From: Thomas T. Welborn
Date: Wed Aug 18 1999 - 03:58:10 BST
Source Forum: http://www.MOQ.org
Hello Platt, and everyone.
Platt is correct. What was it about the Sophists that Pirsig
They taught rhetoric!
Why rhetoric? No it was not to win arguments by resorting to "specious"
techniques of debate. What is rhetoric? An appeal to emotional vs.. logical sensibilities?
NO! The essence of the rhetoric taught by the sophists is the same as the
stories told by Pirsig about sitting on the stove, etc. These stories, parables, analogies, have been used for ages by those who wish to convey the essence of indescribable experiences. In other words the failure of logic leaves one no other choice if your intent is to accurately pass on the knowledge of those experiences to others and future generations. Therefore those teachers often used paradox and logically absurd statements to point the student in the direction of Truth.
The genius of Pirsig/Phaedrus in ZMM is to recognize the truth behind apparent paradox and seeming absurdity that is the true ground upon which any metaphysic must be lived. Generally speaking, Truth cannot be grasped directly but must be glimpsed out of the corner of your eye as you circle around it. More often than not if you get to close, like the moth to a flame you get burned, i.e., you cannot see the forest for the trees. Pirsig SAW THE FOREST in ZEN, the TOA, the QUALITY that permeates all things. Reread ZMM Chapter 20(particularly pp.246-248 in my 1979 Bantam Books paperback printing) then Chapter 21(p.250) where he states, "What's important is the relevance of such a discovery..." What is that relevance? " The Mythos is insane." Chapter 28, p.346). Why? How did this happen? Where did we go wrong? Pirsig's tale of the triumph of Phaedrus (which to the 'insane' masses appeared as madness itself) is perhaps the most remarkable intellectual journey undertaken since the work of Carl Jung during the first half of this century. Jung sought to redress the terrible evils within the human heart that resulted in this century being the bloodiest, murderous, and war-torn time in human history; Phaedrus sought to inoculate our hearts from the other great evil of our time: Nihilism.
Chapters 29 and 30 are the quintessential documents of what must become a new mythos, a new constitution of a new world, a new declaration of independence from decaying diseased dogmas and the malaise of a meaningless myopic mythos. It is with sadness unto tears and weeping that one learns during the course of the book how Pirsig the survivor abandoned Phaedrus the 'brave-hearted', choosing to "pander"(p.363)to the CoR(Church of Reason) rather than stay in the trenches and fight for the future! I know I risk excommunication by the following But it must be said: PIRSIG! FREE PHAEDRUS! BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE! I'm truly sorry but "Lila" is a 'panderer', a 'harlot', whom leads not to freedom from the deadly dogma but only strengthens it by diluting the truth even further. DQ vs. SQ will never change a single life from the dis-ease. Chapters 29-30 of ZMM have and will as long as itís kept alive by those who understand.
©2003 Thomas Theodore Welborn