On Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 10:57 PM, David F wrote:
Hey people, been doing some thinking…and here are the results (a shout out to Lynn for the movie night idea which prompted me writing this):
Quality. You thought the word was dead. I would like to however temporarily revive it in light of recent events in the world and recent events that have affected my life. When we say a thing has quality, namely it is well-made, we always have a reference point. That reference point can be something as simple as a mathematics formula that has been proven or something more abstract like belief in oneself or inspiration. For example, we have all have had that college professor or that mentor that gave us the reliable blocks from which we can build a theory of reality in its many aspects. Without a theory, we can have no perspective because the mind needs something to take hold of or fasten onto initially. It is an illusion, perhaps even a far-reaching one that for example to say a man or women of genius could come up with a discovery or a theory out of nothing. One can not one day start writing mathematical formulas without ever having seen one. That in my view is a fiction.
That is where quality comes in. The “cutting edge of reality” as Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has termed it. Does it matter or even make sense to say that a certain thing has more quality than another thing? We have all seen things that have been done shoddily and things where “form meets function” beautifully. Or what about a pop song that is catchy but derivative to a fault. I would argue that it is in comparing where we first develop a frame or a point of reference. Is it merely snobbery to say something has quality? Without pulling out Pirsig’s intellectual scalpel, we can say that there is a certain criterion which creates the experience of quality. You can create a modern building with Greek style columns but make it out of cheap materials and you’ll rob it completely out of its quality. This is undeniable. Without a mentor of mine defining an asshole as someone who thinks their own lines (of speech) are gold and is fooling no one but themselves, I probably wouldn’t ever have thought about what it means when we call or insult someone in that fashion. Does it have any quality as a definition? I would argue that because it had quality, we did need it and furthermore we need it before we can create our own.