Zen and the Art of Interstellar Immanence

…with apologies to Robert Pirsig.

When I coined the phrase that is the title of this blog post in a 1995 essay, it was unique on the Web, at least to the extent one could judge back then from AltaVista. Even today, a Google search on the exact phrase is likely to show only this post plus one other hit (at sherryart.com) where the essay was mirrored.

The title of the original essay, different from the phrase above, was the familiar command — “Make it so!” — of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation. By contrast with my Pirsig-inspired phrase, Picard’s all-purpose aphorism gets nearly seven million hits on Google. Much to my surprise, the fifth hit down the first page of results, as of this posting date, was the mirrored version of the essay itself!

After many years of scientific prose and administrative hot air, it was the first thing I wrote with no prior intent or clear sense of where I was going. At that point, I had read at least one of Natalie Goldberg’s books, so I knew it was possible to “just write.” But I can still remember that the doing of it felt unfamiliar, awkward, even contrived. Despite that, it worked after a fashion. Enough so that I am not (too) embarrassed to find it still extant. Of course the link rot that is probably endemic to everything of that vintage on the Web was another matter. So I have cleaned that up (mostly by replacements with links from Wikipedia, which did not exist in 1995), and done a little re-arranging of the text and remaining images, but the words themselves are unchanged. You can find them here.

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