Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Julie Marks

Los Angeles, United States

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Artist's Description

My of my passions is cars, trucks and motorcycles. I built cars as a child and have an extensive collection of diecast cars, some of which you can see in my villages that I build for Christmas and Halloween. I have not uploaded most of my photographs of my mini towns;however, you can see them in the category of villages on artwanted.com/masterofthemaze. I was fortunate to catch this motorcyclist racing down my street as I walked to Molly’s enchanted garden. When I was an undergraduate at UCLA, I read this impressive book not expecting the impact it had on me. Loving any vehicle that moves, I imagined I was going to read about motorcycles and was immersed in my first experience of the Eastern Philosophy, particularly Zen Buddhism. Arguably one of the most profoundly important essays ever written on the nature and significance of quality and definitely a necessary anodyne to the consequences of a modern world pathologically obsessed with quantity. Although set as a story of a cross-country trip on a motorcycle by a father and son. In this monumental 1974 work, Robert Pirsig has achieved what few others have managed before him and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody else has accomplished since: a perfect unification of philosophy, adventure and mystery. His “Chautauqua,” or traveling tale, takes the reader on a profound tour of ancient Greek philosophy, the steppes of Montana, and even a little bit of Zen Buddhism, with endless surprises and much original if not truly inspired thought along the way. Through his self-portrayal by means of the unforgettable and eerily enigmatic character Phaedrus, Mr. Pirsig shares his far-reaching search for the meaning of life, and himself. His fundamental concern is with the following seemingly simple but in effect infinitely complex question: "How can one distinguish “good” from “bad?” The question is posed and addressed in many different forms throughout the book, and in the process the concepts of truth, value and quality are dissected, reassembled, and again dissected and reassembled many times. He intersperses his philosophical discourse amongst very down-to-earth and charming observations made during a motorcycle trip that takes the narrator and his seemingly troubled son Chris from the American Prairies to the Pacific, and forms the prevalent background for the entire “Chautauqua.” “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” is a totally unique creation. Not being one to lend himself easily to clichés, I nevertheless believe that this is one book that definitely could dramatically impact your life, whether or not you believe in Zen or have ever sat on a motorcycle.

Artwork Comments

  • melynda blosser
  • Faith Puleston
  • Julie Marks
  • solareclips~Julie  Alexander
  • robinbrown
  • glink
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