"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig. A Review

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into ValuesZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My son had to read it for a philosophy of science class. After he completed the course he asked me to read it so we could talk. If it hadn't been for my son's request I would likely have put it down a time or two. But, I plowed on over the weeks to see what my son had been reading, and to talk it over with him.

A clash of ideas. A wrangling between Western and Eastern philosophy. Layers of story line that include father and son, technology and art, mental illness and mental prowess, rhetoric and dialectic, the one and the many, institutionally trained motorcycle mechanics and those who are motorcycle mechanic-artists, romantic and classic modes of thought, et alia. In so many ways it is a fascinating story. Maybe something of a mystical tale for non-theists with a surprise ending?

Now I'm done, and ready to talk. He's already moved on and delving into other things. Sigh. I missed an opportunity. But not all is a waste. We've both read it and will come back round to the narrative here and there in the days and weeks ahead. In the end I think we will both ponder scenes and discuss them and their value or lack of value as time goes by.


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