Reading Lila – Celebrity


Sex and celebrity… there’s something obscene about the whole celebrity feeling. It’s that same feeling you get from sex magazines on newsstands … One part of you wants to get rid of the magazines; one part wants to take a look at them. There’s a conflict of two patterns of quality, social patterns and biological patterns. In celebrity it’s the same … except that the conflict is between social and intellectual patterns!

Celebrity is to social patterns as sex is to biological patterns … It looks and feels like pure Dynamic Quality for a while, but it isn’t … Celebrity is the Dynamic Quality that primitive social patterns once used to organize themselves … an organizing force of the whole social level of evolution. Without this … advanced complex human societies might be impossible.

… When you look back into the very first writing in the history of the western world … Babylon … they’re about celebrity: I, Hammurabi am the big wheel here. I have this many horses … concubines … slaves … oxen … I am one of the greatest … kings there ever was … The Pyramids were celebrity devices. All the statues … palaces … robes … jewels of social authority: those are just celebrity devices. The feathers of the Indian headdress. Children being told they would be struck blind if they ever accidentally looked at the emperor. All the Sirs & Lords & Reverends & Doctors of European address … badges & trophies … promotions up the business ladder … election to ‘high office … feuding and battling for prestige among academics and scientists … Celebrity.

Even a policeman’s uniform is a kind of celebrity … without celebrity nobody would take orders from anybody and there would be no way you could get the society to work … High school was really the place for celebrity … jocks out playing football … pom-pom girls … You can measure the quality of a university by comparing the relative strengths of the celebrity patterns and the intellectual patterns. You never got rid of the celebrities, even at the best universities, but there the intellectuals could ignore them and be in a class by themselves.

… the Metaphysics of Quality says that movement upward from the social mirrors of celebrity is a moral movement from a lower form of evolution to a higher one. People should go that way if they can.

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Reading Lila – Science


It’s ironic that although the philosophy of science leaves no room for any undefined Dynamic activity, it’s sciences unique organization for the handling of the Dynamic that gives it is superiority. Science superseded old religious forms, not because what it says is more true in any absolute sense … but because what it says is more Dynamic. If scientists had simply said Copernicus was right and Ptolemy was wrong without any willingness to further investigate the subject, then science would have simply become another minor religious creed.

Science always contains an eraser, a mechanism whereby new Dynamic insight could wipe out old static patterns without destroying science itself. That’s the whole thing: to obtain static and Dynamic Quality simultaneously. If you don’t have the static patterns of scientific knowledge to build upon you’re back with the cave man. But if you don’t have the freedom to change those patterns you’re blocked from any further growth.

… political institutions have improved throughout the centuries [due to] … a static-Dynamic combination: a king or constitution to preserve the static, and a parliament or jury that can act as a Dynamic eraser … a commentary on Robert’s Rules of Order: No minority has a right to block a majority from conducting the legal business of the organization. No majority has a right to prevent a minority from peacefully attempting to become a majority.

It seems as though any static mechanism that is open to Dynamic Quality must also be open to degeneracy … falling back to lower forms of quality … how do you tell the saviors from the degenerates? Particularly when they look alike, talk alike and break all the rules alike? When something new and Dynamic wants to come into the world it often looks like hell, but it can get born in New York. It can happen.

This is one of the few places in the world where people don’t ask whether something’s been approved somewhere else. What you see you see in New York depends on your static patterns. What makes the city Dynamic is the way it always busts up … those patterns.

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Reading Lila – New York


The metaphysics of substance makes it difficult to see the Giant. It makes it customary to think of a city like New York as a ‘work of man’, but what man invented it? What group of men invented it? Who sat around and thought up how it should all go together? If ‘man’ invented societies and cities, why are all societies and cities so repressive of ‘man’?

A metaphysics of substance makes us think that all evolution stops with the highest evolved substance, the physical body of man. It makes us think that cities and societies and thought structures are all subordinate creations of this physical body of man. But it’s as foolish to think of a city or a society as created by human bodies as it is to think of human bodies as a creation of the cells, or to think of cells as created by protein and DNA molecules, or to think of DNA as created by carbon and other inorganic atoms. If you follow that fallacy long enough you come out with the conclusion that individual electrons contain the intelligence needed to build New York City all by themselves. Absurd.

If it’s possible to imagine two red blood cells sitting side by side asking, ‘will there ever be a higher form of evolution than us?” and looking around and seeing nothing there, deciding there isn’t, then you can imagine the ridiculousness of two people walking down a street of Manhattan asking if there will be any form of evolution higher than ‘man’, meaning biological man.

