Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has been recommended to me dozens of times through the years, ever since I was a kid.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has been recommended to me dozens of times through the years, ever since I was a kid.
“Oh you’ll love it! It’s just like you Ken! It’s how you think!”
I’d start to read it, not stick with more than a few pages, abandon it.
Tonight, I found a PDF online and I’m going through it.
Took 33 pages. THEN, it grabbed me. Now I’m hooked. I’m starting to see what they saw in it, and why they saw me in it and why they knew I’d like it.
They’re right.
Enjoying it now.
I’m glad I waited…. decades… before reading it. I only tackled Philosophy (beyond having a love/hate relationship with Aristotle’s effects on Western Civ, much for the reasons I’m seeing in here), about two/three years ago.Having a stronger footing in Philosophy (particularly Philosophy of Science) than I had previously, helps me put things into place right as he’s saying them. I’m glad I finally got through the first handful of pages. Page 33. That’s when I started to see what they were talking about.
 I suspect it’s a particular (or peculiar) kind of person who would enjoy/identify with this. What amazes me is that all of the people who said I’d like it, that it’s ‘like me’, etc, were right. As motorcycles and engines and roadtrips hold no interest to me, I couldn’t possibly see how. But that’s because I didn’t get past the first handful of pages before today.
 Phaedrus’ knife grabbed me first. I went to Wikipedia, searching a little, before realizing it was similar to Borges, in that you never could tell what was history and what was constructed history……then when he revealed the nature of Phaedrus at the end of his Phaedrus knife bit, I knew I was married to this book until I finished it. So, it’s tonight’s project.
 Quite true (about it being product-of-the-time and influential mostly in its day). 5 million copies sold worldwide is pretty good for any book. The rambling beginning was a turn off for me all these years as I didn’t care for whatever this style of writing is called. I’m thinking the beatnik poet types or hippie writers, where they shift focus along with their thoughts, going from “I feel” to “this happened” to how much something cost to “what my friends are doing” to waxing poetically to philosophy…I don’t mind it in a movie of course but in a book I didn’t have the patience.As I’m reading it, I’m rewriting it in my mind how *I* would’ve written it. But had I written it, it would’ve been a much much shorter book and unlikely to have been so widely read.
I was going to ask you if you’ve read it. I agree: I know it’s up your alley. You can find a PDF of it online.I had to get through the first 33 pages before it started to ‘snag’ me. It touches on a lot of issues we’ve talked about but in his own unique way.If you’re a speed reader (somehow I think you are – I am), it’s a fast read. I go quickly past the parts that don’t hold much interest (the roadtrip, the people) and read more slowly on the parts that do interest me.
 I’m glad I worked my way through the Philosophy groups with you  and all the bunch when I did. I learned a lot and had I not, reading this book would be taking me a LOT LONGER to go through.[at 105 of 192]
 t loving his moments : at this point:“And so: he rejected the left horn. Quality is not objective, he said. It doesn’t reside in the material world.Then: he rejected the right horn. Quality is not subjective, he said. It doesn’t reside merely in the mind.And finally: Phædrus, following a path that to his knowledge had never been taken before in the history of Western thought, went straight between the horns of the subjectivity-objectivity dilemma and said Quality is neither a part of mind, nor is it a part of matter. It is a third entity which is independent of the two.”I hadn’t had that precise moment on this precise concept but I can relate to that experience.
Ooh, heady stuff here“This means Quality is not just the result of a collision between subject and object. The very existence of subject and object themselves is deduced from the Quality event. The Quality event is the cause of the subjects and objects, which are then mistakenly presumed to be the cause of the Quality!Now he had that whole damned evil dilemma by the throat. The dilemma all the time had this unseen vile presumption in it, for which there was no logical justification. that Quality was the effect of subjects and objects. It was not! He brought out his knife.”The sun of quality,” he wrote, “does not revolve around the subjects and objects of our existence. It does not just passively illuminate
them. It is not subordinate to them in any way. It has created them. They are subordinate to it!And at that point, when he wrote that, he knew he had reached some kind of culmination of thought he had been unconsciously striving
for over a long period of time.”
 Ah. Tao. I knew it looked familiar. Good stuff. But wow, it took him a long and painful road to get there. He went through PHILOSOPHY first… ouch.The quality that can be defined is not the Absolute Quality.
That was what he had said.
The names that can be given it are not Absolute names.
It is the origin of heaven and earth.
When named it is the mother of all things — .
Quality [romantic Quality] and its manifestations [classic Quality] are in their nature the same. It is given different names [subjects and
objects] when it becomes classically manifest.
Romantic quality and classic quality together may be called the “mystic.”
Reaching from mystery into deeper mystery ,it is the gate to the secret of all life.zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert m. pirsig Page 115 of 192
Quality is all-pervading.
And its use is inexhaustible!
Like the fountainhead of all things—
Yet crystal clear like water it seems to remain.
I do not know whose Son it is.
An image of what existed before God.
z Continuously,continuously it seems to remain. Draw upon it and it serves you with ease—
Looked at but cannot be seen—listened to but cannot be heard—grasped at but cannot be touched—these three elude all our inquiries
and hence blend and become one.
