a priori

 I find that it does not relate to or indicate either an empirical or pure intuition, but that it indicates merely the synthesis of empirical intuitions, which cannot of course be given a priori. The synthesis in such a conception cannot proceed a priori—without the aid of experience—to the intuition which corresponds to the conception; and, for this reason, none of these con- ceptions can produce a determinative synthetical propo- sition, they can never present more than a principle of the synthesis* of possible empirical intuitions.


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Appreciation of Zen

Appreciation of Zen.

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Quality is not a thing. It is an event.


It is the event at which the subject becomes aware of the object.

And because without objects there can be no subject…because the objects create the subject’s awareness of himself…Quality is the event at which awareness of both subjects and objects is made possible.


Now he knew it was coming.

This means Quality is not just the result of a collision between subject and object. The very existence of subject and object themselves is deduced from the Quality event. The Quality event is the cause of the subjects and objects, which are then mistakenly presumed to be the cause of the Quality!”

Now he felt he had that whole dilemma by the throat. “The dilemma all the time had this unseen vile presumption in it, for which there was no logical justification. that Quality was the effect of subjects and objects. It was not! He brought out his knife.”

Quality he wrote, “does not revolve around the subjects and objects of our existence. It does not just passively illuminate them. It is not subordinate to them in any way. It has created them. They are subordinate to it!”

This was a major point of culmination, the Eureka moment in the development of this thought process.

He’d been speculating about the relationship of Quality to mind and matter (=subject and object) and had identified Quality as the parent of mind and matter, that event which gives birth to mind and matter. This Copernican inversion of the relationship of Quality to the objective world could sound mysterious if not carefully explained, but he didn’t mean it to be mysterious. He simply meant that at the cutting edge of time, before an object can be distinguished, there must be a kind of nonintellectual awareness, which he called awareness of Quality. “You can’t be aware that you’ve seen a tree until after you’ve seen the tree, and between the instant of vision and instant of awareness there must be a time lag. We sometimes think of that time lag as unimportant, But there’s no justification for thinking that the time lag is unimportant…none whatsoever

The past exists only in our memories, the future only in our plans. The present is our only reality. The tree that you are aware of intellectually, because of that small time lag, is always in the past and therefore is always unreal. Any intellectually conceived object is always in the past and therefore unreal. Reality is always the moment of vision before the intellectualization takes place. There is no other reality.”

This preintellectual reality is what Pirsig felt he had properly identified as Quality. Since all intellectually identifiable things must emerge from this preintellectual reality, Quality is the parent, the source of all subjects and objects.

He felt that intellectuals usually have the greatest trouble seeing this Quality, precisely because they are so swift and absolute about snapping everything into intellectual form. The ones who have the easiest time seeing this Quality are small children, uneducated people and culturally ‘deprived’ people. These have the least predisposition toward intellectuality from cultural sources and have the least formal training to instill it further into them.

“In a sense,” he said, “it’s the individual’s choice of Quality that defines him. People differ about Quality, not because Quality is different, but because people are different in terms of experience.” He speculated that if two people had identical a priori analogues they would see Quality identically every time.


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MOQ.org.Some of these lessons concern the

very things we have borrowed, as in the case of that most famous of 
Indian stimulants, tobacco. For the Indian, tobacco always had a 
sacramental meaning: the smoke was exhaled east and west, north and 
south, above and below, and then the smoker blew smoke on himself. In 
this way he joined the self with the cosmos. When we adopted tobacco 
we turned it into a personal habit, and we have overused it to the 
point where it has killed many of us. The final irony is that there 
should be a righteous public campaign against this sacred gift of 
America, as if there were something inherently wrong with smoking. 
Beeman Logan, a Seneca medicine man, suggests that the trouble is 
with ourselves: tobacco kills us, he says, because we do not respect it.
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MOQ.org.Yes, the MOQ sets no hard and fast rules. But in regard to moral issues it

is certainly a suggestive tool, giving us a rational rather than a 
religious framework within which to work out moral questions. That in 
itself is a giant intellectual step forward.
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“You Can’t Ban Car Accidents” : A Moral Investigation into Tobacco

Since 2007 there has been a problem, we all know what it is but we can’t seem to find the right way to talk about it. Pirsig to the rescue….


