Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Phaedrus, our narrator, takes a present-tense cross-country motorcycle trip with his son during which the maintenance of the motorcycle becomes an illustration of how we can unify the...more
But as I read through the reviews here, I am confronted by a rush of unpleasant memories about this particular reading experience. T ...more
I wonder if the author's brain was thinking like mine was?
Certainly when I was ...more
The first is a straightforward narration by a man riding across the country with his young son and two friends (a married couple). This evocative travelogue is by far the most enjoyable aspect of the novel.
The second element is a sort of mystery as that man struggles with his memory; it's gradually revealed that he's on the road both t ...more
My thoughts on the book, even months after reading it, are still mixed. Artistically, I do think it's a polished and respectable piece of literature. It's ...more
I have read Zen probably four or five times. The clinical precision of the author is apparent in all the detail here ("left grip", "eight-thirty"). The self-reference of the author looking at his own watch will become a leitmotif as the entire book is about the author looking deep into his own soul (so deep in fact th ...more
Interlaced with stories from an across-the-west motorcycle trip with his son and some friends, Pirsig tells the story of his past in an almost former life before being admitted to a mental institution a ...more
Modern Phaedrus said, “And what is good, Phaedrus,
And what is not good—
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”
I keep re-reading passages from Zen and the Art and Tao of Pooh and Siddhartha and try to make sense in the context of everyday ...more
First, I must say if you find the narrator off-putting, rest assured that the protagonist is NOT the narrator. The narrator is the nemesis who has eclipsed the protagonist; the story reveals their struggle. The introduction of my edition hints at this, but apparently some people haven ...more
The thing I find most ...more
You know when you start a roadtrip and everything is awesome and a breath of fresh air in the beginning, but then you're at each other's throats towards the middle? That's what this book was. ...more
"the author's logic is self-contained, entirely self-referential and so his argument is self-sustaining! He can set up armies of logical strawmen and have them elaborately duke it out in massive rhetorical battles taking place entirely without any grounding in reality.
He has the manic ADDH intelligence of the kind tha ...more
I refused to read it for years because...well...because my father gave it to me. Sometime after college though, I picked it up and read it for the first time and, for the next 5 years, I read it once a year every June. Clearly, it made a very ...more
The problem is that it is written by some guy who apparently thinks he is God's gift to philosophy. And if you don't agree with him, well, you're clearly an idiot. This is not a constructive discussion about ideas, this is a presentation of why Pirsig is right, which, because this is a discussion on philosophy, is debatable. (Exc ...more
Admittedly, i enjoyed the ...more
I think if you go into this 400 page novel with the expectation that it will be a light read about a motorcycle trip out West with a couple philosophical insights, you'll p ...more
The book itself interstices Pirsig's account of a motorcycle road trip with his son and some friends with the story of his personal and professional struggles developing his philosophy of "the metaphysics of qualit ...more
Robert M. Pirsig’s brilliant 1974 novel about a father and son motorcycle ride across the west, from Minnesota to California is also a journey for the reader. We examine this “fictionalized autobiography” in terms of relationships, unreliable narrators, delusions, mental illness, and ultimately about trueness with one’s self.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm lo ...more
I'm not sure where I stand on the philosophy in the book. In the early phases, I thought that perhaps I was responding negatively to the philosophy meditations because the book was a bit behind in the times (over 40 years old now). But then, as I went deeper into the author's Chautauquas, I understood the philosophy as part and parcel of a narrative that is not quite a narrative -- artifacts from a devastated psyche and the routine of a dad who is worried about his son. And then, I realized that ...more
― Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
There are parts of this book, and parts of this type of book I really enjoy. But at the exact same time, this whole genre of book (see: Ken Wilber and his oeuvre, especially A Brief History of Everything) really grinds and irritates.* Don't get me wrong, I love Greek philosophy and Zen Buddhism as much as the next guy (or gal) on Go ...more
To the untrained eye ego-climbing and selfless climbing may appear identical. Both kinds of climbers place one fo...more
And that's the only reason I'm giving this 2 stars; it's strictly for all the good it has done for so many people.
I tried, ok? But I just can't with this hullabaloo about how gravity doesn't exist. Don't feed me garbage and tell me it's steak. I simply cannot suspend logic to buy into ...more
Over 400 pages all the book clumsily manages to ask is: "Are my priorities straight in this consciousness-addled, consumerist culture?"
The protagonist's answer: "i don't know. i'm going crazy."
Pop philosophy meets a second-rate, "On the Road" ripoff.