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I recently finished reading ’Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance’ by Robert Pirsig. It seems like I heard about this book every week from its publication in 1974 through the 80s. Well, I finally found out what the buzz was about.
The book is haunting. By which I mean that I can't stop thinking about it. Buried inside a road trip is Pirsig’s struggle to understand the antagonism between romanticism and classicism. The road trip is forgettable, but the struggle isn’t. In the end we find that Quality is the key to understanding and reconciling everything. ’Quality’ is the life force. The Greeks, before Plato, valued Quality above all else as evidenced by their reverence for excellence, arete. As an architect I found this part of the book fascinating.
It is an easy read, which is surprising in hindsight, looking back at the journey you have been on. It has to be the most accessible work of philosophy you will ever read. I suggest downloading a sample from your favorite eBook vendor to see if you can get into it. It's $5 from iBooks. I read it using Overdrive, an app that connects you to your local library’s eBook collection. Kindle does the same thing, better.
Right now I am getting into ’Lila’, Pirsig’s second book, which continues along a similar line of investigation, but using a boat trip this time.