Source Of Rationality—Quality

Pirsig Discussion Continues
Ottawa Pub

“Did you ever consider that you, Jim, might yourself be split,” Riley
responded. “I’m sure you’re familiar with the dualisms spirit/matter,
myth/rationality, mind/body, logic/emotion, —the list goes on and on.
Dualities, especially the science/humanities split, was troublesome to
Phaedrus because he was afraid that science and technology,
runaway technology, was dehumanizing the humanities, dehumanizing
humans. For him, the separation between feeling and reason was not
just a mind-body thing; it was the `stake in the heart’ of
understanding itself. In the end, his struggle with the
classic/romantic dichotomy, his failure to merge formal thought
processes with immediate intuition put his mind in freefall.”

“If you ask me, Phaedrus spent way too much of his time analyzing the
Greeks,” Jim replied. “No wonder he lost it. It’s a cruel world out
there. Accept it, and get on with your business. That’s the way to
stay sane. Dualisms are a product of antiquated thinking, but I don’t
expect them to disappear. `Dust to dust, ashes to ashes,’ isn’t that
what the Bible says. Maybe we should take a lesson from the Good Book.
That’s all there is you know, just dirt. If only people would wake up
and smell them roses then maybe everybody would get out of the way and
let science and technology do what it does best, create better living
through chemistry and physics.”

“And what about goodness, love, and beauty,” Riley interjected.

“Oh, they’ll still be around,” Jim replied, “Its just that they will
take their rightful place behind the real stuff. After all, you can’t
feed people with goodness. Sometimes it’s hard to understand that, right!”

“No wonder Phaedrus was so distraught over the state of Western
values,” replied Riley, “With people like you around, we’ll never get
past the thinking that made Phaedrus so fanatical about values in the
first place. The intolerable schism between fact and value, between
`out there’ and `in here,’ turns people into strangers in their own
minds, and Phaedrus knew that. Replacing goodness, love, and beauty,
with stimulus/response mechanisms was never an option for him. His
passionate combativeness pushed him over the edge, and, unfortunately,
we are left with an unfinished account of Phaedrus’ journey, a journey
that claimed ‘quality to be the source of rationality.’”


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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2 Responses to Source Of Rationality—Quality

  1. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    What an interesting lesson about dualism. How can I learn this way of saying? Actually I think Eastener are better at abstract expressions, but now you prove that Westerners are excellent at that too. Or some were born as Easterner at heart, though in fact they were born in Western world and vice versa. Or maybe they are the combination of both worlds. Maybe in the previous life you were an Easterner, if you believe in Karma.

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Nice! But maybe a form of dualism (being what is not while not being what is, i.e., nature nurturing/the spirit of freedom, love, and logic) births both Eastern, Western, and the rest of the universe(s?). If so, it would only be a matter of time before all cultures realize their this dualism to be the source of everything. Thanks for the comment!

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