Fred and all Pirsigites: I'm was very psyched to see the letter from
Pirsig. Its kinda like having a bootleg recording of my favorite band.
Its not available in stores, you gotta get it from the hard core fans.
Part of the reasons I failed to post a response to Fred's tale of his
insanity/enlightenment is my reluctance to interpet the meaning of
someone else's experience. (Yes, I've had a few mystical experiences
too.) I mean no one really understands the dream better than the
dreamer, even with the help of a psychoanalyst. Telling others what such
experiences mean is a tactic used by the leaders of cults and other
dysfunctional religious organizations. They will often go so far as to
claim responsability for the experience, saying "we did that for you".
(Notice Pirsig went out of his way to NOT take credit for it.)
I've included the section of Pirsig's letter with the hope that we can
discuss it here amongst the Zen-heads. The big pargraph in the middle
seems the most interesting, where he starts out with "Prior to
enlightenment..." and ends with "...this phemonenon." I was startled by
the phrase "wandering thru the mythos" and his description of the
To say the mythos is more than just myths may be correct, but its a
little awkward, so Pirsig says in this case it means "more than just
legends". He shows what a great writer he is even in a letter! Myths and
legends are something we almost never discuss, at least since I've been
here. Yet it seems so essential. Discussions of the mythos would help to
clarify the distinction between the levels of static patterns,
especially at the top two levels.
(Bob Wallace sure made a mess of things in today's post, putting
government at the biological level, economics at the inorganic level,
putting society over the intellect and all the while providing twisted
political analysis and tortured historical facts. T'was about the
ugliest thing I've seen here.)
I'd especially like to focus in on the notion that cultures select their
finite reality from the mythos. Pirsig seems to be implying that there
is one mythos from shich every culture on Earth is a derivative; that
the mythos is much larger than any given individual culture.
Fascinating, no? Further, Pirsig says "At this time there is an
abandonment of normal channels of cultural selectivity over thought."
Which brings me to my question...
WHAT ARE THESE NORMAL CHANNELS OF CULTURAL SELECTIVITY?
This is not rhetorical. I really don't know.
I've posted a few thoughts about the mythos from a Joseph Campbell
perspective, who is mentioned in Lila as the author of "THE MASKS OF
GOD". Pirsig said very near the end of Lila that Campbell's work goes a
long way toward explaining the nature of the mythos. I guess I'm trying
to get the ball rolling on that topic again, thanks to Fred.
Here's another question. If the mythos is "the main stream, the whole
body of every idea that ever existed or can exist which each culture
selects from", then how is it different than the intellecutal level? I
mean myths and legends operate on a unconscious social level and help to
inform the language, but they aren't really ideas in usual sense of the
word. It where ideas come from to be sure, but it seems the mythos is
not intellectual per se. Its more basic than that, isn't it?
P.S. I think Platt is quite right about the naturalistic fallacy
dissolving in the MOQ. Its a relection of all the classic problems with
SOM. Is goodness actually in the object or is it merely subjective?
That's the question really posed by pointing to the naturalistic
fallacy. The MOQ reders it meaningless. It is a fallacious quest. (Which
is not to be confused with a fellatio request!)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] [SMTP:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> Sent: Monday, May 24, 1999 12:30 AM
> To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Subject: Re: MD Platypal Radicii
> Mr. Pirsig writes,
> "Making people laugh sympathetically about other people's
> is an enormous accomplishment.
> The fact that you are doing so well at it indicates that the
> that you experienced back in your 'insane' days may have been a kind
> of an
> enlightenment as well as an insanity. The two tend to overlap.
> ...Prior to enlightenment there is often a huge opening of the
> mind to
> the 'mythos' which in this case means more than just legends. It means
> main stream, the whole body of every idea that ever existed or can
> which each culture selects from, calling its own selection 'reality.'
> this time there is an abandonment of normal chanels of cultural
> over thought. The selection goes sort of crazy and you can think of
> any damn
> thing and think it is real and in a sense it is. When you start
> wandering in
> this mythos all rules are off and so you can pick up on strange
> things. I
> think your mind wanderings about me and the ideas in ZMM and Lila
> had less to do with me personally than with this phenomenom.
> ...Just before entering the University of Chicago... I
> experienced a
> similar pickup on the film 'Orpheus' by Jean Cocteau. I lived inside
> film and it had the same sort of effect on me that my book seems to
> have had
> on you.
> ...I'm certainly proud that ZMM has had a similar fuction for you
> that you are a part of the crowd of people working to diminish the
> misery of
> the world rather than add to it or just ignore it. As I'm sure you
> it's not as easy as it may look."
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