Pirsig and ZAMM on the Web
and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
- The full text of Pirsig's classic first novel. From the Author's
What follows is based on actual occurrences. Although much has
been changed for rhetorical purposes, it must be regarded in its
essence as fact. However, it should in no way be associated with
that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen
Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either.
:: Robert M. Pirsig
- The Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia
is an exquisite result of the internet. This is a brief Wikipedia
page, in need of some filling out, refinement, clarification and,
in some cases, correction (for example, in Lila, Pirsig
sets out to define Quality by constructing the Metaphysics of Quality.)
Pirsig created the Metaphysics of Quality (MOQ) to explain the connection
between quality and morality with reality. Both books claim that
the topic they are exploring cannot be precisely defined because
of our limited experience.
- -- Wikipedia
- Primarily a set of online forums for discussing the works of Robert
M. Pirsig. Also provides a page of links.
MOQ.org exists to provide a forum for discussion and study of
the Metaphysics of Quality as proposed by Robert M Pirsig in his
books Lila: An Inquiry into Morals and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
- Robert Pirsig
- Primarily notable for a photogaph of Pirsig and his son astride
the motorcycle. Has some links, many of which are broken, and the
What the Metaphysics of Quality would do is take this separate
category, Quality, and show how it contains within itself both subjects
and objects. The Metaphysics of Quality would show how things become
enormously more coherent--fabulously more coherent--when
you start with an assumption that Quality is the primary empirical
reality of the world....
...but showing that, of course, was a very big job....
--from Lila: An Inquiry into Morals
and Madness: Robert Pirsig's Inquiry into Values
- A lengthy (by web standards) academic treatise explores ZAMM's
'crises of reason' theme. With notes and a short bibliography.
Confronting crises of technological annihilation and personal
madness, Robert Pirsig finds each to be a manifestation of a deeper
crisis of Reason. In response) he suggests an alternative to our
current paradigm of rationality, the "art of motorcycle maintenance."
By showing that our understanding and performance derive from
our emotional and evaluative commitments, he challenges the cultural
commonplace which construes "subjective" states as distortions
of "objective" reality. In so doing, he asserts that
"wholeness" or sanity may be achieved only through "passionate
caring," and an awareness and acceptance of how our emotions
and values shape our experiences. Further, he shows that technology,
a manifestation of our values, may be controlled only through
emotional and moral commitment. A restorative rhetoric, on Pirsig's
analysis is, then, one in which the passions and values are recognized
as the very ground of being in and interpreting the world.
- SeedWiki-MoQWiki-MetaphysicsOfQuality [unfortunately, defunct]
- I'm still trying to figure out what a Wiki is, or how this site
was created, or what its purpose is. It looks like an early experiment
in hyper-knowledge--unstructured information spread over numerous
sites without overseers or guidance. Whatever it is, there is useful
information here for those willing to dig around.
Pirsig, as his own hero, is a big nosed, poor-postured, drifter
who has clumsily written two mind-numbingly unclear books with great
stylistic anxiety that are interlarded with heavy slabs of historical
anthropological-philosophical ruminations which are worthless and
rigorously unoriginal! His problems begin with his controversial
arguments attacking subject-object metaphysics, a straw man position
held by no one. His position is brittle and insubstantial and sounds
like a good old-fashioned strict empiricist, a neo-Humean extremist,
and a heavily hierarchical proto-Hegelian. He is surely wrong and
I suspect a little mad.
But perhaps I am trapped in some dead theoretical outlook; perhaps
Pirsig won't be properly understood for 50 years yet.
-- Galen Strawson
Pirsig and quality management
- An attempt to bring Pirsighian MoQ into the workplace.
I'm not certain about the quality of the ideas it contains, but
the quality of presentation is lacking. A summary appearing at the
top of the page:
Robert Pirsig's revolutionary ideas on Quality can (also) help
you in building a better quality management system. But they can
do far more.
- A page from Virtual School's A
Project with Paradoxical Goals. Primarily useful for a
large collection of quotes from ZAMM. The author cites ZAMM as an
inspiration and there are some Pirsig links here (in addition to
related links on quality) most of which are broken.
And that door leads to Sarah's office. Sarah! Now it comes down!
She came trotting by with her watering pot between those two doors,
going from the corridor to her office, and she said, "I hope
you are teaching Quality to your students.". This is a la-de-da,
singsong voice of a lady in her final year before retirement about
to water her plants. That was the moment it all started. That was
the seed crystal.
-- from ZAMM
- Who is Robert
Pirsig, and how can he change your life?
- An enthusiastic 1977 review of ZAMM, and one which captures some
of the mystical qualities I find in this book. The page contains several other interesting articles as well.
I have seen reviews which suggested that the philosophic arguments
in the book are crude and naive, but as they were written by academic
philosophers, these reviews can be considered to be biased. Speaking
personally, the views expressed in Pirsig's book feel right. They
are meaningful,and have great relevance to the problems of people
struggling to have some kind of individual identity in this crazy
world that Science and Technology have fashioned for us. The posturings
of the 'philosophers' are nowadays so arcane and incomprehemsible,
that their very credibility is suspect.
Pirsig and ZAMM in the Nomadic Spirit
Of Pirsig's two novels it is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
(ZAMM) which continues to both move and confound me. It moves,
simply, because 'it feels right' as one reviewer sums it up.
What confounds are the implications of Pirsig's attempt to define
Quality in ZAMM's follow-up, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals. Lila
objectifies Quality, quantifies it for all conditions and, as a result,
completely undermines the mystical sensibility so appealing in ZAMM,
the sensibility that made ZAMM feel so right.
In ZAMM, Quality was what I liked; Lila's undercover conclusion
is that Quality is what Robert M. Pirsig likes.
- The One.
- I pick up ZAMM on the road, re-read it, and discover parallels
between my journey and Pirsig's.
- Back home
- There's a ZAMM quote, down at the bottom of the page.
- Desert Drag Strip
- Pirsig's not mentioned by name, but this whole piece is a riff
on the "You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that
is completely different from any other" bit Pirsig is famous
- A Journey Within a Journey
- An exploratory follow-up to Desert Dragstrip. Could be subtitled:
The Trouble with Lila.
- That sinking feeling...again.
- This entry begins with ZAMM, and ends with a ZAMM quote.
- In the margins.
- On that indefinite quantity, Quality. Another take on the failings