I had heard about a certain book but never read it because the title sounded a little too catchy for me; “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”
It was written by Robert M. Pirsig; a man who truly had experience in both subjects.
Then one of my sons bought Pirsig’s book for me as a Christmas present. He said “You will like it dad, it is about philosophy.”
And I thought “How could that be? The subjects don’t go well together; religion and motorcycles, let alone adding in philosophy.”
So the book sat on my bookshelf until I went to the Adirondacks for a fishing trip. I took the book as a time filler in case a rainstorm imprisoned me in my cabin.
It did rain.
I was imprisoned.
I did read.
And my son was right. I enjoyed the book simply because it had a philosophy behind it. Well, not only that, but also because Pirsig discussed the care – – – and mindset – – – one must take when working with technical things.
I can’t tell you the number of projects I have screwed up because I was tired, or thinking about something else, or had bad lighting, or tried to use the wrong tools.
I will probably murder the point of Pirsig’s book. His point was about “quality.” Not so much the quality that is measured with precision tools (although he does speak of this) but rather the quality of life which means different things to different people. Pirsig often refers back to the Greeks and those who have translated Greek words and interpreted Greek life with respect to those words.
He ends up with two words to make his point; quality and aretê.
I hope he forgives me for attempting to boil his 540 pages down to these few posts in my blog.
Next post; Post #2 (What the Greeks meant by aretê)