it straightened up again. But after a while it went over on its side again and then it couldn't straighten up at all. Then the others started to eat it and it didn't struggle any more.
She hoped they wouldn't bite Lucky when he swam back to the island. When you slow down the fish eat you up alive. You can't do anything that makes them think you're slowing down, or they'll come after you.
They wouldn't dare bite Lucky.
She wished the Captain would come.
She was so tired of this side of the river. She'd even swim if she had to. She didn't know how long the Captain would take to come and she didn't want to wait any more.
Lila took off her sweater. That felt better with it off.
Then she put her hand down into the water.
The water felt warm! It was real warm in the river. If she swam to the island she wouldn't be cold any more.
She looked at the water again.
She didn't want to be cold any more. She was so tired of fighting it. Just to give up. Just to let go.
Just to let go. Toward that hand in the water. The hand was sticking up out of the water where the branch had been, reaching for her to take it. The hand came close to her and then a little whirlpool in the water carried it away. It was like a baby's hand sticking out of the water. A baby's hand.
The little hand was reaching up out of the water. It was a baby's hand. She could see the little fingers. The hand was just farther than she could reach going into the whirlpool. Then it came closer and she caught it, and her heart held still as she brought it up out of the water.
Its little body was all stiff and cold.
Its eyes were closed. Thank God. She cleaned off the scum from its body and saw that none of the baby seemed to be gone. The fish had not eaten any of it yet. But it was not breathing.
Then she took her sweater from the cockpit floor and put it in her lap and wrapped the baby in it and held it close. And she rocked the baby back and forth until she could feel some of the coldness go out of it. 'It's all right,' she said. 'It's all right. You're all right now. It's all over. You're all right now. No one's going to hurt you any more.'
After a while Lila could feel the baby's body becoming warm against her own. She began to rock it a little back and forth. Then she began to hum a little song to it that she remembered from long ago.
'Does Lila have Quality?' The question seemed inexhaustible. The answer Phaedrus had thought of before, 'Biologically she does, socially she doesn't,' still didn't get all the way to the bottom of it. There was more than society and biology involved.
Phaedrus heard some voices in the corridor become louder and closer, then fade away again.
What had happened since the end of the First World War was that the intellectual level had entered the picture and had taken over everything. It was this intellectual level that was screwing everything up. The question of whether promiscuity is moral had been resolved from prehistoric times to the end of the Victorian era, but suddenly everything was upended by this new intellectual supremacy that said sexual promiscuity is neither moral nor immoral, it is just amoral human behavior.
That may have been why Rigel was so angry back in Kingston. He thought Lila was immoral because she'd broken up a family and destroyed a man's position in the social community - a biological pattern of quality, sex, had destroyed a social pattern of quality, a family and a job. What made Rigel mad was that into this scene come intellectuals like Phaedrus who say it's unintelligent to repress biological drives. You must decide these matters on the basis of reason, not on the basis of social codes.
But if Rigel identified Phaedrus with this intellect-vs.-society code and the social upheavals it has produced, he certainly picked on the wrong person. The Metaphysics of Quality uproots the intellectual source of this confusion, the doctrine that says, 'Science is not concerned with values. Science is concerned only with facts.'
In a subject-object metaphysics this platitude is unassailable, but the Metaphysics of Quality asks: which values is science unconcerned with?
Gravitation is an inorganic pattern of values. Is science unconcerned? Truth is an intellectual pattern of values. Is science unconcerned? 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? Can he say, as a scientist, The faking of scientific data is no concern of science?' If he gets tricky and tries to say that that is a moral question about science which is not a part of science, then he has committed schizophrenia. He is admitting the existence of a real world that science cannot comprehend.
What the Metaphysics of Quality makes clear is that it is only social values and morals, particularly church values and morals, that science is unconcerned with.
There are important historic reasons for this:
The doctrine of scientific disconnection from social morals goes all the way back to the ancient Greek belief that thought is independent of society, that it stands alone, born without parents. Ancient Greeks such as Socrates and Pythagoras paved the way for the fundamental principle behind science: that truth stands independently of social opinion. It is to be determined by direct observation and experiment, not by hearsay. Religious authority always has attacked this principle as heresy. For its early believers, the idea of a science independent of society was a very dangerous notion to hold. People died for it.
