Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is an interesting look at the things learned by going mad, in that profound insight often comes from outside of our cultural norms, and that is the journey of our narrator - from deep within to deeply without of the bounds of our societal norms.There's as much in here to ridicule as to take to heart, however. I feel that there is far too much emphasis on "feelings" and "emotions" in the thrust of the decision making pushing the philosophy forward, and I fear that much of the lessons of this book have been missed by most of the population because of this. The thrust of the discussion is on "Quality", a term Pirsig holds as undefinable yet readily apparent. This "Quality" seems at times to be a sense of fitness to purpose, while at other times it seems to be about aesthetics as much as function. It is not, as he takes pains to explain, in aesthetics alone as things built to look nice but serve no purpose bug the hell out of him. He uses the example of a plaster fireplace in the wall of a dwelling as the epitome of non-quality - somethings designed to give the impression of advanced functionality in a purely illusionary sense.The book is a valuable read, but I would suggest that people read further into philosophy once done. Further conceptualization within the "great conversation" helps to evaluate Pirsig's philosophy outside of the last cresting of the baby boomer's striving for a different world before they sold "quality" up the river for material "fulfillment" instead.
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