Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lateral Knowledge

This Idea isn't mine. The following is taken from one of my all-time favorite books

"The truths... were lateral truths; no longer the frontal truths of science, those toward which the discipline pointed, but the kind of truth you see laterally, out of the corner of your eye. In a laboratory situation, when your whole procedure goes haywire, when everything goes wrong or is indeterminate or is so screwed up by unexpected results you can't make head or tail out of anything, you start looking laterally. That's a word he later used to describe a growth of knowledge that doesn't move forward like an arrow in flight, but expands sideways, like an arrow enlarging in flight, or like an archer, discovering that although he has hit the bulls-eye and won the prize, his head is on a pillow and the sun is coming in the window. Lateral knowledge is knowledge that's from a wholly unexpected direction, from a direction that's not even understood as a direction until the knowledge forces itself upon one. Lateral truths point to the falseness of axioms and postulates underlying one's existing system of getting truth."

-Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

That little passage quite aptly describes my experience with rediscovering my faith. This book made a lasting impression on me when I first read it about 4 years ago. In addition to it's influence on my writing style, I would say that it was my informal introduction to the world of philosophy--possibly even a factor in my decision to pursue a different spiritual path. This time around, I am getting a lot more out of it, having been on a personal journey of my own in the meantime.

1 comment:

pinetree said...

Evan, you should watch a movie called "What the Bleep Do We Know?". Sort of a fiction story fit around a documentary that deals with quantum physics and spirituality. It touches on this subject a little and a lot more that I think you would be interested in. Can be kinda hokey at times, but also makes you think. Check it out.