a successful learner…… loves learning…… seeks challenges…… values effort…… persists in the face of obstacles

All content copyright Willem Winch or otherwise credited.

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Willem’s 4x4 Chautauqua continued…

Pirsig’s book is not easy reading, but I found it very interesting and it fuelled my own pondering. His analytic or classical  approach to aspects of our daily life and the issues and stress it can cause with other people who favour a more “romantic” approach seems to be very familiar to me.

Pirsig wrote the book and defined the terms “classical” and “romantic” approach long before the start of Facebook and before “surviving” became solely entertainment as seen in e.g. “Men vs. Wild”, but how contemporary IMO these terms can be used today to describe the attitudes of the Facebook and “reality show” fun generation …or some odd 4WD owners?

I picked “Men vs. Wild”, but I could have mentioned a lot of other “entertaining” documentaries or “reality shows”; think about the wording “reality shows”…sounds like a perfect example for an oxymoron.

My wife likes “Men vs. Wild”, but it makes me pondering about the quality difference compared to e.g. older documentaries from Malcolm Douglas I liked to watch in my younger days, or the presentations of David Attenborough.

Is this new “vs. Wild”-approach really appropriate?

I’m definitely not the experienced outdoor guy, but I did enough trekking on my own in the Andes and in remote areas in Norway  - at times when EPIRBs weren’t available as a backup! - to know that this B.G. shows a lot of stupid things in his “vs. Wild” show which are not recommended for survival and for a better understanding of nature.

I know the show has to sell, but in my opinion it lacks respect if we misuse nature only for cheap entertainment and to fuel stupidity… which gets me back on track as it creates a perfect link to Pirsig’s understanding of the term quality, the name of this website and the associated “4x4” world.

A 4WD is a fantastic tool to reach remote places, but it is also the journey itself, the time filled with thoughts invading the open mind when travelling that makes it a valuable experience.

I don’t deny that it makes fun just to tackle a rough section without “meditative humbleness”, but for me this is only one aspect of 4W-driving, and with a holistic view I believe it can be much more.

It puzzles me when I read reports on forums from people who got themselves into trouble in a remote area because they didn’t prepare themselves and the vehicle.

How can people ignore that even the best 4WD might fail one day? …and that all what is required to fix it might be some basic tools, spanner etc.?  …or some knowledge about the technology that keeps the vehicle going?

Willem’s 4x4 Chautauqua

It might be that these people are just braver than me, taking a gamble and just focusing on the fun and don’t waste time with too much preparation and thoughts about what might can go wrong. That is a valid point and reminds me of many occasions where I wasted my time with preparations (some people will say pondering) without getting ready (or felt ready?) so I had to cancel the whole trip at the end.

I guess the key and challenge  is to find the right balance between the two approaches; without a classical, analytical quota stupidity and disaster won’t be far, but without enough romantic quota the ideas will die in preparation. This statement seems to be not only valid for trips to remote areas in a 4WD.

Like a 4WD wrt remote areas the Internet can be a fantastic tool to gain knowledge - if the truth can be recognized between all the trash.

Forums are a great opportunity to discuss all kind of topics and to yield valuable information, but unfortunately sometimes the best contributions in threads get buried under emotional, unqualified comments or even attacks, fuelled by stupidity, overeagerness, lack of moderation skills and/or just lack of manners of forum members - I guess the latter is the most likely cause.

Some kind of “executive summary” as the last post of an interesting thread might be an approach to filter out the essence, but in a way it would contradict the nature of a public forum and would require high moderation skills - who decides about the last post? -  and also enough facilitators committing to such a time consuming job.

Now - the reader might have guessed it - my website is also an attempt for such “executive summaries”, trying to recapitulate the essence from many forum discussions and threads, but I want to blend it with a pinch of Pirsig’s philosophy, some pondering and own first hand experience.

And it is not only summarizing as the “Art of Pondering” creates its own ideas which I will try to capture in - hopefully - interesting and entertaining articles.

I wish everyone, who read so far, further entertaining reading.

p. issued:  June, 2012  -  last update: 16-02-2013
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