LS Soc and Int values

Donald T Palmgren (
Fri, 21 Aug 1998 13:35:30 +0100

On Thu, 20 Aug 1998, Bodvar Skutvik wrote:

> I agree Platt. Also to what you say about Hegel-speak :-)!

        So do I.
        The ideal approch is to find the clearest way to express ideas
while also putting them into some contex or comparing to some other
refernce. Of course you can't always do both at once...
        In truth, Hegel's ideas are real difficult and I'm trying to work
through them myself by compairing them to the much easier to follow
pirsig, Heidegger and Campbell, so I'll confess to doing the Hegel-speak
as much for my own benifet as the LS's.
        'Am I bug'en you? I don't mean to bug ya.' (Bono)

> Platt and Donny!
> Even if I am down with a cold, I had to drag myself to the keyboard
> to comment this. Pirsig does not say that (sic) :".....the first
> intelectual value patterns formed in the 6th cen when Socrates drank
> the hemlock....." What he says is that that event marked the
> breakthrough for the Subject-Object thinking AS A

        I'm not sure he says that either. Socrates (so far as can be
derived) didn't appeare to have much of any metaphysical system... mostly
he just questioned everybody else. Most philosophologist agree that the
Theory of Forms is really plato putting his words in Socrates' mouth.
        The significant thing about Socrates act was that he showed that
society has no right to control intellectual values, *especialy* the value
to question social values. That's Socrates' major contrabution.
Metaphysically, all that (or most of it) seems to come from Plato.
        I'm not certain what exactly pirsig says about this moment or
where; I'm really relying on Anthony's:
Platt & Donny: Pirsig ascribes the beginning of the
Q-intellect with Socrates taking of the hemlock i.e. this
was the first RECORDED time that an intellectual good (e.g.
discussing philosophy with the young men of Athens and
asking those in power difficult questions) took precedence
over a social good (e.g. living a conformist lifestyle and
keeping quiet).
        All I can say for sure just now is that I do remember that in LILA
he names the exact date that intelectual values took dominance from social
values: November 11, 1918.

> (But I'm happy that you,Donny, also equalize
> S-O (M) with the Q-Intellect: that is my SOTAQI as you know).

        Uh-oh! Now you've stuck the 'M' back in there.

> Still, 'breakthrough' isn't 'emergence' which in turn isn't
> 'occurrence': this is a sequence of rising importance. You (and
> Platt) are right: S-O thinking emerged long before that. I would say
> at the time Jaynes describe it in his "Bicameral" idea - around
> Homer's time (4th millennium? BC). But even long before that
> humankind spoke and "thought" and painted great paintings, but that
> was Intellectual patterns still "in the service of" society; of the
> common myth.

        If you just mean man 'knows he knows' then we certainly do need to
go before Homer (whom I think was later than 4th milinium as well). The
Lascaux cave paintings date to an amazing 45-30,000 BCE! Certainly man
possesed subject-consciousness ('knows he knows') by then, and possesed
object-conciousness (knows I-This, but doesn't know he knows that) long,
long before then. But just as certainly, paleolithic man did not posses
the 'Aristotilian' view of reality where A is not not-A... AND I THINK
        Let's call A/not-A 'Arstotialian logic,' o-kay? This is the
approch to the world that one thing can't also be something else which it
is not. If it's A then it can't also be B, because B is not-A.

        Here's what I think:
        First, somewhere amist the evolution of the biological moral
rhythms, Oject-consciousness (O-Con) developed and stuck because it's
good for an organism if it can tell itself from what's not itself.
        Much latter, these little dharmas became self-aware; they knew
that they knew themselves from other things. Thus: Subject-conciousness
(S-Con), but along w/ S-Con you get a new phenomina: Some consciousness of
the 'group' begins to form. At first all of this, as I imagine it, is
in the service of biological values: survivle and procreation. Whatever
these critters are doing, they are doing it for those reasons.
        Anyway, we're now up to 30,000 BCE or so, and we've got S-O
thinking (or 'S-O consciousness') in place. However it's still very
questionable what state the social values are in, and we are WAY off from
intelectual values.
        Or at least I can safely say we are way off from Aristotilian

        From Joe Campbell's wonderfull *Maskes of God vol I*:
        In the primative world...the gods and demons are not concieved in
the way of hard and fast, positive realities... The mask in a primative
festival is revered and experienced as a veritable apparitian of the
mythical being that it represents -- even though everyone knows that a man
made the mask and that man is wearing it. The one weraing it is identified
with the god during the time of the ritual...He does not mearly represent
the god; he *is* the god... There has been a shift in view from the logic
of the normal and seculer sphere...The [sacred] logic is that of 'make
believe' -- 'as if'... It is a primary, spontanious device of childhood, a
magic device...[namely] the phenominon of self-induced belief...

        [Campbell uses the Roman Catholic Mass as an example... also used
by Pirsig toward the end of LILA.]

