RE: MD food for thought

From: Erin Noonan (
Date: Sat Sep 14 2002 - 22:31:18 BST

>===== Original Message From =====
>I just what to first say that I appreciate your comments and questions.
>(If you've been reading the posts between Platt and I, I didn't want you to
>get the impression that I liked his and not yours ;-)
>You said last time:
>>What you said about articulating the subject/object until we began to talk
>>this way is getting at what I am having trouble with---
>>You don't really start thinking about this until adolescence
>>and onwards.
>>At what age did YOU really start to think about "subjects" and
>See, this is the thing. What I'm trying to describe is that I didn't start
>thinking about subjects and objects until I read Pirsig. It wasn't until I
>was introduced to the concepts that I was able to articulate any problem
>with them, as such. The fact that people identify with the distinction as
>a problem (as in some people's reaction to Pirsig's books, "YES, Pirsig's
>saying what I've been feeling for a long time!") is testimony to there
>being an implied assumption in our thinking. After having identified this
>assumption explicitly, we can now root out the ways in which we talk and
>speak this way and so, hopefully, clearing ourselves of the problem. When
>we look back at history, then, we can see how people were led to speak this
>way. This is part of the Oedipal cycle of history. We are trying to
>overcome our past.
>So, when you say:
>>It also doesn't surprise Homer doesn't use these I said
>>most fictional work today doesn't either.
>>I guess what I am having trouble with is that an 8 yr old TODAY and
>>an 8 year old in Homer's time wouldn't have discussed subject and
>>It seems to be a developmental or schooling not just a historical aspect.
>>There is some research showing that without a certain level of
>>education, particularly math that adults today do not develop
>>full abstract abilities.
>I completely agree. However, people who are not familiar with the
>distinction (as in the case of the past and the young and the culturally
>Other) and do not voice the distinction (as in the case with poets and
>other writers) ARE working with the underlying, implied distinction WHEN
>THEY ARE. I want to emphasize that I do not think the subject/object
>distinction (as subject/object THINKING which is concurrent with the
>so-called SOM, rather than simple linguistic nuts-and-bolts) is a result of
>a shared, universal human nature. So when, having identified the
>subject/object problem (whatever that problem may be), we go to the past
>and other cultures to try and find where they do the same thing, we may
>come up with nothing. It is an empirical question whether cultures have
>this problem as an underlying assumption. Presumably, if we moved into a
>post-subject/object culture we would not have the assumption. We would be
>able to socialize our children into never starting to think and speak this

I was with you until the last sentence.
Kids have to learn addition and subtraction before they learn
calculus. Easy boy.


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