Essay on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Gateway to the Great Minds

Essay on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Gateway to the Great Minds

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Peace of mind isn't at all superficial, really, I expound. It's the whole thing. That which  

produces it is good Maintenance; that which disturbs it is poor maintenance. What we call

workability of the machine is just an objectification of this peace of mind. The ultimate

test is always your own serenity. If you don't have this when you start and maintain it while

your working, you're likely to build your personal problems right into the machine itself.

(Pirsig 146)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, from which this quote is taken, is a complex story written by Robert Pirsig about a narrator's inquiry into the past intellectual and personal life of the man he once was before a complete nervous breakdown caused by the futile search for the definition of the word "Quality" changed his entire life. This intricate array of flashbacks, theories, analysis, proofs and anecdotes combines the present life of the narrator, and Pheadrus, the only name given to the man's past self, during a modern day cross country motorcycle trip with the narrators son, as well as another couple who accompany them. The book, however, is merely not just a novel, but instead a "owners manual for the soul", written by Pirsig in an attempt to prevent what happened to the narrator from ever happening to the readers of this book.

The entire basis of this book deals with communicating from both character to character, and narrator to reader, on a very high cerebral level. Because of this analytic quality of the book, the most important events also take place on such a high level. In fact, the major theme of the novel, that of the narrator searching for his past self, as well as the cognitive change between the "...


... middle of paper ...


...ange in plot or climax is often one a boring nature. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is the complete opposite of this. Robert Pirsig's use of description, plot arrangement, and theory explanation all help keep the reader involved in this cerebral book. These aspects not only keep us involved, but make this book a sort of "gateway" to the great minds of this century. Judging by this book and his reputation, Robert Pirsig is no exception to that list of great minds. Einstein said, and is quoted in this book, "Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simple and intelligent picture of the world." Despite Pirsig's genius level IQ, this is what Pirsig has done with "Zen...". He has made this complex story one of both simple and intelligent means, and because of this, a story that can be understood by everyone, regardless of IQ.

 

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