        The sacrament... is not concieved to be a *reference*, a mere sign
or symbol to arouse in us a train of thought, but God himself...
Comparably, in India it is believed that, in responce to consecrating
formulae, deities will descend graciously to infuse their divine substance
into the temple images... [All this] requires that the normal attitude
[be] temporarily set aside in favore of a mood of dressing up. The world
is hung w/ banners. Or in the permanent religious sanctuaries -- the
temples and cathedrals... -- the logic of cold, hard fact must not be
allowed to intrude and spoil the spell... Hence the guardian figures that
stand at either side of the enterance to holy places... are there to keep
out the 'spoil sports,' the advocates of Aristotialin logic, for whome A
can never be B...

        But those how necessary were those temple guardians as we go
farther and farther back into primative man?
        Frazier, in his *Golden Bough*, puts forth the theory that an
evolution has taken place from magic to religion to science. Magic is the
natural mode of belief to the primative. It is based on two
(scientifically) false assumptions: that like produces like (thus: the
voodoo doll), and that an object that was once in contact w/ another
object will still remain in 'contact' after they are spacialy seperated,
and thus what is done to one will affect the other. In his words:
        'The primative magician... never analyses the mental process on
which his practice is based, never reflects on the principals involved in
his actions. With him... logic is implicit, not explicit: he reasons just
as he digests his food in complete ignorance of the intellectual and
physiological processes....'
        I qoute this to show that it seems that, to the primative, the
'play acting' comes very easily and the 'Aristotilian logic' (as Campbell
puts it) is either very difficult or not present at all. That is, I think
the play acting (mythos) came first. (Mythos over logos.)

        Campbell goes on to describe how this playing as if can lead to a
full psychological siezure -- a rapture. This is what Pirsig discribes as
        [But] the whole point at the begining [of playing] is the *fun* of
play, not the rapture of siezure. 'In all the wild imaginings of mythology
a fanciful spirit is playing,' [Huizing] writes, 'on the border-line
between jest and ernest... As far as I knew, ethnologists and
anthropologists concure in the opinian that the mental attitude in which
the great religious feastes of the savages are celebrated and witnessed is
not one of complete illusion.' ...[But because of the rapture] contact w/
the orientation of the world may then be lost, the mind remaining rapt in
that other state [DQ]... [They] may likewise break contact w/ the world
and spern it as delusory, or as evil. Secular life may be read as a fall
-- a fall from Grace, Grace being the rapture of the [at-one-ment w/] God.
        But there is another attitude, more comprehensive, which has given
beauty and love to the *two* worlds: that, namely, of the *lila*, 'the
play.' The world is not condemed and shunned as a fall, but voluntairily
entered as a game or dance, where in the spirit plays... Nobility of
spirit is the grace -- or ability -- to play, whether in heaven or on
earth. And this, I take it... was precisely the virtue (*aerte*) of the
Greek poets, artists, and philosophers, for whome the gods were true as
poetry is true.

        [Remember ZMM: 'All truth is alegorical!' Campbell continues:]

        Kant, in his *Prolegomena to Every Future System of Metaphysics*,
states very carefully that all our thinking about final things can be only
by way of *analogy*. 'The proper expression for our fallible mode of
conception,' he declairs, 'would be: that we imagine the word *as if* its
being and inner character were derived from a suprime mind' (italics mine
[Campbell's]). Such a highly played game of 'as if' frees our mind... from
the bondage of reason, whose laws do not apply beyond the horizon of human

        So, to re-cap, 1st we get O-Con (in animals) then we get S-Con, or
S-O Con. in primative man (maybe chimps and dolphins... who can say). But
this consciousness is 1st in the service of Biological values only and
it's also non-Aristotilian... it's myth (or magic) based. A can be not-A.

        As these values evolve, the group-identity breaks away from the
purely biological vales and the life of the Giant becomes more important
than survivle and procreation. The Giant, society, the way of life...
becomes the *reason for* survivle and procreation.
        The Giant lives only by embodying itself in individual persons --
and persons only exist by embodying social rhythms. you can't have the
game w/o any players and you can't have players unless there's some game;
players and rules (persons and society) arise together.
        So the continued existance of the Giant depends most fundamentaly
upon the person/non-person distinction. In order to be recognized as a
social entity, the first thing you must be able to do is tell the other
social entities (minded beings) from non-social entities (mindless beings,
just mere things).
        When did this happen? I can't say, but I'd say it's probly around
8-4,000 BCE when agriculture, communities, towns, cities, money,
priest-kings, math, writting, etc. all first started to show up.

