Moving post over at Enlightened Caveman, where Chris announces his intention to write fiction to get his message across. A man after my own heart as regular readers will recognise. The plot thickens.
(My thoughts are in the comments to that post.)
Must log a link to Cormac McCarthy’s recommended “All the Pretty Horses“.
Added to the list. Sigh.
12 thoughts on “Don Quixote – Original Road / Buddy Movie ?”
Hi Ian, maybe we could just continue the discussion here. I glanced at Chris’s essay, but haven’t read its entirety. I knew that he was reading ZMM, and while i was reading it i was thinking that there is something about pirsig that reminds me of chris…perhaps the hyper-awareness of one’s own thought process and of course the ability to convey it in writing.
this book is spooky for me. The seventies is when i began my adulthood and i remember the times and the issues. I mentioned that I read eric fromme’s “art of loving” back then and was inspired when he said that carpentry (cabinetmaking, it became for me) was one of the few professions left where one can feel connected to one’s work. that really appealed to me an a deep level and of course pirsig talks about this a lot.
then there is Bozeman. my best friend for many years grew up in Bozeman and attended the university. Her dad taught there. I have never been there and i feel like I am being introduced in a very special way to my friend’s home. She never mentioned this book. She would have been in college from 1972-1976.
it is wonderful and rich on so many levels. i am still unsure why evolutionary psychology wouldn’t fit beautifully into pirsig’s thinking.
I will be reading part 3 next.
Oh my god, a Bozeman teaching connection – shall I say it again – Spooky.
How did I know you’d both like it ? Now tell me there is nothing in Synchonicity – only kidding. Read on.
I need help with this. I just finished part 3.
Of course I related to the passages about craftsmanship and quality. Have I mentioned my husband is an engineer? ( more than ten times, probably) Since I have been with him my craftsmanship has grown considerably because of his influence. Before I met him I was married to a fellow who was a “that’s good enough” type. It drove me up a wall because I could see that my own attitude towards things was being affected and I didn’t want to live my life thinking “that’s good enough”.
I am very greatful to ed for this.
But what I need help with….
I think I’m a pretty smart, intuitive person (egoist, ala pirsig) but I have such a hard time following philosophical arguments. Does this mean I’m not such a smart, intuitive person? I try and try because I know this stuff is important and I get so far and then I find myself saying, “what the hell are you agonizing about????” This would hold for any philosophy I have ever read with the exception of William James.
Dr. Ian, what’s your diagnosis?
PS. and after i say “what the hell are you agonizing about?” I say “describing it correctly isn’t going to change it. it is what it is.”
pps. maybe this is what pirsig is talking about with the train analogy. The philosophers who have in fact agonized over these things have made a contribution to the contents of the train. they have put things into the train that I have unconsciously benefited from and which I simply take for granted now. maybe that’s why I don’t “get it” the way they did.
or maybe i just don’t get it.
So many questions. When it comes to formal philosophy, I’m no expert. Like any “profession” it has it’s cliques and jargon, and like you I found some of my first readings so full of words that obviously had “technical” meanings, I gave up (on them). but as I say if you read someone else you find there is quality that hits home even if you gloss over the technical terms. Eventualy some dawn on you. I think you have to plough on. If you have gut instinct that you know something, something that’s hard to test “scientifically”, I think it will turn out close to some truth, particularly if you are genuinely open minded in the search for “explanation”.
You’ve already pointed out earlier, that I’m not afraid to use word with meaning not quite what ws originally intended. My work life has involved a lot of specification writing – and there is a big difference between defining technical terms for contractual / litigation reasons, and assuming your definitions will mean what you meant to the reader who is expected to act on the spec. So I’m kinda relaxed about bending (even ignoring) precise definitions, if it sounds quality, it’s probably right. Dangerous and cavalier I know, but …
On the other point – memes – I think this is important. Whatever the technical jargon of past and present philosophers they have loaded the train – they have contributed to the evolving language and psychology of the (human) world as a whole. Invisibly generally and not necessarily for the better.
A they say, stock markets (evolution) can go up as well as down – there are no guarantees.
When you read some respected learned work and don’t get it, the biggest mistake you (wont) make is to assume it’s because you’re not clever enough.
Alice the other interesting point you make is very akin to the trouble Chris has had.
If you’re not formally qualified in a particular academic field, it’s very hard to be accepted as part of it (published and peer-reviewed), whatever the quality of your thinking.
You / we don’t count as their peers. But that’s their problem, not yours / ours. They’re the ones being more closed minded than they’d like to admit – they have the patch to protect. That was Pirsig’s problem too of course.
ok, i finished it. a little bit of a letdown because i thought i would get the big ahah. but he did confirm some things i have felt…that philosophy isn’t all that it’s supposed that it is. i think he says that pretty clearly in part 4.
i am wondering if the reason i can understand james is that he is a sophist. they call him a “pragmatist”. i will have to see if there is a correlation.
as i have told you, i have been around the bend with all kinds of metaphysical religions and systems of belief, but i have always ended up finding only emptiness,platitudes and more questions…questions which i believe now must be answered by me alone.
i was a troubled youth, probably pretty close to something like chris, didn’t get along with others, but i just kept at it and now i am able to function as an authentic person who people actually like. i don’t feel like i’ve compromised, just found a way to make things work and i really do like people and all of the endless varieties of relationships which are possible.
living in the u.s. and having lived my youth in the seventies and in the west, i have ridden many of the roads which were described in the book. that made a big impression on me.
ps, lest you misunderstand, i am not disappointed, just more firmly ensconced in my self-directed approach. i still like pinker, can’t quarrel with dawkins and utterly despise ayn rand.
I agree about the let down feeling. The end is a bit anti-climactic. After the father son reconcilliation on the clifftop it peters out, optimistically, but freewheeling (without helmets) downhill nevertheless. The philsophical highlights are much earlier, up the mountain top near the DeWeese’s near Bozeman.
In my own review of impressions – I said it left lots of open and unclear ends – like real life.
(Important to note there is a sequel, Lila, that picks up and reinforces the philosophical thread – re-inforces it too much for my own liking, less is more as you know I know.)
Not sure about Sophistry, like rhetoric it tends to get used pejoratively, as if deception were the aim. Clearly a pragmatist doesn’t need to be a sophist – so the argument is spurious – sophistry in fact 🙂
Pirsig didn’t win any friends in the philosophy fraternity, by calling 99% of them philosophologists (critics without original thoughts), though to be fair Pirsig isn’t as original as he thinks he is. But he is right, and that’s what matters.
I don’t think you need to be “alone” – but you / we are part of the answer, no quality (truth) without experience. In our earlier theistic debates, you will recall I was a person who was happy with a lack of solid metaphysical foundation or certainty. I don’t think that means everything is therefore meaningless platitudes. Far from it.
Glad (relieved) to hear it made an impression.
I was slightly more PC in my Ayn Rand reference on the EC thread 🙂 but I agree.
“Not sure about Sophistry, like rhetoric it tends to get used pejoratively,”
I agree, but wasn’t pirsig saying that they may have gotten a bum rap in order to make Socrates look oh so wise. They became, instead of what they were (which I still need to find out) a mere literary device.
I wonder how many more “literary devices” have been used and therefore misrepresented throughout history.You need to leave out “just enough” to make someone look bad to others. It’s the big set up which probably all of us engage in.
Personally, I think Socrates was “wise”, and he got the bum rap from promoters of Plato and Aristotle ….
But it’s the same point – communication is all literary devices – there are precious few objective realities in recorded history.
Caveat Metaphor, beware Greeks bearing gifts, etc.