MD Pirsig, Falck, and Wolfram

From: Lars Quisling (
Date: Wed Aug 13 2003 - 12:44:07 BST

  • Next message: Platt Holden: "Re: MD Pirsig, Falck, and Wolfram"

    Hi everybody.

    I'm a newcomer here, and apropos of nothing much I thought I'd offer a piece
    of information and a question.

    The piece of information is for those of you who are interested in
    Pirsig-related ideas gaining greater currency in the mainstream of academic
    thinking. In the humanities at least, a book I recently read seems to
    suggest that there might be some prospect of this. The book is 'Myth, Truth
    and Literature' by Colin Falck, which was published in 1989 or 1990, and has
    been widely tipped to initiate a new direction in the study of the
    humanities. Camille Paglia, for example, wrote, "Literary studies are in a
    period of chaos: the age of theory is over, but it's not clear what is
    taking shape. Mr.Falck's book is a map for the future." The relevance of all
    this is that Falck's ideas are heavily influenced by 'Zen and the Art of
    Motorcycle Maintenance.' To someone who has read both books, the influence
    is clear if unspoken (Mr.Falck doesn't explicitly use the term 'Quality' for
    example, but he relates his ideas of literary value to 'arete' and
    'dharma'), and Mr.Falck acknowledges it explicitly in his final footnote:
    "My final acknowledgement must be to Robert M.Pirsig's once-acclaimed but
    now (it seems) almost forgotten ficitional masterpiece _Zen and the Art of
    Motorcycle Maintenance_ [...] Much of what I have argued in this present
    book is only an intellectual elaboration of Pirsig's fine insights." So
    there's an indication that even if he isn't a very visible presence,
    Mr.Pirsig has still had some guiding influence on the current generation of
    academics, and may have more in the future. Apologies if this has already
    been discussed, or if it is not of interest to this discussion group.

    My question concerns Stephen Wolfram's 'A New Kind of Science.' Do those of
    you who are familiar with Mr.Wolfram's work feel that its philosophical
    implications are MOQ-compatible or not? I am not sufficiently familiar with
    Wolfram's work to make a full judgment, but I was struck by his suggestion
    that his 'principle of computational equivalence' indicates that thought,
    will and intentionality may be present in all aspects of the universe, which
    seemed to me to recall a strain of animism in Mr.Pirsig's writing-
    particularly in 'Lila.' Again, apologies if this has already been discussed
    or is not deemed interesting.

    Thank you for your time,

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