Summary: At its heart, the story is all too simple: a man and his son take a lengthy motorcycle trip through America. But this is not a simple trip at all, for around every corner, through mountain and desert, wind and rain, and searing heat and biting cold, their pilgrimage leads them to new vistas of self-discovery and renewal. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Mantenance is an elemental work that has helped to shape and define the past twenty-five years of American culture. This special audio edition presents this adventure in a compelling way-for the millions who have already taken this journey and want to travel these roads again, and for the many more who will discover for the first time the wonders and challenges of a journey that will change the way they think and feel about their lives….Read more.
A very sophisticated, complex, and thought-provoking read for anyone interested in the psychology that underpins so many personal values. I love how it’s told through the story of a motorcycle adventure, but it isn’t really about the author’s travels at all!
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Robert Pirsig: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Audio Book Summary
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a non-fiction book published by Robert M. Pirsig in 1974. It is the first of several philosophical texts that were published by Pirsig. The title of the book was inspired by Eugen Herrigel’s book Zen In the Art of Archery.
Instead, the book focuses on a journey that Pirsig takes with his son Chris. The two are traveling from Minnesota to California via motorcycle. During the trip, they spend time with old friends and also make new ones.
On the first nine days of the trip, they travel with a couple named John and Sylvia Sutherland. Although the couple stop traveling with them after they reach Montana, they manage to impart a great deal of information to them, including scientific facts and discussions about philosophy.
While caring for a motorcycles is crucial on a trip like this, John and Sylvia seem adverse towards learning these sorts of skills. The author frequently uses motorcycle maintenance to symbolize his own philosophical beliefs. He makes it clear that the Sutherlands do not understand many of the beliefs that he lives by.
The story of the journey is interspersed with tales from the person that the author was in the past. He refers to his past self as “Phaedrus,” and often speaks about him in the 3rd person.
Phaedrus was a teacher at a small college. While teaching, he became obsessed with the idea of good writing. He tried to determine what the true meaning of quality actually was. He became so obsessed with this that he had a nervous breakdown. He was subjected to electroshock therapy after this, which caused his personality to change completely.
As the book continues, the author begins to see aspects of his past self re-emerge. Eventually, he realizes that he is still the same person that Phaedrus always was. Even though some of his beliefs have changed, his old personality is still present. He comes to peace with his past and accepts the person that he used to be.
Over the course of the book, Pirsig examines the pure truths that humans often try to seek. He looks at the various sources of wisdom that people embrace in their search for knowledge. His own belief is that people need to embrace creativity along with rationality. Neither a purely romantic nor purely logical approach to life is correct.
One of the main things that Pirsig tries to show in his book is that it is possible to be a rational person, yet still live in a zen-like way. This is a philosophy that has resonated with a number of people, which played a large role in the book’s success.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is still widely read by people today. Many people choose to live by the philosophies that Pirsig imparts in it. It’s clear that this text has the kind of lasting appeal that few modern philosophical works do.