MD Intellectually Nowhere

From: Valence (
Date: Sun Jul 20 2003 - 19:15:19 BST

  • Next message: David Buchanan: "MD Biographical landscapes"

    Hey David, Erin Steve and all,
    Hope you don't mind that I slapped a new title onto this thread....

    ...More to the point, the reason I don't take Lila's ability to speak
    > English as a sign of her intellectual quality, besides the undisputable
    > that the author says she has none...

    'Undisputable' fact? That sounds like a challenge to me :-) But I think
    Erin has already figured this one out....

    ...Phaedrus is a character to me. Pirsig is the author of that character.

    ...I don't see how this is related.

    I do. It suggests that you have to look at both equally as characters in
    the same world. Phaedrus is NOT the omniscient author. Phaedrus's thoughts
    are his own and he's just another person in that world seeing things from
    his own perspective. Phaedrus thought Lila was "intellectually" nowhere,
    and that intellectual quality was "outside her range". Well, if this were
    LITERALLY true, then Phaedrus himself must sub-retarted, because if you read
    carefully, you'll note that it's Lila who outsmarts Phaedrus when they argue
    about beauty....

    PIRSIG (LILA ch 10, p150)
        "...A pretty boat doesn't have all that fake gingerbread and phony
        Lila took the pamphlet back. "It's a very beautiful boat," she said.
        The Captain shook his head. "Beauty isn't things trying to look like
    something else."
        *He's* something else, Lila thought.
        "Beauty is things just being what they are," he said. "There probably
    isn't one thing on that boat that's original."
        "Why does it have to be original?"
        "It's *play*-acting, It's *make*-believe."
        "What difference does *that* make? If it's what people like?
        He didn't have an answer for that.

    SHE argued HIM to a standstill. She even caught him when he subtly tried to
    shift the focus of the argument from "beauty" to "originality". And
    ironically, she stumped him on his own intellectual home-turf!!! Remember
    in ZMM when Phaedrus scoffed at those who said "Quality is *just* what you
    like (he concluded that the "just" served no purpose in the thought and that
    'Quality is what you like'). In the scene above, the Captain tried to
    define Quality (in this case, beauty) to require some sort of "originality
    component", implying that something has to be original to be beautiful
    (whether you like it or not) and she intellectually smacked him down with
    his own philosophy. And that being the case (and considering the book is
    named for HER and not for Phaedrus) I would think that her opinion of the
    Captain represents the thoughts of the author (Robert M. Pirsig) just as
    much as the reverse. And just for the did Lila rate Phaedrus's

    PIRSIG (LILA ch10 p151 )
    A smokestack. A big blowhard smokestack, that's what he is... He thinks
    he's so smart. It's all over his face. And he's *not* smart. He's
    *stupid*. He doesn't know *anything*. He doesn't even know what a hustler
    is. He doesn't even know how stupid he is.

    He thinks she's *intellectually nowhere*. She thinks he doesn't know
    *anything*. At least we know they're both thinking.

    take care

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure
    about the universe. - Albert Einstein

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