12.9–Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I don’t even know where to start with this book. At times it’s awesome and inspiring. Other times it’s a major headache that I found extremely difficult to pick up and read.  From the reviews I’ve read about it, other people have had the same issues with it.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say that he’s as puffed up and arrogant, as do other reviewers.  He’s a very smart man who has been through a lot of fascinating and terrible things.  Sadly, that is, for me, a major part of the appeal of the book, though it’s not a novel and not necessarily narrative either.  The philosophical part of the book made me go cross-eyed with confusion. I read, mostly, for his periodical revelations about the life he led before–and the man that inspired his writing of the book.

My knowledge of motorcycles is infinitesimal.  A working knowledge of them is not necessary to the reading of the book.  Though it’s in the title and he uses motorcycle maintenance as a metaphor for his philosophies, the technical side of what he’s discussing is the least challenging of everything the reader ploughs through.

A lot of reviewers will say that Pirsig is arrogant, attempting to sway people to his own philosophy and attempting them to draw them away from traditional rational thought.  What I felt from the text is more that Pirsig is trying to figure his own self out, and this book is the story of his philosophical journey.  He shares with the world his own struggles and demons, all the while presenting a new way of thinking.  Others felt like he was trying to force his ideas on the reader.  He does seem rather adamant about what he’s writing about, and it can be quite impressive at times.  Sadly, I don’t have an extensive enough knowledge of Western philosophy to have a platform for understanding his attempt to rewrite it.  I didn’t find my life or my philosophy very much changed at the end of the book. At times he seemed almost fanatical, and it was a bit of a turn-off to his ideas.

My opinion on the book, which is the point of this blog, is incredible confused.  I can’t wrap my head around the ideas found within the text.  I enjoyed to narrative part of the book, but the philosophy is entirely too thick for my understanding. Therefore, though I know how important some people consider this book be, I can’t recommend it because it’s not the kind of book one reads for a pleasurable experience (unless you’re into philosophy; if that’s the case, read your little heart out). I feel that it’s a book that has to be read at least twice to even partially understand and absorb what’s going on, but I don’t have to energy or the will to read it a second time.

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