It’s immoral for a biological pattern of value to control society. But it’s also a bit immoral if that society tries to dominate the intellectual paterns of value necessary to make such determinations. True, intellectual patterns of value are supposed to assist in improving and preserving, as well as dynamically advancing society. But does tobacco do that much harm to society. does it intrinsically threaten society’s existence in any way–in any way that can be demonstrated to be worse than, say, guns, ammo, car accidents, aeroplane crashes”? divorces, beatings, robberies and so forth. Pirsig makes clear in Zen that prudes who just sit around moralizing about licentious habits such as smoking are a bit ridiculous, but by the time of Lila, Pirsig’s thesis is very much more advanced. The intellectual patterns that are attempting to be upheld–the ones that are even more moral than a society–like a Nation, are not under threat by tobacco. Freedom of speech and freedom of gathering as assembly is, however, impinged on. But even that isn’t the worst of it. What I’m trying to say is, why tobacco?

Why single that out, especially as it also appears to have a SOCIAL VALUE.

In another part of his thesis, Pirsig argues that there is and still is a conflict between EUROPEAN and INDIAN VALUES. Indeed, the whole american personality has been created and informed by Indian values, shaped in speech, dialect and also humour.

That still has not been acknowledged.


Seems to me that the prejudice against tobacco holds a secret grudge against the Indian, after all, who made the pipe smoke sacred in the first place?

And, as Pirsig points out, who gave the notion of “all men created equal” to Europe?

So, following a Metaphysics of Quality seems to make it a lot easier to say: ‘We’ve really shot ourselves darn good in the foot on this smoking issue folks’

Society controls biology through police and guns and laws, and in cases of outright lunacy, it has to step in. That’s right. It’s more moral for a society to do that. But that doesn’t mean that society gets to run the whole show. The intellectual patterns of value are there for that, and it is clear that in this health-conscious period, where society is slowing slipping back to the only stable moral period it can recall–the Victorians–intellect has capitulated where it ought to have not. So, by legislating “for health” intellectuals have inadvertently made an immoral move as biology has been privileged over society AND intellect! And when one pattern of moral value two steps down from intellectual patterns of value triumphs, that’s very immoral indeed.

So,  the biological that the law is trying to preserve (namely us-human) is an old Victorian moral system that says “what’s fashionable” should be preserved at all costs, and because the Health Fad is exactly that, A FAD from California, it’s immoral to have that biolgical pattern of values control society and intellect.

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The Next Five Days

If yr a British Object, soon you’ll be able to go abroad again. Advantage Home Team Complete. A blue object doshes out bread food for a black object and a group of grey objects dart about. An inflated white object escapes the clutches of a pink object as a larynx object shouts “shoo!”. White objects support blue objects; a bear object supports a rapidly disappearing fast object; a turquoise object samples what remains of the grey group’s food object as my blue knight shoe object samples the brick object steps that lead up to the vortex’s center. Dreadlock objects fly by on a two headed Cerebrus. The new philosophy might be Ovid 2 Mach 15 but that probably doesn’t trouble either Ovid or the much talked about transformed objects of deep history. Another crutch object accompanies a red backpacking nomadic object on the object above the waist of a resplendent human. A pink object knocks jauntily against the waist of another resplendent human. A man object poses with the white T shirt of London 2012 object as his African object friends take his pose with a Nikon F11 62g object beneath the Hastings Castle…

