LS Re: Explain the subject-object metaphysics

Diana McPartlin (
Mon, 27 Apr 1998 19:34:49 +0100

clark wrote:
> ----------
> > From: Horse <>

> > Although the above is not necessarily representative of the rest of
> > Lila, I think it seems reasonable to suggest that Pirsig is not making
> > reference to some tome called "The Subject-Object Metaphysics - a
> > Definition". The SOM of Lila is a metaphorical tool used to represent
> > a taxonomic structure (in the broad sense of the word). The taxons are
> > not "subject" and "object" but A OR not A. Something is one thing or
> > it is another. Dualism. The law of the excluded middle.
> > MoQ gets around this by assuming that all things are A AND NOT A.

> Diana,
> I think Horse has about the right take on Pirsig's idea of the
> subject-object metaphysics. As Horse says, when Pirsig uses the term
> subject-object metaphysics he is talking about the condition where we
> perceive ourselves as being somehow separate from the rest of nature. We
> perceive ourselves as sitting off in isolation observing the universe
> operate. We feel that we are somehow separate entities not involved in
> the
> ongoing process of the natural world. He is saying that if we do not
> recognize ourselves (mind and body alike) as being an integral part, and
> a
> product of, the operation of Quality, then we are putting ourselves in a
> position where we will never be able to fully understand and appreciate
> the
> functioning of Dynamic Quality.

Ken, Horse, squad,

I think what Horse is getting at is dualism in any form.

Here's Thich Nhat Hanh (from Old Path, White Clouds) on the subject:

"Because of ignorance, Gautama's mind had been obscured, just like the
moon and stars hidden by the storm clouds. Clouded by endless waves of
deluded thoughts, the mind had falsely divided reality into subject and
object, self and others, existence and non-existence, birth and death."

So I guess the question is, is the SOM the dualism of self and not-self,
or is it just any and all dualism?


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