Re: MD liberals, conservatives & suffering

From: Sam Norton (
Date: Sat Aug 30 2003 - 16:40:01 BST

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    Hi Scott,

    I agreed with what you said here, but I was wondering if you felt it undermined the monolith of
    'subject-object metaphysics' which is put up by Pirsig as the opposition of the MoQ. I'm coming to
    think that SOM as such only really kicked in after the scientific revolution and - as you point
    out - it doesn't really apply to those intellectual systems (often neo-Platonic) which emphasise
    participation. (As did medieval Christian theology, in parts, of course).


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Scott R" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Sunday, August 24, 2003 4:09 AM
    Subject: Re: MD liberals, conservatives & suffering


    No, Barfield's 'participation' is not equivalent to 'attitude'. The word comes from classical and
    medieval philosophy, and referred to a commonality between the human and the world that allowed the
    former to know the latter, so the relation between them was seen in the middle ages as one of
    microcosm and macrocosm. Barfield's thesis (based mainly on changes in word meanings, anthropology,
    etc.) is that in earler times that commonality was experienced as a spiritual aspect of the world, a
    stage of consciousness he calls "original participation". Gradually, as intellect developed, this
    experienced spirituality lessened, and finally died out completely by around 1500 AD, and so now
    instead of describing our relation to the world as microcosm/macrocosm, we describe it as
    subject/object. However, according to Barfield, participation has not ceased to exist. Rather, we
    have lost conscious awareness of it. "Final participation" will come about when we regain conscious
    awareness of it, but without losing our intellect.

    - Scott

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