After failing high school - disillusioned with the meaning of life - David drifted until he was introduced to the Metaphysics of Quality. He now spends his time using it to make things better!
I have a confession.
For the great majority of good things in my life - I rejected them when I first heard about or saw or heard them.
Everything from my favorite author - to my favorite movie - Gattaca - a now to one my favorite songs - 'You can do it' by CARIBOU. At first - when I heard this song I found it too repetitive and far too simplistic for my ears. It's the type of song to get on ones nerves if heard in the wrong way or wrong context. But now much later.. having needed the occasional push of encouragement - it's one of the few songs that comes to mind when I need it.
Its repetitive drive, its pattern, really gets me going and into a more positive mood..
Maybe you will like it - maybe you will hate it like I did when I first heard it. But either way it's fascinating how our opinions of Art can change over time. And for me at least, it's usually those things which challenge me the most, which I'm likely to reject outright, but which are actually the best things going around.
To fully appreciate these things - I have to grow. Oftentimes that growth isn't done intentionally. I don't intentionally think about liking something - and very often things are rejected which, for good reasons, are bad anyway. But sometimes things aren't so easily rejected. And in an effort to understand them - to appreciate them - sometimes I end up running out of reasons to dislike them. In the process of understanding them, in the process of putting them in their own unique context, I realise that I can really just appreate them for what they are. And sometimes, very rarely, but sometimes, those things first rejected, but which took an extra long time to appreciate, are the best things going around.
To understand required growth. And in that growth was the Quality that was there all along.
A Time Of Great Metaphysical Failure
When you know of a better way of seeing things, how long of holding onto that idea does it become immoral not to tell others of this better idea?
I've been spending some time recently criticizing progressive leaders in the American Congress for sitting on their hands and not using their power and leverage, to achieve great things. However, here I am and I know of a Metaphysics that's far better than our current one. Truth be told, if all intellectuals knew, understood and appreciated this Metaphysics, it's highly unlikely we would be in this mess that we're in right now.
Because what's abundantly clear to me is that we live in a time of great metaphysical failure. Our current metaphysics has horrendous guardrails against all sorts of immoral behavior because what's considered 'common sense' is far broader than what morally and intellectually ought to be. This is a failure not just because of our corrupt politicians who began to give their backs to the working class in increasing intention over 50 years ago. But as the Metaphysics of Quality (MOQ) uniquely shows - it's a failure also of our current metaphysics which says that whatever anyone says, does or advocates is up to them and their morality and that there's no way for us to judge the morals of others.
This is wrong and denying this is the case is itself immoral. Claiming that something is and ought to be amoral when in fact it is and ought to be moral is itself immoral. Because most things are, in some way, moral. It's up to us to decide what's better or worse, and with the Metaphysics of Quality we are provided with a powerful way to do this that's in line with logic and experience.
This is far greater than our current metaphysics. A Metaphysics which has so many weaknesses we are left with countless instances of soft corruption and social forces being permitted to immorally take control of our culture.
The corruption at the heart of our democracies sits at the center of this immorality. An immorality which prevents parliaments and congress from doing what's intellectually right for the people and instead takes heed of what their donors request of them. So, with the powerful being democratically catered for and the working people given short shrift, it's no wonder that the grievances of these working class folk are turning to increasingly radical means of their voices being heard.
"All these politicians, they work for us! We pay their salaries, and we pay our taxes. And what do we get? Nothing! They don't represent us. They need to pay the ultimate price for their crimes."
MAGA Trumper Storming the Capitol
What the MOQ shows clearly is that neglecting working class folks and instead catering to a parties donors wishes is immoral. Intellectual laws exist so that folks are to be treated equally. At their base; political donations are immoral in that they preference the social power of money and corruption over the intellectual spirit of the law but yet still they are an aspect of our democracies that continue to be tolerated. Why?
They are tolerated not just because the same folks who need to change this are the corrupted politicians themselves. They are tolerated not just because our media, also on the take with money from social forces, is undermined in its ability to intellectually report on what's occurring. But also, and even more importantly, is that they are tolerated because our intellectual class uses a Metaphysics that fails protect itself from these social forces.
But also, and even more importantly, is that they are tolerated because our intellectual class uses a Metaphysics that fails to protect itself from these social forces.
