Lesson Plans Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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It was a little twenty-five-cent pin in the internal oil- delivery system that had been sheared and was preventing oil from reaching the head at high speeds. The question why comes back again and again and has become a major reason for wanting to deliver this Chautauqua.

Why did they butcher it so? These were not people running away from technology, like John and Sylvia. These were the technologists themselves. They sat down to do a job and they performed it like chimpanzees. Nothing personal in it. There was no obvious reason for it. And I tried to think back into that shop, that nightmare place, to try to remember anything that could have been the cause. The radio was a clue. Their speed was another clue. They were really slopping things around in a hurry and not looking where they slopped them.

More money that way. But the biggest clue seemed to be their expressions. They were hard to explain. Good-natured, friendly, easygoing. They were like spectators. You had the feeling they had just wandered in there themselves and somebody had handed them a wrench. There was no identification with the job. No saying, "I am a mechanic.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Book Review

They were already trying not to have any thoughts about their work on the job. In their own way they were achieving the same thing John and Sylvia were, living with technology without really having anything to do with it. Or rather, they had something to do with it, but their own selves were outside of it, detached, removed. They were involved in it but not in such a way as to care. Not only did these mechanics not find that sheared pin, but it was clearly a mechanic who had sheared it in the first place, by assembling the side cover plate improperly.

I remembered the previous owner had said a mechanic had told him the plate was hard to get on. That was why. While at work I was thinking about this same lack of care in the digital computer manuals I was editing. Writing and editing technical manuals is what I do for a living the other eleven months of the year and I knew they were full of errors, ambiguities, omissions and information so completely screwed up you had to read them six times to make any sense out of them.

But what struck me for the first time was the agreement of these manuals with the spectator attitude I had seen in the shop. These were spectator manuals. It was built into the format of them. Implicit in every line is the idea that "Here is the machine, isolated in time and in space from everything else in the universe. It has no relationship to you, you have no relationship to it, other than to turn certain switches, maintain voltage levels, check for error conditions — " and so on. We were all spectators. And it occurred to me there is no manual that deals with the real business of motorcycle maintenance, the most important aspect of all.

Caring about what you are doing is considered either unimportant or taken for granted. On this trip I think we should notice it, explore it a little, to see if in that strange separation of what man is from what man does we may have some clues as to what the hell has gone wrong in this twentieth century.

I don't want to hurry it. That itself is a poisonous twentieth-century attitude. When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things. I just want to get at it slowly, but carefully and thoroughly, with the same attitude I remember was present just before I found that sheared pin.

It was that attitude that found it, nothing else. I suddenly notice the land here has flattened into a Euclidian plane. Not a hill, not a bump anywhere. This means we have entered the Red River Valley. We will soon be into the Dakotas. John and I have discussed the situation in Breckenridge and decided to keep going until we have to stop.

That shouldn't be long now. The sun is gone, the wind is blowing cold, and a wall of differing shades of grey looms around us. It seems huge, overpowering. The prairie here is huge but above it the hugeness of this ominous grey mass ready to descend is frightening. We are traveling at its mercy now. When and where it will come is nothing we can control. All we can do is watch it move in closer and closer. Where the darkest grey has come down to the ground, a town that was seen earlier, some small buildings and a water tower, has disappeared.

It will be on us soon now. I pull up alongside John and throw my hand ahead in a "Speed up! He nods and opens up. I let him get ahead a little, then pick up to his speed. The engine responds beautifully The speedometer needle swings back and forth but the tach reads a steady nine thousand — about ninety-five miles an hour — and we hold this speed — moving. Too fast to focus on the shoulder of the road now — I reach forward and flip the headlight switch just for safety.

But it is needed anyway. It is getting very dark. We whizz through the flat open land, not a car anywhere, hardly a tree, but the road is smooth and clean and the engine now has a "packed," high rpm sound that says it's right on. It gets darker and darker. A flash and Ka-wham! That shook me, and Chris has got his head against my back now. A few warning drops of rain — at this speed they are like needles. A second flash.. WHAM and everything brilliant — and then in the brilliance of the next flash that farmhouse — that windmill — oh, my God, he's been here!

