Showing posts with label pirsig. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pirsig. Show all posts

Sunday, May 18, 2008

quality & art 5: where to turn

ok. more positive now, as promised. cup half empty is cup half full etc.

somehow, art & quality cannot be about two completely different things. (will you grant me that feeling, then the following train of thought hopefuly will make sense.)

robert pirsig describes (in zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance) a meeting that phaedrus (his overintelligent former self) has with a visual artist. a very interesting meeting, because it breathes that art has an intrinsic, pre-logos quality. even the book title `...& the art...' makes clear that this intrinsic quality is what we're looking for. in art, yes, but in life perhaps even more.

the question then becomes: where to find this quality. phaedrus tried to find it by thinking. in what one could call a quantum leap, the post-electroshock phaedrus - pirsig himself- finds it (at least by my standards) in zen-like experiencing.

although not in one-one correspondence, it reminds me of the duality: look for quality by outside criteria (generalized page-rank, gpr, see previous posts) or look for quality by intrinsic criteria: what does my heart tell me.

for me it has been difficult to recognize this dilemma and the potential behind it. i wouldn't be surprised if this is similar to the dilemma that phaedrus was grappling with (i'm currently rereading the book but haven't gotten to that part yet, perhaps i will be seen to have been simply repeating it only less compelling...!)

let's have some positive yadiyada: i believe that -for me and many others- wonderful art develops when an artist chooses for intrinsic quality. when the heart and head are open, like a sensitive antennae/dish array, to many many signals, and where the inner compass of the artist then is given as much rein as possible. this inner compass, inner light, whatever...i think it is only confused by gpr.

obviously, this view of art is personal, although it is probably shared by many and also by many `experts'. this holds for probably any more or less coherent view on any subject, i only repeat this to emphasize that i do not believe in one view of art for all. i would like to share some of my thoughts on gpr and intrinsic quality, especially with artists who like myself struggle to find a sense of direction because they feel that the gpr-approach isn't what they want. this can be a lonesome struggle, because by gpr's nature, the gpr-aficionados drown out other approaches.

Monday, April 21, 2008

quality open source threatens existing elites

sorry to harp on just a litle more. but last week there was some kind of media coverage in the netherlands on wikipedia. the strange thing was that it was largely negative publicity, allegedly stemming from questionable quality, as determined by `experts'.

i'm actually quite in favour of recognizing expertise. as a visual artist, i'm confronted an awful lot with people who do not recognize even the occasional need for expertise - let alone the expertise itself.

however, ever since i discovered wikipedia, i have been very enthusiastic about it (notwithstanding that in certain (limited!)areas of my own knowledge i can see it does leave room for improvement, but this is the case for any subject that one knows more than the superficial about).

one can look up all the arts and their artists - even contemporary-animals, history, science, well, actually it is staggering what wikipedia contains and it is MUCH more effective than the paper encyclopedias in terms of spreading of knowledge. it is open source, rendered freely by individuals who like to contribute to this spreading of knowledge.

in most (99%) cases i find the quality of the articles very very high. especially considering that anyone can change articles, so `vandalism' also has to be corrected. it proves to me that this community-like building does really work. rather than saying that therefore we don't need experts anylonger, i would think: experts, please join the effort and share your knowledge on wikipedia.

this can be difficult at times however, since how to recognize the expertise of the one and the non-expertise of the other? (this is a problem in all the sciences as well - usually resolved by peer reviews (of articles), which also mostly are anonymous, also for obvious reasons but since the authors of articles are not anonymous, this can give strange effects.)

so wikipedia struggles with the same problem that google struggles with, and the arts, and the sciences: quality. i remember from long ago that i was absolutely charmed by robert m pirsigs book zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance. (please read these linked articles from .... wikipedia. isn't it absolutely marvelous that i can immediately refer you to a good source describing what i mean? i read the book three times, and reading the wikipedia article i see that it doesn't cover the book as well as it could, but it doesn't do it injustice either.)

robert m. pirsig, philosopher of quality

zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
robert m. pirsig, zen & the art of motorcycle maintenance

however, i also remember finding pirsigs concept of quality ... vague in its definition. but the very fact that he devoted his thinking to its importance was what touched me and still touches me. stuff for the next post.