brain state), openness, attentiveness, and attunement.  This is a sort of "peace of mind" that may be called "Being present to the work."  If you are present to the work, you are in relationship to it in the present moment and not anticipating the next task or the end of this one.  You are not wishing you were somewhere else.  You are here and now, present to the task, this task, and only this task, for as long as you choose to be.  When you are present to the work, you make yourself open to the flow of Quality.  

            By now it should be clear that the IVAPS mode of working is by no means antithetical to GOSPA structure.  The IVAPS worker is informed by, and committed to, the goals, objectives, strategies, plans, and actions of his organization.  But he sees them, as it were, from the inside rather than the outside.  He relates to and interacts with the work in the present so as to produce a present resonance with a favorable future outcome.  The IVAPS mode is beautifully characterized in a little gem of poetry by Gary Snyder:  

 

Opening the Cover on the Pump of the Hydraulic System of the Back Hoe

Through mud, fouled nuts, black grime,

It opens; a gleam of spotless steel,

Machined-fit perfect, swirl of intake and output,

Relentless clarity at the heart of Work.

 

 

 

          As I proofread through this essay again, I’m thinking, “Wow!  This is really pretty good.”  It’s tantalizingly close to being right, but here’s the twist, and anyone who can spell M-O-Q will have spotted it right away:  It’s wrong!

          It’s wrong because it was developed under the wrong metaphysic!  After immersing myself in the Metaphysics of Quality (MOQ) for the last couple of months I could see right away that I had subordinated “values” to “intent”.  This just shows how insidious are the habits of our inherited conventional rationality.  I had unconsciously conformed my inspirational thinking to the structural format of the GOSPA I was attempting to transcend! It’s amazing it came out so nearly right.

          In the Metaphysics of Quality, “Intent” must be subordinate to “Value”. At the end of Lila Pirsig sums up the MOQ in one sentence:  “Good is a noun.”  The Good, that ultimate and fundamental reality of the universe, is Quality, specifically Dynamic Quality.  That’s why so much of Inspirationality seems to come from “inside” rather than “outside”.  It’s because Inspirational thinking comes from the flow of Dynamic Quality.  Now let’s revisit this paragraph from the essay with these insights in mind.  

            An Intent, by contrast, is a direction in which you are driven by an energy which you experience within, but which seems to originate metaphorically "beneath" or "behind" you, driving forward through you and carrying you along with it.  It often generates tremendous expenditure of effort by you, but this effort requires no "strife" or "struggle".  I have previously characterized this driving, motivating agency as Quality. The Intent that it generates is the Intent of Excellence.  

          Thus, Dynamic Quality, the Supreme Value, is the fundamental reality from which Intent flows.  When Intent is impelled by Dynamic Quality, everything else follows “logically” in the enhanced “logic” of inspirationality.

          In context, the subordination of Values to Intent was somewhat a matter of semantics, but it’s important to say it right.  Clearly, Dynamic Quality is the Supreme Value to which Intent is subordinate.  Now that I have this right, the next fix is easy.

          The “values” that are subordinate to the Intent of Dynamic Quality are not “subjective” or “personal” in an SOM (Subject-Object Metaphysics) sense.  They are static patterns of value.  But these patterns are dependent on, and determined by, Dynamic Quality.  Hence, it is true that I really had little or nothing to do with selecting them.  I don’t “have” values, static or Dynamic; values have me!

          Now I’m on solid ground.  Having gotten the order of precedence right and having restored Quality to the top of the arrangement, everything else flows from it in a natural and elegant way.  This just demonstrates another way in which everything works better when you have the right metaphysic.  The result of this synthesis is an operational upgrade of rationality using an enhanced architectural design.  Perhaps it could be called MOQ Inspirationality, or MOQI for short.

          Now we can further characterize MOQI with a few metaphors that compare it to Inspirationality alone.  If Inspirationality is thinking differently, MOQI is thinking differently from a different frame of reference.  If Inspirationality is thinking outside the box, MOQI is thinking outside a different box.  If Inspirationality is marching to the beat of a different drummer, MOQI is dancing to the song of a different fiddler!

          Now the insights are flooding in.  (This essay has turned from composition to reporting!)  In Part 2, I traced Bergson’s account of the evolutionary development of intellect as a biological construction and his recognition of the value and function of intuition, which he supposed to be a remnant of instinct.  But I concluded instead that what he recognized was not a vestige but a primordium, not a vanishing but an emerging, evolved form of thought.  I am now ready to affirm that belief more than ever.

          Evolution doesn’t stop.  It keeps on going; it’s just harder to see in our own temporal frame of reference.  The MOQ doesn’t stop at the intellectual level because Dynamic Quality doesn’t stop there.  The MOQ had to be open-ended because evolution is, and both are open-ended because Dynamic Quality is!  As soon as abstract intellect began to emerge from the static patterns of society, the seed of the next level must have already been germinating in it.  Bergson and Teilhard each caught glimpses of it.  Pirsig caught it by the tail and never let go.  I’m trying to stay afloat in his wake.  How can the MOQ not be a Dynamic leap forward into the frontiers of the next level of evolution??

          Also, in Part 2, I tried to find a name for this next level, and what I pulled out of the air (Dynamically?) was noesthesis[1], with the idea that it connoted “mind-feeling”.  But from its Greek roots, “aesthetics” is the branch of philosophy concerned with what is beautiful.  Or one could say, what has value.  I deduced that intellect tends to think in abstractions or forms, while what is inherent in noesthesis is a knowledge of “being” or “essence”.  But that was another mistake of operating from a down-level metaphysic.  Clearly, what is inherent in the next level of evolution is a knowledge or understanding of values! What we would expect Dynamic Quality to accomplish through evolution is to bring into being a level in which it can act more fully and freely.  Clearly, the kind of “rationality” that would be required at such a level is MOQI.