The house and water tower have gone by and then a small drainage ditch appears and a crossroad leading off to the horizon. That's exactly right. On a cycle you trust them and we stay at fifty-five. The first rain begins now but up ahead I see the lights of a town — I knew it would be there.

When we arrive John and Sylvia are there under the first tree by the road, waiting for us. Something wrong? We turn at the cottonwoods and travel a few blocks, and a small motel appears. Inside the office John looks around and says, "This is a good place. When were you here before? Sylvia has been watching me silently for some time. She notices my hands are unsteady as I sign in. It is still raining hard, but we make a run for it to the rooms. The gear on the cycles is protected and we wait until the storm passes over before removing it. After the rain stops, the sky lightens a little.

But from the motel courtyard, I see past the cottonwoods that a second darkness, that of night, is about to come on. We walk into town, have supper, and by the time we get back, the fatigue of the day is really on me. We rest, almost motionless, in the metal armchairs of the motel courtyard, slowly working down a pint of whiskey that John brought with some mix from the motel cooler. It goes down slowly and agreeably. A cool night wind rattles the leaves of the cottonwoods along the road. Chris wonders what we should do next. Nothing tires this kid. The newness and strangeness of the motel surroundings excite him and he wants us to sing songs as they did at camp.

He thinks for a while. All the kids in our cabin used to tell ghost stories at night. And he does. They are kind of fun to hear. Some of them I haven't heard since I was his age. I tell him so, and Chris wants to hear some of mine, but I can't remember any. After a while he says, "Do you believe in ghosts? He really believes in that. I laugh. Science isn't part of the Indian tradition. But he said his grandmother whispered it was true anyway, so he believes it.

He really does want to know things sometimes. Being facetious is not being a very good father. I see I'm not going to get out of this one easily and brace myself for a long explanation. The scientific point of view has wiped out every other view to a point where they all seem primitive, so that if a person today talks about ghosts or spirits he is considered ignorant or maybe nutty.

It's just all but completely impossible to imagine a world where ghosts can actually exist. IQs aren't that much different. Those Indians and medieval men were just as intelligent as we are, but the context in which they thought was completely different. Within that context of thought, ghosts and spirits are quite as real as atoms, particles, photons and quants are to a modern man. In that sense I believe in ghosts. Modern man has his ghosts and spirits too, you know. These are ghosts. We just believe in them so thoroughly they seem real. So I go on. It would sound nutty to think that until the seventeenth century there was no gravity.

Has it always existed? It seems to me that law of gravity has passed every test of nonexistence there is. You cannot think of a single attribute of nonexistence that that law of gravity didn't have. Or a single scientific attribute of existence it did have. The law of gravity and gravity itself did not exist before Isaac Newton. No other conclusion makes sense. It's a ghost! We are all of us very arrogant and conceited about running down other people's ghosts but just as ignorant and barbaric and superstitious about our own. Every educationist emphasizes it.

No educationist explains it. He puts his hand over his mouth and in a mock aside says to Sylvia, "You know, most of the time he seems like such a normal guy. So as not to draw attention to myself. They were always there, even when they applied to nothing. Gradually the world came into being and then they applied to it. In fact, those words themselves were what formed the world. That, John, is ridiculous. Logic exists in the mind. Numbers exist only in the mind. I don't get upset when scientists say that ghosts exist in the mind.

It's that only that gets me. Or ghosts either. Laws of logic, of mathematics are also human inventions, like ghosts. The whole blessed thing is a human invention, including the idea that it isn't a human invention. The world has no existence whatsoever outside the human imagination. We see what we see because these ghosts show it to us, ghosts of Moses and Christ and the Buddha, and Plato, and Descartes, and Rousseau and Jefferson and Lincoln, on and on and on. Isaac Newton is a very good ghost.