Biological man doesn’t invent cities or societies any more than pigs and chickens invent the farmer that feeds them. The force of evolutionary creation isn’t contained by substance. Substance is just one kind of static pattern left behind the creative force. This city is a higher pattern than either a substance or a biological pattern called man. Just as a farmer raises cows four the sole purpose of devouring them, this pattern grows living human bodies four the sole purpose of devouring them. That is what the Giant really does. It converts accumulated biological energy into forms that serve itself. When societies and cultures and cities are seen [this way] the phenomena of war & genocide & all the other forms of human exploitation become more intelligible. ‘Mankind’ has never been interested in getting itself killed. But the super-organism, the Giant, who is a pattern of values superimposed on top of biological human bodies, doesn’t mind losing a few bodies to protect his greater interests.

Once you understand something well enough, you don’t need to run from it. From a Metaphysics of Quality point of view this devouring of human bodies is a moral activity because it’s more moral for a social pattern to devour a biological pattern than for a biological pattern to devour a social pattern. A social pattern is a higher form of evolution. This city, in it’s endless devouring of human bodies, was creating something better than any biological organism could achieve by itself. Sure: dirty, noisy, rude, dangerous, expensive. Always has been and probably always will be … if you’re looking for stability and serenity, go to a cemetery, don’t come here! This is the most Dynamic place on earth!

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Reading Lila – 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.

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Reading Lila – Morals – Ideas Kill Societies


What the evolutionary structure of the Metaphysics of Quality says is that there is not just one moral system. There are many … ‘laws of nature’ by which inorganic patterns triumph over chaos; … ‘law of the jungle’ where biology triumphs over the inorganic forces of starvation and death; there’s a morality where social patterns triumph over biology, ‘the law’; and there is intellectual morality, which is still struggling in its attempts to control society.

Each of these sets of moral codes is no more related to the other than novels are to flip-flops. What is today conventionally called ‘morality’ covers only … the social-biological code. In a subject-object metaphysics this single social-biological code is considered to be a minor ’subjective’ physically nonexistent part of the universe. But in the Metaphysics of Quality all these sets of moral, plus another Dynamic Morality, are not only real, they are the whole thing.

‘It’s more moral for a doctor to kill a germ than to allow the germ to kill his patient’ … the patient has moral precedence because he’s at a higher level of evolution … This is not just an arbitrary social convention … It’s true for all people and at all times…a moral pattern of reality as real as H2O. We’re at last dealing with morals on the basis of reason … analyze moral arguments with greater precision than before.

… vegetarianism … it’s scientifically immoral for everyone because animals are at a higher level of evolution, that is, more Dynamic, than are grains and fruits and vegetables … this moral principle only holds where there is an abundance of grains and fruit and vegetables. It would be immoral for Hindus not to eat their cows in a time of famine, since they would be killing human beings in favor of a lower organism.

Is it scientifically moral for a society to kill a human being? An evolutionary morality would at first seem to say yes, a society has a right to murder people to prevent its own destruction. When the United States drafted troops for the Civil War everyone knew that innocent people would be murdered … an evolutionary morality argues that the North was right in pursuing that war because a nation is a higher form of evolution than a human body, and the principle of human equality is an even higher form than a nation.

When a society is not itself threatened, as in the execution of individual criminals, the issue becomes more complex … an evolutionary morality would argue that there is no moral justification for killing him. He is not even a defective unit of society. Whenever you kill a human being you are killing a source of thought… ideas take moral precedence over a society. They are at a higher level of evolution than social patterns of value. Just as it is more moral for a doctor to kill a germ than a patient, so it is more moral for an idea to kill a society than it is for a society to kill an idea.

The strongest moral argument against capital punishment is that it weakens a society’s Dynamic capability … for change and evolution. It’s not the ‘nice’ guys who bring about real social change … [they] look nice because they’re conforming. It’s the ‘bad’ guys, who only look nice 100 years later, that are the real Dynamic force in social evolution … static pattens that hold one level of organization together are often the same patterns that another level of organization must fight to maintain it’s own existence.

Morality is not a simple set of rules … it’s a very complex struggle of conflicting patterns of values. ‘Vice’ … is a conflict between biological quality and social quality … sex & booze & drugs & tobacco have a high biological quality … they feel good, but are harmful for social reasons. They take all your money. They break up your family. They threaten the stability of the community … this whole century’s been about … struggle between intellectual and social patterns. That’s the theme song of the 20th century.

Is society going to dominate intellect or is intellect going to dominate society? … Intellect is not an extension of society any more than society is an extension of biology. Intellect is going it’s own way, and in doing so is at war with society, seeking to subjugate society, to put society under lock and key. An evolutionary morality says it is moral for intellect to do so, but it also contains a warning: … an intellectual pattern that weakens and destroys the health of it’s social base also endanger it’s own stability.

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