Start with the media. Reporters are supposed to remain 'unbiased' and 'objective', we are told, and to only report on the 'facts'. Morals? They are likely subjective prejudices that muddy a good reporters view of what is occurring. 'Objectivity and amorality is the most important thing for a good reporter'. Morality be damned.
The same is true for academics who ought to be intellectually investigating how values influence and create our shared cultures and commenting on present day cultural events from this same moral and values based perspective. But they don't because our current metaphysics doesn't allow it. Instead our current metaphysics allows far more immorality than what, the MOQ shows, logically makes sense. A strong man who at all points undercuts and undermines intellectual quality is immoral; this isn't just someone's opinion about morality and not necessarily true. It's true for all people, everywhere. But academics can't ever say that quite so easily and when they do say it they can easily be replied to with a 'Who says?'.
Indeed, if everyone knew and used the MOQ instead of the clunky metaphysics that we use today, it ought to be obvious to just about anyone that not just political donations, but a strong man coming in and taking over congress is immoral and dumb. This is the strength of the MOQ. We are able to call Trump and his supporters actions immoral. Not just in some time, and not just in someone's opinion. With the MOQ we can say logically, empirically, by supporting Trump and his overthrow of congress - his supporters are being immoral.
But the MOQ goes further than simply calling someone immoral. The MOQ provides us a way to understand the values of others, and our own, in a way that is far from the cynicism and unproductive conflict we are constantly bombarded with today. Because another strength of the MOQ is that it provides us a way to understand and sympathise far more easily from other folks perspectives. With the knowledge that at their core, folks are thinking and acting based on their values, we can look at those values, examine them, and understand why they value the things that they do.
Turn on cable television of most mainstream news networks and we are lead to believe that most Trump voters are racist or bigoted; and that's the extent of their dissatisfaction. But if we hit the streets as Chris Arnade has, and you listen to the forgotten middle part of America, then you will quickly discover that their grievances oftentimes are extremely legitimate. They are the forgotten but their voices are still extremely important. Shining a light on those voices and their struggles, as Chris does, is incredibly valuable.
Because it's within all that suffering and hopelessness that has continued unaddressed for decades, that they've been primed for manipulation. Their distrust for intellectuals, with their failing metaphysics and long time neglect, has hit an all time high. Instead they've become increasingly skeptical of even basic facts they're told and so have turned toward paranoia and conspiracy. It's only been comforting for them to see these same conspiracies, disinformation and propaganda spewed by the Orange man himself. Someone who assures them, 'Trust me - I know better'.
The most common factor in Trump support has always been how strongly they identify with Authoritarianism. In Trump their basic values are met and they follow him and commit whatever horrible acts in his name to wherever he takes them.
But what's very clear to me is that in a world which understands and appreciates the MOQ - this never happens. Those authoritarians don't stop respecting authorities, but they do respect authorities who uphold decent values not the strong man anti-intellectualism given to us by the current guy in the job. Indeed - one of the greatest strengths of the MOQ isn't that it's better for intellectuals to protect what's good and right (although it is that); but that it's something anyone can understand and they can use it to act accordingly - including any current or future Trump supporters!
But when? When do folks start to see that our current problems are largely metaphysical and the power and beauty of this better, alternative metaphysics called The MOQ?
That's not something that's easy to answer.. But hopefully - it's sooner than we think! :)
The Political Moral Battles of Now
Heading into this 2020 election - it has been an amazing year to be alive. Not amazingly great per se.. Just - amazing!
It's the strong juxtaposition of the choices within the moral battles which continue in our culture that make it such an amazing thing to behold.. and few things could have exposed more cultural problems than the pandemic that we're experiencing now. But it was inevitable some giant shock to the system would throw old and bad adages against the starkness of reality.
Because what has held back our intellectual culture and prevented everything that is good and right from prevailing has been our current amoral metaphysics that allows those with nefarious means to promote immoral ideas. Of course, this is especially true when discussing the structure of our political economy and the lust for power that goes with it. Zephyr Teachout wrote about it best where she writes:
“For most of world history, we have understood that humans are political animals. The urge to socialize, to love, and to fight runs deep in us. What’s more, we are not laissez-faire in our socializing. We are creatures who concentrate and wield power to get what we want. It is a basic, universal human trait, like sexuality, or hunger, or compassion. It is the stuff of heroism, and, if it goes unchecked, of tyranny. We know this from Aristotle, Shakespeare, James Madison, Frederick Douglass, Hannah Arendt, and every James Bond and Marvel movie ever made. Tyrants have arisen in every age because the taste for power informs every human institution and resides in every human being; how we harness it is the question over which nations live or die.”