One of the best. Your common sense is nothing more than the voices of thousands and thousands of these ghosts from the past. Ghosts and more ghosts. Ghosts trying to find their place among the living. But Sylvia is excited. I am about to answer them but then do not. I have a feeling of having already pushed it to the limit, maybe beyond, and it is time to drop it.

I pull seniority and take the bed by the window. After the lights are out he says, "Now, tell me a ghost story. The other kind. Chris, but they're all forgotten," I say. The thought of all that wind sweeping toward us across the open fields of the prairie is a tranquil one and I feel lulled by it.

The wind rises and then falls, then rises and sighs, and falls again — from so many miles away. I am half asleep. So go to sleep.

7 Life Lessons Robert M. Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" Taught Me

Now go to sleep. There, out the window in the dark.. What he was doing here I have no idea. Why he came this way I will probably never know. But he has been here, steered us onto this strange road, has been with us all along.


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There is no escape. The ideas, the things I was saying about science and ghosts, and even that idea this afternoon about caring and technology. They are stolen from him. And he has been watching. And that is why he is here. With that confession, I hope he will now allow me some sleep. Poor Chris. I could have told him one but even the thought of that is frightening.

I really must go to sleep. And now, while the others are still snoring away wasting this beautiful morning sunlight — well — to sort of fill time — What I have here is my list of valuable things to take on your next motorcycle trip across the Dakotas. Chris is still sound asleep in the other bed. I started to roll over for more sleep but heard a rooster crowing and then became aware we are on vacation and there is no point in sleeping.

Damned chain saw, it sounds like —. I got so tired of forgetting things on trips like this, I made this up and store it in a file at home to check off when I am ready to go. Most of the items are commonplace and need no comment. Some of them are peculiar to motorcycling and need some comment. Some of them are just plain peculiar and need a lot of comment.

The first part, Clothing, is simple: zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert m. Two changes of underwear. Long underwear. One change of shirt and pants for each of us.

How do we use this information?

I use Army-surplus fatigues. I had an item called "dress clothes" at first but John penciled "Tux" after this item. I was just thinking of something you might want to wear outside a filling station. One sweater and jacket each. Unlined leather gloves are best because they prevent sunburn, absorb sweat and keep your hands cool. Cycle boots. Rain gear. Helmet and sunshade, 9.

Lessons from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance on the importance of engagement

This gives me claustrophobia, so I use it only in the rain, which otherwise at high speed stings your face like needles. These are some British laminated plate-glass goggles that work fine. The wind getsbehind sunglasses. Plastic goggles get scratched upand distort vision. The next list is Personal Stuff: Combs. Memoranda booklet. Cigarettes and matches. Soap and plastic soap container. Toothbrushes and toothpaste. APCs for headaches. Insect repellent. Deodorant after a hot day on a cycle, your best friends don't need to tell you.

Sunburn lotion. Put it on early. Toilet paper. Washcloth this can go into a plastic box to keep other stuff from getting damp. I don't know of any other cyclist who takes books with him. They take a lot of space, but I have three of them here anyway, with some loose sheets of paper in them for writing. These are: 1. The shop manual for this cycle. A general troubleshooting guide containing all the technical information I can never keep in my head. A copy of Thoreau's Walden — which Chris has never heard and which can be read a hundred times without exhaustion. I try always to pick a book far over his head and read it as a basis for questions and answers, rather than without interruption.

I read a sentence or two, wait for him to come up with his usual barrage of questions, answer them, then read another sentence or two. Classics read well this way. They must be written this way. Sometimes we have spent a whole evening reading and talking and discovered we have only covered two or three pages. I see Chris is sleeping over there completely relaxed, none of his normal tension. I guess I won't wake him up yet. Camping Equipment includes: l. Two sleeping bags. Two ponchos and one ground cloth.

These convert into a tent and also protect the luggage from rain while you are traveling. Geodetic Survey maps of an area where we hope to do some hiking. I think the kids must have lost it somewhere. Two Army-surplus mess kits with knife, fork and spoon. A collapsible Sterno stove with one medium-sized can of Sterno. This is an experimental purchase. Some aluminum screw-top tins. For lard, salt, butter, flour, sugar. A mountaineering supply house sold us these years ago.

