Friday, 3 August 2007

Zen and the Art of .......

I've just re-read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig, a book I first read and loved 15 or so years ago when I lived in Malawi. The volunteers over there had a habit of sharing books and leaving them in each others bookcases as we visited each other - a bit like an early form of Bookcrossing. This was one of the books I most enjoyed while I was over there and it took me all these years to find another copy so I could enjoy it again! It's a wonderful book for so many reasons. It really makes the reader think, encouraging us to observe nature and life in general more closely, encouraging an attitude of serenity, and a positive approach to problem solving. It meditates on family relationships, mental well-being, the history of philosophy (with specific reference to dualism), the purpose of education, aesthetics and makes us look at our value systems and judgement making processes. It's also very readable and often entertaining. Even though I know nothing about motorcycles, I really enjoy the motorcycle in this book being used as a practical application of Zen thinking and philosophy.


Zen and the Art of Creating: As I've been working on painting some boxes while I've been reading this book, I've noticed the Zen like state of mind that painting creates in me. Check out this post on Lunar Musings for a wonderful description of this state of creating.


Zen and the Art of Kimono Recycling - a wonderful post about the philosophy of recycling and the Aesthetics of the Handmade on True Stitches.

6 comments:

Verilion said...

Gosh, I read this book donkeys years ago and I can't remember an awful lot of it. This is another one I might have to add to my list of things to read.

Jackie said...

Wow it's over 30 years since I visited Malawi and about the same time since I read the book. Must remember to pick the book up again to read.

Abzdragon said...

Ive heard of that book but never read it. I also wish I had more time to sew things, that post was really great :P

sage said...

I read the book back in the late 70s in college and "reread" it via listening to it on an ipod last year... Great book, but don't expect any insight into Zen or Motorcycle repair (unless you got to adjust a carberator for high altitude.

When I read it in the 70s, I had never been west of Oklahoma, this time I realized that I'd been in many of the areas he was writing about traveling.

Andrea Leigh said...

YOu've inspired me to take another look at that book. I tried to read it years ago, but whatever the circumstance of life, never finished the first chapter. Gotta go find it! Cheers!

Clare said...

What an incredible book -- it affected so many people and moved them deeply. I loved it. Thank you for reminding me about it.
:)