          Given the possibility that a new level of evolution, and of the MOQ, is emerging, what I want to do now is try to derive some attributes of it by examining what led up to it in the Dynamic flow of evolution.

          First, let’s go back to the origins of conventional rationality.  Bergson makes a good case for the evolutionary appearance of intellect as a biological attribute that manifests as an aptitude for making and using inorganic tools.  To avoid confusion I’ll call this biological feature bio-intellect.  In both Creative Evolution and Introduction to Metaphysics, Bergson sees bio-intellect as being oriented toward static patterns.  He argues convincingly that this bio-intellect is engineered by evolution to treat everything external to its possessor as something to use as a tool or something to manipulate with a tool.  At the emergence of the hominids this bio-intellect would relate to everything outside itself as inert matter.  It would look for static patterns in physical matter and static patterns of behavior in nature so as to exploit those patterns.  It would look for what is repeatable and predictable in those patterns so as to manipulate them to its advantage.  In short, to bio-intellect everything outside is an “object”, making it difficult to avoid the conclusion that it implies a built-in Subject-Object metaphysic!

          Subsequently, it seems to me that this tendency to view the “outside” world as inert matter continues to manifest itself at the social level right up to the present.  To have a war (or an election!) don’t you have to polarize your enemies and see them as somehow “not human”?  Don’t you have to disengage empathy? Don’t you have to make them “objects”?  Even within a given society the tendency to polarization persists between competitive institutions and between social categories of various kinds.  In fact, the inclination to categorize, classify and label people is itself a bio-intellectual tendency.

          In Aristotle we see the bio-intellect’s habitual method of distinction used to analyze, categorize, classify and label entities and concepts.  We see the method of dialectic becoming the instrument for determining SOM-intellectual truth.  Starting from Newton and Galileo, we can see in the ascent of classical science the application of the “objective” criterion of experimental validation as the test of scientific truth.  In the construction of experiments the scientist attempts to isolate and control the relevant variables of a system.  Science in its valid domain of abstraction seeks to discover, explain, and exploit regularities and repeatable events.  It seeks explanations that reveal predictabilities.  Fundamentally, it seeks to control and manipulate objects and unabashedly treats everything it studies “objectively”.  Further, if you view an experiment as a way of asking a question of a controlled system, it can be considered a highly refined form of dialectic.

          Now if you can go along with me in affirming a continuity of evolution in and through bio-intellect and on through the social level, into and continuing in SOM forms of intellect, why couldn’t there be the germ of a yet more advanced level of evolution to continue the advance of Dynamic Quality into a fuller, better, more moral expression of it?

          The MOQ is evidence of such an advance already underway.  The most striking contrast we can see immediately is the abandonment of the SOM metaphysic, implicit or explicit.  Casting off the SOM restriction opens the way for all sorts of new possibilities.  There isn’t as much distinction between “self” and “not-self”.  “Objects” are less “objective”.  In MOQI there’s an intimacy in the way you relate to people and things.  MOQI has a certain empathy, not just with people, but with everything.  You feel intimacy and empathy with things, as though you know them from the inside and understand what they are feeling.

          I know this is fairly common and can be explained away as an anthropomorphic projection.  But that’s not all of it.  For me one of the most profound moments in Lila was when Phaedrus was moved by the doll that Lila had left behind.  He clothed it.  He honored it.  On page 401, he writes: “Something about this doll was giving it all kinds of Quality the manufacturer had never built into it.  Lila had overlaid a whole set of value patterns on top of it, and those values were still clinging to it.”  Then he took it ashore and put it in a comfortable place and afforded to it a degree of reverence and, dare I say, love?  This is when I knew that Pirsig and I have a deep bond of fellowship.

          SOM-rationality, being predisposed to understand and manipulate static patterns, filters out those aspects of experience that are living, unique, unrepeatable, Dynamic.  By contrast, MOQI is open to exactly those aspects and is completely at home with them.  That’s why MOQI is more “intimate” or “empathetic”; that’s why I was going for “mind-feeling”.  I also observe that while SOM-rationality looks at the “outside” of things and is expressed in action upon objects, MOQI  operates in and enhances relationship.  When you are working in MOQI mode, that’s when you (to paraphrase Pirsig) “don’t separate yourself from the work so as to do it wrong.”

          Referring once again to the “QIVAPS” essay we can see a whole list of contrasts between SOM-rationality and MOQI:

 

SOM –rationality

·        Commitment to an external target

·        Goal-oriented

·        Action-oriented

·        Struggle against a resistant medium

·        External, fixed, static, measurable objectives subordinate to the specified goal

·        Externally specified strategies for accomplishing objectives

·        Acting according to a methodology

·        “Make it happen.”

·        “Determination and perseverance”

·        “Keep your eyes on the prize.”

·        Get things done.

 

MOQI

·        Internal impetus in a direction

·        Process-oriented

·        Relationship-oriented

·        Swept along in a supportive medium

·        Continuing, dynamic, non-quantifiable values subordinate to Quality

·        Engaging in the practice of a process

·        “Allow it to happen.”

·        “Prepare the climate, and get out of the way.”

·        “Detach from the outcome.”

·        Be present to the work.  

          This is an astonishing way for a contemporary American to think!  It just runs contrary to all our paradigms, rooted as they are in the SOM-rationality of science as it has come down to us in recent centuries.  But from my own experience I can tell you that this works!  It works because the universe works according to the Metaphysics of Quality.  That’s not just my opinion, either.  In the latter half of the last century the results of advances in chaos theory, complexity theory, and most dramatically in quantum physics[2] have shaken the SOM-rationality foundations of science.  The universe is a far more “open” system than anyone supposed, even as recently as 50 years ago.  More than ever is J. B. S. Haldane affirmed:  “Now my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but is queerer than we can suppose.”

