Robert M Pirsig
author and creator of
“Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (ZMM-1974)
“Lila – an Enquiry into Morals” (Lila-1992)
The Metaphysics of Quality (MoQ)
There are a number of pages and blog posts on Psybertron that are related directly or indirectly to the work of Bob Pirsig and his Metaphysics of Quality. (See [More]) When the Psybertron project started in 2001, there was little indication of the philosophical activist turn it would take, nor that two earlier books I hadn’t yet read would become significant.
They remain significant, not because Bob’s are the last words on the subject, nor are they necessarily entirely original ideas - after all, ideas evolve. However, Psybertron acknowledges the contribution of Pirsig, ZMM, Lila and MoQ to the thought journey.
Of lasting significance, in summary, are three things:
- The MoQ as a synthetic view – synthesizing, rather than simply analyzing, the historically recurring dichotomy between things objective, physical & scientific and things subjective, mystical & romantic.
- Careful with that knife, Aristotle !
- The MoQ as an evolutionary framework – recognizing that synthesis of the physical and the mental, as the evolution of special patterns through dynamic interaction over time.
- Careful with that meme, Eugene !
- Man and ideas as inseparable and “co-creative” – consistent with the evolutionary process perspective and picking-up on an earlier idea (from Jorn Barger – the original blogger) that any subject of significance and complexity should be presented as a timeline, I created a biographical timeline of Bob’s life. That timeline stands as a biographical resource in its own right, but the process of creating and maintaining it reinforced the view that the context with which to understand a man’s ideas, is the man’s life and motivations.
- Careful with that idea, Man !
Historical milestones are presented in the Timeline.
Additional newsworthy milestones are noted below.
2008 was the 40th anniversary of the original 1968 motorcycle trip around which ZMM was written, 6th September 2008 was Bob’s 80′s birthday and 2009 was the 35th anniversary of the original publication of ZMM.
Mark Richardson‘s book “Zen and Now” was launched on September 9th, 2008. Here a Q&A with the author and I’ve added Mark’s blog to the blogroll, so you can see all the other reviews and news. For my own reflections on this milestone see this post.
The first part of Ant McWatt ‘s Pirsig documentary film project “Arrive Without Travelling” was released on DVD in January 2008. [My review here]. The second part “On The Road With Robert Pirsig” released in January 2009 is an excellent documentary on Pirsig’s ZMM project [My review here].
More Pirsig related Psybertron content ….
- The Psybertron retrospective summary post from September 2008.
- The Psybertron picture / mental image of Pirsig’s MoQ
- The Psybertron blog post category “Pirsig” (little used)
- The Psybertron searches on “Pirsig”, “MoQ”, “ZMM”, “Lila”, and more …
- The Psybertron Pirsig Biographical Timeline (much used web resource, source of much content published by others).
- The now defunct Psybertron ZMM Route Map – The best place to go is Gary Wegner’s Google Maps ZMM Route - click on the YinYang symbol
- The Psybertron blog post reporting on the 2005 Pirsig Conference
- The Psybertron paper presented at the 2005 Conference (with slides here).
- The Psybertron collection of old media clippings.
- The Psybertron collection of Pirsig Photos and links to more.
- The original Psybertron Pirsig Pages (increasingly redundant but plenty more links).
- “MoQ.org” – the original “Lila Squad” on-line resource for discussing and interpreting Pirsig’s work - not for the faint-hearted; (almost) no-holds barred – moderated by the ever patient “Horse”.
- Henry Gurr’s “ZMM Quality” – dedicated primarily to locations, details and photos of the ZMM journey – and a gold-mine of interesting information and links.
- Dr McWatt’s “robertpirsig.org” – dedicated to academic philosophical research into Pirsig, a documentary film project and linking to new publications. Also via robertpirsig.org on Facebook.
- Gary Wegner’s “ZMM Route Map” – the definitive detailed Google Maps version of the ZMM Route complete with GPS waypoints.
- Matt Kundert’s “Affliction” – a blog with many thoughtful essays relating Pirsig to modern pragmatists, in particular Richard Rorty.
- Paul Turner’s “Twelvelinks” – a blog, sadly inactive since 2008, specializing on interpreting Zen (and other) Buddhist aspects of Pirsig’s work.
- Sam Norton’s “Elizaphanian” – a blog originating in Pirsig interests, but focussing on relating the Reverend’s day-job to the big issues of the day.
- Caryl Johnson’s “Meta-Q” – a blog (now inactive) dedicated to the furtherance of MoQ, with many excellent essay-length posts
- Mark Richardson’s “Zen & Now” – promoting his book “Zen & Now” and also including a blog.
- Wikipedia on MoQ – Make of it what you will, literally.
- The MoQ Wiki – Ditto, make of it what you will.
- And, the original Psybertron Pirsig Pages contain many more such links. [These pages are still being overhauled, and a number of other links on that page and in the blog side-bar are being re-organised onto these pages.]