Brillo, for cleaning. Motorcycle Stuff. A standard tool kit comes with the cycle and is stored under the seat. This is supplemented with the following: A large, adjustable open-end wrench. A cold chisel. A taper punch. A pair of tire irons. A tire-patching kit. A bicycle pump. A can of molybdenum disulfide spray for the chain. This has tremendous penetrating ability into the inside of each roller where it really counts, and the lubricating superiority of molybdenum disulfide is well known.

Once it has dried off, however, it zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert m. Impact driver. A point file. Feeler gauge. Test lamp. Spare parts include: Plugs. Throttle, clutch and brake cables. Points, fuses, headlight and taillight bulbs, chain-coupling link with keeper, cotter pins, baling wire. Spare chain this is just an old one that was about shot when I replaced it, enough to get to a cycle shop if the present one goes. No shoelaces. It would probably be normal about this time to wonder what sort of U-Haul trailer all this is in.

I go over finally and give Chris a shake. His eyes pop open, then he sits bolt upright uncomprehending. I go outside. The air is invigorating. In fact.. The cycles are wet with dew. No rain today. But cold! It must be in the forties. While waiting I check the engine oil level and tires, and bolts, and chain tension.

A little slack there, and I get out the tool kit and tighten it up.

Collection of Information

I'm really getting anxious to get going. I see that Chris dresses warmly and we are packed and on the road, and it is definitely cold. Within minutes all the heat of the warm clothing is drained out by the wind and I am shivering with big shivers. It ought to warm up as soon as the sun gets higher in the sky. We should cover a lot of miles today on these straight roads. Dawn shadows everywhere make it look less flat than yesterday.

All to ourselves. My watch says six-thirty. Good old beat-up gloves. They are so stiff now from the cold I can hardly straighten my hand out. I talked yesterday about caring, I care about these moldy old riding gloves. I smile at them flying through the breeze beside me because they have been there for so many years and are so old and so tired and so rotten there is something kind of humorous about them.

They've got a memory of their own. The machine itself receives some of the same feelings. But over the miles, and I think most cyclists will agree with this, you pick up certain feelings about an individual machine that are unique for that one individual machine and no other. A friend who owns a cycle of the same make, model and even same year brought it over for repair, and when I test rode it afterward it was hard to believe it had come zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert m.

You could see that long ago it had settled into its own kind of feel and ride and sound, completely different from mine. No worse, but different. I suppose you could call that a personality. Each machine has its own, unique personality which probably could be defined as the intuitive sum total of everything you know and feel about it. This personality constantly changes, usually for the worse, but sometimes surprisingly for the better, and it is this personality that is the real object of motorcycle maintenance. The new ones start out as good- looking strangers and, depending on how they are treated, degenerate rapidly into bad-acting grouches or even cripples, or else turn into healthy, good-natured, long-lasting friends.

This one, despite the murderous treatment it got at the hands of those alleged mechanics, seems to have recovered and has been requiring fewer and fewer repairs as time goes on. There it is! A water tower, groves of trees and buildings among them in the morning sunlight. The watch says seven-fifteen.

A few minutes later we park by some old brick buildings. I turn to John and Sylvia who have pulled up behind us. They just stare at me fish-eyed. No answer. I wait until they are completely off, then see that John is trying to untie all their luggage. He is having trouble with the knot. He gives up and we all move toward the restaurant. I try again. I'm walking backward in front of them toward the restaurant, feeling a little manic from the ride, wringing my hands and laughing. Speak to me! I guess they really were cold. They order breakfast without looking up.

