Saturday, March 31, 2012

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - A Review (of sorts)

Read it.

Trite, I know. And I'm sure its been done a million times.... so this is not a 'proper' review I'm posting on Amazon. I just want to put down a few of my thoughts around the reading of the book.

I'd heard of it before, but the first time it was suggested to me that I'd like this book was in the early 90s. I was into juggling at the time, and amongst my juggling friends this book was well regarded. It was the Zen thing. There's book called the Zen of Juggling I remember from the time; anything 'Zenny' was big back then. That actually put me off reading ZenMM. Also I hadn't enjoyed what I'd read on Eastern Philosophy - all those 'the sound of one hand clapping' phrases had the flavour of wisdom but no meat.

I think what hooked me back up with ZenMM was noticing the subtitle - 'An Inquiry into Values'. Amazon must have suggested it in one of their many emails based on the keyword 'value', and were pushing the release of the 25th anniversary edition of the book. With my interest in Money, obviously any inquiry into Values was going to float my intellectual boat.

I'm very happy to have had such a delayed appreciation of ZenMM. I really don't think I could have read it at a better time. There was so much in it that related to my understanding of Money... I felt at points I could have swapped for Pirsig's 'Quality' for my 'Money' and it wouldn't change the meaning one bit (Pirsig does the same thing with the ancient Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu texts substituting 'Tao' for 'Quality'). I finished the book at work. I was sitting through the third repetition of a talk on 'Avoiding Dog Bites at work' (I'm a delivery driver), whilst reading the climactic part where Pheadrus takes on the Chairman in an intellectual battle. The line is :

"When a shepherd goes to kill a wolf, and takes his dog to see the sport, he should take care to avoid mistakes. The dog has certain relationships to the wolf the shepherd may have forgotten" (p.175)

Such little sychronicities and coincidences don't seem to bear retelling too well, but I experienced them throughout the reading of the book.

So it left me breathless. Full of ideas. And thinking I must pick up Jung again soon.

I will read Pirsig's other book Lila. But in good time.

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