LS Universal Man (wa:Soc and Int)

Donald T Palmgren (
Thu, 20 Aug 1998 15:17:24 +0100

        Hi guys.
        This is a break-off conversation from the deabate I was having w/
> Platt:
> Well, you've pinpointed what scares me about Hegel. His "I that is we
> that is I" is the collectivist mantra in a nutshell. His "Spirit" could
> describe an ant hill. Surely we're above that level.
        We'll it should include an anthill because Spirit is suposed to
include everything the same way pirsig's 'Quality' is. Does the
Upanishad line *Tat twam asi* (that thou are) give you the same
'collectivist' willies? It's the same idea. 'Brahman' is also supposed
to exclude nothing.
        I know Platt hasn't had time to respond to that yet, but I was
flipping through LILA today (the first time I've done so since joining the
LS) because I wanted to re-read the much debated chapter 24... anyway, I
found these little gems:

        'I've just had fealings that maybe the ultimate truth about the
world isn't history or sociology but biography.... You may think
everything you say and say and everything you think is just you but
actually the language you use and the values you have are the results of
thousands of years of cultural evolution. It's all in a kind of debris of
pieces that seem unrelated but are actually part of a huge fabric....
[Schliemann] showed how you could dig down through one stratum after
another, finding the ruins of earlier cities under later ones. That's what
I think can be done w/ a single person.' (Chapter 14)

        That is Hegel's 'I that is a we' to a tee! There's the same idea
in LILA. Later:

        'If Descartes had said, 'The seventeenth-century French culture
exists, therefore I think, therefore I am,' he would have been correct.'
(Chapter 24)

        There it is again! Hegel's idea that individual persons cannot
possibly exist w/o societies. When Hegel asks what else is personhood
if not the unity of the individual man w/ the Universal Man, he could be
interprited into Pirsig-speak as 'the unity between a homo-sapian and the
Giant.' Does that make you rest easier, Platt?

        On a different note: BODVAR, I noticed on that same page in
chapter 24, in the next paragraph, Pirsig writes 'Objects are inorganic
and biological values; subjects are social and intellectual values.' I'm
afraid that blows our theory that he came up w/ that just for the SODV
paper. It looks like that *is* pirsig's 'Lorentz equations,' and he
goffed-up. I think your SOTAQI idea is better. (...and that my: the
capacity for S-O thinking = personhood = social entity [ie. an entity
which can embody social values] is even better yet, if I may be allowed
to say so myself ;-) )
        Either way, Pirsig's view can no longer be dismised and so beres
further inspection at some point, I think.

                        TTFN (ta-ta for now)

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