Reading Lila – Insanity


No one wants to admit it, but that’s really the reason the insane get locked up. It’s not just that they have absurd ideas that no one else believes. What makes them ‘insane’ is that they have these ideas and are a nuisance to somebody else. The only thing that’s illegitimate is the cover-up, the pretense that you’re trying to help them by getting rid of them.

… As long as you’re stuck with the old conventions, insanity is going to be a ‘misunderstanding of the object by the subject’. The object is real, the subject is mistaken. The only problem is how to change the subject’s mind back to a correct comprehension … But with a Metaphysics of Quality the empirical experience … is an experience of value patterns produced by a number of sources …

When an insane person … or a hypnotized person or a person from a primitive culture, advances some explanation of the universe that is completely at odds with current scientific reality, we do not have to believe he has jumped off the end of the empirical world. He is just a person who is valuing intellectual patterns that, because they are outside the range of our own culture, we perceive to have very low quality. Some biological or social or Dynamic force has altered his judgment of quality. It has caused him to filter out what we call normal cultural intellectual patterns just as ruthlessly as our culture filters out his. Obviously no culture wants its legal patterns violated … That’s what mental hospitals are partly for. And also heresy trials. They protect the culture from foreign ideas that if allowed to grow unchecked could destroy the culture itself.

… [he] had seen that the psychiatrists were … required to deal with insanity as cultural representatives … priests saving heretics. Psychiatrists seemed to fear the taint of insanity, much as inquisitors once feared succumbing to the devil. Psychiatrists were not allowed to practice psychiatry if they were insane. It was required that they literally did not know what they were talking about.

To this … they could counter that you don’t have to be infected with pneumonia in order to know how to cure it and you don’t have to be infected with insanity to know how to cure it either. But the rebuttal to that goes to the core of the whole problem. Pneumonia is a biological pattern … scientifically variable. Insanity … is an intellectual pattern … it has no physical/biological reality. No scientific instrument can be produced … to show who is insane and who is sane. The scientific laws of the universe are invented by sanity. There is no way by which sanity, using the instruments of its own creation, can measure that which is outside itself and its creations. Insanity isn’t an ‘object’ of observation. It’s an alteration of observation itself …

… Insanity always exists in relation to others. It is a social and intellectual deviation, not a biological deviation. The only test for insanity is conformity to a cultural status quo. That is why the psychiatric profession bears such a resemblance to the old priesthoods. Both use physical restraint and abuse as ways of enforcing the status quo.

That being said, it follows that the assignment of medical doctors to treat insanity is a misuse of their training … [they] are trained to look at things from an inorganic and biological perspective … their cures are biological: shock, drugs, lobotomies, and physical restraints … [he] had seen that if you want to get out of an insane asylum … persuade them that you fully understand that they know more than you do and that you are fully ready to accept their intellectual authority. That is how heretics keep from getting burned. They recant.

… In time this strategy has brought [him] enough smiles to get out. It made him less honest … more of a conformist … It wasn’t a happy solution, to always role-play with people he had once been honest with. It made it impossible to ever really share anything with them. Now he was more isolated than he had been in the insane asylum …

Now, years later, his resentment … had lessened … somebody has to deal with the degenerate forms of society and intellect. The thing to understand is that if you are going to reform society you don’t start with cops. And if you are going to reform intellect you don’t start with psychiatrists. If you don’t like our present social system or intellectual system the best thing you can do … is stay out of their way.

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Reading Lila – Ruthlessness


… the Metaphysics of Quality says that what is meant by ‘human rights’ is usually the moral code of intellect-vs.-society, the moral right of intellect to be free of social control. Freedom of speech; freedom of assembly, of travel; government by consent … According to the Metaphysics of Quality these ‘human rights’ have not just a sentimental basis, but a rational, metaphysical basis. They are essential to the evolution of a higher level of life from a lower level of life. They are for real. But what the Metaphysics of Quality also makes clear is that this intellect-vs.-society code … is not the same as the society-vs.-biology codes of morals that go back to a prehistoric time. They are completely separate levels of morals. They should never be confused …

Is society good or is society evil? … in one level society is the higher evolutionary pattern and in the other it is the lower. Unless you separate these two levels of moral codes you get a paralyzing confusion … [that] dominates all thoughts about morality & society today … There are no chains more vicious than the chains of biological necessity into which every child is born. Society exists primarily to free people from these biological chains … has done that job so stunningly well intellectuals forget … and turn on it … with shameful ingratitude. [because of this] Today we are living in an intellectual and technological paradise and a moral and social nightmare.