        As man became more and more civilized I imagine he gradualy moved
farther and farther away from the old Mythos-thinking which was so natural
in his grandparents, and towards the logos-thinking... but he still stayed
closer to Mythos.
        Read the pre-soctaics. 'The world is composed of water.' Huh?
what's that mean. 'The world is fire.' What? How's that possible? 'All
things are numbers.' O-kay... And right down through Plato... Plato is
illogical all over -- because Aristotle hadn't invented logic yet! before
then, you relied on rhetoric.
        And another big change occurs: In philosophy (and elsewhere) form
dictates content. Before Aristotle we have diologues. As Graham Parkes
puts it: 'Had Plato wished to convay 'his philosophy,' in the sense of
setting forth his ideas about the nature of reality, he would have written
discursive tretises. [But] he was more interested in prompting people to
question themselves....' But w/ Aristotle, of course, we get tretises.
        Conclusion: Before plato truth existed w/in the dialogue -- that
is, truth consisted of a socail agreement between parties having an
argument. After Aristotle, Truth (now capitolized) came (in the West) to
be seen as the correspondence between what was said and 'the facts of the
world' -- it's True if it matches objective reality.
        Now we get the on-set of that rigorous A or not-A thinking.
Logos. Logocentracism. A can't be B. A waffer can't be the flesh of
Christ. A stone idol can't be a god. A plastic doll can't be Lila's
baby... If society says otherwise... SOCIETy IS WRONG! Those primatives
are *mistaken* -- delusional.

        Is that the Intelectual values? Certainly the idea that the
validity of a proof is independent of who presents it -- independent of
social statuss... That's an Enlightenment value that seems to really
capture the Intlectual values.

        I have an intuitive hunch that Phaedrus' analytic knife is at the
center of it. A and not-A, split right down the middle -- cut appart by
the analytic knife. That seems to be the mark of intelectual rhythms all
        But if that's it, then the Weastern/Greek tradition is the only
tradition to develop intelectual values. Is that what we whant to say?
Because it's true that in the East, in Africa, Australia, and Native
America the socities stayed closer to that mythic, Mythos thinking where A
can be not-A and A and B readily transform into one-another. So if we
identify Intlevtual rhythms w/ the presence of the Analythic Knife, then
we'd have to conclude that those cultures are w/o intelectual values.

        But they do (or did) seem to be drifting in that direction.
Because the temple guardians and the kind of elaborate stuff that a zen
monk has to do in order to break down his I-This thought patterns were
unnecessary to the primative. I think the primative could play 'as if'
easier... so all culters drift (given time) from Mythos towards Logos. Of
course now it seems like all culters are adopting A/not-A logic and
becoming Weasternized.
        (I know at first glance this looks like the evolution of Social
and Intelectual valuse has moved us forther *away* from DQ, which the
primative could access rather easily... but I've got an idea in the back
of my head that might fix this. I feel an epiphany comming on.)

        So what do you think LS? Have I corectly identifyed (at last)
what social and intelectual values are? (Never mind the DQ question just
yet.) One problem: Re-examining LILA I found where phaedrus talks about
both the intellectual values of non-Weastern societies (Indians, Asian and
American) and about the non-Aristotilian Intelectual values of the insane.
In these passages he seems to imply that Intelectual values just = your
worldview (he even uses a 'wathching a movie' analogy that bothers me).
But this is obserd! Because the Giant = your 'way of life' which is your
worldview in practice -- your Giant's 'right thing to say' to it's
'correct picture of the world.' No, phedrus is mistaken. Worldview is an
ellement of society, a collection of social values. Otherwise how could
you get social rhythms w/o intellectual ones? You couldn't.
        You're society doesn't *serve* its correct picture of the world;
your society is *defined by* the worldview it holds to be correct. Right?

Back to BODVAR:
> Great, we're approaching some sort of agreement at last. Back to bed
> again!
        Yes I see agreement in sight. I think we got mixed up because you
were using the terms S-O consciousness and Aristotilan (A/not-A) logic as
synonyms, and as I hope you can now see, the way I use them A/not-A is a
(natural?) out-growth of S-O thinking... but they're not the same. S-O
thinking ('knowing that you know') is a lot older than the anti-Mythos
thinking of post-Aristotle. Do you agree? Can we change SOTAQI to... how
do you want to word it? Aristotilian logic = intelevtual values? AL=IV?
        And I think we've gotten further confused because you use
'worldview' and 'metaphysics' synonmasly and I don't... but let's save
that for later.

        Well, I'm leaving town today so you won't hear from me again until
Tuesday. Maybe by then I'll have had the big breakthrough I can almost
taste here. please respond to what I've written here so we can see where
we all stand.
        I appologize this is so long, but I'm on a roll. I'm sure 1/2 of
you have been boared to tears and the other 1/2 are going, 'who does this
guy think he is, going on and on and on...?' Truth be told, I have some
free time here between now and when school starts, and I'm not
student-teaching this scemester so I have no lessen plans to prepare...
Nope I'm free to sit in my garage and paint and think, and so when I've
got my creative jucies all stirred-up I've got to gush it all out on
someone. Sorry, LS, but you're it. ;-)

        'till Tuesday,
        So long from the far-away near-by.

        P.S. Bodvar, get well soon.

homepage -
unsubscribe/queries -

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu May 13 1999 - 16:43:39 CEST