Excerpt From: Zephyr Teachout. “Break 'Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom From Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money.”
So as the story goes, the founders of America keenly understood this power lust and feared the undemocratic power of the King too. In response they created laws, regulations and a political system to prevent concentrations of power from ever abusing it.
Of course, this battle didn't end there. Matthew Stoller in his book Goliath; beautifully outlines the last hundred years of the front lines of this ongoing political-economic battle between the social forces who prefer greed and power and the intellectual forces which prefer the fairness of openness, competition and Dynamic Quality. Indeed we can use the language of the MOQ to give color and power to this battle in a way like nothing else can..
Because without any update or checks on the laws created by the founders, these laws came to become less and less relevant with a culmination in concentrations of social level power around the time of WW1. But here a few key politicians and intellectuals managed to fight back and instead used the power of government to reassert the dominance of intellectual values and Dynamic Quality over those strong social forces.
However just after WW2 the dominance of those competition promoting intellectual values began to wane once again and powerful social forces, using the scientific language of an amoral metaphysics, were able to begin to completely change the way we understood and talked about political economy. Almost unwittingly, without a Metaphysics to protect the intellectual from corruption by the social, around the 1970's our intellectual understanding of political economy had transformed entirely. Our understanding of what it meant to be a citizen had gone from, one who is able to advocate for changes to the entire structure of democracy, into something far more narrow: a consumer. If you didn't like something about some large monopolistic corporation - 'shop somewhere else!' With this change, and without a common sense Metaphysics to prevent it, behind the scenes, large unaccountable concentrations of social power were able to take control once again.
Indeed, these changes in language and understanding have survived mostly unchallenged. As a result we now have two corrupted political parties and one in particular, the Democrats, who claim to represent fairness and equality, but will nevertheless frequently undercut it in the name of unaccountable concentrated social level power. This has lead many, on both sides of the political spectrum to become increasingly cynical and skeptical about any worthwhile political changes from ever occurring. It has also created the perfect environment for a fascistic leaning strongman to come along, and tell the screwed over working class folk that everything's going to be okay and that the intellectuals don't know what they hell they're talking about.
But he does even more than just comfort them - he both satisfyingly pokes holes in the corrupted intellectual class yet also immorally undercuts intellectual values too.
Case in point: his attack on news as 'fake news' is the same as the Nazis used for Lügenpresse or Press of Lies. Or perhaps most glaringly is his approach to something so coldly intellectual as a virus. Which was first to ignore it and then to downplay it and then do everything he possibly could to pretend it didn't exist. Rather than stopping and valuing the intellectual understand of that biological thing which has taken and will continue to take hundreds of thousands of American lives.
For this reason, according to the MOQ, voting for the corrupt neoliberalism of Joe Biden is the moral choice for President rather than the strong-man Trump. Because faux intellectual is far better and more moral than faux dictator, and that's not just an opinion - that's Metaphysics.
Building a Rationally Moral Society
Can we use intellect to structure society and determine moral codes of behavior?
That goal's certainly been the dream of intellectuals since the 1920's. They advocated using our intelligence rather than blind adherence to tradition to determine the best way to behave in society. As Pirsig notes in Lila:
The new intellectualism of the twenties argued that if there are principles for right social conduct they are to be discovered by social experiment to see what produces the greatest satisfaction... The scientific test of a 'vice' should not be, 'Does society approve or disapprove?' The test should be, 'Is it rational or irrational?'
For example, drinking that causes car accidents or loss of work or family problems is irrational. That kind of drinking is a vice. It does not contribute to the greatest satisfaction of the greatest number. On the other hand, drinking is not irrational when it produces mere social or intellectual relaxation. That kind of drinking is not a vice. The same test can be applied to gambling, swearing, lying, slandering or any other 'vice.' It is the intellectual aspect not the social aspect that dictates the answer...
It was expected that with the new application of reason, sex could be handled much like other commodities without the terrible tensions and frustrations of social repression exposed by Sigmund Freud.