… the 20th century intellectual faith in man’s basic goodness as spontaneous and natural is disastrously naive … a devastating fiction … cannibalism, not cooperation, was a pre-society norm … American Indians … ambushed & tortured [other tribes] … maybe it is man’s basic goodness which invented social institutions to repress this kind of biological savagery in the first place.

… the Metaphysics of Quality concludes that the old Puritan & Victorian social codes should not be followed [or attacked] blindly … They should be dusted off and re-examined, fairly and impartially, to see what they were trying … and actually did accomplish towards building a stronger society. We must understand that when a society undermines intellectual freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally bad, but when it represses biological freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally good. These moral bads and goods are not just ‘customs’. They are as real as rocks and trees.

… the Metaphysics of Quality concludes that [ the destructive sympathy by intellectuals toward lawlessness in the 60’s ] was really stupid … The idea that biological crimes can be ended by intellect alone, that you can talk crime to death, doesn’t work … The instrument of conversation between society & biology has always been a policeman or a soldier and his gun. All the laws of history … Constitutions & the Bills of Rights & Declarations of Independence are … instructions to the military & police.

… ’racism’ … goes all the way back to square one, to the subject-object metaphysics wherein man is an object who possesses … culture … it goes on to reason that because it is immoral to speak against a people because of their genetic characteristics it is therefore also immoral to speak against a people because of their cultural characteristics … and Science says there is no morality outside of cultural morality, therefore any moral censorship of minority patterns of crime … is itself immoral. That is the paralysis …

… the Metaphysics of Quality says … that to say a cultural pattern is an integral part of a biological person is like saying the Lotus123 program is an integral part of an IBM computer. Not so. Cultures are not the source of all morals, only a limited set of morals. Cultures can be graded and judged morally according to their contribution to the evolution of life. A culture that supports the dominance of social values over biological values is an absolutely superior culture to one that does not, and a culture that supports the dominance of intellectual values over social values is absolutely superior to one that does not.

It is immoral to speak against a people because of the color of their skin, or any other genetic characteristic … But it is not immoral to speak against a person because of his cultural characteristics … these are changeable and they do matter … The fight to sustain social codes isn’t a war of blacks vs. whites … or poor people vs. rich … or … stupid people against intelligent … It’s a war of biology vs. society … and intellect, to end the paralysis of society, has to know whose side it is on, and support that side … Where biological values are undermining social values, intellectuals must identify social behavior … and support it all the way without restraint. Intellectuals must … limit and destroy destructive biological patterns with complete moral ruthlessness the way a doctor destroys germs.

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Reading Lila – Hippies


… [on] the doctrine that says ,’Science is not concerned with values. Science is concerned only with facts’ … the Metaphysics of Quality asks: which values is science unconcerned with? … A scientist may argue rationally that the moral question ‘Is it all right to murder your neighbor?” is not a scientific question.

But can he argue that the moral question, ‘Is it all right to fake your scientific data?’ is not a scientific question? … What the Metaphysics of Quality makes clear is that it is only social values and morals … that sciences is unconcerned with. There are important historic reasons for this: … [to] the ancient Greek belief that thought is independent of society … ancient Greeks such as Socrates & Pythagoras paved the way for the fundamental principle behind science: that truth stands independently of social opinion. It is determined by direct observation & experiment, not by hearsay.

Religious authority always has attacked this principle as heresy … The defenders who fought to protect science from church control argued that science is not concerned with morals. Intellectuals would leave morals for the church to decide … But the Metaphysics of Quality makes clear is that this political battle … was in fact a moral battle. It was the battle of a higher, intellectual level of evolution to keep itself from being devoured by a lower, social level of evolution. Once this political battle is resolved, the Metaphysics of Quality can then go back and re-ask the question, ‘Just exactly how independent is science, in fact, from society?’ The answer it gives is, ‘not at all’.

