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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

📅 2007-Jun-29 ⬩ ✍️ Ashwin Nanjappa ⬩ 🏷️ philosophy, robert m pirsig ⬩ 📚 Archive


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was quite a bit of heavy treading but was highly satisfying. The work is actually 3 books in one: (1) a book on philosophy in general and Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality in particular (2) an autobiography of the author’s past (life) (3) a pleasant motorcycle journey across America.

The book is a non-fictional account of the author’s journey on a bike with his son. Passages of the bike travel are very interesting to read and are filled with details about the people they meet, the places they visit and intimate details about maintaining a motorbike. Interspersed among these passages is the author’s introduction to philosophy. At first it is general, but later as he starts to speak about Phaedrus and his journey through science/philosophy and his discovery of Quality. Slowly you realize Phaedrus is not another character, but it was the author himself in his past.

The book is a good read. I do not think I could have survived the philosophy in this book had not it been mashed up with analogies to bikes, places and travel. Though I got the gist of Quality, I never got around to understanding its importance.

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