Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


For this year’s A to Z Blog challenge, I thought I’d draw back the curtain and explore the life and times of a bibliophile.  Care to join me?

This selection seems particularly timely, given that its author, Robert Pirsig, passed away on Monday.

I first came to this book looking for a motorcycle story, but what I found was an introduction to a different way of thinking about life, and my place in it.  The ability to maintain a motorcycle becomes a metaphor for understanding all the underpinnings of a life, and being aware enough to make necessary adjustments when things get out of synch. This ability is contrasted with a more “romantic” approach that does not prepare or attempt to anticipate potential problems, which then relies on outside help when things go wrong.

What I liked about this book, another middle school discovery, is that it seemed to validate that my fascination with things scientific, and technical wasn’t necessarily at odds with my longing for beauty.

I was never quite able to completely embrace Pirsig’s philosophy, but it intrigued me, and, like all good experiences, it gave me quite a bit to think about, and still does.  It’s been a while since I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I think it’s about time I pick it up again.  My motorcycles might not need any adjustments at this time, but my mind can always stand to be challenged.