 

A Social Application

          After seeing how Inspirationality (and now MOQI) worked in my personal thinking and working, I believed it could be applied successfully to a social entity, specifically the corporation for which I was working.  Of course, most of my associates didn’t comprehend it.  Those who did were not in a position to influence what was done in the company, and I could never get an audience with those who were.  But I want to include that essay here, with inserted commentary to bring it up to date with MOQI.  Based on my personal success in the corporation, I am convinced that a corporation that affirms this philosophy from the top down can be highly successful and could generate a lot of interest in the MOQI way of thinking.

 

An [MOQ] Inspirational Work Form for a Corporation

There is a commonly known rational and goal-oriented work form called GOSPA:  Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Plans, Actions.  In a previous essay I described a contrasting personal work form which I termed [Q]IVAPS, an acronym for [Quality]-Intent-Values-Attitudes-Process-State of Mind .  This is a description of an [MOQ] inspirational work form, i.e., a work form based on an enhanced rationality which [is derived from the Metaphysics of Quality and] utilizes all the faculties of mind and is guided by recognition and perception of Quality.

            I acknowledged in that essay, however, that a business cannot operate in terms of the personal work structures of individuals.  A business requires an external, visible expression of the motivations which focus and mobilize its energies.  The external tokens, the face a corporation puts on for the outside world, are usually a Vision and a Mission Statement, a "branding formula", a logo, and other meta-rational symbolic cues.  But the internal mechanisms have been historically ordered on rational forms based in definitions, methodologies, org charts, requirements, specifications, policies, and other rational constructs. 

            I contend, however, that such forms alone will not suffice as the primary motivating work form for any institution which aspires seriously to corporate success through the realization of Quality.  Traditional corporate structures are based in the rigid, formal thinking of traditional rationality, specified in terms of definable and measurable parameters.  To the extent that they exclude the indefinable and non-quantifiable, they are inadequate for the achievement of true Quality.  Dr. Lloyd S. Nelson has said, “The most important figures for the management of any organization are unknown and unknowable.”

            Robert Pirsig showed that Quality cannot be created or produced; it can only be transmitted.  In order to transmit Quality through products and services, one’s understanding of rationality must extend to a new dimension which subsumes the non-intellectual mental processes by which, and through which, Quality is recognized, perceived, and communicated.  I have elsewhere used the term “[MOQ] inspirationality” to refer to this expanded enhanced rationality, a term suggesting “rationality with spirit breathed into it” [and based on a radically re-architected reality structure called the Metaphysics of Quality.]  This requirement of enhanced rationality as a precondition to the recognition and propagation of Quality holds for companies as surely as for individuals. 

            In this essay I shall present possibilities for a corporate work structure based in and supported by enhanced rationality—MOQ Inspirationality.

As in the QIVAPS essay the entire structure of this system must begin with Dynamic Quality and a corporate commitment to being an instrument of it.  Everything else follows from that.

 

Purpose

The first of W. Edwards Deming’s “fourteen points” for leading American business “Out of the Crisis” is Constancy of Purpose.  Subordinate only to Quality itself, Purpose stands at the apex of an MOQ inspirational corporate work structure.  It is the corporate analogue of Intent.  It is much more important than a goal.  Goals are rational; Purpose is inspirational.  Goals give direction; Purpose gives meaning.  Goals specify targets; Purpose expresses aspiration.  Purpose arises from the heart of an organization’s identity.

            Some would say (and more would believe) that a corporation’s purpose is to make a profit.  I would rather say that the motivation for profit was the reason why a company was formed, and its goals may be stated in terms of profitability.  As a motive for an enterprise, profit is right and valid. But unfortunately, traditional rationality confuses motive with Purpose and tries to achieve the goal by serving the goal.  MOQ Inspirationality understands, however, that such an effort is self-defeating, because if you truly focus on profit, you will do the wrong things and omit the right things for its realization.  Making “profit” your Purpose puts you at “cross purposes” with your prospective clients.

            A viable Purpose for an enterprise must be one that is affirmed by its potential clients.  Your purpose must be asserted as an answer to the demand of the Marketplace, “What Purpose do you serve?”  This demand must be heard as, “What Purpose of ours do you serve?”  [In other words, what value can you offer your clients?]  As an example, a software company might reply, “We serve and satisfy your needs for [a specified category of] software by means of products and services provided through long-term relationships of trust and loyalty.”  This is a worthy answer, and it doesn’t have to be unique or original; it just has to reflect a true and sincere commitment.  This is a Purpose to which a corporation can commit all its resources, throughout all its organizational structures, now and for all the years to come:  Constancy of Purpose”, throughout the company, throughout time.

 

Philosophy

“How will you fulfill your Purpose?”, the Marketplace persists.  You may reply, “We will work consultatively with you to analyze your business needs in the areas of our expertise.  We will design comprehensive solutions specific to your needs.  We will deliver these solutions through our products, services, and industry knowledge.  We will maintain an ongoing consultative and supportive relationship with you as a committed business partner.”  Such statements exemplify and expand upon the kinds of commitments and priorities which are implicit in your statement of Purpose.  Collectively, they constitute your Philosophy of business conduct, the corporate analogue of personal Values.  Your business Philosophy may be viewed as the summation of the various terms in which you articulate your Purpose, a reflection of the corporate “values” engendered by your Purpose.

 

Principles

From your Philosophy you derive the broad principles of your business conduct, according to which you transact and interact with your customers and with each other in the enterprise.  [These could also be called “core values”.]  In terms of our hypothetical software company, typical principles might be:

·        We seek markets in which we have relevant expertise and can provide effective products and services.

