Jonathan B Marder

I was born in 1957, brought up in England, and have lived in Israel now for several years. I first read ZMM in the 1970s. At the time I was a young undergraduate, and reading it was a trendy thing to do. I have since re-read the book many times. I find it peaceful and sobering. This may surprise some, since I am a real bench scientist (involved with plant physiology and biochemistry), so firmly entrenched in the "establishment" world view. Maybe my comments below will explain my interest.

I often wondered about Pirsig, where he came from and what he is doing now. Thus I was pleased when my wife found LILA in the bookstore. I actually expected to be disappointed in Lila, and indeed I was slightly. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as ZMM, but recognised the new ideas presented. Some of this relates to some of what I teach professionally: In teaching bioenergetics, one has to deal with thermodynamics, and the paradox of why "life" appears to move towards order in apparent contradiction of the 2nd law. Actually, the paradox is false for reasons closely related to Pirsig's levels of organisation; biological "organisation" proceeds to higher order precisely because it allows more *molecular* disorder! It also can explain the evolutionary trend from simple (single cells) to higher complexity (muticellular organisms, families, communities, ecosystems etc..). Actually, I find Pirsig's treatment of this subject rather superficial and the divisions he constructs between organisation levels seem to be too rigid. For example, is a family a biological or a social structure? . Sometime, I really ought to write a book on all this!!!!!!!!!!

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