Breakfast ends, and I say finally, "What next? So John and Sylvia and Chris sit and stay warm in the lobby of the hotel adjoining the restaurant, while I go out for a walk. I remember, now that I think of it. The town is clean and fresh and unlike the one we woke up in this morning. Some people are on the street and are opening stores and saying, "Good morning" and talking and commenting about how cold it is. Two thermometers on the shady side of the street read 42 and 46 degrees. One in the sun reads 65 degrees. After a few blocks the main street goes onto two hard, muddy tracks into a field, past a quonset hut full of farm machinery and repair tools, and then ends in a field.

A man standing in the field is looking at me suspiciously, wondering what I am doing, probably, as I look into the quonset hut. I return down the street, find a chilly bench and stare at the motorcycle. Nothing to do. It was cold all right, but not that cold. How do John and Sylvia ever get through Minnesota winters? I wonder. They depend on technology and condemn it at the same time. I'm sure they know that and that just contributes to their dislike of the whole situation.

They're not presenting a logical thesis, they're just reporting how it is. But three farmers are coming into town now, rounding the comer in that brand-new pickup truck. They value technology. If all technology stopped, tomorrow, these people would know how to make out. John and Sylvia and Chris and I would be dead in a week. This condemnation of technology is ingratitude, that's what it is. A half hour later the thermometer by the hotel door reads 53 degrees. Inside the empty main dining room of the hotel I find them, looking restless.

He is smirking from ear to ear at how silly he looks. I stare at his glasses lying on the table for a moment and then say to Sylvia: "You know, just a moment ago we were sitting here talking to Clark Kent — see, there's his glasses — and now all of a sudden — Lois, do you suppose? He raises one arm over his head and then crouches as if starting for the sky. John laughs. He says, "Oh no, oh no, they wouldn't do that. Chickenman and the police have an understanding.

We pass through a number of towns and gradually, almost imperceptibly, the sun warms us up, and my feelings warm up with it. The tired feeling wears off completely and the wind and sun feel good now, making it real. And soon it is nothing but beautiful warmth and wind and speed and sun down the empty road. The last chills of the morning are thawed by the warm air. Wind and more sun and more smooth road. So green this summer and so fresh.

There are white and gold daisies among the grass in front of an old wire fence, a meadow with some cows and far in the distance a low rising of the land with something golden on it. Hard to know what it is. No need to know. Where there is a slight rise in the road the drone of the motor becomes heavier. We top the rise, see a new spread of land before us, the road descends and the drone of the engine falls away again. Tranquil and detached. I open up my own jacket to soak up more heat. John gets his camera out.

After a while he says, "This is the hardest stuff in the world to photograph. You need a three-hundred-and-sixty degree lens, or something.

You see it, and then you look down in the ground glass and it's just nothing. And when the pictures came back I cried. There wasn't anything there. The Sutherlands look at me apprehensively. So we move down the empty road. We are just moving down the empty road. Fences are rarer, and the greenness has become paler — all signs that we approach the High Plains. We stop for gas at Hague and ask if there is any way to get across the Missouri between Bismarck and Mobridge. The attendant doesn't know of any. It is hot now, and John and Sylvia go somewhere to get their long underwear off.

The motorcycle gets a change of oil and chain lubrication. Chris watches everything I do but with some impatience. Not a good sign. Everything is different except one another, so we look around rather than talk, catching fragments of conversation among people who seem to know each other and are glancing at us because we're new. Afterward, down the zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert m. John and I study the map. We decide to head south to Mobridge and cross there.

The road south is awful. Choppy, narrow, bumpy concrete with a bad head wind, going into the sun and big semis going the other way. These roller-coaster hills speed them up on the down side and slow them up on the up side and prevent our seeing veiy far ahead, making passing nervewracking. The first one gave me a scare because I wasn't ready for it.

Now I hold tight and brace for them. No danger. Just a shock wave that hits you. It is hotter and dryer. At Herreid John disappears for a drink while Sylvia and Chris and I find some shade in a park and try to rest. The streets of this town are broad, much broader than they need be, and there is a pallor of dust in the air.

