Reality Is An Extension Of Humanity

Pirsig Book Discussion Concluded
Ottawa Pub

“What happens,” said Riley, “when we get stuck? Doesn’t our mind

seek a solution? If we think hard enough and long enough, don’t we
miraculously solve problems; no matter how deep-rooted they seem to
be? At the very least, don’t we discover how to make problems less
problematic? I want to suggest, like many have before me, that a
harmony in the cosmos lures us to those solutions. The mind is a
problem solver a/natural, and `quality’ is our guide. Quality, or
whatever you want to call it, gets us unstuck. If the problem is a
difficult one, it is `quality,’ not the facts, that lures us to the
answer. In fact, some would say that without an elegant solution, the
problem remains only half-solved. That’s the way the scientist goes
about his business, and that same science tells us that reality is not
static; it’s dynamic. It doesn’t just exist `out there,’ in opposition
to us; we are an extension of the process that science calls
`reality.’ Our changing views of science and history have taught us
that facts are relative anyway. A fact’s validity is determined by the
context it is embedded in, and that context, in turn, is embedded in
our sense of the cosmos’ harmony and beauty. Quality is the continuing
stimulus that our environment puts upon us to create the world in
which we live. Phaedrus believed, or wanted to believe, that mind,
nature, and technology are the products of a single prior reality.
Value, for him, was not a derivative of self-conscious thinking;
rather, it was the antecedent of self conscious thinking.”

“You really believe all that crap, don’t you,” Jim said.

“What’s not to believe?” responded Riley. “The real question, if you
ask me, is how can you persist in believing in a value free world of
dirt and grim?”

“I can’t help myself,” Jim shot back, “it’s the natural way.”

“Well maybe for you it’s the natural way,” said Riley, “but what nature
is telling me right now is that I’ve got to pee!”

“Right on!” said Jim, “Do you mind if I tag along? After all, it’s a
long way to the bathroom and I wouldn’t want you to forget your
purpose. Remember Phaedrus; he wasn’t so lucky. He was so overwhelmed
with the `quality of his own thoughts’ that he plumb forgot where the
bathroom was. I wouldn’t want that to happen to you!”

“Very funny,” quipped Riley. “Let’s have another round.”

“This one’s on me,” I replied, “The night is still young.”


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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5 Responses to Reality Is An Extension Of Humanity

  1. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    We are not perfect. We just strive for perfection. More exactly, we strive to be in nature, but sometimes nature’s call makes us forget what we are striving for. 😉

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Indeed, yes, sometimes nature’s call makes us forget what we are striving for, but what if nature, perfection, and remembering, are all consequences of structure, the logical structure that permits “time of mind” to construct hypothesises,– space-time continuum, big bang, quantum indeterminacy, etc.– that, in turn, become subject to controlled experiments which confirm or deny?

      • Marianne says:

        I wish I could get a handle on this. Maybe for me it comes down to my “sense of the cosmos’ harmony and beauty.”
        Interesting post. Thanks.

  2. bwinwnbwi says:

    Yes, I believe you’re right, it does come down to one’s “sense of the cosmos, harmony, beauty, and love.” Here’s how I put it in another context/post: “God is the inescapable depth and center of all there is. The immanence of God is what I call freedom and this immanence is present as nature. When freedom achieves self-consciousness it is able to name and create truth and beauty. In fact, it calls us forward into life, love, and wholeness. The biblical Jesus was, most likely, so completely transformed by his awareness of the divine that his thoughts, words, and deeds were
    recognized as divine. Not surprisingly, the gospel writers saw him as the Son of God, and translated his story into the Passion Play that it was, — it is. My religion has nothing to do with ‘revealed truths,’ and it is not about heavenly rewards or punishments. Rather, it is simply a way to perceive and process the God experience, the experience that pulses in every human being. As far as proselytizing goes, all I want to do is open people’s minds to the idea that ‘terra firma’ is hallowed ground. I mean that both literally and figuratively. In our relationship with others we share that ground, and that ground becomes sacred or profane depending on how it is shared. That is what I believe, and that is really the end.”

    Thanks for the comment and take care!

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