This post contains excerpts from Robert Pirsig's book Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals.

The words are all his, the editing choices are all mine, the consequences of reading are all yours.

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Sex & Me & We

The first intelligence out there in the cabin disliked him and still did. It was this second intelligence that had come in and made love … These cellular patterns have been lovers for millions of years and they aren’t about to be put off by these recent little intellectual patterns that know almost nothing about what is going on. The cells want immortality … which is why they make such a commotion. They are so old. They began to distinguish [these bodies] … more than a billion years ago … of course they pay no attention to mind patterns. The mind sitting detached, aloof and discerning is suddenly rudely shoved aside by this other intelligence which is stronger than its own. Then strange things happen that the mind sees as vulgar and shunnable.

The language of mental intelligence has nothing to say to the cells directly. They don’t understand it. The language of the cells has nothing to say to the mind directly. It doesn’t speak that language either. They are completely separate patterns. The language we’ve inherited confuses this … ‘my’ body and ‘your’ body … it isn’t that way. That’s like a FORTRAN [computer programming language] program saying, ‘this is my computer’.

This … ‘Me’ … who sits behind our eyeballs looking out … to pass judgment on the affairs of the world, is just completely ridiculous. This … ‘Me’ is a software reality not a hardware reality. This body on the left and this body on the right are running variations of the same program, the same ‘Me’ which doesn’t belong to either of them … This program based on ‘Me’s’ and ‘We’s’ is the alien. ‘We’ has only been here for a few thousand years or so. But these bodies that ‘We’ has taken over were around for ten times that … and the cells … my God, the cells have been around for thousands of times that long.

These … bodies that ‘We’ has invaded … every once in a while they overthrow the program and go about their ways leaving ‘We’ mystified … and somewhat horrified too at the things bodies do without its permission. These cells make sweat and snot and phlegm. They belch and bleed and fuck and fart and piss and shit and vomit and squeeze out more bodies just like themselves all covered with blood and placental slime that grow and squeeze out more bodies, on and on.

‘We’, the software reality, find these hardware facts so distressing that it covers them with euphemisms & clothes & toilets & medical secrecy. The cells have gotten to their advanced state of evolution through all this fucking and farting and pissing and shitting. That’s quality! Particularly the sexual functions. From the cell’s point of view sex is pure Dynamic Quality, the highest Good of all … Talk about ingratitude. These bodies would still be a bunch of dumb bacteria if it hadn’t been for sexual quality. That’s who lay here beside him tonight: a judge of hundreds of millions of years … and in the eyes of this judge he was nobody very important …

His own cells were sick of all this intellectualizing … They’d had way too much … and were starting to switch him off. Tomorrow they’d need him when they got hungry, and they would turn him on again to find some food, but for now they were rubbing him out.

“The language of mental intelligence has nothing to say to the cells directly. They don’t understand it. The language of the cells has nothing to say to the mind directly. It doesn’t speak that language either.”
“The cells have gotten to their advanced state of evolution through all this fucking and farting and pissing and shitting. That’s quality!”