LS Explain the Subject-object metaphysics (frw)

Donald T Palmgren (
Wed, 29 Apr 1998 16:06:20 +0100

Hi, Squad. I sent this out last week, but 2 people have
mailed me saying the didn't get it so here it is again. As always, if
you've already seen this, sorry; delete at will.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 10:23:01 +0000
From: Donald T Palmgren <>

Hi again.
        I agree w/ what's been said so far, and I think -- in light of
Ken's honey bees espicialy -- this would be a useful place to
between S-O thinking (or S-O consciousness) and SOM.
        I'd say that the primatives on the island of Bulla-bulla in the
far South Seas don't have any metaphysics. They have a "correct picture
of the world" (CPOW), yes, but metaphysics doesn't mean having a CPOW,
means the *skeptical* deconstruction/reconstruction of the CPOW.
Metaphysics is the *study of* the question "what really exists?" not
the answer to it.
        So you can't have SOM before you have metaphysics, and
begain in 585 BCE in what is now south-west Turkey. So if we want to
what SOM is we probly do need to do a little archeology and see just how
it got started. Pirsig does a little of this in ZMM, but I'm backing up
tuch more. Two things came together in Ionia/Greece to spawn
One was a shift into the third basic stage of religion. Briefly,
goes through three stages: The ouranian, the chthonic and the mystic.
the ouranian mode man is subordinated to higher powers, laws are put
from on-high, and sin takes the form of trasgression against the
In chthonic religion man forgets the sky and ties himself w/ the
earth/nature. Health is the primary good. We get a lot of ritual
and purification. Then we develope into the mystical (which, rather
strangly, started in the 6th cen BCE, "the axial age" almost globaly --
from Greek Mystery cults to India and the Buddha on into China and
Lautzu). Religion becomes individual and reflective. The final goal of
the quest becomes at-one-ment w/ self and w/ the world. The
is that here the cure for 'sin' is neither forgiveness nor the return to
health but full mystical reunion w/ (and thus an understanding of) the
        O-kay that gets us as far as mystery cults and Buddhism, but not
into metaphysics/philosophy. The second factor is the Phonetian's
phonetic alphabet (remember everybody else was still using pictograms
idioglyphs at this time). I'll exerpt this from James Burke's *The
Axemaker's Gift*.
        "The alphabet... was so easy to learn that most people could now
read... External storage also *publicizes* thinking, so that ideas can
considered, commented on, and criticized... The "literates" of the Greek
community now had a tool to chop up thought and ask complex questions
w/o having to worry about getting lost in the process... The
of Greek letters made possible the democtratic form of government... The
ability to represent the world abstractly and to combine and recombine
abstract elements then became part of the way we were educated to think
about the world... It would make knowledge a new world in itself to be
up and segmented by specialists... For the first time in recorded
questions were being asked about the nature of knowledge itself... The
alphebetic process of making words by taking a set of abstract elements
and recombining them in myriad forms accelerated the Greek view that
was also the way the material world worked... With alphebetic thinking
world could be mentally held at arm's length, examined and discussed.
        "Above all, clear, skilled speach was essential for the
of a complex but oederly society in the new Assembly, where polity was
public speaking and government functioned through persuasion by
This ability to argue and debate was highly developed by a group called
the Sophist, who took what the alphabet could do to an inevitable
conclusion... But the emphasis that Georgias and the other Sophist
on rhetoric was not just related to the swaying of political opinion. It
came from a realization that the relationship between speech and "truth"
is far from simple... Georgias was cutting up the concepts "being,"
"thinking," and "saying," which had previously been unified..."
And on we march from the relativity of the Sophist to Socratic
doubt to Plato's logocentic realm of absolute Truths and at last to
Aristotle's systimitization of LOGIC as a way to get to that realm.
        Anyway, the point being that what sent Greece (and then the
world) off in a different direction from everybody else (the East) was
Greek/Phonitian alphabet. That is what pushed us into the realm of
ABSTRACTION (the projection of those good ol' always-everywhere laws).
the West we've got phil.; in the East they've got mysticism.

        Everybody starts w/ S-O thinking (including my cat and Ken's
bees). The third wheel of religion -- the mystic -- is all about
that (the at-one-ment). SOM is a particuler loop that runs us through
verbel world of abstraction. I want to note the archetypal progression
here (expanded in Wester phil. to the macro-scale) from the preverbel to
the verbel(linguistic) and into (the return to) the post-verbel. Let me
quote my guy Hegel: :)
        "Subject is the actual only so far as it is the movement of
positing itself, or the medeation of its self-othering with itself...
this self-RESTORING sameness, or this refutation in otherness w/in
-- not an ORIGINAL or IMMEDIATE unity as such -- is the True. It is the
process of its own becoming, the circle that presupposes its end as its
goal, having its end also as its begining; and only being worked out to
its end, is it actual... The begining, the principal, or the Absolute,
at first immediately enunciated, is only the universal. Just as when I
say 'all animals', this expression cannot pass for zoology, so it is
equilly plain that the words, 'the Divine', 'the Absolute', 'the
etc., do not express what is contained in them..."
(And that is also my answer to Struan's objection of 'Why have the MoQ
all? Why not just say EVERYTHING exists and then stop?')
        Hegel (who I guess is the Buddha of classical thinkers) begins
the preverbel. But the preverbel is still already S-O consciousness.
"moment" of consciousness takes what really exists to be immediate,
undivided (pre-knifed) experience. He begins w/ a guru on a mountain,
you ask, "What really exists?" and the Guru spreds his arms and
indicates the mountain vista and the sunset, and says, "This!" But upon
reflection consciousness realizes that experience is not immediate
it's already medeated by s-t (especialy time). So the journy through the
verbel stage is necessary -- even if you end up back at where you
This is one reason why Hegel's *Phenominology* is so odd -- because he
rights it asumming the reader has already read it -- it's circuler.
        (MORAL: You can't just say "Q=immediat exp. and then stop,
where the hell do you ever encounter immediate [unmediated] exp.? We
experince the world through the medium of time.)

        So, now we (mostly) agree that S-O thinking = I-other or I-this
thinking. We've got some idea of where metaphysics comes from. So now,
what exactly counts as a SOM and what does it stand opposed to -- just
the MoQ? (Or does it stand opposed to the MoQ? In Hegel's Idealism, of
course, the "Object Conscousness" is a necessary stage in the movement.)
(Bo, you might insert your SAIOM idea here.)

        Now that we're seeing what's going on inside the RM Pirsig
now is a great time to start looking over the fence. Why did he write
these two books, and (far more importantly) why did you read them? What
are you supposed to get out of them? What's the pay-off here? See this
kind of exposition of text and philosophiology is square-one stuff; w/
right education you could get a trained monkey to do what I'm doing. The
problem is that school (and achademic phil. especially) generaly stops
there at square-one and never looks over the fence, which is where the
REAL action is. That's were the LS has the advantage. Since we're not
traped in some stuffy old classroom, we can ask real, on-the-street

                                        TTFN (ta-ta for now)

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