Empty lots here and there between the buildings have weeds growing in them. The sheet metal equipment sheds and water tower are like those of previous towns but more spread out. Everything is more run-down and mechanical-looking, and sort of randomly located. Gradually I see what it is. Nobody is concerned anymore about tidily conserving space. The land isn't valuable anymore. We are in a Western town. All that moving water is strange, banked by grass hills that hardly get any water at all. We coast down the hill, clunk onto the bridge and across we go, watching the river through the girders moving by rhythmically, and then we are on the other side.

We climb a long, long hill into another kind of country. The fences are really all gone now. No brush, no trees. The sweep of the hills is so great John's motorcycle looks like an ant up ahead moving through the green slopes. Above the slopes outcroppings of rocks stand out overhead at the tops of the bluffs. It all has a natural tidiness. If it were abandoned land there would be a chewed-up, scruffy look, with chunks of old foundation concrete, scraps of painted sheet metal and wire, weeds that had gotten in where the sod was broken up for whatever little enterprise was attempted.

None of that here. Not kept up, just never messed up in the first place.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Part 1 Chapter 1 Summary | Course Hero

Reservation land. I check the engine temperature with my hand. I put in the clutch and let it coast for a second in order to hear it idling. Something sounds funny and I do it again. I do this two or three times. No comment from him. This old engine has a nickels-and-dimes sound to it. As if there were a lot of loose change flying around inside. Once you get used to that sound and learn to expect it, you automatically hear any difference. I tried to get John interested in that sound once but it was hopeless. All he heard was noise and all he saw was the machine and me with greasy tools in my hands, nothing else.

Not badly, he said, just a little when you shoved hard on them. I warned him not to use his adjustable wrench on the tightening nuts. It was likely to damage the chrome and start small rust spots. He agreed to use my metric sockets and box-ends. When he brought his motorcycle over I got my wrenches out but then noticed that no amount of tightening would stop the slippage, because the ends of the collars were pinched shut.

You just slip it around the handlebar under the collar there and it will open up the collar to where you can tighten it again. You use shims like that to make adjustments in all kinds of machines. He was getting interested. Where do you buy them? Then he said, "What, the can? Save him a trip to God knows where to get shim stock. Save him time. Save him money. But to my surprise he didn't see the cleverness of this at all. In fact he got noticeably haughty about the whole thing.

Pretty soon he was dodging and filling with all kinds of excuses and, before I realized what his real attitude was, we had decided not to fix the handlebars after all. As far as I know those handlebars are still loose. And I believe now that he was actually offended at the time. I had had the nerve to propose repair of his new eighteen-hundred dollar BMW, the pride of a half-century of German mechanical finesse, with a piece of old beer can! Ach, du lieber! Since then we have had very few conversations about motorcycle maintenance.

None, now that I think of it. You push it any further and suddenly you are angry, without knowing why. I should say, to explain this, that beer-can aluminum is soft and sticky, as metals go. Perfect for the application. Aluminum doesn't oxidize in wet weather.. Also perfect. In other words, any true German mechanic, with a half-century of mechanical finesse behind him, would have concluded that this particular solution to this particular technical problem was perfect.

For a while I thought what I should have done was sneak over to the workbench, cut a shim from the beer can, remove the printing and then come back and tell him we were in luck, it was the last one I had, specially imported from Germany. That would have done it. A special shim from the private stock of Baron Alfred Krupp, who had to sell it at a great sacrifice. Then he would have gone gaga over it. You follow these little discrepancies long enough and they sometimes open up into huge revelations.

This comes up all the time in mechanical work. A hang-up. You just sit and stare and think, and search randomly for new information, and go away and come back again, and after a while the unseen factors start to emerge. What emerged in vague form at first and then in sharper outline was the explanation that I had been seeing that shim in a kind of zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, robert m.

John was going at it immediately and intuitively, grooving on it. I was going at it in terms of underlying form. He was going at it in terms of immediate appearance. I was seeing what the shim meant. He was seeing what the shim was. Who likes to think of a beautiful precision machine fixed with an old hunk of junk? I guess I forgot to mention John is a musician, a drummer, who works with groups all over town and makes a pretty fair income from it.