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 what the larger intellectual structure of the Metaphysics of Quality makes clear is that this political battle of science to free itself from domination by social moral codes 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. It's an impossibility.
If society enters nowhere into the business of scientific discovery then where does a scientific hypothesis come from? If the observer is totally objective and records only what he observes, then where does he observe a hypothesis? Atoms don't carry hypotheses about themselves around as part of their luggage. As long as you assume an exclusive subject-object, mind-matter science, that whole question is an inescapable intellectual black hole.
Our scientific description of nature is always culturally derived. Nature tells us only what our culture predisposes us to hear. The selection of which inorganic patterns to observe and which to ignore is made on the basis of social patterns of value, or when it is not, on the basis of biological patterns of value.
Descartes' 'I think therefore I am' was a historically shattering declaration of independence of the intellectual level of evolution from the social level of evolution, but would he have said it if he had been a seventeenth-century Chinese philosopher? If he had been, would anyone in seventeenth-century China have listened to him and called him a brilliant thinker and recorded his name in history? If Descartes had said, 'The seventeenth-century French 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 all of them in a larger system of understanding. Objects are inorganic and biological values; subjects are social and intellectual values. They are not two mysterious universes that go floating around in some subject-object dream that allows them no real contact with one another. They have a matter-of-fact evolutionary relationship. That evolutionary relationship is also a moral one.
Within this evolutionary relationship it is possible to see that intellect has functions that predate science and philosophy. The intellect's evolutionary purpose has never been to discover an ultimate meaning of the universe. That is a relatively recent fad. Its 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.
The cells Dynamically invented animals to preserve and improve their situation. The animals Dynamically invented societies, and societies Dynamically invented intellectual knowledge for the same reasons. Therefore, to the question, 'What is the purpose of all this intellectual knowledge?' the Metaphysics of Quality answers, 'The fundamental purpose of knowledge is to Dynamically improve and preserve society.' Knowledge has grown away from this historic purpose and become an end in itself just as society has grown away from its original purpose of preserving physical human beings and become an end in itself, and this growing away from original purposes toward greater Quality is a moral growth. But those original purposes are still there. And when things get lost and go adrift it is useful to remember that point of departure.
The Metaphysics of Quality suggests that the social chaos of the twentieth century can be relieved by going back to this point of departure and re-evaluating the path taken from it. It says it is immoral for intellect to be dominated by society for the same reasons it is immoral for children to be dominated by their parents. But that doesn't mean that children should assassinate their parents, and it doesn't mean intellectuals should assassinate society. 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 and making sure there is no encroachment either way.
What's at issue here isn't just a clash of society and biology but a clash of two entirely different codes of morals in which society is the middle term. You have a society-vs.-biology code of morals and you have an intellect-vs.-society code of morals. It wasn't Lila Rigel was attacking, it was this intellect-vs.-society code of morals.
In the battle of society against biology, the new twentieth-century intellectuals have taken biology's side. Society can handle biology alone by means of prisons and guns and police and 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 there are not just two codes of morals, there are actually five: inorganic-chaotic, biological-inorganic, social-biological, intellectual-social, and Dynamic-static. This last, the Dynamic-static code, 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.
Rigel's interpretation of recent moral history is probably a pretty simple one: old codes vs. new chaos. But a Metaphysics of Quality says it's not at all that simple. An analysis of separate moral systems sees the history of the twentieth century in an entirely different way:
Until the First World War the Victorian social codes dominated. From the First World War until the Second World War the intellectuals dominated unchallenged.
From the Second World War until the seventies the intellectuals continued to dominate, but with an increasing challenge - call it the 'Hippie revolution,' - which failed. And from the early seventies on there has been a slow confused mindless drift back to a kind of pseudo-Victorian moral posture accompanied by an unprecedented and unexplained growth in crime.
Of these periods, the last two seem the most misunderstood. The Hippies have been interpreted as frivolous spoiled children, and the period following their departure as a 'return to values,' whatever that means. The Metaphysics of Quality, however, says that's backward: the Hippie revolution was the moral movement. The present period is the collapse of values.