But the unleashing of biology from its social level shackles has not proven to be as straight forward as the intellectuals had hoped. Because our current intellectual culture and the metaphysics that supports it still has no way to intellectually determine what is both good and bad behavior - and so it has therefore been the product of both..
From the perspective of a subject-object science, the world is a completely purposeless, valueless place. There is no point in anything. Nothing is right and nothing is wrong. Everything just functions, like machinery. There is nothing morally wrong with being lazy, nothing morally wrong with lying, with theft, with suicide, with murder, with genocide. There is nothing morally wrong because there are no morals, just functions.
Now that intellect was in command of society for the first time in history, was this the intellectual pattern it was going to run society with?
As far as Phaedrus knew, that question has never been successfully answered.
Pirsig thought a solution to this would be to look back, beyond the Victorians, to the Puritans who saw the value in the vices for what they were aiming to achieve.
Drinking, dancing, sex, playing the fiddle, gambling, idleness: these are biological pleasures. Early Puritan morals were largely a suppression of biological quality..
What the Metaphysics of Quality concludes is that the old Puritan and Victorian social codes should not be followed blindly, but should not be attacked blindly either. They should be dusted off and re-examined, fairly and impartially, to see what they were trying to accomplish and what they actually did accomplish toward building a stronger society. We must understand that when a society undermines intellectual freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally bad, but when it represses biological freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally good.
So the difference in approach between the MOQ, the Victorians, and the reactionary 1920's intellectuals is teleological. The latter two are simply about the extremes of maximization of satisfaction or the blind suppression of biological freedom. The MOQ is instead about focusing on which values build the strongest society.
Indeed, it is this nuanced appreciation for the evolutionary role of social values that makes the MOQ far superior to our current Subject-Object Metaphysics. Because it's with this distinction that we can appreciate the underlying value that did exist in the two misguided approaches that came before it. That is, both the puritan value of creating a harmonious society through the suppression of destructive biological values as well as the intellectuals value of using the power of rationality to structure a moral society.
The MOQ therefore, is not prudish. That is, it isn't blindly against biological values. But it is strongly against uncontrolled biological values that create social decay. The test for whether society should tolerate any biological behavior is how much social destruction it creates. With the MOQ we can uniquely shine a sharp light on this social values destruction in a vastly more powerful way than our current metaphysics.
I suppose the question then is, when will our intellectual culture see this beauty of the new metaphysics, and use it to make the world a better place?
Human Rights & Wearing Masks
Does the Metaphysics of Quality(MOQ) support those not wearing masks and instead support protesting against them? No, it doesn't. The great thing about the MOQ is that it's really simple and was created so just about anyone can understand it. The MOQ says that Human Rights are intellectual values which are separate to and distinct from biological and social values. Society absolutely has control over what you do with your body when it comes to looking after society at large.
When the MOQ makes a clear distinction between intellectual and social values - it is pointing out the fundamental role that society has played in our evolution. This role has been to control, for its own benefit, our biological selves. Often it involves giving our bodies things they need in order to protect them from other bad things such as starvation, disease and death.
With a pandemic knocking on our doors, society is well within its own rights to force people to physically wear a mask over their biological bodies and indeed, when it's available, to get vaccinated too. This is not about intellectual Human Rights - it's about society protecting itself from a deadly threat.
So why is there such a strong but small vocal minority around the world pushing against wearing masks and also pushing to refuse vaccines?
As with the great majority of issues in the world we see around us today - first and foremost it's the result of a failed metaphysics. Nefarious characters are justifying all sorts of bad and immoral things by exploiting the metaphysical failures generated by our current metaphysics. In this case a couple of failures come to mind..
For decades our current metaphysics has failed to morally protect social level values such as the social value of the working class and so there has been blow-back with a growing trend of anti-intellectualism.
For decades our current metaphysics has failed to support intellectual values against a media that has instead been driven by the social value of profit and the biological values of fear and titillation of the senses. Driven by access and power, the media has often seemed synonymous with power.
With such little intellectual accountability, the public is understandably growing distrustful and so here we are... having debates about whether wearing a mask is a human right or those refusing to do so are selfish.
The Metaphysics of Quality answers that they are being selfish, but with our current metaphysics and the failures of it over the past few decades - their attitudes are entirely understandable. It's time we adopted a new Metaphysics that beautifully and simply shows these error in thinking, and points us toward a better world.