Taking Stock

Taking Stock (Feb 2002)
Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Well at last I’ve read it …. and Wow ! – I am that man.
Reading it 15 (or even 25) years ago could have saved a lot of effort.
Still, better to travel than to arrive – No ?
Well, yes and no actually.
(Time to revisit the Manifesto ?)

Take care – “It is [not] written” (T E Lawrence)
Trying to dialectically justify why a dialectical model of the world is doomed,
….. is doomed to drive you insane.
The lunatics have taken over the asylum.
Obvious Ken Kesey / Joseph Heller resonances here.

No flight from reason here – this is no excuse for abandoning reason, but a strong case for extending reason to include the observer / participant. There has been such a strong case for such important periods of history already that it is hard to grasp how the status-quo preserves any alternative view. A strong element of Catch-22. How do you “beat the system” when the system is the basis of rational thought ? Exhausting when your quest is, as Pirsig put it, “an attempt to outflank the entire body of western thought.”

How do you publish a learned academic thesis / technical specification, when what you really have is a work of “fiction”.

The real objects of interest are indeed the relationships and processes. Mind (subject) Matter (object) unification. Poincare seems to be everybody’s hero. Still leaves the whole quantum / uncertainty / complexity / chaos / cause-effect / non-locality story very tangled – but truly compelling issues.

Quality / Excellence / Reality / Interconnectedness / Interaction / Holism
– Dirk Gently / Douglas Adams again.
(Did Pirsig inspire Peters, Handy et al in the 80’s ? We certainly know Peters & Waterman’s “In Search of Excellence” cites Pirsig. The reference I infamously never followed-up at the time.)
(Where did Brunsson and Argyris get irrationality from first ?)
(Check who cites who.)

[Editorial Note : As part of this stock-taking triggered, notice, by reading Robert Pirsig’s ZMM, I revisited the first few posts on Psybertron and added this one right at the start … which now (or did for many years) form the footnote to every new page of Psybertron.]

Stocktaking – Flight To New Reason

[Updated Feb 2002 – I’ve been taking stock of Psybertron’s objectives, triggered by the reading of Robert Pirsig’s Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZMM), and I noticed that I started this Bog 2 days after September 11th 2001 …. this piece forms the footnote to each and every blog page since.

And since then (2014) the footer has dropped-off the page footers and is now preserved here. The content remains below:]

Flight to New Reason

The lines of thought here had been keeping me awake at nights long before Bin Laden woke the world. Nothing in this Blog has anything whatsoever to do with WTC or al- Qaeda, but I’m not alone in being awoken to the power of the Blog by the information aftermath of those events.

Perhaps in some small way the idea that western rational arrogance, which dogs progress in so many aspects of life, can be influenced by my puny efforts to bring alternative philosophies into the mainstream. Many much greater people than I have tried before and failed over three millennia, so I’m not holding my breath.

If September 11th brings anything new to this ancient debate, apart from its awful significance, it is the fact that the antidote to classical logic is sure as hell not a flight from reason. That way lies only evil. The words “creative destruction” can never again be used lightly.

The lights went out on Broadway.

There’s something solid forming in the air,
And the wall of death is lowered in Time Square.
No-one seems to care,
They carry on as if nothing were there.
The wind is blowing harder now,
Blowing dust into my eyes.
The dust settles on my skin,
Making a crust I cannot move in
And I’m hovering like a fly
Waiting for the windshield on the freeway.

Fly on a Windshield.
Copyright Peter Gabriel 1974
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.