The Hippie revolution of the eighties was a moral revolution against both society and intellectuality. It was a whole new social phenomenon no intellectual had predicted and no intellectuals were able to explain. It was a revolution by children of well-to-do, college-educated, 'modern' people of the world who suddenly turned upon their parents and their schools and their society with a hatred no one could have believed existed. This was not any new paradise the intellectuals of the twentieth century were trying to achieve by freedom from Victorian restraints. This was something else that had blown up in their faces.
Phaedrus thought the reason this movement has been so hard to understand is that 'understanding' itself, static intellect, was its enemy. The culture-bearing book of the period, On the Road by Jack Kerouac, was a running lecture against intellect, '... All my New York friends were in the negative nightmare position of putting down society and giving their tired bookish or political or psychoanalytic reasons,' Kerouac wrote, 'but Dean' (the hero of the book) 'just raced in society, eager for bread and love; he didn't care one way or the other.'
In the twenties it had been thought that society was the cause of man's unhappiness and that intellect would cure it, but in the sixties it was thought that both society and intellect together were the cause of all the unhappiness and that transcendence of both society and intellect would cure it. Whatever the intellectuals of the twenties had fought to create, the flower children of the sixties fought to destroy. Contempt for rules, for material possessions, for war, for police, for science, for technology were standard repertoire. The 'blowing' of the mind was important. Drugs that destroyed one's ability to reason were almost a sacrament. Oriental religions such as Zen and Vedanta that promised release from the prison of intellect were taken up as gospel. The cultural values of blacks and Indians, to the extent that they were anti-intellectual, were mimicked. Anarchy became the most popular politics and squalor and poverty and chaos became the most popular lifestyles. Degeneracy was practiced for degeneracy's sake. Anything was good that shook off the paralyzing intellectual grip of the social-intellectual Establishment.
By the end of the sixties the intellectualism of the twenties found itself in an impossible trap. If it continued to advocate more freedom from Victorian social restraint, all it would get was more Hippies, who were really just carrying its anti-Victorianism to an extreme. 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 in 1968 it cut down one of the last of the great intellectual liberal leaders of the New Deal period, Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate for president.
'I've seen enough of this,' Humphrey exclaimed at the disastrous 1968 Democratic convention, 'I've seen far too much of it!' But he had no explanation for it and no remedy and neither did anyone else. The great intellectual revolution of the first half of the twentieth century, the dream of a 'Great Society' made humane by man's intellect, was killed, hoist on its own petard of freedom from social restraint.
Phaedrus thought that this Hippie revolution could have been almost as much an advance over the intellectual twenties as the twenties had been over the social 1890s, but his analysis showed that this 'Dynamic' sixties 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 and toward Dynamic Quality. The revolutionaries of the sixties thought that since both are antisocial, and since both are anti-intellectual, why then they must both be the same. That was the mistake.
American writing on Zen during this period showed this confusion. Zen was often thought to be a sort of innocent 'anything goes.' If you did anything you pleased, without regard for social restraint, at the exact moment you pleased to do it, that would express your Buddha-nature. To Japanese Zen masters coming to this country this must have seemed really strange. Japanese Zen is attached to social disciplines so meticulous they make the Puritans look almost degenerate.
Back in the fifties and sixties Phaedrus had shared this confusion of biological quality and Dynamic Quality, but the Metaphysics of Quality seemed to help clear it up. When biological quality and Dynamic Quality are confused the result isn't an increase in Dynamic Quality. It's an extremely destructive form of degeneracy of the sort seen in the Manson murders, the Jonestown madness, and the increase of crime and drug addiction throughout the country. In the early seventies, as people began to see this, they dropped away from the movement, and the Hippie revolution, like the intellectual revolution of the twenties, became a moral rebellion that failed.
Today, it seemed to Phaedrus, the overall picture is one of moral movements gone bankrupt. Just as the intellectual revolution undermined social patterns,
the Hippies undermined both static and intellectual patterns. Nothing better has been introduced to replace them. The result has been a drop in both social and intellectual quality. In the United States the national intelligence level shown in SAT scores has gone down. Organized crime has grown more powerful and more sinister. Urban ghettos have grown larger and more dangerous. The end of the twentieth 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, where old Victorian social moral codes are almost completely destroyed, isn't any new paradise the revolutionaries hoped for, but a reversion to rule by terror, violence and gang death - the old biological might-makes-right morality of prehistoric brigandage that primitive societies were set up to overcome.
