Review: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. PirsigBuy it at BOL. Pirsig's journey across America and into his own mind is frequently - and accurately - compared to Moby-Dick. Where Ishmael uses whaling to supply the imagery for his parables, Pirsig uses mechanics. Phaedrus's name may not actually mean 'wolf' Pirsig has finally corrected that error after 25 years , but as a solitary seeker of enlightenment, Pirsig's alter ego is the spiritual heir of Orpheus. Zen is a travelogue, an autobiography and a treatise on 'Quality' where Greek and Buddhist philosophy converge , but as literature it's far more than the sum of its parts.
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Yes, I've finally read the book with one of the best titles in philosophy, after several years of having it queued, and after introducing my parents to it some time before I managed to read it myself. One of the reasons why I put it off was a worry that it would be too dense or circuitous for my mood, but it is instead quite readable and firmly grounded in a Western rational mode of idea exploration, even though it touches on some Eastern religious concepts. I think publishers do this book a disfavor now by playing up the mystic overtones and releasing it under imprints like "Bantam New Age," although that was probably a great way to sell books a few years ago. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is told at three levels, two-thirds memoir and one-third philosophy. The philosophy is told as internal musings intermixed with a biography of Phaedrus, the person who originally developed the ideas put forth in the book.
Welcome sign in sign up. It is a novel, a travelogue, a quest, a set of lectures, and a secular confession, with some sketchy information on motorcycle maintenance thrown in for good measure. They may seem silly, but these problems of nomenclature are symptomatic; the book is exasperating and impressive in about equal measure, which is to say greatly. The book can be simply outlined. A father and his eleven-year-old son are traveling by motorcycle from Minnesota to San Francisco.
Pirsig , is a book that was first published in It is a work of fictionalized autobiography, and is the first of Pirsig's texts in which he explores his Metaphysics of Quality. The title is an apparent play on the title of the book Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel. In its introduction, Pirsig explains that, despite its title, "it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles , either. Pirsig received a remarkable rejections before an editor finally accepted it for publication--and he did so thinking it would never make a bit of profit.