·        We seek ongoing education and cultivation of our knowledge and skills in these disciplines.

·        We will adopt methods of market research and strategies of development that will enhance our responsiveness to the changing needs of our customers.

·        We will offer safe, reliable, practical, standard, comprehensive solutions.

·        We seek to maintain continuity of sales and service representatives to promote long-term relationships with customers.

·        We will cultivate relationships through regular service calls regardless of short-term revenue opportunities.

Such affirmations contain elements often encountered in corporate Mission and Vision statements.  They constitute the corporate analogue of personal Attitudes.

 

Processes

Thus far you have committed to a Purpose.  You have articulated a Philosophy of how that Purpose is best served.  You have derived the Principles wherein your Philosophy is expressed.  You are now ready to understand the Processes whereby your Principles are implemented.

            To invert the view, your Principles of business serve to guide you in the discovery and implementation of Processes that embody your Philosophy and serve your Purpose.  Every functional area of your business must seek ways to organize its efforts around this structure.  Each Process must constantly be examined in terms of how it serves the business Purpose.

            You may have followed the rationale (or MOQ inspirationale) up to this point, but here the terrain gets slippery.  When it comes to Processes your “rational” inclination will be to get too detailed and specific; too ready with rules, policies, requirements, practices, and methodologies; too rational.  But resist the habits of [SOM-rationality], and press beyond for an inspirational analogue.  A useful and sufficiently general instance of a viable MOQ-inspirational Process is:  “Prepare the climate, and get out of the way.”

            SOM-Rationality dictates, “Keep your eye on the ball.”; “Try, try again.”; “You’ve got to make it happen.”; “You can achieve anything if you want it bad enough.” (Why not “good enough”?)  It’s all so inspiring, so full of the noble work ethic of struggle and strife that we so admire.  Unfortunately, that’s not the way the Universe is really made to work.  In the Universe of Quality [the MOQ anticipated!], Right Doing proceeds from Right Being.  This is the MOQ inspirational basis for “Prepare the climate, and get out of the way.”

“Preparing the climate” consists in identifying and implementing right systems.  For example, the Customer Service Department’s procedures might have been built around a call tracking system of some kind.  You may have encountered customer service departments that seemed organized to serve their problem recording and tracking systems, and you soon realized that they had the wrong orientation.  The systems, and the people, should serve you, not their internal mechanisms.  The proper order of things is that Processes are organized to serve the client, and then the systems are designed to facilitate those Processes.

            Similarly, development methods must be designed to serve customer requirements, not corporate standards and methodologies, although the two are by no means mutually exclusive.  But the standards and methods must be agile and adaptable, always responsive to changing conditions, always focused on your business Purpose.  The standards are made to serve developers, not developers to serve standards.  Viewed in this context, specific guidelines and techniques are tools that programmers can use to carry out their intent of excellence in the Process of programming.

            Most sales departments stand in serious need of reorientation toward MOQ inspirationality in their commitments.  The sales organization, more than any other body of a corporation, reflects the true values and beliefs of the company.  Regardless of your Mission or Vision statements, if “revenue now” is valued more highly than “success for years to come”, that message comes through to the marketing reps, the tech reps, and ultimately to the customers.  A company’s entire system of quotas, commissions, and bonuses is typically designed to promote and reward efforts for short-term revenue with negligible investment in future business success.  Some valued sales reps sustain the long-term vision and values and continue to do the right thing regardless of the “System”.  But it would be far better if Right Doing and Right Being were facilitated by the “System” rather than resisted by it.  An appropriate MOQ inspirational reward system for a sales organization would be premised upon parameters of customer trust and satisfaction, such as repeat sales, maintenance contract renewals, customer satisfaction survey responses, customer referrals, and new sales to referred customers.

            “Getting out of the way” consists in removing interferences.  Anyone can think of some of interferences that ought to be removed, and W. Edwards Deming elaborates a list of "Deadly Diseases" and "Obstacles" in American business.  But let's consider some others that may be less obvious.

 

1.        Fear

            The single greatest destroyer of corporate Peace of Mind is fear.  Ruling by precipitous and impulsive punishment may be an effective means of control, but it isn't right, it isn't productive, and any business premised upon it must surely fail.  It breeds anxiety, suspicion, resentment, and betrayal.  It has no place in a civilized enterprise.

            One of the most effective managers for whom I ever worked was one with whom I had dreadful conflicts earlier in our relationship.  He chastised me severely for transgressions that I considered trivial and matters of differing values.  But he would never hide from an issue.  He always returned my calls, and always heard my case.  He might or might not concede a point, but he always gave me a fair hearing.  And he never threatened my job.  If he had a problem with me, he would face it down and work, or slug, it out, but termination was not an option.  Less than a year later, he said to me when I expressed concern about meeting my revenue quotas, "John, you have done the work to which I assigned you, and you have done it well.  As long as I have a job at this company, so do you."  He cast out fear, and he earned my highest respect and loyalty and my finest work.

 

2.        Ignorance

            Ignorance can take many forms.  One of the most insidious is "not knowing that you don't know."  We do no work in isolation even though some of us may work alone most of the time.  The second worst thing you can do to a colleague is not communicate to him a concern if you have one.  The worst thing is to communicate it to others first or only.

            The more obvious form of business ignorance is the lack of task-specific knowledge.  Most good workers will learn on the job if given the opportunity.  Structured training is not always essential, but neither is it a luxury.  A company that truly values its people will treat formal training and mentored OJT (“on the job training”) as a regular portion of their job descriptions.

