Re: MF Art vs. technology

From: David L Thomas (
Date: Wed Jan 05 2000 - 15:31:06 GMT

Magnus and all,

Just finished The Cathedral & The Bazaar ( in
which Eric Raymond muses on Linux and open source. While I understand and agree that it's probably
better to "refrain from calling Linux "art", some of his musings may help open the door to
understanding the issues surrounding the art/technology split.

Raymond used the cathedral and bazaar metaphors to compare typical software development
(cathedral-Microsoft) with the Linnux phenomena (bazaar) but as you can see from my [ ]additions
below, he could just as well have been talking about the generally accepted view of art and artists,
or science and scientists.

" Who would have thought...that a world-class operating system [Art-Science] could coalesce as if
by magic out of part-time hacking by several thousand developers [artists-scientists]scattered all
over the planet... I believed that the most important software. [Art-Science] ..needed to be built
like cathedrals, carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working is splendid isolation....

So when Marco asked "Seen in the light of MOQ, why are art and technology divorced? My answer is, if
Aristotle is the father of SOM, I guess we could blame it all on him. His split into subjects and
objects facilitated the development of science, its handmaiden technology, and started the
relentless trend towards specialization in all fields. This not only seemed to divorce art from
science and technology but subdivided all into ever more isolated and specialized branches as well.
While this naming and slicing of "things" into smaller and smaller divisions is a great boon
inasmuch as it allows investigation and insights into very complex problems. This specialization
also introduced a whole other set of problems, possibly more complex, or at least as difficult to
solve, as the basic problems that we have solved to date. We have built our whole society on the
myth that all things are "carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working
is splendid isolation...." but in fact our experience indicates it is really more like "a great
babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches."

So when Pirsig claims, " This divorce of art from technology is completely unnatural." I would agree
that the divorce is artificial. It is a philosophical problem, based on the dominant metaphysical
view, as opposed to an ingrained given of reality. In Lila he puts it this way,

"In a subject-object metaphysics morals and art are worlds apart, morals being concerned with
subject quality and art with object quality. But in the MoQ that division doesn't exist. They're the

So "Is this divorce definitive?"

According to the above quote, certainly not, it is based on a culturally derived philosophical split
that can be, and should be, changed to more closely correspond to our experience. If under the MoQ
we are all immersed in Dynamic Quality, "Dynamic morality, ...something like ..a code of Art" then
our experience is immersed in "Art" whether we are aware of it or not.

"What is their (art & technology's) role today?"

Same as it has always been, evolve toward dynamic quality , seek the GOOD! But rather than
depicting them on separate paths possibly it is time to acknowledge that just as values are not
apart from science neither should, or is, art divorced from technology. Nor technology, from art.


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