A science in which social patterns are of no account is as unreal and absurd as a society in which biological patterns are of no account … If the observer is totally objective and records only what he observes, then where does he observe a hypothesis? … Our scientific description of nature is always culturally derived. Nature tells us only what our culture predisposes us to hear … Descartes’s ‘I think therefore I am’ was a historically shattering declaration of independence of the intellectual … from the social … If Descartes had said ‘The 17th century culture exists, therefore I think, therefore I am’ he would have been correct.

The Metaphysics of Quality resolves the relationship between intellect and society, subject and object, mind and matter by embedding them all in a larger system of understanding. Objects are inorganic and biological values; Subjects are social and intellectual values … They have a matter-of-fact evolutionary relationship. That evolutionary relationship is also a moral one.

The intellect’s evolutionary purpose has never been to discover an ultimate meaning of the universe. That is a relatively recent fad. It’s historical purpose has been to help a society find food,detect danger, and defeat enemies. It can do this well or poorly, depending on the concepts it invents for this purpose … Knowledge has grown away from this historic purpose and become an end in itself, just as society has grown away from it’s original purpose of preserving physical human beings … and this growing away … towards greater Quality is a moral growth. But those original purposes are still there. And when things get lost … it is useful to remember that point of departure.

The Metaphysics of Quality suggests that the social chaos of the 20th century can be relieved by going back to this point of departure… Intellect can support static patterns of society without fear of domination by carefully distinguishing those moral issues that are social-biological from those that are intellectual-social … what’s at issue here … a clash of two entirely different codes of morals in which society is caught in the middle …

You have a society-vs.-biology cored of morals and … an intellect-vs.-society code of morals … In the battle of society against biology, the new 20th century intellectuals have taken biology’s side. Society can handle biology alone by means of prisons & guns & police & the military. But when the intellectuals in control of society take biology’s side against society, then society is caught in a cross fire from which it has no protection.

… The Metaphysics of Quality says … what’s good in life isn’t defined by society or intellect or biology. What’s good is freedom from domination by any static pattern, but that freedom doesn’t have to be obtained by the destruction of the patterns themselves.

… The Hippie revolution of the 60’s was a moral revolution against both society and intellectuality … children of well-to-do … people of the world who suddenly turned upon their parents & schools & society with a hatred no one could have believed existed … The reason this movement has been so hard to understand is that “understanding” itself, static intellect, was it’s enemy. Whatever the intellectuals of the 20’s had fought to create, the flower children of the 60’s fought to destroy … Drugs that destroyed one’s ability to reason were almost a sacrament. Oriental religions such as Zen & Vedanta that promised release from the prison of intellect were taken up as gospel.

… By the end of the 60’s the intellectualism of the 20’s found itself in an impossible trap. If it continued to advocate more freedom from Victorian social restraint, all it would get was more Hippies. If, on the other hand, it advocated more constructive social conformity in opposition to the Hippies, all it would get was more Victorians, in the form of the reactionary right. This political whip-saw was invincible and cut down one of the last of the great intellectual liberal leaders of the New Deal period, Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate for president … the great intellectual revolution of the first half of the 20th century, the dream of a ‘Great Society’ made humane by man’s intellect, was killed, hoist on its own petard of freedom from social constraint.

… this ‘Dynamic’ 60’s revolution made a disastrous mistake that destroyed it before it really got started. The Hippie rejection of social and intellectual patterns left just two directions to go: toward biological quality & toward Dynamic Quality. The revolutionaries of the 60’s thoughts that since both are antisocial & anti-intellectual … they must be the same. That was a mistake.

… When biological quality and Dynamic Quality are confused the result … [is] an extremely destructive form of degeneracy of the sort seen in the Manson murders, the Jonestown madness & the increase of crime and drug addiction throughout the country. In the early 70’s, as people began to see this, they dropped away from the movement and the Hippie revolution, like the intellectual revolution of the 20’s, became a moral rebellion that failed.

Today … the overall picture is one of moral movements gone bankrupt … the result has been a drop in both social and intellectual quality. The end of the 20th century in America seems to be an intellectual, social, and economic rust-belt, a whole society that has given up on Dynamic improvement and is slowly trying to slip back to Victorianism, the last static ratchet-latch. More Dynamic foreign cultures are overtaking it and actually invading it because it’s now incapable of competing. What’s coming out of the urban slums … [is] the old biological might-makes-right morality of prehistoric brigandage that primitive societies were set up to overcome.