 

3.        Policy

            At some time you, as a customer of some company, have had the distressing experience of your request or problem being dismissed with a perfunctory "No, we can’t do that."  That made you feel annoyed, so you asked to speak to a supervisor who then reaffirmed, "No, we can't do that."  Irritated, you pressed on, "Why not??"  The predictable, cowardly, frustrating, consummately infuriating response was, "It's just not our policy." Policy isn't a reason why you can't do something.  It's just an excuse for not giving a reason, and it's not a valid excuse.  Policy invoked in this way is a means of avoiding making quality decisions and taking responsibility for them.

            There is certainly a need for establishing normative standards and guidelines for all kinds of corporate behaviors.  To the extent that a policy represents such a predetermined decision for what is appropriate under the usual circumstances, it is right and necessary and a facilitation of workflow in the business.  But with it there must also be a forum for appeal, in which exceptional circumstances may by considered and value judgments made.  You can't be fair by treating everyone, and every situation, the same.

 

4.        The "Cobbler's children"

            You may talk a good game about your company being only as good as its people, but if you give them "leftovers" and "hand-me-downs" to do their work, you are sending a clear message that they really aren't as good as the kids on the next block who got new bikes for Christmas.  I'm not suggesting that everybody needs to jump on the latest fad that's glitzy and sexy, just to keep up with the corporate proverbial "Joneses" and show your competitors how "hip" you are.  But your workers should not be placed at serious disadvantage because of seriously inadequate resources or shabby tools.  If you want to optimize productivity, you need to supply a worker with sufficient power to maximize his output per unit cost, and that's not always as quantifiable as it may sound.  Look at the next topic!

 

5.        Bean-counting

            "Management-by-the-Numbers" is similar to "Management by Policy". It's a way of absolving oneself of responsibility for decisions.  If all parameters of decision-making were quantifiable and deterministic, we wouldn't need managers, just the computers on their desks.  The Board of Directors could cut a lot of jobs and save a lot on bonuses, couldn't they? 

            Bean-counting has its occupational hazards, too.  While you have your nose buried in that little pile of beans, you may get stepped on by one of those elephants marching by.  The classical metaphor for excessive attention to inconsequentia will forever be, "Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel."  The reality is that real economies are rarely achieved by parsimony.  It's a common compulsion to emphasize easily obtainable and easily controlled numbers instead of looking for more difficult but more important information.

            Certainly, good managers want and need quantitative information; it's essential for monitoring, assessing, evaluating, tracking, and general awareness of the physiological state of the corporate organism.  But it isn't the only kind of information that a good manager needs, and it isn't very often the most important kind.  I urge your attention once more to the quotation of Dr. Lloyd S. Nelson, cited above:  "The most important figures for the management of any organization are unknown and unknowable."

            Dr. Nelson was, by demonstration, an MOQ inspirational thinker.  He recognized that good management cannot be automated.  It can be done only by those who have the courage and the character to make quality decisions and to take the risk and responsibility of being wrong.  Only they can claim the reward for being right.

 

Culture

The "culture" of a corporation represents its "state of mind".  Do employees speak of the company as "they" and each other as "we"?  Or is there a sense of family and of shared commitment?  Are customers often told to "call someone else; that's not my job," or that something is required or prohibited because "that's our policy"?  Do managers perceive themselves as commanders and controllers, or as leaders and facilitators?  Do they regard their subordinates as commodities or as teammates?  Do subordinates perceive their supervisors as authority figures or as associates?  Do members of the organization treat each other as positions or as persons?  The answers to these and a host of similar questions reflect the culture of a corporation.

            Here is where the institution is only as good as its people.  You can't fake it.  Everything else--Purpose, Philosophy, Principles, Preparing the climate, and removing interferences--is only empty methodology unless it is premised upon a supportive culture.  You can't have corporate Right Doing without corporate Right Being.

            There is no such thing as a "business relationship".  There are only personal relationships.  A client's impression of a company is based on his associations with the representatives of that company.  He trusts the company only so far as he trusts the individuals in it.  A worker is loyal to the company only insofar as he feels loyalty shown to him by his managers and peers.

            But the corporation itself also has an identity and a personality that is more than the sum of its parts.  This corporate "soul" arises from the relationships among its members.  That's why the culture-evaluating questions I raised in the first paragraph are so important.  People who are in right relationship to their work, their clients, and each other are the substrate of corporate "Peace of Mind".  Together, people in right relationship constitute a corporate persona that is "present to the work".

[Notice here the importance of relationships, and recall that MOQI operates in relationship.]

 

So there you see it:  Values all the way down.

·        Purpose – What value do we offer to the client?

·        Philosophy – What value do we bring to the work to fulfill our Purpose?

·        Principles – What values guide our work and conduct?

·        Processes – What do we value as the way to accomplish our work?

·        Culture – What values foster our relationships at work?

 

          Now that I’ve discovered inspirationality implemented under the MOQ I see applications for it everywhere.  Today I was shopping in a membership-oriented discount retailer.  I noticed at the service desk a plaque that asserted the company’s “three basic beliefs”:

·        Respect for the individual

·        Service to our customers

·        Strive for excellence

My mind was all over that and recasting it in MOQI terms.  First, the sequence is exactly wrong.  Excellence (Quality) comes first, and if you have to “strive” for it, it isn’t Excellence.  Quality impels you; you don’t “strive” for it.

          Next, your priority of commitment must be directed to those whom you serve.  You can’t serve two masters, both fellow employees and customers.  You have to be in clear agreement about what takes precedence.  The best way you can serve each other is to make your company successful and happy by expressing excellence in your service to customers.  It finally comes out this way:

·        Be present to Quality.

·        Be committed to serving your customers.

·        Honor your associates through your service to customers and each other.

MOQI applies so readily in business.  It just fixes everything that’s wrong with it.  But I doubt it can be formalized.

