New reading material for fans of Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

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value
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New reading material for fans of Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

Post by value »

I recently discovered a topic that appears to have been started by Robert M. Pirsig (IQ 170), the author of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values (1974), the most sold philosophy book ever (5m copies).

The user introduced the website for Metaphysics of Quality www.moq.org on this forum and asked for feedback on the website, which provided a hint: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4285

Metaphysics of Quality
Metaphysics of Quality

The Seventies bestseller Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values was the biggest-selling philosophy book ever. The book appears in Guinness Book of Records as the bestselling book rejected by the largest number of publishers (121). Sold 5m copies worldwide.

The Guardian mentions the following about the website of Robert Pirsig: www.moq.org.

"Though a website dedicated to his ideas boasts 50,000 posts, and there have been outposts of academic interest, he (Robert Pirsig) is disappointed that his books have not had more mainstream attention. 'Most academic philosophers ignore it, or badmouth it quietly, and I wondered why that was. I suspect it may have something to do with my insistence that "quality" can not be defined,' he says."


One of his more recent topics on this forum:

Logic is it's own fallacy.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4253
ChaoticMindSays wrote: September 21st, 2010, 4:45 pmHas anyone here read Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance? Or, Lila? By Pirsig.
While his account on onlinephilosophyclub.com is deleted, his posts are still accessible.

User: ChaoticMindSays
search.php?st=0&sk=t&sd=d&sr=posts&author_id=35658

Two of his books:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/629 ... aintenance

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values

Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31093.Lila

Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals
Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals
---

New books by Robert Pirsig through onlinephilosophyclub.com

The following tool makes it possible to print his topics and post archive into a real ebook (.epub) so that it is easy to read and preserve.

https://github.com/optimalisatie/forum- ... epub-ebook

You can create an easy to use browser button or you can simply copy and paste the following Javascript code into the browser console (F12) to instantly print a forum topic into a real ebook.

Code: Select all

(function(b,c,a,d){
   a=b.createElement("script");a.async=1;a.src="https://psyreporter.com/epub/epub.js";b.head.appendChild(a);d=setInterval(function(){window.epubExport&&(clearInterval(d),c&&window.epubExport(c),console.info("ebook epub export widget ready",window.epubExport))},10)
})(document,{
   "author": "Robert M. Pirsig",
   "publisher": "OnlinePhilosophyClub.com"
});
You can add this code to the browser bookmarks to create a bookmark bar style 'print button' by prefixing the code with javascript: as the URL of the bookmark. When you then visit a topic and click the bookmark button it will print an ebook of the topic.

Example result:

A new book by Robert M. Pirsig (2023)
A new book by Robert M. Pirsig (2023)

The ebook print widget was originally created for this forum and was used to publish an ebook: Free eBook: one of the most popular philosophy discussion topics in recent history

In my experience, reading a forum topic as an ebook is a totally different experience. It adds a level of relaxedness and detached perspective to the reading of posts that provides many different insights, both with regard the perspective and interaction of users and the content of a topic.

The free ebook example is a great example to try it out. The subject is "On the absurd hegemony of science".
Steve3007 wrote: September 11th, 2020, 10:27 amThis topic is nothing if not popular.
value
Premium Member
Posts: 755
Joined: December 11th, 2019, 9:18 am

Re: New reading material for fans of Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

Post by value »

Gee wrote: September 12th, 2023, 11:38 pmPeople are always saying that there is no evidence for the god concept, I think you even stated it in an earlier post in this thread, but it is not true. There is a ton of evidence worldwide going back millennia in the forms of temples, churches, altars, statues, symbols, totems, etc., and a lot of written evidence from literally EVERY culture or nation that has existed since writing has existed. I brought this idea up in a science forum, you know where they love to hate religion, and although they tried, they could not find any culture that could disprove the universality of the god concept. We are not talking about coincidence here.

Denying this concept would be like saying that gravity is just coincidence -- just because it is everywhere does not make it real. Maybe not, but being causal makes it real, and the god concept is causal. The only difference between these two ideas is that we finally learned something about gravity, but have not yet learned about the god concept. One day we will learn, but in the meantime, we will interpret it in various ways through various religions.

Gee
value wrote: September 13th, 2023, 11:37 pm I recently discovered a topic by an author who might be Robert M. Pirsig (IQ 170)... His posts showed that he held a similar idea as you and was actively investigating it within his philosophical work.
ChaoticMindSays (Robert Pirsig?) wrote: September 20th, 2010, 9:58 pm Why do we value empirical evidence so highly? It is the only means we have to objectively disqualify scenarios. BUT I believe there to be more to the idea of empirical evidence than we give credit to.

