This inability of conventional subject-object metaphysics to clarify values is an example of what Phaedrus called a 'platypus.' Early zoologists classified as mammals those that suckle their young and as reptiles those that lay eggs. Then a duck-billed platypus was discovered in Australia laying eggs like a perfect reptile and then, when they hatched, suckling the infant platypi like a perfect mammal.
The discovery created quite a sensation. What an enigma! it was exclaimed. What a mystery! What a marvel of nature! When the first stuffed specimens reached England from Australia around the end of the eighteenth century they were thought to be fakes made by sticking together bits of different animals. Even today you still see occasional articles in nature magazines asking, 'Why does this paradox of nature exist?'
The answer is: it doesn't. The platypus isn't doing anything paradoxical at all. It isn't having any problems. Platypi have been laying eggs and suckling their young for millions of years before there were any zoologists to come along and declare it illegal. The real mystery, the real enigma, is how mature, objective, trained scientific observers can blame their own goof on a poor innocent platypus.
Zoologists, to cover up their problem, had to invent a patch. They created a new order, monotremata, that includes the platypus, the spiny anteater, and that's it. This is like a nation consisting of two people.
In a subject-object classification of the world, Quality is in the same situation as that platypus. Because they can't classify it the experts have claimed there is something wrong with it. And Quality isn't the only such platypus. Subject-object metaphysics is characterized by herds of huge, dominating, monster platypi. The problems of free will versus determinism, of the relation of mind to matter, of the discontinuity of matter at the sub-atomic level, of the apparent purposelessness of the universe and the life within it are all monster platypi created by the subject-object metaphysics. Where it is centered around the subject-object metaphysics, Western philosophy can almost be defined as 'platypus anatomy.' These creatures that seem like such a permanent part of the philosophical landscape magically disappear when a good Metaphysics of Quality is applied.
The world comes to us in an endless stream of puzzle pieces that we would like to think all fit together somehow, but that in fact never do. There are always some pieces like platypi that don't fit and we can either ignore these pieces or we can give them silly explanations or we can take the whole puzzle apart and try other ways of assembling it that will include more of them. When one takes the whole ill-shaped, misfitting structure of a subject-object explained universe apart and puts it back together in a value-centered metaphysics, all kinds of orphaned puzzle pieces fit beautifully that never fit before.
—Robert Pirsig, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, p. 50