Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Phaedrus, our narrator, takes a present-tense cross-country motorcycle trip with his son during which the maintenance of the motorcycle becomes an illustration of how we can unify the cold, rational realm of technology with the warm, imaginative realm of artistry. As in Zen, the trick is to become one with the activity, to engage in it fully, to see and appreciate all details--be it hiking in the woods, penning an essay, or tightening the chain on a motorcycle.
In his autobiographical first novel, Pirsig wrestles both with the ghost of his past and with the most important philosophical questions of the 20th century--why has technology alienated us from our world? what are the limits of rational analysis? if we can't define the good, how can we live it? Unfortunately, while exploring the defects of our philosophical heritage from Socrates and the Sophists to Hume and Kant, Pirsig inexplicably stops at the middle of the 19th century. With the exception of Poincaré, he ignores the more recent philosophers who have tackled his most urgent questions, thinkers such as Peirce, Nietzsche (to whom Phaedrus bears a passing resemblance), Heidegger, Whitehead, Dewey, Sartre, Wittgenstein, and Kuhn. In the end, the narrator's claims to originality turn out to be overstated, his reasoning questionable, and his understanding of the history of Western thought sketchy. His solution to a synthesis of the rational and creative by elevating Quality to a metaphysical level simply repeats the mistakes of the premodern philosophers. But in contrast to most other philosophers, Pirsig writes a compelling story. And he is a true innovator in his attempt to popularize a reconciliation of Eastern mindfulness and nonrationalism with Western subject/object dualism. The magic of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance turns out to lie not in the answers it gives, but in the questions it raises and the way it raises them. Like a cross between The Razor's Edge and Sophie's World, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance takes us into "the high country of the mind" and opens our eyes to vistas of possibility. --Brian Bruya
A classic, not so much about motorcycles, but more about one man and his insights about life, relationships, and quality. Recommended (Grant)
Pedro Rocha from Espinho, Portugal said on HUBB
"... it´s one of my all time favourites."
"A book which speaks directly to the confusions and agonies of existence, detailing a personal, philosophical odyssey."
New York Times
"This book may very well be a profoundly important one-a great one even-full of insights into our most perplexing contemporary dilemmas ... "
"...an unforgettable trip."
The complete book is online. Well worth a read.
- List price: $19.75 (USD)
- Amazon.com (Paperback - 2008 edition)
- Amazon.com (Hardcover)
- Amazon.com (Paperback - 2005 edition)
- Amazon.co.uk (Paperback - 2008 edition)
- Amazon.co.uk (Hardcover)
- Amazon.co.uk (Paperback - 1999 edition)
- Amazon.ca (Paperback - 2008 edition)
- Amazon.ca (Hardcover)
- Amazon.ca (Paperback - 2006 edition)
- Amazon.ca (Paperback - 2005 edition)
- Amazon.de (Paperback - 2006 edition)
- Amazon.de (Hardcover)
- Amazon.de (Paperback - 1999 edition)
- Amazon.com - eBook
You may also like...
We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Next HU Travellers Meetings
- HUBB UK: May 30-Jun 2
- Bulgaria Mini-Meet: June 7-9
- Montenegro: June 27-30
- Ireland: July 12-14
- Colorado: July 12-14
- North Carolina, Aug 8-11
- Canada West: Aug 22-25
- Kyrgyzstan Mini-Meet: Aug 31
- Ontario: Sep 12-15
- Australia QLD: Sep 26-29
- Australia VIC: Oct 11-13
- Perth WA: Oct 19-20
- California: Oct 24-27
Are you a Motorcycle Traveller?
Does the smell of spices wafting through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing Guatemala? Then this is the site for you!
Hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, RTW 1987-1998
9th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is now open! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Services and get your HU $15 discount!