We believe what we see. We need scientific proof to believe right?
Well what about the word of thousand and thousand and sometimes even millions of people over tens, sometimes hundreds, of generations? I don't believe that millions of people believe in something for thousands of years for no reason. I think that it is more logical that our empirical evidence is flawed in some way, or that there is some piece of the equation that we are missing than, say, that a hundred billion people since the dawn of mankind have been wrong about the existence of some type of higher power. THAT is illogical.
Gee wrote: September 12th, 2023, 11:38 pmI found this interesting and looked up Pirsig in Wiki. This was the guy who wrote "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", which was a book that I had heard of before. A few years ago in another forum, I was in a thread where we were discussing our adventures and misadventures. I told them about a cross country motorcycle trip that I took while in my early 20's, which isn't all that unusual except that I was a young woman and I made the trip alone. The people that I met on that trip were wonderful and very kindly invited me to eat with them and camp close to them so that I would be protected. There are a lot of really great people in this country. So one of the members, after reading my post, recommended that I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I did not buy it at that time.

When I looked up Pirsig, I found that not only did he have a very comfortable IQ, he had also battled schizophrenia. Many people do not realize this, but very high intelligence and genius often run hand in hand with schizophrenia in family lines. This was another connection, as I have schizophrenics in my family and would value an understanding from the perspective of a person fighting this condition. When you add his thoughts about the "God" concept, it is too intriguing an idea to pass up, so I ordered his book. It came yesterday, and I think I am really going to enjoy it. Thank you for the reference.

...

If you look at that last bolded sentence (in the quote of ChaoticMindSays), you will find what I see as one of the biggest differences between philosophy and science. Philosophy incorporates time into it's considerations, which allows it to find wisdom, where as science does not. Incorporating time actually changes the logic.

Gee

I am replying in this topic since it was off-topic in the other topic.

Robert Pirsig disagreed with the diagnosis schizophrenia. He argued the following:

Pirsig figured that if he told anyone he was, in fact, an enlightened Zen disciple (and not mentally ill), they would lock him up for 50 years. So he worked out a strategy of getting his ideas across and to escape the destructive grip of psychiatry.

Robert Pirsig developed a strategy to overcome the suppression of his apparent venture beyond the culturally imposed boundary of the humanly conceivable 'plausible' world, which is 'the boundary of language'. That is how he escaped psychiatry or the '50 year lock up'.

In GQ, Pirsig was quoted as saying that in the Zen Buddhist canon, his condition would more likely be called "hard enlightenment".
value
Premium Member
Posts: 755
Joined: December 11th, 2019, 9:18 am

Re: New reading material for fans of Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

Post by value »

value wrote: October 2nd, 2023, 8:12 amNew reading material for fans of Robert Pirsig
Gee wrote: September 22nd, 2023, 11:10 amI found this interesting and looked up Pirsig in Wiki. This was the guy who wrote "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", which was a book that I had heard of before. ... so I ordered his book. It came yesterday, and I think I am really going to enjoy it. Thank you for the reference.
Pattern-chaser wrote: September 23rd, 2023, 8:22 am If you enjoy it, then you should also read the sequel, "Lila, an inquiry into morals". It continues and develops the theme started in "Zen and the Art...". I like them both a lot. I re-read them both recently, and was surprised how different my (reading) experience was; I originally read them soon after publication. But enjoyable nonetheless.
Pattern-chaser is right.

As it appears, while Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance became the most sold philosophy book ever and was mentioned in Guinness Book of Records, his subsequent book Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals is dedicated to his concept Quality and might contain more valuable information on that subject, which is also expanded on through his website www.moq.org (Metaphysics of Quality).

Pirsig mentioned the following about his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in The Guardian.

"Though a website dedicated to his ideas boasts 50,000 posts, and there have been outposts of academic interest, he (Robert Pirsig) is disappointed that his books have not had more mainstream attention. 'Most academic philosophers ignore it, or badmouth it quietly, and I wondered why that was. I suspect it may have something to do with my insistence that "quality" can not be defined,' he says."

This is interesting and may provide a clue for the motive behind his book Lila. Pirsig spends 500 pages trying to define Quality in Lila, which he had concluded 'cannot be defined' in Zen. So it seems to have been a book that was written for academic philosophers (or from Pirsig's perspective, to get the concept 'Quality' on the map), which his website www.moq.org (Metaphysics of Quality) is intended for as well.

According to a reviewer, Lila is a timeless masterpiece and reads like poetry compared to Zen. This is interesting as well since ☯ Tao Te Ching is also written as a poem in an attempt to unlock an insight into a concept that 'cannot be spoken of'. Pirsig is known to have mixed Chinese and Western philosophy.