          As I learned, it may be impossible to reform an existing corporation according to an MOQI work form.  Pirsig showed in Lila that no one really controls these systems.  They are static social patterns of value.  They are every bit organisms at the social level, and they have a physiology with homeostatic mechanisms that protect them.  Evolution simply doesn’t let you retrofit mutations.

          But a new corporation, such as the one my son owns, can and does operate with MOQI.  If we have this general structure and thought form in mind, anyone in an emerging social entity can take it in an MOQI direction. This will happen, in the words of Teilhard de Chardin in The Phenomenon of Man, “not necessarily, but infallibly.”  Cosmic evolution has committed to this, and Dynamic Quality will drive it.  MOQI has appeared, and evolution doesn’t go backwards...

 

 

Round Table with Paul Turner

 

Introduction          

Paul Turner had generously given of his time and wisdom in reviewing Parts 2 and 3 of this my essay entitled “Quality and Inspirationality”.  His comments for Part 2 were displayed in context after the original version of the essay.  For Part 3, I want to try something different.  His comments resulted in some interesting and productive dialogue, and those discussions will be presented in this format.

 

1.         THE “NEXT LEVEL OF EVOLUTION” AFTER INTELLECT – Page 8

From the essay:

Evolution doesn’t stop.  It keeps on going; it’s just harder to see in our own temporal frame of reference.  The MOQ doesn’t stop at the intellectual level because Dynamic Quality doesn’t stop there.  The MOQ had to be open-ended because evolution is, and both are open-ended because Dynamic Quality is!  As soon as abstract intellect began to emerge from the static patterns of society, the seed of the next level must have already been germinating in it.  Bergson and Teilhard each caught glimpses of it.  Pirsig caught it by the tail and never let go.  I’m trying to stay afloat in his wake.  How can the MOQ not be a Dynamic leap forward into the frontiers of the next level of evolution??

Paul says:

It is a logical conclusion that a new level of static quality is inevitable but I’ve never thought that the MOQ represents the beginning of one.  If one is looking for something “above” intellect then Dynamic Quality already fulfils this but the MOQ is an intellectual pattern, i.e. its quality consists of its logical consistency, economy and breadth of explanation, and rhetorical elegance.  Also, as evolution is itself an intellectual pattern, the truth of the idea that the “evolution of a new level is inevitable” would itself, paradoxically, be superceded by the emergence of a new level!

John replies:

I agree that the MOQ is an intellectual pattern, but it has taken a quantum leap of insight and dynamic imagination that opens up a new level of evolution that is more Dynamic.   The entire agenda of ZMM and LILA was to break out of the static forms of intellect at the level Pirsig found it (SOM-rationality) and open up a new way of thinking.  MOQ is the architectural repair of rationality, and Inspirationality is the operational upgrade; together they accomplish the breakout to which Pirsig aspired.  I don’t think it gets all the way to pure DQ, but it gets further than intellect in its recent historic form.

Paul responds:

I agree with the last sentence with respect to Western forms of intellect.  I think in ZMM Pirsig describes how he came to see that we are all born into a mythos, and for those within it, this mythos is reality itself.  But he identified that which "generates" the mythos, and therefore always lies outside it, as unpatterned Quality.  He went deep into the origins of the western mythos and found a "root" which had not developed much since the Ancient Greeks.  In LILA he goes even further back and finds a root common to the eastern and western mythos.  I see the MOQ as "cultivation" of these roots which expands and integrates elements of both the eastern and western mythos.  It is in this sense that the MOQ is not evidence of a new level but a recovery of another "species" within the intellectual level, one which never lost sight of its origins or contingent nature.

John concludes:

This is a powerful insight!  I think you’ve really nailed it!  This is consistent with my belief that whatever emerges in the process of evolution was inherent and implicit in latent form in the origins of the universe.  Dynamic Quality has worked its way through the resistance of the static social and intellectual patterns and in MOQ has finally blossomed from that primordial root.  I like the imagery of “species”.  Whether we see this breakthrough as a completely new level or just a new branch in the intellectual tree of evolution, we are agreed that the MOQ is a better way of viewing the universe and provides a new avenue for the further advance (and flourishing) of Dynamic Quality.

 

2.         “EVOLUTION” AS AN INTELLECTUAL PATTERN – Page 8

From Paul’s previous comment:

Also, as evolution is itself an intellectual pattern, the truth of the idea that the “evolution of a new level is inevitable” would itself, paradoxically, be superceded by the emergence of a new level!

John replies:

Another statement here that is an issue for me is “Evolution itself is an intellectual pattern”.  I would say that the theory of evolution is an intellectual pattern, and accounts and interpretations of it are intellectual patterns.  But the collective processes that got the universe from the Big Bang to its current state were going on before there was an intellect to form patterns about them.  I am affirming in this essay that whatever processes got the universe this far are still going on, and more changes are occurring, and they are occurring toward more DQ.

Paul responds:

You're right in that, from an everyday subject-object perspective, evolutionary processes are as real and independent of their theories as gravity.  They occurred independently of humans and eventually led to the intellectual pattern which "discovered" them.  But, like gravity, in the MOQ we must remember that evolution can never be more than a very high quality explanation of data within our cultural mythos (see ZMM, chapter 3).  To say that evolution is not real would certainly be as heretical in our current mythos as denying creation was in the past and still is in many parts of the world today.  My conjecture is that an entirely new level would, by analogy to the differences between other levels, be so different to intellect that evolution would be as true as Mount Olympus .  This creates the paradox that I referred to above.

