The Infinite Quandry
I was taking the train back to the apartment last night after a great evening of quixotic thought, and I tried to preoccupy my mind with a solid read. I'm delving right now into "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" which has proved to be an amazing find. I had never heard of it, but the pretty woman who was accompanying me through my book treasure hunt, informed me of this book's value throughout time as a very informative and very special find. So that's the book I chose to be my read on my train ride home.
I couldn't help but overhear a few ladies spark up a conversation. Initially, it was just two women who had ventured onto the train together laughing and talking about the day. They obviously had just finished some walk or marathon or "cure-for-something-" race due to their dress and sweat/glow, and were exasperated but filled with energy from their trekking through the city. After a bit, a third woman sitting across from them joined them in conversation. It was good to see such open people willing, especially in this city, just to be openly engaging; or so I thought.
After a bit though of steady reading followed by in comprehensive reading due to my wandering ears, I heard the third party woman start swinging the conversation. Bless her heart, but she slightly started preparing the other two women, and then followed it up by honing in on their hearts. She presented the joys, the goodness, and the social range of her plight. The push was her church. Some downtown gem which had done this and that across the world and had received city wide recognition by hosting some gargantuan event at the Javit's Center and blah blah blah blah blah blah... Droning.
I felt pity on her, cause the conversation went from jovial and lighthearted to completely one-sided. A sales pitch. The other two ladies entertained her twist on belief, but they were blatantly turned-off by this off-track deviance. And I could see how the proselytizing debutant was doing whatever she could not to overcorrect but in the end all she was doing was overcorrecting.
In Pirsig's book he takes a look at what he calls the "Quality of Life." It's a road into semantics and epistemology which is very accepting. It tries to deviate from classical viewpoints and romantic viewpoints and acknowledges the truth behind both; the need for the value of both in all experience.
What has struck me so far is what little I've gleaned from his writing which has tackled the idea of subject objectivity. He delicately and yet very precisely gives life to every person's ability for their own subject cognizance; a person's own rationale. He quotes Einstein who says, "Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world. He then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus to overcome it... He makes this cosmos and its construction the pivot of his emotional life in order to find in this way the peace and serenity which he cannot find in the narrow whirlpool of personal experience... The supreme task... is to arrive at those universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding of experience can reach them..." This gives a(n) (un)fortunate description of the human path toward understanding.
So to juxtapose this with my prior experience I again see the need for our train travelling Evangelical to share her joy, her pleasure, her hope, and her faith with others. However hers is not the truth for all; only for herself. The system which was delicately employed in her present will not work in the same way for others in their present. The beauty of subjectivity is that it has to go and filter through the lens of each person's own objectivity.
Most people say down with the system and they don't get to the root of it. Well I'm somewhere near the top of the trunk and I'm on my way down...