LS Re: Explain the subject-object metaphysics

clark (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 04:15:21 +0100

> From: Diana McPartlin <>
> To: Multiple recipients of <>
> Subject: LS Re: Explain the subject-object metaphysics
> Date: Monday, April 27, 1998 8:13 PM
> 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
> > > 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
> > > 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.
> > 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,
> > a
> > product of, the operation of Quality, then we are putting ourselves in
> > 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?
> Diana
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Diana and Squad,
  My concept of the idea of Dynamic Quality is that it is the force that
brought all else into being, the physical universe as well as all of the
life forms that make up our part of the universe. In this view Pirsig's
subject-object metaphysics would include every manifestation of matter
or life in the universe. Of course, sentience is required for this to
become a subject of practical interest so that the problem that Pirsig
points out regarding the subject-object metaphysics is the problem
relating to the sentient life forms of the Earth. Most people would
consider the sentient forms to be humanity.
  My thought on the matter is that all of the elements as well as all of
the life forms are self contained entities that require a certain level
of self protection to remain recognizable entities. Cooperation between
the elements and their resulting molecules and combinations under the
influence of Dynamic Quality are also entities and represent steps in
the evolution of complexity. I think this also applies to life and it's
relationships to
other forms of life as well as interaction with the inorganic world.
  My mind picture is that the entire physical universe, inorganic and
organic, represent steps in the process of the application of Dynamic
Quality to the initial conditions. The latches that occurred through
time are separate entities (subjects and objects) that are completely
subsumed into the Metaphysics of Quality. Thus, everything that exists,
mentally or physically, is an integral part of the seamless whole of
Quality. Thus Good becomes a noun and subjects and objects present no
problem because these ideas are just a way of describing a part of
Dynamic Quality. Dualism then is seen as a misleading term which has no
place in the concept of Dynamic Quality.
  Pirsig was talking about the false and misleading use of the term
"dualism" to describe the results of the operation of Dynamic Quality. I
think that he was trying to show how the Greeks, et al, made the initial
  I have not attempted a survey but it is my impression that the vast
majority of the world's people do not have the Greeks in their
intellectual lineage. The American Aborigines do not and I think that
your eastern mystics do not.
  I think Pirsig was using the term SOM as a general term to point out
the fallacies with which most people view reality. In other words I
agree with you, I think SOM is a general term for any and all dualism
including self and not self.
  I hope this makes sense. It seems to to me. Ken

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