   

3.         Evidence of a new level – page 8

From the essay:

Also, in Part 2, I tried to find a name for this next level, and what I pulled out of the air (Dynamically?) was noesthesis, with the idea that it connoted “mind-feeling”.  But from its Greek roots, “aesthetics” is the branch of philosophy concerned with what is beautiful.  Or one could say, what has value.  I deduced that intellect tends to think in abstractions or forms, while what is inherent in noesthesis is a knowledge of “being” or “essence”.  But that was another mistake of operating from a down-level metaphysic.  Clearly, what is inherent in the next level of evolution is a knowledge or understanding of values!

Paul comments:

I’ve heard this before a few times and it seemed wrong to me in that we would have a “static value level of values.”  It’s a fifth wheel to me as all of the levels are already patterns of values.     

John replies:

I see what you’re saying here, and I’m mulling that one over.  I don’t see the next “level” as a “static level” any more than the rest are static levels.  I see the levels as phases of evolutionary action in which static patterns occur along the way.  But I see the next level as a phase of evolutionary activity in which even stable patterns are more “dynamic”.  And it’s not that the stable patterns are “values” themselves.  It’s that the mental activity from which the stable patterns emerge is one that has an inherent sense of values.  

Paul responds:

Well my point is that this inherent sense of value behind mental activity has already been established and elaborated within ZMM and LILA.

John concludes:

Exactly!  Pirsig represents the initial emergence of this new “level”, or new “species”, whose mental activity is one that has an inherent sense of values.  I’d like to think that I also belong to the same “species”, as do others who have recognized something of cosmic significance in Pirsig’s work.

 

4.         MOQI  rationality – page 8, same paragraph

From the essay: 

What we would expect Dynamic Quality to accomplish through evolution is to bring into being a level in which it can act more fully and freely.  Clearly, the kind of “rationality” that would be required at such a level is MOQI. 

Paul writes:

I think any kind of rationality already has a home in the intellectual level.  The MOQ already reinstates the relationship of values and intellect, by making the latter a pattern of the former so no new level is needed, in my opinion.

John responds:

But before MOQ the integration of values and intellect did not exist!  MOQ isn’t putting something back in that was taken out.  It’s rebuilding rationality from scratch; that process is a “next level” activity, a leap forward into new territory.  In fact, this level of thinking never existed before in the history of cosmic evolution!  How is that not a new level??? 

Paul replies:

Same comments as above apply.   

John explains:

What Paul refers to is his explanation above that in finding the root of the constitutional defect in rationality Pirsig really is putting something back in that was taken out.  That’s a compelling point.  It means that nothing new is being added to the “material” that’s available to evolution.  Instead, what we are observing is a fruition of something that was dormant or suppressed.  As Pirsig observes in ZMM with the Sophists of Ancient Greece, perhaps what occurred at the root was an initial emergence of an advanced expression of Dynamic Quality far back in human history.  Evolution tried out this branch, but it was suppressed and overwhelmed by other “species” and remained dormant until it found another point of emergence in our time.  Hopefully, this time it will survive and flourish.

 

At Anthony’s suggestion, John takes a detour into LILA and reviews Pirsig’s discussion of primordial Quality in Chapter 30:

  • Reiterating his discovery of the Sophist doctrine of arete in ancient Greece , Pirsig reaffirms that arete was synonymous with Quality and was “central and vital” to their thinking.

  • Subsequently, he discovered that ancient Greek was not an original language but had evolved from a much earlier Proto-Indo-European language.  No trace of it was left, but linguistic scholars had deduced substantial portions of its vocabulary by backward extrapolation from similarities among surviving historical records of descendant Indo-European languages.

  • From this source he found the morpheme rt, which seemed to be the root of arete.  From it were derived such words as “arithmetic”, “aristocrat”, “art”, “worth”, “rhetoric”, “wright”, “right (handed)”, and “right” (correct).  He took these terms and their connotations and derived a synthesis of implied meaning for rt:  “The first created, beautiful, repetitive order of moral and esthetic correctness.”

  • In the end he concluded that rt meant something like static quality rather than Dynamic Quality.  He had to search further for something closer to arete.

  • He found it in the Sanskrit word rta.  Through a compelling analysis of the use and implications of the word rta, he concluded the it meant both “cosmic order” and “moral rightness.  Thus it presaged the Metaphysics of Quality in identifying the physical order of the universe with the moral order of the universe. (Page 382)  “[The MOQ] was not a new idea.  It was the oldest idea known to man.”

So the Metaphysics of Quality was truly present in recorded human history.  It has been co-evolving with Western abstract thought and in the same way eliciting static patterns along the way.  But what Pirsig accomplished, at least for Western thought, was to make it explicit in a re-architecture of rationality.  This is still a Dynamic leap forward that has profound significance for our future.

   

5.         Origins of Subject-Object Metaphysics – page 9

From the essay:

First, let’s go back to the origins of conventional rationality.  Bergson makes a good case for the evolutionary appearance of intellect as a biological attribute that manifests as an aptitude for making and using inorganic tools.  To avoid confusion I’ll this biological feature bio-intellect.  In both Creative Evolution and Introduction to Metaphysics, Bergson sees bio-intellect as being oriented toward static patterns.  He argues convincingly that this bio-intellect is engineered by evolution to treat everything external to its possessor as something to use as a tool or something to manipulate with a tool.  At the emergence of the hominids this bio-intellect would relate to everything outside itself as inert matter.  It would look for static patterns in physical matter and static patterns of behavior in nature so as to exploit those patterns.  It would look for what is repeatable and predictable in those patterns so as to manipulate them to its advantage.  In short, to bio-intellect everything outside is an “object” making it difficult to avoid the conclusion that it implies a built-in subject-object metaphysics! 

Paul adds:

As mentioned previously, I don’t think a reality of objects or of internal and external discrimination exists at a biological level.  I think this “reality” is a cultural pattern (our mythos) which is so ingrained in us that we can’t imagine organisms not having the same experience as us.  Of course this can never be more than speculation. 