Pattern-chaser may be interested to discuss the books.
value wrote: July 10th, 2022, 9:51 amDid you read both books?
Pattern-chaser wrote: July 10th, 2022, 1:33 pmYes, soon after they were published, and several times since then.
value
Premium Member
Posts: 755
Joined: December 11th, 2019, 9:18 am

📖 New reading material for fans of Robert Pirsig (☯︎ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

Post by value »

value wrote: October 7th, 2023, 6:22 pmRobert Pirsig disagreed with the diagnosis schizophrenia. He argued the following:

Pirsig figured that if he told anyone he was, in fact, an enlightened Zen disciple (and not mentally ill), they would lock him up for 50 years. So he worked out a strategy of getting his ideas across and to escape the destructive grip of psychiatry.

Robert Pirsig developed a strategy to overcome the suppression of his apparent venture beyond the culturally imposed boundary of the humanly conceivable 'plausible' world, which is 'the boundary of language'. That is how he escaped psychiatry or the '50 year lock up'.

In GQ, Pirsig was quoted as saying that in the Zen Buddhist canon, his condition would more likely be called "hard enlightenment".
David Buchanan, a contemporary philosopher who has been involved in graduate studies in philosophy on Robert Pirsig, took part in a Partially Examined Life podcast on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Buchanan met Robert Pirsig at the first Metaphysics of Quality Conference in Liverpool, England, in 2005. For his thesis on Robert Pirsig, Buchanan compares Pirsig's work to that of William James, focusing on "The pragmatism and radical empiricism of William James and Robert Pirsig"

Podcast: Ep. 50: Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”
https://partiallyexaminedlife.com/produ ... intenance/

David Buchanan: ... he just wants to stay out of the psych hospital, he just wants to do anything he can to appear normal, because he wants to avoid the psych hospital, the electroshock therapy. It was a nightmare, he doesn't want anything to do with it ever again. And so he develops this fake personality. His son knows sort of intuitively, this is fake and wrong and I am not happy. My real dad disappeared a few years ago and I want him back.

Mark: The backstory, some of which he reveals, sort of gives his intellectual history. A part of this intellectual history is, he studies some philosophy, and he thought at a University, rhetoric etc, but then he basically had a mental break down and so the story of the book Zen takes place after he went through electroshock treatment which according to him erased his personality essentially, made him a different person, so he refers to his earlier self as pheadrus. Halfway through the book he reveals that he talks about himself.

David Buchanan: I would call the book an intellectual biography, and his intellectual life is devided in two parts, before and after the electroshock therapy. And this really happened, he was tested a 170 IQ, went to college when he was 14, he was studying chemistry and physics, and he got real stuck on the question "Where is the foundation of science? What I expected when I came here to college is to find THE truth, the scientific truth. And what I discovered instead is that there is an endless proliferation of hypothesis for any set of data, there is no end to it, so how do you know which is the right hypothesis? How do you know even what to test? His 14 year old mind kind of can't handle this and he was neglecting his home work and flunks out, and when he was old enough he joined the army and encountered some interesting people in Korea who exposed him for the first time in his life to some Eastern ideas. All the way back on the troop ship he was reading F.S.C. Northrop's Meeting of East and West and that changed his life. When he god back he re-enrolled in college and he chose philosophy and not science. He even goes to India to to study Eastern philosophy and he finds no answers there. And he finally gives up all these big questions he had, what is True?, what is Right?, how should we live? He gives up on all that as a young middle age man with a couple of kids, and that is when he went to Montana State College in Bozeman to teach rhetoric. By the time he got there he had forgotten about all that stuff, he was just settling in to a comfortable middle-class life style, and then a colleague of his asked why are you teaching your students Quality as a teacher of rhetoric? A teacher of 101 freshman.

Because of Pirsig background, that question blowed his mind and that leads him to quit his job at Bozeman and he goes to Chicago to study philosophy at the PhD level, to study the ancients, Plato and Aristotle and what not. And that is when he finally sort of reaches the answer that he has been looking for, that is when he either goes insane or has a psychotic event, or he has an enlightenment experience, depending on how you look at it. Depending on how you want to interpret it. And Pirsig himself says that he will not dispute either interpretation.


Mark: It is pitched in the book that the psychotic break was a direct result of the ideas involved. That they were so revolutionary and so mind blowing that his mind was actually blown."

Pirsig's Journey
Pirsig's Journey
pirsigs-journey.jpeg (10.98 KiB) Viewed 1595 times
Pirsig's Journey
https://www.pirsigsjourney.com/
value
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Posts: 755
Joined: December 11th, 2019, 9:18 am

Re: New reading material for fans of Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

Post by value »

Gee wrote: September 12th, 2023, 11:38 pmIf you look at that last bolded sentence (in the quote of ChaoticMindSays), you will find what I see as one of the biggest differences between philosophy and science. Philosophy incorporates time into it's considerations, which allows it to find wisdom, where as science does not. Incorporating time actually changes the logic.

Gee
Did you already finish reading his book?
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