Books on the concept of novelty
  • Duncan occasionally talks about the concept of "novelty," kind of as a synonym for love. I was wondering if any of you had any suggestions for books on this topic. I tweeted Duncan and got nothing. Thanks in advance.
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    Post edited by guestwho at 2015-02-18 20:54:20
  • ARP
    I'm also interested by this concept. Anything else out there?
  • If you want to read a book on novelty, literally pick up any book, and it will be a novel experience. You could read a novel ((a fictitious prose narrative of book length)) that is novel ((new or unusual in an interesting way)). In this way any book that you have not yet read will be a novelty.
  • The book 'Lila' by Robert Pirsig has a LOT to do with novelty, although he does not use this word. His wording is 'Dynamic Quality'.

    'Lila' is the sequel to the book 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' which you may already be familiar with in one way or another. Although 'Lila' is a sequel in that it follows the same protagonist 'Zen' does, and also explores some of the same philosophical topics, I don't think that reading Zen is necessary before reading Lila. I can only assume though. I did read Zen a few years ago, thoroughly enjoyed it, and am now picking up Lila for the 2nd time and actually managing to get through it this time, happily :)

    It takes some time for Pirsig to get to the meat of his ideas in the book. He spends a great deal of time warming you up for each new topic by feeding you anecdotes and narrative. Afterwords, the the narrator enters an abstract mode in which he decomposes and criticaly reexamines the narrative up to this point philosophically. Kind of how Easwaran Eknath explains the narrative of the Baghavad Gita, but if it were Krishna doing the decomposing.

    The meat of the book is a metaphysical philosophy, what the author titles The Metaphysics of Quality or MOQ as its fans sometimes refer to it. The root axiom of the Metaphysics of Quality is that all existence is Quality. In Duncan's words, all of existence is Novelty. My couch is novelty. You and I are novelty. Our culture is novelty. All aspects of matter, intellect, biology and society are Novelty, are Quality.

    This is actually the minor axis along which all things are measured in MOQ. All things are Material, Biological, Social, or Intellectual.

    The major axis which divides all things is a binary one. Static vs Dynamic.

    The author actually writes these as 'static quality' and 'Dynamic Quality', betraying his own preference for one over the other.

    'static quality' is, technically, all things that have ever existed in the past and all things that continue to exist now. 'Dynamic Quality' is all things that are being born out of the moment, out of the razor's edge of existence so to speak.

    It's really a great book so far. It's about 450 pages and I'm about 250 in. It starts off somewhat slow, but if you can get into the philosophy (once Pirsig really begins to reveal it) it becomes very compelling.


    Read the book Lila by Robert Pirsig
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  • Still Life With Woodpecker - Tom Robbins

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