John replies:

I think you may be right about that, as long as we are at the purely biological level, before the evolution of bio-intellect.  In fact, in Bergson’s account of evolution, the instinctive creature acts as if the things it acts on are part of its own body.  It doesn’t reach a level of consciousness.  In fact, this distinction between self (“in here”) and not self (“out there”) is what distinguishes new-born bio-intellect from instinct.  And in our everyday thought patterns, that’s what we still have:  “in here” feels different from “out there”, and things “out there” have edges and surfaces, and we act on them and use them, and it’s convenient to call them objects, even if we know that metaphysically it’s better to recognize them as patterns of value.

Paul responds:

I think it is the reference to "bio-intellect" that confuses me.  Otherwise I agree with everything you say here.

John clarifies:

At some stage of evolution there occurred a divergence of the brain development leading to intellect from that leading to instinct, culminating in the insects.  What eventually emerged in the hominid line along that divergent path was this mental capacity for making and using inorganic tools.  Bergson calls this divergent pathway “intellect” because it ultimately issues in the human capability of reflective and abstract thought.  But to distinguish that primitive form of which Bergson speaks from what Pirsig means by “intellect”, I’m calling it “bio-intellect”.

 

6.         MOQI  and relationships – page 10

From the essay, with Paul’s comment embedded:

SOM-rationality, being predisposed to understand and manipulate static patterns, filters out those aspects of experience that are living, unique, unrepeatable, Dynamic.  By contrast, MOQI is open to exactly those aspects and is completely at home with them.  That’s why MOQI is more “intimate” or “empathetic”; that’s why I was going for “mind-feeling”.  I also observe that while SOM-rationality looks at the “outside” of things and is expressed in action upon objects, MOQI operates in and enhances relationship.  When you are working in MOQI mode, that’s when you (to paraphrase Pirsig) “don’t separate yourself from the work so as to do it wrong.”

Paul adds:

Indeed things are “dissolved” into relationships.

John responds:

I love this!  It’s really good! 

 

7.         Corporations and Purpose – page 13

From John’s original 1990 essay:

Some would say (and more would believe) that a corporation’s purpose is to make a profit.  I would rather say that the motivation for profit was the reason why a company was formed, and its goals may be stated in terms of profitability.  As a motive for an enterprise, profit is right and valid. But unfortunately, traditional rationality confuses motive with Purpose and tries to achieve the goal by serving the goal.  MOQ Inspirationality understands, however, that such an effort is self-defeating, because if you truly focus on profit, you will do the wrong things and omit the right things for its realization.  Making “profit” your Purpose puts you at “cross purposes” with your prospective clients. 

Paul adds:

Interestingly, there are organisations where innovation rules and “monetization” of products and services comes later.  These companies still tend to become more static over time but if you look at e.g. Google, they embedded innovation, an openness to Dynamic Quality, in their working practice by allowing all employees to take time each week to work on pet projects, regardless of the social quality of profit or the intellectual quality of justification.  I’m not sure if they still  do it.

John affirms:

Excellent example!  This really helps make the case that MOQI can be applied.  As you know, I am committed to really doing something about MOQI, not just debating its details.

 

8.         Corporate Principles – page 14

From the original 1990 essay with a comment from Paul embedded:

Principles

From your Philosophy you derive the broad principles of your business conduct, according to which you transact and interact with your customers and with each other in the enterprise.  [These could also be called “core values”.]  In terms of our hypothetical software company, typical principles might be:

      We seek markets in which we have relevant expertise and can provide effective products and services.

      We seek ongoing education and cultivation of our knowledge and skills in these disciplines.

      We will adopt methods of market research and strategies of development that will enhance our responsiveness to the changing needs of our customers.

      We will offer safe, reliable, practical, standard, comprehensive solutions.

      We seek to maintain continuity of sales and service representatives to promote long-term relationships with customers.

      We will cultivate relationships through regular service calls regardless of short-term revenue opportunities.

 

Paul notes:

I would say these are all high quality static social and intellectual patterns. As mentioned earlier, a commitment to innovation might offer a “Dynamic principle” inasmuch as one can have such a thing.

John affirms:

Thank you for another excellent insight.

 

Conclusion

I want to thank Paul for his excellent insights and contributions.  I find his prodigious scholarship and his encyclopedic knowledge somewhat intimidating, but Paul doesn’t use them to intimidate but only to help.  I have a lot of skin in this game, but I try to keep my ego out of it.  I am vitally invested in the success of Pirsig’s enterprise of thought.  I really need for it to succeed, regardless of my opinions, or in spite of them, to promote the incorporation of MOQ into the collective mythos of humanity.

 

Bibliography

Bergson, Henri (1944)  Creative Evolution, Random House

Bergson, Henri (1961)  Introduction to Metaphysics, Philosophical Library

Haldane, J. B. S. (1928)  Possible Worlds and Other Essays, Chatto & Windus

Pirsig, Robert M. (1974)  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Bantam Books

Pirsig, Robert M. (1991)  LILA:  An Inquiry into Morals, Bantam Books

Snyder, Gary (1983)  Axe Handles, North Point Press

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (1959)  The Phenomenon of Man, Harper & Row



[1] I’ve never liked this term very well.  There’s a lot about it that works right, and yet it feels contrived.  It’s not Dynamic, the way Inspirationality is.  I have a notion something better will show up later.

[2]   Later this year I will be meeting with Dr. Shimon Malin, leading quantum physicist and author of Nature Loves to Hide, to discuss these ideas in a 4-day workshop.  I believe that quantum physics is entirely compatible with MOQ and perhaps supportive of it.

 

 

Please note that Paul Turner has also written a paper on this website about the Buddhist tetralemma which can be found via the following link: