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

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

Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle MaintenanceWant to fix something, anything? Get hold of this book. Rather than a shop or repair manual, Robert Pirsig (86) proposes a philosophical way of approaching any given issue – technical or otherwise. Gain an understanding of what a defective device or derailed process is meant to do or establish, and work backward from there to locate the failure and correct it.

With its sister book Lila: An Inquiry into Morals, Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance aims to find common ground between the romantic and rational world views, fusing irrational sources of wisdom (Zen) and science, reason, and technology (the recalcitrant bike).

Mr Pirsig argues that adepts of gestalt philosophy may experience great frustration when things go awry – as they inevitable must as per Murphy’s Law. A reluctance to embrace rational analysis, and thus study the inner workings of faulty kit or methods, runs counter to the quest for inner peace that romantics pursue.

While technology, and the dehumanised world it helps shape, may appear ugly and repulsive to the romantic, a slight adjustment in attitude is all it takes to transform a Luddite into a nerd – albeit one with a deep appreciation for the wonders of life and nature.

Though a work of philosophy, Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance may well be used as a generic shop manual. Most any mechanical or electrical malfunction can be reduced to the bare essentials that – when approached in a Zen-like manner and properly understood – ensure a remedy may be found. In fact, no aspiring computer programmer should embark on his/her career without first consulting this how-to.

Title Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
Author Robert M Pirsig
ISBN 978-0-0605-8946-2
link http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&field-isbn=9780060589462

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2 comments

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  1. Gordon Hurd 2 March, 2015, 14:22

    As a young man, I carried this book with me to impress. But I also enjoyed the delightful read, breathless at times during the narrated long rides. In terms of maintenance I was a want-to-be ‘mod’ with a scooter as my chariot of choice and my approach was anything but Zen-like.This book reads as well today as it ever did. I am reminded here that I could have made better use of it at first reading.

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  2. Tomohiro S 4 March, 2015, 15:09

    Read up Rational Zen (The Mind of Dogen Zenji) by Thomas Cleary. And yes, of course, read the two important works of Pirsig mentioned above.

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