Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

If you're stuck at the side of a road, miles from anywhere, without a cellphone, a broken motorcycle has a value that's very close to zero. It might have a great deal of value in a workshop or a breaker's yard, but at that precise point in spacetime it's just a funny-shaped rock.

I bet his mind was blown the first time he got a flat. "Right now this tire is worth more than the selling price of the whole motorcycle." Or ran out of fuel. "Right now that Citgo sign is worth more than the selling price of the whole motorcycle." It sounds profound, except it's not.

I would submit that, contained within the discussion of the screw is a description of the Buddhist concept of Pratītyasamutpāda [1], or in English: dependent origination.

That is to say, without the screw, there is no motorcycle; without the motorcycle, there is no screw. In this concept, things cannot exist without being connected, dependent, and intertwined with one another. There is nothing that exists independently.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da

Or possibly you missed the point? This doesn't seem to give him the benefit of any doubt.

I won't defend the book vigorously, but your reading of this part seems both superficial and easily dismissed with a moments thought. Pirsig is obviously driving at something deeper, even if you don't think he completely gets there.

It's a book about thinking and changing how you do it, after all. You can't expect to get much out of something like that if you can't or won't examine your own cognitive bias as you do.

The common denominator is circumstances creates value.

Way to evaluate a tiny quotation out of context.

Have you never felt frustrated looking for a pen and not finding one when you need one. The frustration increases when you do find a few pens and none work. the price of the pen is determined by the demand and supply but it's value at the moment can't be calculated.

you're right, it's not that profound, which should give us that much more respect for Pirsig for pointing it out because most people completely take for granted that context is the kernel of value.

My kingdom for a horse

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact