LS Re: Explain the subject-object metaphysics

Horse (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 04:15:12 +0100

Lila 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?

At the risk of confusing the issue, what I'm saying is that it is
both of the above. One grows naturally from the other.
We start off with this little homonculus sitting between the ears
gradually making sense of and eventually observing external
reality from the point of view of internal reality. This is a
naturally occuring point of view and one that is so fundamental that
it is inescapable. Whatever else we are aware of we are primarily
aware of what we think of as the inner THIS and the outer THAT. Even
our own bodies seem part of the external THAT. We are then subjected
to the process of western education which declares that the external
reality is composed of matter and the internal reality of mind. This
fits with how we feel about the way things seem. As the process
continues, we are subjected to other forms of duality - body/soul,
good/bad, truth/lies, sane/insane, cause/effect etc. Some of the
sub-divisions are broken down into further discrete but identifiable
catagories, but retain the characteristics of the initial split.
We ar taught that all things are either of one type OR another. The
process is subtle but persistent and built in such a way as to seem
to be the truth of existence. This taxonomic process is so much part
of our lives that we seem unable to believe that the world could
possibly be any other way.
Self and not-self is just one of the many apparent classes of all
forms of simplistic, dualist thought. This, to me, is what Pirsig
describes as Subject/Object Metaphysics. The model of the Old Way.

At the beginning of this century this model started to collapse
with the discovery that the universe does not exist in such a
simplistic manner. This was the beginning of the New Way of Quantum
Mechanics and Relativity which undermined the beliefs of the Old
Way. The big problem was that natural language was unable to
properly express the model of the New Way. Things that had all the
appearance of solidity were no longer solid - little more than
probability. Goodbye certainty, hello Heisenberg.
Now add to this the idea of Vagueness (Russell, Pierce, Black) or
Fuzziness (Zadeh), Chaos and the fractal nature of reality and the
picture - paradoxically - starts to become clearer.
Pirsig has added a new dimension to this picture (many new dimensions
- but I don't want to go into that now) and greater depth.

"Pleased to meet you, won't you guess my name.
But what's puzzling you is the nature of my game"
Jagger and Richard - Sympathy for the Devil

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