“Truth is but a subset of fiction”. That’s one of those “Ken thinks himself clever ” quotes that I throw around sometimes.

“Truth is but a subset of fiction”. That’s one of those “Ken thinks himself clever ” quotes that I throw around sometimes.

I believe it to be true – and I believe a lot of unhappiness among seekers of truth in different fields would be wise to adopt.

Consider the amount of possible hypothesis available for any given phenomenon in the sciences. For every thing you postulate, there’s another way you could do it. And another. And another.

In theory, these should come together to form a narrative that we would consider truth.

Yet, due to the nature of scientific inquiry, A new discovery can take that prior truth and turn it into a fiction or at least a lesser truth.

This nimble and agile movement is one of the things that gives the science is their power – flexibility.

But this flexibility does have a cost. You can never find absolutes in that environment.

You can find them in rhetoric. I can tell you that something is absolutely true and if you believe me then it is.

The way the activities of the sciences are presented to nonscientists is that they are absolute truths. Rhetoric. It isn’t a bad thing. It could be used for bad things. They can be used for good things. Even the very publications of science is ultimately under the category of rhetoric – a subset.

The father of rhetoric is fable.

Everything else, including logic – is a child of rhetoric.


I’m thinking a little about the nature of quality – as expressed by Philosophy – in particular by the author of Zen and the Art of motorcycle maintenance.

If quality is above subjective and objective, beyond categories – perhaps it simply means reaching some sort of standard but not a prescribed standard. Some kind of agreement that’s internal and external – not so lofty as harmony or platonic ideals – which according to him is a “setting” of quality in unchanging state, which isn’t wrong but is incomplete.

Closer to what Plato thought of as “good”.

But I could see some fascination about quality because it has a mythological beginning – historically in Greek thought. Perhaps that is why he feels that it is not me that create religion but religion that creates us. The qualities.




interesting thing about forms : plato has them as immortal and unchangeable.

But prior to Plato, they were not immortal and not unchangeable.

They had additional flexibility.



It is – and had I known just *how* “worth it” it would be to get through the first 30 pgs, I would’ve read it long ago. It didn’t have the right “hook” for me in the place that most books have hooks. But once I hit the hook, I was hooked.



Seeing “Fable” as the father of “Quality” it makes sense – everything in proper place.



Systems thinking is related to this as well. Also, ecology and a number of other systems-sciences.

You can trace it back in the history of modern sciences to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humboldtian_science

Prior to Humboldt, you only had Bacon. Now, we have both running simultaneously.

Gotta get past the first 33 pages. I avoided it for decades because … mountains? friends? motorcycle trip? No hook for me. Always bored after first three pages or so.

Give him permission to speed read ’til he gets to Phaedrus’ knife and don’t let him continue until he ‘gets’ who Phaedrus is. Once he does, he’ll have to read the rest of it. How could one not?


I’m just amazed at how many in-joke references I *didn’t* get through the years when people would make ZATAOMM references. [online primarily but a few times irl]. I’d just knowingly chuckle and hope nobody asked my opinion.


Oh, but i like postmodern style. I can spew it out like there’s no tomorrow *and* be honest at the attempt. It’s also easy to read.


But, there’s no question that Pirsig is right in line with Foucault and Derrida in his deconstruction of the “Church of Reason”.

It’s true that a lot of people do PoMo wrong. I could also point to arXiv to show a lot of examples of people who do physics wrong. But some do it right.


But Phaedrus’ knife was incomplete. Phaedrus is the pre-Tao Pirsig. Before the motorcycle trip with his son. Trapped in the system of logic and reason only and a system of education that exploits people by keeping them trapped there, teaching them a broken Greek philosophy, never finishing it to its root.

Phaedrus the wolf wanted out. It’s unfortunate that it took 2 years in and out of institutionalization and electroshock therapy, the loss of career and life goals and the total breakdown of his prior personality, for “the narrator” (of ZATAOMM) to be born.





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