I suppose he just thinks about everything the way he thinks about drumming.. He just does it. Is with it. He just responded to fixing his motorcycle with a beer can the way he would respond to someone dragging the beat while he was playing. It just did a big thud with him and that was it. He didn't want any part of it.

At first this difference seemed fairly minor, but then it grew — and grew — and grew — until I began to see why I missed it. Some things you miss because they're so tiny you overlook them. We were both looking at the same thing, seeing the same thing, talking about the same thing, thinking about the same thing, except he was looking, seeing, talking and thinking from a completely different dimension. He really does care about technology.

It just won't swing for him. He tries to swing it without any rational premeditation and botches it and botches it and botches it and after so many botches gives up and just kind of puts a blanket curse on that whole nuts-and-bolts scene. He will not or cannot believe there is anything in this world for which grooving is not the way to go. The groovy dimension. The "generation gap" has been a result of it. The names "beat" and "hip" grew out of it. Now it's become apparent that this dimension isn't a fad that's going to go away next year or the year after.

Now we are down to the root of things. My legs have become so stiff they are aching. I hold them out one at a time and turn my foot as far to the left and to the right as it will go to stretch the leg. It helps, but then the other muscles get tired from holding the legs out. What we have here is a conflict of visions of reality.

The world as you see it right here, right now, is reality, regardless of what the scientists say it might be. John will discover this if his points burn out. It was an intrusion on his reality. It just blew a hole right through his whole groovy way of looking at things and he would not face up to it because it seemed to threaten his whole life style. In a way he was experiencing the same sort of anger scientific people have sometimes about abstract art, or at least used to have.

You might say there's a little problem here. At one stretch in the long desolate road we see an isolated grocery store. Inside, in back, we find a place to sit on some packing cases and drink canned beer. The fatigue and backache are getting to me now. I push the packing case over to a post and lean on that. This has been a long hard day. We nod yes. Then she wants a ride on one. I move back and let John handle this. We get out and back into the brown hills and heat again.

By the time we reach Lemmon we are really aching tired. At a bar we hear about a campground to the south. John wants to camp in a park in the middle of Lemmon, a comment that sounds strange and angers Chris greatly. The others too. But we drag ourselves through a supermarket, pick up whatever groceries come to mind and with some difficulty pack them onto the cycles. The sun is so far down we're running out of light. I wonder, are we dawdling, or what?

I'm ready. The campsite is deserted. But there is less than a half-hour of sun and no energy left. This is the hardest now. Post a Comment. I rediscovered this book when I recovered a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance from the trash. This was one of the books of my youth, a time when I took things apart like bicycles, 36 horsepower VW engines, front steps not only to know how they worked but to fix them. I was a tinkerer, I still am a tinkerer and this book by Robert Pirsig was a crucial book for me to remind me I wasn't crazy, like some folks told me.

I followed the edict "If it ain't broke, take it apart to see how it works," drove my father crazy and some others, too. I loved this book because it spoke to me. At first it was the romantic Huck Finn notion of lightin' out for the territory and then became the classic view of essence. Now as I read it some 35 years later, I'm in awe of this tome.

Alan Watts introduced me to Zen, my experience in Veitnam was more about Zen than any domino theory. When I came home I studied Phaedrus and owned a motorcycle. Pirsig's book was a welcome college graduation gift. It was read on a simpler romantic level then. Now it is more of a classical read. I'm still tinkering but now with computers. Today I have 16 Imacs and 16 Dells in a room with smartboards and a console that can not only control the computers in my room but those in other rooms. As I reread this tome, I'm reminded about how unZen we are with our ignorance of how it works let alone any care about how it works as witnessed in the horrendous year Columbia University has had from plagairism in a valedictorian speech C'mon man , to drug dealing to pay for college, to sex between a prof and his daughter.

How lazy and stupid have we become? We can't write our own valedictorian speeches anymore?

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