Re: MD Defining the mythos

From: johnny moral (
Date: Wed Aug 13 2003 - 23:14:24 BST

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    Hi Paul,

    >In ZMM Pirsig describes the mythos
    >“The mythos-over-logos argument points to the fact that each child is
    >born as ignorant as any caveman. What keeps the world from reverting to
    >the Neanderthal with each generation is the continuing, ongoing mythos,
    >transformed into logos but still mythos, the huge body of common
    >knowledge that unites our minds as cells are united in the body of man.
    >To feel that one is not so united, that one can accept or discard this
    >mythos as one pleases, is not to understand what the mythos is.
    >There is only one kind of person, Phædrus said, who accepts or rejects
    >the mythos in which he lives. And the definition of that person, when he
    >has rejected the mythos, Phædrus said, is "insane." To go outside the
    >mythos is to become insane.” ZMM p351
    >In Lila he notes the following:
    >“If the baby ignores this force of Dynamic Quality it can be speculated
    >that he will become mentally retarded, but if he is normally attentive
    >to Dynamic Quality he will soon begin to notice differences and then
    >correlations between the differences and then repetitive patterns of the
    >correlations. But it is not until the baby is several months old that he
    >will begin to really understand enough about that enormously complex
    >correlation of sensations and boundaries and desires called an object to
    >be able to reach for one. This object will not be a primary experience.
    >It will be a complex pattern of static values derived from primary
    >Once the baby has made a complex pattern of values called an object and
    >found this pattern to work well he quickly develops a skill and speed at
    >jumping through the chain of deductions that produced it, as though it
    >were a single jump…in a very short time it becomes so swift one doesn’t
    >even think about it….only when an “object” turns out to be an illusion
    >is one forced to become aware of the deductive process” …In this way
    >static patterns of value become the universe of distinguishable things.
    >Elementary static distinctions between such entities as “before” and
    >“after” and between “like” and “unlike” grow into enormously complex
    >patterns of knowledge that are transmitted from generation to generation
    >as the mythos, the culture in which we live.” Lila p.138
    >The mythos is the “universe of distinguishable things” stored in
    >“complex patterns of knowledge that are transmitted from generation to
    >generation” by each society. The deductions based on an immediate
    >apprehension of value made as an infant and subsequently affirmed or
    >denied by society constitute our static reality, this is reaffirmed in
    >“The Metaphysics of Quality agrees with scientific realism that these
    >inorganic patterns are completely real, and there is no reason that box
    >shouldn't be there, but it says that this reality is ultimately a
    >deduction made in the first months of an infant's life and supported by
    >the culture in which the infant grows up.” SODV
    >So to expand my definition slightly– the mythos is the collection of
    >socially learned or approved intellectual patterns of value. As a
    >consequence, I think that associating the mythos solely with social
    >patterns seems to miss some of the key points made by the MOQ.
    >Just a start of course, what do you think?

    Thanks for posting all this good stuff.

    The other way of seeing this (besides that the mythos is more than social
    patterns) is that social patterns are a hell of a lot more than just those
    repressive, stuck Victorian patterns that Platt and DMB seem to think they
    are. They support, and therefore ARE, the entire mythos, they are sanity
    itself, and every sane thought that people have. An infant will throw out
    those early deductions (actually, they are more useful as expectations than
    deductions, if one is going forward in life) if they are not supported by
    the culture. I would venture to say that this happens very very rarely, if
    at all, because the culture is made up of former infants, and people don't
    throw out their expectations if they work for them. The culture doesn't
    create a mythos that clashes with early expectations, it creates a mythos
    that supports them.


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