zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

title: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
An Inquiry into Values

author: Robert M. Pirsig

genre: Sort of non-fiction, road trip, philosophical thoughts, Quality, Truth

suggested by: Dad

dates read: December 21st – December 24th

review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

summary: Robert Pirsig is on a roadtrip with his young son.  They are on his motorcycle during summer break.  Throughout their trip, Pirsig shares some of his thoughts on Quality, Truth, and Phaedrus.  In a former life, Pirsig was a English teacher who had a break down and was admitted to a hospital where he underwent shock therapy.  He refers to himself in his former life as “Phaedrus.”  As the narrative progresses, he shares his history and some of the thoughts Phaedrus had, which he still has fragments of.

personal thoughts: Wow.  This was so interesting and intense.  Some of the ideas went right over my head.  But when I got it, I was very intrigued and impressed by his unique perspective.  I’m always pondering things, but when I read things like this, I’m often impressed by the depth of thought and the “out of boxness” that I see.  This will be a book I’ll need to think on and come back to again.

favorite quotes:
“You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other.  In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV.  You’re a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.” p. 12

“where once it was used to get away from it all, the escape has been so successful that now it is the ‘it all’ that the romantics are trying to escape.” p. 76

“The real purpose of scientific method is to make sure Nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something you don’t actually know.” p. 108

“posing as piety was an example of the very materialism the church opposed.” p. 149

“What’s wrong with technology is that it’s not connected in any real way with matters of the spirit and of the heart. And so it does blind, ugly things quite by accident and gets hated for that.” p. 168

“To live for some future goal is shallow.  It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.” p. 204

“The first place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.” p. 297

“Religion isn’t invented by man.  Men are invented by religion.” p. 351

“We always condemn most in others. . .that which we most fear in ourselves.” p. 378

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