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Reading Lila – Paradise


The drift away from European social values worked all right at first, and the first generation of the Victorians, benefiting from ingrained Victorian social habits seem to have been enormously liberated intellectually by the new freedom. But with the second generation … problems began to emerge. Indian values are all right for an Indian style of life, but they don’t work so well in a complex technological society … An upbringing that allows the child to grow ‘naturally’ in the Indian fashion does not … guarantee the finest sort of urban adjustment.

… The world was no doubt in better shape intellectually and technologically but … the ‘quality’ of it was not good. There was no way you could say why this quality was no good. You just felt it … He remembered seeing The Glass Menagerie in which one edge of the stage had an arrow shaped neon sign flashing on and off … beneath the arrow was the word ‘PARADISE’, also flashing


But the Paradise was always somewhere pointed to, always somewhere else … Paradise was always at the end of some intellectual, technological ride, but you knew that when you got there paradise wouldn’t be there either.

… You had to be a rebel without a cause. The intellectuals had preempted all the causes. Causes were to the 20th century intellectuals as manners had been to Victorians … They had everything figured out … ‘pursuit of happiness’ seemed to have become like the pursuit of some scientifically created mechanical rabbit that moves ahead at whatever speed it is being pursued. If you ever did catch it for a few moments it had a peculiar synthetic, technological taste that made the pursuit seem senseless.

Everyone seemed to be guided by an ‘objective’, ’scientific’ view of life that told each person that his essential self is his evolved material body. Ideas and societies are a component of brains, not the other way around. No two brains can merge physically, and therefore no two people can ever really communicate except … [for] sending messages back and forth.

A scientific, intellectual culture had become a culture of millions of isolated people living and dying in … psychic solitary confinement, unable to talk to one another, really, and unable to judge one another because scientifically speaking it is impossible to do so. Each individual in his cell of isolation was told that no matter how hard he tried … his whole life is that of an animal that lives & dies … He could invent moral goals for himself, but they are just artificial inventions. Scientifically speaking he has no goals.

Sometime after the 20’s a secret loneliness, so penetrating and so encompassing that we are only beginning to realize the extent of it, descended upon the land. This scientific, psychiatric isolation and futility had become a far worse prison … than … Victorian ‘virtue’. They had lost some of their realness … living in some kind of movie saying …


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Reading Lila – Indians & Cowboys


The new intellectualism of the 20’s argued that if there are principles for right social conduct they are to be discovered by social experiment to see what produces the greatest satisfaction … of the greatest number. For example, drink that causes car accidents or loss of work or family problems is irrational … a vice. On the other hand,drinking is not irrational when it produces social … relaxation.

Of all the ‘vices’ none was more controversial than premarital and extramarital sex … It was expected that with the new application of reason, sex could be handled much like other commodities without the terrible tensions and frustrations of social repression … through out this century we have seen over and over again, that intellectuals weren’t blaming crime on man’s biological nature but on the social patterns that had repressed this biological nature…[believing] that this would be the cure of man’s criminal tendencies …

… intellectuals became excited about anthropology in the hope that the field would provide facts upon which to base new scientific rules … Here in this country, American Indians were suddenly revived as models of primitive communal virtue … ‘anthros’ … swarmed to huts and teepees and hogans of every tribe they could find, jockeying to be in on the great treasure hunt for new information about possible new moral indigenous American ways of life. This was illogical since, if subject-object science sees no morals anywhere, then no scientific study of any kind is going to fill the moral void left by the overthrow of Victorians society.

Intellectual permissiveness and destruction of social authority are no more scientific than Victorian discipline … this lapse in logic magically fit the thesis … that the American personality has two components, European and Indian. The moral values that were replacing the old European Victorian ones were the moral values of American Indians: kindness to children,maximum freedom, openness of speech, love of simplicity,affinity for nature. Without any real awareness of where the new morals were coming from, the whole country was moving in a direction that if felt was right.

The western movie was another example of this change, showing Indian values which had become cowboy values which had become 20th century all-American values. Everyone knew the cowboys of the silver screen had little to do with their actual counterparts, but it didn’t matter. It was the values, not the historical accuracy,that counted.

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