Not by its rising is there light ,
Not by its sinking is there darkness
Unceasing, continuous
It cannot be defined
And reverts again into the realm of nothingness
That is why it is called the form of the formless
The image of nothingness
That is why it is called elusive
Meet it and you do not see its face
Follow it and you do not see its back
He who holds fast to the quality of old
Is able to know the primeval beginnings
Which are the continuity of quality.Phædrus read on through line after line, verse after verse of this, watched them match, fit, slip into place. Exactly. This was what he meant. This was what he’d been saying all along, only poorly, mechanistically. There was nothing vague or inexact about this book. It was as precise and definite as it could be. It was what he had been saying, only in a different language with different roots and origins.He was from another valley seeing what was in this valley, not now as a story told by strangers but as a part of the valley he was from.He was seeing it allHe had broken the code.He read on. Line after line. Page after page. Not a discrepancy. What he had been talking about all the time as Quality was here the Tao, the great central generating force of all religions, Oriental and Occidental, past and present, all knowledge, everything.
Oh yeah, he nails it.Now it comes! Because Quality is the generator of the mythos. That’s it. That’s what he meant when he said, “Quality is the continuing stimulus which causes us to create the world in which we live. All of it. Every last bit of it.” Religion isn’t invented by man. Men are invented by religion. Men invent responses to Quality, and among these responses is an understanding of what they themselves are.You know something and then the Quality stimulus hits and then you try to define the Quality stimulus, but to define it all you’ve got to work with is what you know. So your definition is made up of what you know. It’s an analogue to what you already know. It has to be. It can’t be anything else. And the mythos grows this way. By analogies to what is known before.The mythos is a building of analogues upon analogues upon analogues. These fill the collective consciousness of all communicating mankind. Every last bit of it.The Quality is the track that directs the train. What is outside the train, to either side…that is the terra incognita of the insane. He knew that to understand Quality he would have to leave the mythos. That’s why he felt that slippage. He knew something was about to happen.
YES! Rhetoric! Restored to its proper place in the order of things. Thank you Robert Pirsig! A 40 year old book that I FINALLY read tonight after ppl have recommended it to me for over 25 years, confirms something I figured out in a *different route* on Jun 23, 2015 after discovering https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_university while researching the history of education in a discussion (I wanted the defacto answer to origins) that the Greeks called “virtue” (or ‘excellence’), that the Hindus called dharma – way back in the days of Homer, long before it began to get chopped up into pieces.Yet I knew it in a different form earlier, not as rhetoric but in a more metaphysical sense and religious sense. Same concept, different expressions.”Lightning hits!Quality! Virtue! Dharma! That is what the Sophists were teaching! Not ethical relativism. Not pristine “virtue.” But areté. Excellence.
Dharma! Before the Church of Reason. Before substance. Before form. Before mind and matter. Before dialectic itself. Quality had
been absolute. Those first teachers of the Western world were teaching Quality, and the medium they had chosen was that of rhetoric.He has been doing it right all along.”
 I’m at 176 out of 192. My suggestion is to let your eyes roll quickly over the first 33 pages of the PDF – noticing what he’s saying but not giving it heavy weight (unless something in it interests you enough to pause – I think there were a few moments that were good from 1-33 but sparse), and then when you see Phaedrus’ knife, you start getting into Philosophy a bit – familiar territory that isn’t about the roadtrip with him and his friends.It flows back and forth between several narratives at once. I decided to read it quickly until I found points of interest and then slow down and chew thoroughly until I hit a point that wasn’t interesting to me, and went back to reading quickly again.
 If you guess Phaedrus’ identity, you get a feeling of being “in on a secret” – and for some reason, for me, that hooked me and I had to know everything about Phaedrus.
  I’ll say one thing: This guy is a *really* smart dude. I enjoy when he goes over Science and philosophy and I’m like, “Hey! I know what he’s talking about here!” and you just know that he’s the kind of person that, if you ever sat down with him face-to-face, you’re *going* to walk away knowing a lot more than you knew before because, well, he’s a _really_ smart dude.
Were he a real Truth-seeker and not a propagandist for a particular point of  view he would not. He might learn something. Once it’s stated that “the dialectic comes before anything else,” this statement itself  becomes a dialectical entity, subject to dialectical question.Phædrus would have asked, What evidence do we have that the dialectical question-and-answer method of arriving at truth comes  before anything else? We have none whatsoever. And when the statement is isolated and itself subject to scrutiny it becomes patently  ridiculous. Here is this dialectic, like Newton’s law of gravity, just sitting by itself in the middle of nowhere, giving birth to the universe, hey? It’s asinine.
“Dialectic, which is the parent of logic, came itself from rhetoric.
Rhetoric is in turn the child of the myths and poetry of ancient Greece.
That is so historically, and that is so by any application of common sense.
The poetry and the myths are the response of a prehistoric people to the universe around them made on the basis of Quality.
It is Quality, not dialectic, which is the generator of everything we know.”
 This book has a lot to say about Ancient Greek perspectives and their meaning but there is one perspective it misses. That is their view
of time. They saw the future as something that came upon them from behind their backs with the past receding away before their eyes.
Now Chris’s body, which was a part of that larger pattern, was gone. But the larger pattern remained. A huge hole had been torn out of
the center of it, and that was what caused all the heartache. The pattern was looking for something to attach to and couldn’t find
anything. That’s probably why grieving people feel such attachment to cemetery headstones and any material property or
representation of the deceased. The pattern is trying to hang on to its own existence by finding some new material thing to center itself
 ooolo99ikl;i.,pyknulmmmmmmmmmm 111

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