Phaedrus looked at the glass window across the hotel room and at the darkness beyond it. The question that seemed to grow in his mind every time he came back to New York was: is this city going to survive or isn't it? It's always had social problems, and it's always survived them, and somehow it's always been strengthened by them, and maybe that will happen again. But this time the odds didn't look bright. He remembered the title Rudyard Kipling had used for Calcutta back in Victorian times, 'The City of Dreadful Night.' That's what this city was becoming.
It was the most Dynamic place on earth, but the price of being Dynamic is instability. Any Dynamic situation is vulnerable to attrition and corruption and even to complete collapse. When you take steps forward into the unknown you always risk being smashed by that unknown. There had always been a battle here between intense legions of the most Dynamic and most moral on one side, confronting the most biological and least moral on the other; between A-class people and F-class people. The Bs and Cs were out in the other boroughs and suburbs, doing static things. But now, here, the Fs seemed to be winning.
From the hotel window, looking out across the park, it seemed as if you could see from the north, from the ghetto areas there, a dreadful night, an eclipse of social patterns by invading unchecked biological patterns, closing in and gradually putting New York into a sleep from which it might never recover. It isn't a war of races or of cultures. It's war of society against patterns of reason and patterns of biology that have been set loose by the mistakes of this century.
The most sinister thing about the fall of the Roman Empire was that the people who conquered it never understood that they had done so. They paralyzed the patterns of Roman social structure to a point where everybody just forgot what that structure was. Taxes became uncollectible. Armies composed of hired barbarians stopped receiving pay. Everything just lapsed. The patterns of civilization were forgotten, and a Dark Age settled in.
Phredrus wasn't sure but he seemed to detect a peculiar gentleness here on the streets now that he didn't remember from the past. It was an ominous gentleness found in old and corrupt cultures, the gentleness one hears in Neapolitan street songs and in old Mexican cancidnes. It comes not from an absence of violence but from an excess of it. Live and let live. Avoid trouble. It was the gentleness of someone who has given up fighting openly because it is too dangerous to do so. He had the sickening feeling that something like the fall of the Roman Empire was beginning to happen here. What was so sinister now about New York was that the patterns that built it no longer seemed understood - those who understand the patterns are no longer in control of those who don't.
What seemed to allow this deadly night to descend was that the intellectual patterns that were supposed to be in charge of things, that should comprehend the threat and lead the fight against it, were paralyzed. They were paralyzed, not by any external force, but by their own internal construction, which made them unable to comprehend what was happening.
It was like watching the spider waiting while the wasp gets ready to attack it. The spider can leave any time to save its life but it doesn't do so. It just waits there, paralyzed by some internal pattern of responses that make it unable to recognize its own danger. The wasp plants its eggs in the spider's body and the spider lives on while the wasp larvae slowly eat it and destroy it.
Phaedrus thought that a Metaphysics of Quality could be a replacement for the paralyzing intellectual system that is allowing all this destruction to go unchecked. The paralysis of America is a paralysis of moral patterns. Morals can't function normally because morals have been declared intellectually illegal by the subject-object metaphysics that dominates present social thought. These subject-object patterns were never designed for the job of governing society. They're not doing it. When they're put in the position of controlling society, of setting moral standards and declaring values, and when they then declare that there are no values and no morals, the result isn't progress. The result is social catastrophe.
It's this intellectual pattern of amoral 'objectivity' that is to blame for the social deterioration of America, because it has undermined the static social values necessary to prevent deterioration. In its condemnation of social repression as the enemy of liberty, it has never come forth with a single moral principle that distinguishes a Galileo fighting social repression from a common criminal fighting social repression. It has, as a result, been the champion of both. That's the root of the problem.
* * *
Phaedrus remembered parties in the fifties and sixties full of liberal intellectuals like himself who actually admired the criminal types that sometimes showed up. 'Here we are,' they seemed to believe, 'drug pushers, flower children, anarchists, civil rights workers, college professors — we're all just comrades-in-arms against the cruel and corrupt social system that is really the enemy of us all.'