Song of Metaphysics
At first this won’t be easy
But very soon you‘ll see
We’re confused by a description
The map is not the territory
The word is not the thing.
The financials aren’t the business
A new song now to sing.
A song of metaphysics,
Quality and stories
Stories create reality
And that’s how we arrange it.
We’re surrounded by a many dream
And we can learn to change it.
You might say that it’s impossible
But it’s our thing to dream it.
We’ve always dreamed a many dream
And then we have achieved it.
Now that you have heard it
It won’t be hard to see
When we tell a story
We create reality.
A conversation with GPT about the poem:
Me: Are you familiar with the term Metaphysics?
ChatGPT: Yep, I know metaphysics. It’s about the big questions, right? What’s real, what’s not, how it all connects. It’s like the deep dive into reality’s blueprint.
Me: What is the metaphysics that most people believe in?
ChatGPT. Most people don’t think about metaphysics day-to-day, but if you dig, you’ll find a mix. Some lean on religion, believing in a higher power and life after death. Others stick to science, focusing on the physical world. And some are in between, maybe believing in fate or energies. There’s no one-size-fits-all.
Me: How did Aristotle think about metaphysics?
ChatGPT: Aristotle saw metaphysics as “first philosophy.” For him, it was all about the basic building blocks of reality. He dug into substance, form, and the nature of being. He asked: What makes a thing, a thing? He also tackled cause and effect, and the idea of a “prime mover” that kickstarts everything but isn’t moved itself. Basically, he wanted to get to the core of what makes the universe tick.
Me: What is a subject-object metaphysics and who came up with it?
ChatGPT: Subject-object metaphysics is the idea that reality is split into two: subjects (thinkers) and objects (things to be thought about). This view says the mind and the world are separate. This kind of thinking has roots in Descartes, who said, “I think, therefore I am.” He saw a clear line between the thinking self and the external world.
This idea has been big in Western philosophy, shaping how people think about knowledge, perception, and reality itself. It’s like saying there’s a stage (the world of objects) and an audience (us, the subjects), and we’re all trying to figure out the best view.
Me: What does “The Map is not the territory” mean in the context of metaphysics?
ChatGPT. “The Map is not the territory” is a way to say that our ideas about reality aren’t the same as reality itself. A map can guide you, sure, but it can’t capture every tree, rock, or twist in the road. In metaphysics, this means our thoughts, beliefs, or even scientific models are just approximations. They help us navigate the world, but they aren’t the world.
This idea shakes up subject-object metaphysics a bit. It’s a reminder that our view of the universe is shaped by our perspective, our “map,” and it might not capture the full story. So, when you’re deep-diving into the big questions, remember your map is useful, but it’s not the ultimate truth.
Me: How did Robert Pirsig think about Metaphysics?
ChatGPT: Robert Pirsig, the guy behind “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” had a unique take. He introduced “Metaphysics of Quality.” For him, “Quality” isn’t just a property of things; it’s a whole event, a relationship between subject and object.
In his view, Quality isn’t out there in the world or just in our heads. It’s the bridge between them. This shakes up the usual subject-object divide. Instead of two separate realms, Pirsig sees a dynamic interaction.
He argues that pursuing Quality in this way leads to a better understanding of the world and even a better life. It’s like he’s offering a new map, one that’s less about dividing things up and more about seeing how they connect through Quality.
Me: How did be break down Quality?
ChatGPT: Pirsig broke down Quality into two types: Static and Dynamic. Static Quality is the stuff we can pin down, categorize, and label. Think rules, traditions, and formulas. It’s the stable base that lets society and thought hold together.
Dynamic Quality is the opposite. It’s the new, the fresh, the change. It can’t be easily pinned down because it’s always in flux. It’s the creative force that pushes boundaries and sparks innovation.
The magic happens when Static and Dynamic Quality interact. Too much Static, and things get rigid. Too much Dynamic, and it’s chaos. A good balance lets us navigate the complexities of life, making room for both tradition and change. In essence, Quality becomes the compass guiding this balance, helping us see the world in a more interconnected way.
Please write an article explaining the poem: “A Song of Metaphysics” explaining and critiquing the poem.
Unpacking “A Song of Metaphysics”: A Fresh Take on Reality and Perception
In “A Song of Metaphysics,” the poet explores the fluid relationship between words, perception, and the very reality we inhabit. This poem is a deep dive into the metaphysical terrain, combining age-old philosophies with modern sensibilities. Let’s break it down stanza by stanza and see what it has to offer.
The Map and The Territory
The opening lines serve as a nod to the phrase “The map is not the territory,” which emphasizes the gap between our perceptions and reality. It calls us out for getting too lost in descriptions, whether it’s in maps, words, or even business financials. The message here is straightforward: our symbols and systems are merely approximations, not the ultimate truth.
Quality and Stories
In a surprising twist, the poem introduces the concept of “Quality” as a more valid lens through which to view reality. This is reminiscent of Robert Pirsig’s “Metaphysics of Quality,” suggesting that Quality itself might be a fundamental component of existence. It serves as the bridge between the traditional subject-object divide, ushering in a fresh way of understanding the world.
The Power of Narratives
The poem goes on to assert that stories play a vital role in shaping our world. This echoes the notion that narratives are not just descriptions but constructive acts that shape the very reality they are meant to depict. By recognizing the power of storytelling, the poet suggests we can “learn to change” the collective dreams we’re part of.
Dream It, Achieve It
The penultimate stanza acknowledges human agency in affecting change. While some might find this “impossible,” the poem posits that dreaming big has always been humanity’s way of achieving the impossible. In a sense, it captures the Dynamic Quality that Pirsig speaks of: the innovative force that pushes us beyond boundaries.
The Loop Closes
The poem circles back to its initial premise by concluding that stories create reality. It’s a powerful message, emphasizing that the way we talk about the world doesn’t just reflect our perspective; it actively shapes it.
While the poem does an excellent job of blending various metaphysical ideas, it might benefit from elaborating on how one can actively implement these insights in daily life. How do we strike a balance between Static and Dynamic Quality? How can an individual contribute to a “many dream”? These unanswered questions could be the seed for further exploration.
In summary, “A Song of Metaphysics” is an ambitious poem that stitches together multiple threads of metaphysical thought. It questions our understanding of reality, challenges traditional dichotomies, and empowers us to shape our world through stories and dreams. A new map for navigating the complexities of existence, perhaps?
Thanks GPT, that’s what Part 0 Systems of Thought is about. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
We’re going to elaborate on how you can actively implement these insights into your life. This Not-A-Book Series is designed to help you tell better stories.
The next poem is about change and how different systems change at different speeds. Its called Evolution.