I finished Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance today. While not the most literary book I’ve read, it was a good read because of the author’s diction. The clarity Pirsig writes with and the philosophy he evokes made the book worth my time. Small snippets of the book made me analyze my motivations and perceptions of things.
Originally, my friend had suggested it to me in high school – about 6 years ago. However, my tastes were radically different then, and the reason I chose to read it now was because of the best post I have read online.
The book is a discussion of the nature of quality in the context of a motorcycle trip. Admittedly, I have little experience with real philosophical arguments. I took a few introductory courses in undergraduate at Tulane, but since then have focused on more tangible things. With that admission, I can’t whole-heartedly agree or disagree with Pirsig on many of his points. I was enraptured with the book, and during my reading found no flaws to pick in the arguments about rhetoric and dialect. I feel like the major reason the book was so enjoyable was because Pirsig was not being a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian – rather, he elaborates on several fresh looks at antiquated arguments.
Some of the most telling portions of the book actually didn’t have to do with philosophy directly. The narrator’s descent into a forgone madness was well characterized, and it was interesting when reality and dream sort of melded.
Anyways, I don’t have much else to say about it, because it’s more a book that I’d discuss with people who read it.