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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

 
 
Reply Thu 28 Jan, 2010 07:15 pm
So, I've read the book several times. I like it, yet I have a hard time understanding the deeper meaning.

Any thoughts?
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 09:25 am
@maporsche,
well, what do you like about it and what do you consider "deeper meaning?"
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 09:27 am
You have to have been born before 1970 to be able to relate.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 09:28 am
@Green Witch,
maybe i should read it

i don't like to read books that might open any insight into myself
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 09:38 am
@djjd62,
Did I hurt your feelings, DJ? Sorry. I find the book to be a bit of a time capsule, but I know some people are crazy for it. I just associate it with the "new age-y" 70's. It probably helps if someone has a little Zen exposure before diving in.
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 10:03 am
"Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle. I think that what I have to say has more lasting value."
" Robert M. Pirsig
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 10:05 am
@maporsche,
maporsche wrote:
I have a hard time understanding the deeper meaning.

The trying to understand interferes with the understanding.

There is no try. Just do. Haven't you seen Caddyshack?
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kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 12:34 pm
I read that book as well. The deeper meaning is this: "Do all tasks as perfectly and with as much precision as you can, calmly and methodically, and you will drive yourself f-ing bonkers."
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 03:09 pm
@kickycan,
Fine, but notice that on the bike tour, Pirsig had more maintenance problems from overmaintaining the poor than his know-nothing neighbor. Ultimately, I decided that he was suffering from either too much, or not enough shock therapy.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 04:35 pm
@Green Witch,
no hurt feelings, i'm definitely in the age group that probably would have read it

i saw it and even thought about it,just never did, same with JL Seagull

i did read some Brautigan back in, as they say, the day
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 04:55 pm
@dyslexia,
I'm confused on the 'quality' aspect of the book and wonder if it's important outside of the fact that thinking about it drove the character crazy.

People say that it's the most widely read philosophy book of all time, but I'm having a hard time understanding what the philosophy of the book is.

I think there's supposed to be a deeper meaning, but I'm just not seeing it.
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 05:23 pm
@maporsche,
Quote:
I think there's supposed to be a deeper meaning, but I'm just not seeing it.


That's it! That sums up Zen!
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 05:48 pm
@maporsche,
You missed my point. I think he was already nuts - to use the common term.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 05:51 pm
@roger,
yes roger (and map) Bob Persig was insane/schizophrenic, much of the motorcycle journey is his attempt to reconcile his old (Phaedrus=Classical) and (new Bob Persig=Zen/Romantic) while he consistently avoids modern philosophy such as Nietzsche/Sartre/Camus etc his quest remains valid if unresolved. His critical view of Plato is equally valid (I have the same distain for Plato but for different reasons) and yet he seems to excuse Aristotle whom I hold equally reprehensible. He does present essential questions while failing to answer them adequately. It even seems ironic that his son (the one in the book) is eventaully murdered during a mugging outside a buddhist center.
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 05:54 pm
@djjd62,
You considered reading JL Seagull? you are one sick puppy!
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 Jan, 2010 05:55 pm
@dyslexia,
Our views of Plato are similar.
0 Replies
 
bulldogcoma
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Mar, 2012 01:04 am
@maporsche,
I'm 19 years old, and when I began reading the book I had absolutely no idea it was written in the 1970's. His opening statement concerning how the American stream of consciousness is expanding only to "obliterate its own banks and perpetuate its own internal momentum", seemed to ring far to true in the modern world, thus causing me to believe the book was modern (this is ironic of course considering Aldous Huxley's brave new world was inspired by America in the 1930's). He wants to bring back the Chautauqua era of America by dabbling in first in dualism (Western, Eastern thought, classical, romantic thought) and then expounding upon that by adding in a third entity (quality). This book first struck a major chord for me when he poses the question "what the hell is quality? What is it?". The moment I read that paragraph I picked up a notebook and recorded that I should use quality as a way of getting people to understand Tao. You can imagine my surprise when Pirsig decided to liken quality to Tao by replacing every mention of Tao with quality in the Tao Te Ching. Zen really consists of a man who harbored immensely transcendental ideas about western society and its shortcomings and was penalized when he couldn't reconcile his idealism with the modern world. His new personality, seeing what happened to the former, couldn't fathom what would happen if he allowed his former to flourish outside the sensorium of his own mind. "thats the first normal thing I've said in weeks. the rest of the time i'm just feigning 20th century lunacy like you." He discovers that, using his definition of quality, as a judge, that "success" in our material world has allowed no room for quality and therefore rendered its exploits rather shallow, creating a psychic disconnection in western society, the "funeral procession". He is locked in a deep internal struggle which is clearly illustrated by contrasting his thoughts with his actions. Zen is philosophically dense book, very subjective, but its tomes are built upon a strong foundation of truth-seeking. Although the overlying theme seems to be allowing quality to flourish in our endeavors be they romantic or classic, its hard to say that's the only thing hes getting at. But its a good place to start. Its a layered and complicated book, but fiercely felt when looked at through a lens which allows you to reconcile your perspective with the narrarators. Hope this helps a bit. Sorry if it seems choppy, but I wanted to keep it kind of short. 0_o
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