Monday, 30 May 2005

Zen and the Art...........

"And what is good, Pheadrus,
And what is not good...
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

For me this is a big one, I'm certainly not going to try and review Pirsig's book or even look at the impact it has had and continues to have on me and my life. But I do feel the need to mention it and to try and share something of it with anyone who reads this posting.

As is the way of this world the motivation for doing this now rather than later or not at all is complex; it's based on conversations off, random thoughts, ideas spinning out unbidden, dislocated connections that spark across the synapses, "listening" to discussions in other fora that generate responses that would be inappropriate or misunderstood or simply wouldn't make sense in those places. Which made me reflect on what this blog might be used for (that and more conversations off).

I think it's an opportunity to try a different voice, it need not be responsive in the way that emails and conference postings usually are - it can be didactic, I can direct it without reference to a specific function for this area, I'm writing for an unknown audience - again a big difference when compared with conferences or email, I can ramble - no need for the tighter writing I encourage (or need) elsewhere. It's also a "Chautauqua .... intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer" (Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance). Pompous no doubt, and not my words, but I think I'm looking at it in much the way that Pirsig saw the book; an opportunity for public introspection, a vocal meditation. So not only pompous but also self-indulgent and conceited! :-)

So that's where the two are linked right now - other connections exist but will be far more subtle and unconcious. Pirsig wrote for two years and then threw away the draft and started again, he went on to win critical acclaim for a book which is viewed as a classic across many genres and gave rise to the Metaphysics of Quality. My plans are far more modest. If one person picks up the book or reads it on screen - it's freely available on a number of sites - then that works for me. Read it as the story of a journey across America on a motorcycle or as the story of the journey of a man through his life or as an examination of Systems or as a primer in Buddhism or as an inquiry into values or simply as an opportunity to share a writing style that switches between observation and introspection, third person and first person, past and present with such ease but please, I implore you, read it!

I'll carry on looking for my glasses now.


4 careful considerations:

Bluefluff said...

please, I implore you, read it!

Or re-read it.... :-)

If you've done any living at all since you first (or last)read it, it will almost certainly have something new to say to you.

kat said...

You have got at least one person to read it.:-) I am on Chapter 19. Thought is was a bit hard going in some of the earlier chapters but it is turning into an enjoyable book which I don't seem to be able to stop reading.

Nogbad said...

That's brilliant! My work here is complete :-)

It stands rereading but that comes from getting through it. I hope you come back and tell us when you get to the end - and whether in that end you decide to start again and read it through different eyes. I think I've probably been reading it for more that 20 years now (but I'm a sloooooooow reader :-))


kat said...

A fascinating book. I am sure I will return to it many times.

Thanks. ;-)