Two brand new didgeridoo Objects pass by my line of sighted objects accompanied with a swashbuckler’s ‘Auzzie’ hat, a guitar and what looks like a brand new plastic mac and bag. (I do actually know the man beneath all these objects but due to the infrastructure of all that is around him, I suppose…that’s maybe why people don’t always recognise each other. (I’m thinking of my meeting with the Magician as we pirouetted around a lampost; and how I really didn’t see the Rasta that day, outside Iceland). A waterproof version of the Auzzie hat passes by. A black woollen number sports itself proudly on the head of an African. Nice leather shoes clip clop, hair pins click cluck, needles prick and sting and phones, ever so silently, coordinate the whole thing. Pink lettering leads the way to a nubile’s zipper. MLF’s in black cotton spread one eye my way as this ink samples all you who saw me being written by all of this. Grout in between brick. A gouged, crushed grim bit of old tobacco; a city stink; a lit town center market tent and a blown up silver foiled purple helium assisted dolphin the stars of the show.
I don’t know if it goes ‘on and on’ or ‘round and round.’ Perhaps our conception of motion, vortexes, activity in general needs a new word to describe it, or, perhaps (I am really with Tim on this) it’s simply Darwinian. Unpleasant. A bit random. And none of it concludes in a nice little apotheosis where we neatly “fit” with an environment. And, worse, because now we understand that there isn’t actually an environment to be ‘fit’ to… (I conclude) therefore we have all become intrinsically philosophers. Either we know intrinsically at birth that it’s an unhappy fit and a bit painful or…
Before I can think it through the third wheelchair object of the day, residing in the North-east corner of the vortex comes into view: a hybrid of the two electric and one ancient I’ve already seen; a smart wheeled object, reeking of Quality~ a cigarette smoke sampling the air beneath Hastings Castle, her blue aura accented by the cerese cardigan and the gears, struts, chrome and lever looking very much like ‘the latest’. A blue ovoid bounces off the foot. It’s ‘the’ world on the ball. Fifth chair shows up right next to me. Old style, protected by Karma (an insurance & security company)…Yellow objects in the shape of tennis rackets produce round, thin, bubble objects. Breathed by lungs only 5 years old, todays lunch getting a breath of fresh air? Wobbling into the air; wobbling off the yellow plastic; popping on black iron railings. The fifth wheel chair object looks uncomfortable, isn’t automated and supports one who can remember the last war (no, not Iraq or Kuwait). ‘The bubble looks like a snowman’s head’ says the lips to the eyes of wonder: ‘Wow. that one’s lasted)’
Hands clap and smash the air of lunch. The old object born circa 1935 breaks free and smiles; her arms make a triumphant lurch upward to… ‘touch’ (which, sadly, we now know is the biggest illusion of all). Oh. Her, or near to her, the last gesture she will ever make (recorded here for her). The wobbling pink and green of the petroleum perhaps reporting back to the Petroleum Hierarchy the State of the air round these parts (Hmm). Planes never really ‘touch’ down, like our feet in the airports never really touch ground~in that sense (given the apparent depth of the earth, we’re all just floating around. Weird, really, when you think about it. But then, that’s what they say souls do isn’t it…float about like ghosts in a boat…

I move up off the street and head upward, stop to pick up the vibe of the lawn, railings and Victorian Objects and notice some crayons. Young Jim sporting a fine leopard skin top says a quick hello; his star dog of Men in Black fame also gives me the nod. I scrape blue crayon on Wallinger’s Walk. Contact lens eyes are tired and I think ‘Is that the Magician I see behind me.’ A ‘slowness’ of objects has come into the atmosphere. Crayon samples 100 year old masonry. Near the rise Lenny, then Ronnie, and at the playground I wish Jim’s brother a happy if belated birthday. Kids spin on metal corpuscles of delight. The entire globe’s waters available to sample. Sky’s nearly met Earth. Water’s met ground and the spirits of Gods and Men are heaving in the pollution atmosphere (is that a ghost, a chimera?).
I drift to the pavilion and sample the blue paint, green concrete awning. The wigwam is still sampling the best of the view. Two turquoise hillocks, taking a dog’s collar for a walk pose on a bench opposite playground; sampling that water, a red pair of latex objects sit next to her; a third, plain denim joins them and the six of them rest. I take off shoe (ooh the smell) and sample more strawberry flavoured vapour.
The objects wish us to see the common sense in building playgrounds for adults. The turquoise hillocks rise to greet the white appalachian trail that advances toward me. the red & white lycra grips the skin that curves the road that blasts the air that causes the two turquoise hillocks to reach for lips and say ‘hello’ to me. (Or to the pen) (Or to the shoe!) or to the foot! or the flask! Dog collar shines with delight: welcome to the object!
I smile the gracious if cautious smile of the Picash who would if the hillocks asked take the round robin to the red eye bridge back into the hills of Virginia.
Five humanoid objects sampling about 30 objects between them gravitate upward without ‘loss’ of breath. Think about it: four canine objects, then two paddles (!) one fishing rod and a cap all join the upward walk. A Rottweiler’s arse takes a pause and lets out its brown object onto the green. Oh delicious.


