LS Re: Relationship between intellect and society

Jonathan B. Marder (
Mon, 17 Aug 1998 13:48:34 +0100

Hi Bo, LS

>One of the more weird things he found is that in the brain a sensory
>input (say a touch to the skin) raises an electrical "evoked response"
>which has to last half a second to become aware to the subject. But
>how is that, touches are felt as occurring simultaneously with the
>actual touch!? A pin-prick to a big toe first needs a considerably
>time to even reach the brain and then half a second's evoked response
>should amount to nearly one second!! (the reflexes are something
>else) Well Libet found that the "mind" transfers the sensation
>backwards (forwards possibly?) IN TIME so as to occur in synch with
>the event....
I think this is mystification of something quite simple. Sure it can
take a long time to take notice an unexpected sensation - sometimes even
minutes. But response to an expected stimulus is much faster (under half
a second). Otherwise you wouldn't be able to adjust the grip pressure
when you pick something up.
So there is primary sensation, and subsequent reaction which are quite

>Finally Intellect (InPoV) grew on top of SoPoV and only here did time
>and - eventually - neurology occur. The chief Intellectual pattern
>is the separatedness of self from other (from society and from
>the physical world, even of a mind separate from the body). It grew
>to such proportions that it can be said to be Q-Intellect itself.

I've yet to see an explanation either from Pirsig or anyone else on how
the intellect came from SoPoV!
Sure, intellectual discplines have social components, but thought
I see things a bit differently. Social patterns in many cases just
"evolved", and in other cases started off as "good ideas" (products of
intellect). Modern life is full of social rituals which arose from good
ideas. Thus I see one aspect of society as ritualization of intellect.
The common man learns and follows the rituals and procedures, but is
seldom called on to understand them and judge them. "Just take the
antibiotics 4 times a day for 7 days ...".
Technicians, doctors and teachers follow the procedures and syllabi.
It's not that intellect is off limits. It's just that ritualization
establishes and preserves the VALUE of intellectual ideas, and clears
the decks for new thoughts.

Intellect designs, society ritualizes!

The seed of intellect isn't society. Society is the soil.


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