☀ You can borrow and read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance free below. ☀
When this classic ebook by Robert M. Pirsig was first published in 1974, a New York Times book review called it “intellectual entertainment of the highest order” and speculated that it might even be “profoundly important … full of insights into our most perplexing contemporary dilemmas”. It has become the best-selling philosophy book of all time.
philosophical explorations on a motorcycle trip
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a slice of fictionalized autobiography. Pirsig takes a motorcycle trip from Minnesota to Northern California with his 11-year-old son Chris and, for part of the trip, a couple of friends. Pirsig, who was a child prodigy, is struggling with the effects of past mental illness (Catatonic schizophrenia? he asks. Or was it what the Buddhists call “hard enlightenment”?), while attempting to improve his relationship with his son after all the damage his illness had caused.
Along the way, a series of philosophical explorations occur, which Pirsig calls “Chautauquas”. For instance:
Traditional scientific method has always been at the very best, 20-20 hindsight. It’s good for seeing where you’ve been. It’s good for testing the truth of what you think you know, but it can’t tell you where you ought to go, unless where you ought to go is a continuation of where you were going in the past. Creativity, originality, inventiveness, intuition, imagination — “unstuckness,” in other words — are completely outside its domain.
The philosophical inquiries are recounted along with Pirsig’s memories of his past self — remnants of who he was before electroshock treatment — whom he calls Phaedrus, and who ultimately causes him to re-admit himself to a psychiatric hospital.
romantic or rational? zen or motorcycle maintenance?
Riding a motorcycle, a machine prone to needing troubleshooting and repair, Pirsig reflects on the need for balance between the “romantic” (ride the motorcycle, don’t worry about the mechanical aspects, be in the moment) and the rational (get the details, understand how it works, know how to fix it). Those poles are the zen and the motorcycle maintenance of the title. As Pirsig has explained, the book isn’t about Zen Buddhism. He has joked that “it’s not very factual on motorcycles, either.”
Pirsig proposes a Metaphysics of Quality, asserting that Quality is the same as the Tao, the force driving evolution throughout the universe towards ever greater and greater Quality.
The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.
more ebooks by or related to robert m. pirsig that you can borrow for free
- Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Ronald L. DiSanto
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