I stop by Gordon Alpine’s place, his wife makes amazing cheese scones and they had my name on them. Drawn by said aroma I arrive in time to interrupt the Man City QPR game and offset the chat with ‘I bet I know why yr watching the footies and not C4 Paralympics.’
I know Gordon’s kitchen table, kettle, teapot and garden very well. Twenty years my senior, we have nonetheless spent many an hour in buses, coaches, cars, vans and on boards of all shape in all sorts of winds talking together. We’re very similar in that we both tend toward the ‘outdoors’ rather than the indoor activity of television watching, although we make spectacular exceptions to the rule.
It’s good scran but I already know he’s miffed: ‘Begin at the beginning…’ I half humouredly say, but I already know: in summary, between the C4 ads, the endless repetition of Sainsburys and the cockamamy attempt to pile education, learning, cultural studies, sports coverage, philosophical musing, history, environmental speculation, human interest stories, humour, financial information and the introduction of a new slew of C4 presenters into the mix, C4 have ended up being the very mockery of disabled worst case scenario coverage ever.
‘It beggars belief’ we used to say in the old days (or I heard it said that way more than once). We skip over to the substructure of the possibility of potential irony, the fact that C4 is acting like a prosthetic device and the half cousin twice removed of the BBC and move straight in for the kill: ‘It’s just patronizing and shows exactly where the higher ups in the echelon’s heads are.’
It’s unnecessary for me to add the obvious, like I said, I know Gordon well~he’s the kind of guy who will speak his mind but will never (in the 40 yrs I’ve known him) pointlessly grumble for the sake of grumbling. In his as in my life there are always better things to do than endlessly complain in a Monty Pythonesque way to an invisible spectre, which, in this case, complaint would be. The Sainsburys, Tesco, Atos, C4 machine is rolling and for the next 8 days will continue to roll out its ugly, commodified, professional, advertising-ridden, NBC style 6-4-8 minute format to the sound of an awkward studio (that’s probably tucked away in a small cupboard along with the original server that launched the internet). We guffaw over the cheese scone, but as we all know, sometimes it takes another’s presence to acknowledge the shock.
‘Well,’ I begin to say, thinking of the last book “It totally ruined my ending; I haven’t quite recovered; I had the whole thing primed for a glorious description of the opening ceremony and at least another couple of hundred pages went plop down the drain with all the rest of the expectations.’ I could see on Gordon’s face that if he’d thought of the Dalai Lama at that moment, he would have said something like, ‘Even the Dalai Lama would be irate.’ Absolutely disgusting. We had both and his wife, gone berserk to the point of speechlessness with the coverage… as if the entire audience was composed of various shades of Homer Simpsonesque skin with intelligence under the O.Zero 2 bracket.
Not only had all of Britain for all of the previous years been educating and learning and spreading the word about the different people in the world~from fat to thin, ugly to geek; from beauty to wide; from disabled to asbos, from rich (the wealthiest) to slumdog and secret millionaires) the British Public (& anyone else who happens to watch C4)~were, as a result the best educated, best informed and probably the most sensitive group of 60 million people gathered: Hence the 288 athletes in the stadium!
Gordon looks at me. I look at Gordon. And the cheese scones look at both of us, our dentures gnash around the emotions (should we be pissed off at all? should we write ‘at a time like this’ a letter of complaint?) We’re both thinking (and we know this is secretly implicit in Britain~although it’s not for the general public abroad) that the dirty secret is     ~‘Well, if you don’t have enough money to go to each and every event’ you’ll just have to sit through as many hours of hair dye ads as yr average NBC viewer does as both punsihment and incentive for the next time). Irate? ‘The bloody TV nearly went out the window’.
I laugh. ‘I ended up watching the 1974 parliamentary election results on BBC Parliament.’
Gordon: ‘I ended up breathing a sigh of relief watching the BBC coverage from Zurich.’
Me: ‘Didn’t you feel guilty?’
Gordon: ‘The thought did cross my mind. My disabled mate is recording all of it. Says he’s spending all the time fast forwarding.’
Me (unsaid): ‘We’re being punished for not getting tickets.’

We analyze his gladiolas instead and mourn the difficult decision to cut down the fig tree. It’s not that we don’t feel, it’s that we feel too much. (And it’s also obvious….and why is it necessary to relegate the action to half minute slots between all of the other agendas?)?
Try as we might we both knew the glorious expectations we’ve had were going to be smashed to pieces, scattered on a beach somewhere in the back of our minds, like Prospero and Miranda to be swept up into a little location called not to be opened again. The Beeb would come out smelling of roses, and C4 would leave the harpie’s taste in our mouths for months to come. We will celebrate this (Perfection, utopian, idyllic Gold) here, but we cannot fully bring ourselves to celebrate and support the real diversity in quite the same way. There has to be a hierarchy in a monarchy and it goes through all of the television programming right down to the bottom of the aquatic center and the wood lice on the studio floor. Atrocious? Inextricably infuriating? All of that and more…

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