That was what he had seen that he was trying to hang on to now, this confluence where mental and the biological patterns are both awake and aware of each other and in conflict. The ebb-tide feeling. At ebb tide this cellular sexual activity is all so intellectually vulgar and shunnable, but when the flood tide returns the vulgarity magically turns into a high-quality attraction and there's a deflection of mind by something that isn't mind at all and there's some feeling of awe in this. 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 when the tides are out again.
He listened to the even breathing of this body next to him. That twilight zone was gone now. His mind was getting the upper hand, getting more and more awake, thinking about what he'd seen.
It fitted into the independence and opposition of levels of evolution that was emphasized in the Metaphysics of Quality. 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. At this moment, asleep, 'Lila' doesn't exist any more than a program exists when a computer is switched off. The intelligence of her cells had switched Lila off for the night, exactly the way a hardware switch turns off a computer program.
The language we've inherited confuses this. We say 'my' body and 'your' body and 'his' body and 'her' body, but it isn't that way. That's like a FORTRAN program saying, 'This is my computer.' 'This body on the left,' and This body on the right.' That's the way to say it. This Cartesian 'Me,' this autonomous little homunculus who sits behind our eyeballs looking out through them in order to pass judgment on the affairs of the world, is just completely ridiculous. This self-appointed little editor of reality is just an impossible fiction that collapses the moment one examines it. This Cartesian '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. The 'Me's' are simply a program format.
Talk about aliens from another planet. 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 long before 'We' came along. And the cells - my God, the cells have been around for thousands of times that long.
These poor stupid bodies that 'We' has invaded, he thought. Every once in a while, like tonight and last night, they overthrow the program and go about their ways leaving 'We' mystified about how all this could have happened. That's what happened just now.
Mystified, and somewhat horrified too at the things bodies do without its permission. All of this sexual morality of Rigel's - it wasn't just social codes. It was also part of this sense of horror at these cells 'We' has invaded and the strange patterns of Quality that existed before 'We' arrived.
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, finds these hardware facts so distressing that it covers them with euphemisms and clothes and toilets and medical secrecy. But what 'We' is covering up is pure quality for the cells. 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 cells' point of view sex is pure Dynamic Quality, the highest Good of all. So when Phaedrus told Rigel that Lila had Quality he was telling the truth. She does. This same attraction which is now so morally condemned is what created the condemners.
Talk about ingratitude. These bodies would still be a bunch of dumb bacteria if it hadn't been for sexual quality. When mutation was the only means of genetic change, life sat around for three billion years, doing almost no changing at all. It was sexual selection that shot it forward into the animals and plants we have today. A bacterium gets no choice in what its progeny are going to be, but a queen bee gets to select from thousands of drones. That selection is Dynamic. In all sexual selection, Lila chooses, Dynamically, the individual she wants to project into the future. If he excites her sense of Quality she joins him to perpetuate him into another generation, and he lives on. But if he's unable to convince her of his Quality - if he's sick or deformed or unable to satisfy her in some way - she refuses to join him and his deformity is not carried on.
—Robert Pirsig, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, p. 96