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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Written by Robert Pirsig, 1976 Edition, (New edition) Publisher: Corgi [Paperback] Paperback – 16 Mar 1976
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I feel; personally speaking, that this is a book I will need to re-read to fully understand all that it offers, but I can understand the criticism offered by others who find it puzzling, banal or just self-indulgence by the author.
The author was clearly very intelligent and well versed in Classical literature
Having completed the book, I found this to be one of, [if not the hardest book I have ever read]. The author seemingly was dealing with his own intellectual struggles with the duality of life and this is the context of the book, set within a motorcycle journey that he took previously and which he now repeats with his son and a couple of friends.
It is my take, that it was written to illustrate both the perspectives of himself now when 'recovered'; and also his recollections of earlier perspectives of his mind whilst he was facing these challenges. We would label these mental health challenges, [I think he records it as catatonic schizophrenia], but I like the alternative supposition posed by the author when he suggests a Zen perspective for the dichotomous struggles of his mind/personality.
He uses motorcycle maintenance as a metaphor for some of the aspects of our man-made constructs of human life and learning.
I have learnt from reading this book and would like to see it made into a film, if someone intuitive enough had the capacity to properly demonstrate the meanings and the lessons that Mr Pirsig was trying to tell us about.
A man is one a motorcycle road trip with his son through America - that part made me want to go and do one myself. I could imagine the character's joy riding along the open road with the wind rushing past them.
Whilst he is driving he uses the time to think through a line of philosophic thought, which is quite interesting, although some people in my bpokclub found it a bit too in depth at points.
The other part is a different person the writer used to be, before electro shock therapy completely changed his personality. That person embarked on a radical philosophy that ultimately led to him having a mental breakdown.
This version includes an afterward, part of which adds a melancholic edge to what has been read before, in the same way that the ending of 'The Body' (Or Stand by Me) does to that story.
One of those books that you keep and intend to read again one day...
Using a motorbike trip with his son as the backdrop for his philosophical musings and conjecture, the author contemplates his own existence, the meaning of quality and the nature of family relationships, applying his practical mechanical experiences to help understand his questions.
Despite some outdated 1970s language and the fact that I did not especially warm to the main character, this was a surprisingly entertaining and engaging read and worth pursuing, even when some of the philosophical meanderings became a little intense for my liking.
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