"You have got to live right, too. It's the way you live that predisposes you to avoid the traps and see the right facts. You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It's easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally. That's the way all the experts do it. The making of a painting or the fixing of a motorcycle isn't separate from the rest of your existence. If you are a sloppy thinker the six days of the week you aren't working on your machine, what trap avoidance, what gimmicks, can make you all of a sudden sharp on the seventh? It all goes together...The real cycle you're working in is a cycle called yourself. The machine that appears to be "out there" and the person that appears to be "in here" are not two separate things. They grow toward Quality or fall away from Quality together."
Robert M Pirsig.
Zen and the art of Motorcycle maintenance is considered as one of the best works of philosophical non-fiction, published first in 1974. It wanders through the Western concept of rational thoughts, interspersed with musings of Eastern spiritualism. The narrative is in first person-perhaps Robert Pirsig himself, though he never identified as such. The narrator and his son undertake a 17-day motorcycle trip from Minnesota to California. In this trip, there are the narrator's own musings, and those of Phaedrus, whose real connection with the narrator is established towards the end of the book, The musings, philosophical dialogues, that he terms as Chautauquas, deals with experiencing, understanding and defining Quality. He also talks about the two ways of looking at life the romantic way and the classical way, and the balance between the dichotomy that makes modern life and inner peace co-habitable. It is a thought provoking book, that seems timeless in retrospect. It evolves with the reader and develops layers of depth, keeping along with the layers of understanding that one gain with time.
Posted by Sreevidya Devanand