I have read ZAMM at least ten times and have used it as a teaching vehicle in a number of classes. Seems this review throws out the baby with the bath water. Pirsig presents a way of thinking, an approach to life and how to live it. I never took Pirsig’s ideas at face value, only his approach to how we get at fundamental truth–a priori knowledge, I think he calls it. I find it fascinating that his discussion of how people interact with technology is just is valid in the computer age as it was when he was talking about motorcycles or dripping faucets. By the way, for another survey of philosophy, try “Sophie’s World.”
While I applaud your unruffled mastery of that’s-cool-ism, it’s simply not acceptable to say things which are plainly not true, which depend upon the most gross of mistakes, and then expect to be taken seriously in at least some measure, as Mr. Pirsig and his devotees surely do.
I’m heartened to learn that you enjoyed the book. I destroy copies of it as I encounter them, as a matter of public health.
Chris, you take this too serious. Skeptics read the book also and where not blown away by the things you consider errors. The artists who read it went to explore more science, the scientists explored more art. I purchased Physics book. Trust the intelligence of people. Maybe you needed something to write about. It was a cool read at the time. WE have learned much more since then. Keep it in the context of the time homie.
If, by examining the origins and functions of art, I am able to illustrate its necessity and inevitability in a free society, my hope is that this will move the reader to take up and champion the arts...
[tags: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance]
“What I’m driving at,” I say, “is the notion that before the beginning of the earth, before the sun and the stars were formed, before the primal generation of anything, the law of gravity existed.”
"Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Chapter 1." LitCharts.
I remember the book as one part being about how modern man interacts with the world around him. The part I maybe misremember that was valuable to me was that he was saying it was important to understand the technology around us so we could keep it working and when it doesn’t do what we expect it to, we are more able to deal with the consequences. Pirsig’s friend on the other motorcycle just wanted to take his bike in and say, “Fix it.” That can be a costly mistake for anyone who is familiar with what a service manager who gets a commission for the amount of work orders he writes.
Art can be seen as the artist sleight of hand on his mood.
According to Huntley (2003), if we consider the notion in quantum theory that the observer is selecting a single probability from many, that is, the observation is contextual, we might expect more obvious discrepancies and anomalies in our observations. He asserts that the reason for our expectations not matching experience may be that we overlook mass agreement, which is also determining what is observed. In other words, the individual and others collectively influence the results (collapse the wave function). The collapsing of the wave function is a superposition of different possible eignenstates being reduced to a single one of those states after interaction with an observer. That is to say, it is the reduction of the physical possibilities into a single possibility as seen by an observer. Huntley argues that the individual may still contribute an independent effect over this collective agreement, in particular, when the mass agreement has not been fully determined.