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All posts for the month June, 2003

Two quotes from the Columbia Dictionary of Quotations via Quantonics earlier this year …

Theodore Roosevelt in 1917 (after Victoria – I know) “The things that will destroy [us] are: prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first ….”

Walter Bagehot in 1872 “The whole history of civilisation is strewn with creeds and institutions which were invaluable at first, and deadly afterwards. A bureaucracy is sure to think that its duty is to augment official power, official business, or official members, rather than to leave free the energies of mankind; it overdoes the quantity of government, as well as impairs its quality. The truth is, that a skilled bureaucracy . . . is, though it boasts of an appearance of science, quite inconsistent with the true principles of the art of business.”

Thanks to Rick Valence on the MOQ Discuss board for this one. Einstein’s more philosophical thoughts never cease to amaze me, and this one is particularly apt to my current agenda.
Albert Einstein [Quote]
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.
We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
[Unquote] Source ?

The Guide Book to ZMM – Paul has just loaned me his copy of the Guide to ZMM by DiSanto and Steele. (comes as a two book deal with ZMM from Amazon). In recent weeks I’ve independently compiled a detailed Pirsig Timeline, including both his life and the duration of the ZMM and LILA trips. I notice the Guide includes a chronology right at the start – which seems to tie in perfectly with times and locations of the ZMM trip itself. The guide also hangs the key Chautauqua points off the chronology (as I’ve done with my timeline too), but unlike mine, it doesn’t seem to link to or expand on his biographical details. All good grist to my mill though. (Though complete, note that the uploaded version of the timeline is a bit naff graphically and it’s links are incomplete – I’m working on a simpler version.)

Will The Real Chairman Please Stand Up ? Another one for Pirsig research purposes, Richard McKeon, allegedly the “Chairman” in ZAMM. Interestingly the Chicago University pages show up many interesting Pirsig links.

This one includes the [Quote] From your point of view, they’re insane, and from theirs your insane. Let’s just admit it, we’re all crazy. Remember, all arguments against this are defensive, they’re just reason defending itself in its own terms. Even if we lose the rational discussion, it only proves the analogy to fighting. [Unquote] An interesting re-statement of the ubiquitous Catch-22.

Ambiguity is Good – Dave Weinberger in conversation with Esther Dyson [via Gurteen] about his speech at the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conreference [Notes Here]. [Quote] Making something explicit is most often an act of violence. Something that’s implicit is inevitably contexual. We do violence to it when we lose that richness.[Unquote]. Dave is explaining why “social software” is important in preserving content and richness of true knowledge communication.

It fits my manifesto to a tee. Ambiguity is “good” because the real world is full of paradox and uncertainty, and rarely well represented by simply binary choices. A knowledge model which is capable of recognising this is clearly preferable to one supported by rationally-scientific, politically-correct mis-information, even though binary black-and-white choices seem to make for easier decision making.