Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Posted by nliakos on November 30, 2007

by Robert Pirsig; read by Michael Kramer (Books on Tape)

Somehow I never read this when it came out in the seventies and was all the rage. I remember wondering about the title; I didn’t have much understanding of what Zen was, but whatever it was, I couldn’t see how it related to motorcycle maintenance. Over the years I got the idea that it had something to do with living in the moment, with transforming a mundane technical task such as motorcycle maintenance into a kind of meditation. It does have something to do with that, but it is much more in addition: meditations (Pirsig calls them “Chautauquas”) on philosophy and (of all things) teaching writing, on mental illness and Luddites. The parts about philosophy are somewhat difficult, and I am unable to focus completely on them, so I find myself missing chunks and sometimes going back but more often just letting it proceed. I was very interested in Pirsig’s thoughts on the teaching of rhetoric at a college in Montana, because he was frustrated at having to teach students to write boring boilerplate essays, and I feel exactly the same way! I don’t always like him (he seems to despise, or at least feel very superior to, the friends he claims to love, and he can be awfully hard on his eleven-year-old son Chris), but I am glad to be reading it, finally. It also hooks right in to another book I am reading: Consilience by Edward O. Wilson.

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One Response to “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”

  1. […] (RSS) « Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Asperger Syndrome […]

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