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Zen och konsten att sköta en motorcykel (1974)

av Robert M. Pirsig

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
16,871253235 (3.81)239
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, this book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life.--From publisher description.… (mer)
  1. 50
    Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work av Matthew B. Crawford (prehensel)
  2. 00
    Vägen av Cormac McCarthy (SCPeterson)
    SCPeterson: A man and his son travel very different paths toward self-discovery, confronting ultimate truth and the source of all meaning along the way
  3. 00
    En bråkdel av det hela av Steve Toltz (jeff.s.thomson)
  4. 00
    My Mercedes is Not for Sale: From Amsterdam to Ouagadougou...An Auto-Misadventure Across the Sahara av Jeroen van Bergeijk (gonzobrarian)
    gonzobrarian: an inquiry into travel, adventure, and meaning
  5. 01
    Främling på egen planet av Robert A. Heinlein (emf1123)
    emf1123: If you're in your late teens, reading both of these books back to back (stranger in a strange land, zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance) is a good quality mindfuck. I doubt that either have the same influence as one ages, though.
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» Se även 239 omnämnanden

engelska (229)  italienska (7)  nederländska (6)  franska (4)  finska (4)  portugisiska (Brasilien) (2)  danska (1)  Alla språk (253)
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Yawn ( )
  dualmon | Nov 17, 2021 |
"I want to talk about another kind of high country… the high country of the mind… Few people travel here. There's no real profit to be made from wandering through it, yet like this high country of the material world all around us, it has its own austere beauty that to some people make the hardships of traveling through it seem worthwhile." (pg. 127)

When first thinking about this review, I intended to describe this book as an autobiographical narrative about a motorcycle journey, interspersed with substantive (and intimidating) digressions into philosophy. But, in truth, the measure is the other way round: this is a philosophy book interspersed with moments of narrative. I'm reluctant to even use the word 'novel' at all, and it's no surprise to learn that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was first conceived by its author, Robert M. Pirsig, as an essay, not a story.

Regardless of how one chooses to categorise the book, it is a challenging experience. The torrent of philosophical discussion is very detailed; it's well-written but often very murky on what Pirsig is ultimately trying to do. If this had remained an essay, it might well have been a failure; the reader finishes the book rather perplexed, and it is only with a commitment to tackling it that you can begin to understand it. It's certainly one of the toughest wrangling experiences I've had in a lifetime of reading and, while it deserves its fame, it is a surprise that this book proved a commercial success.

There are advantages and disadvantages to Pirsig's idiosyncratic approach, and this tension gives a brittleness to, if not the book, then at least to your confidence in your assessment of the book after you finish it. You're never entirely sure if you've got it right, if you're working too hard to find something in it to justify the time you've put into it, or if Pirsig should not have done a bit more to facilitate the reader's engagement. Certainly, the latter is my opinion: what stops Zen from being a truly great work is that it's a sort of info-dump of Pirsig's ideas. It lacks the storytelling nous that makes, say, Dostoevsky – another writer with big ideas to communicate – so damn compelling and readable.

The narrative aspect of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is certainly its weakest part. The journey of the narrator and his son, Chris, across America lacks the necessary characterisation or plot to relieve us from the heavy, abstract philosophical stuff. However, while as a story it can be quite weak, the narrative seems to be there solely to serve Pirsig's arrangement of his ideas. And it is in these big ideas that Zen excels.

The narrator, unnamed, hints at a mental breakdown in his past, and his removal from his old personality, which he calls Phaedrus. Over the course of the novel, as the narrator revisits Phaedrus' intellectual journey, this alter-ego re-emerges. In a connection that can be identified only after the reader has committed to about two-thirds of the novel, this "mind divided against itself" (pg. 331) mirrors Pirsig's rejection of the conventional world of duality (i.e. our understanding of things as subjective/objective, classic/romantic, and so on) in favour of a sort of post-Christian trinity in which rationality has emerged out of (and is guaranteed by) the irrational human mind rather than being something set apart. Many of Pirsig's ideas were familiar to me due to the comparable modern-day work of Jordan Peterson, whose advocacy of ideas like the Logos, the importance of individuality, and a balance between rationality and metaphysics (as opposed to a zero-sum science vs. religion game) all find echoes here. It wasn't a surprise at all to learn that Pirsig's treatise is on Dr. Peterson's recommended books list.

Once the reader begins to grapple with these ideas (and the muscles do groan as you do so), you begin to make your peace with the nature of the beast. Pirsig's author-avatar narrator notes the "touch of hypocrisy" in his talk of eliminating duality when he himself is struggling with his alter-ego Phaedrus (pg. 401). He notes that Phaedrus was not a good student, because a good student "seeks knowledge fairly and impartially" whereas Phaedrus had "an axe to grind and all he sought were those things that helped him grind it" (pg. 363). This, I suspect, is why the narrative, however slight, is essential for Pirsig's treatise: neither Phaedrus or the narrator are right, but the alter-ego dynamic provides an opportunity for interplay and contrast, an opportunity for Pirsig to be reflective and find a way of settling Phaedrus' big ideas alongside the narrator's desire to retreat from the world and fix his motorcycle.

Once this is realised, the book becomes less of a daunting treatise and more of a piece of writing that is striving towards harmony. That Pirsig achieves this, to some extent, is a great feat. The ideas, however dry, are often profound and the narrative, however slight, brings them into alignment. Pirsig's genius, regrettably, is not the lucid genius that can make the likes of Dostoevsky so approachable in his writing, but it's still a good thing that a cluttered genius mind could produce this book. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is testament to the sort of intellectual contraption that a human brain can form if it so desires, and, more importantly, a testament to the fact that there are many readers willing to engage with such a challenging book, for all that market forces and publishing dons tell us there are not. It is, to my mind, much more uplifting for the soul to know that so many people recognise their spiritual and philosophical wanderlust, and seek out art and ideas that might address it, than any balm that might be provided by the content of the ideas themselves. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Nov 10, 2021 |
When you are traveling across the country on a motorcycle, you have more than enough time to analyze the world around you in ways you wouldn't if you chose to passively ride in a car or fly by plane. Pirsig takes his love of motorcycle maintenance and equates it to examining the way we live. If you excuse the didactic moments that seem holier than thou, he even shares opinions on how to live that life a little better. These philosophical monologues are referred to as Chautauquas. Under the guise of a summer trip across America with an unknown protagonist (common knowledge it is Pirsig himself), his son, Chris, and two companions, Pirsig delves into the life of Phaedrus (his past self), meditation, and philosophy. He uses his friend, John, to illustrate the difference between the mindful exploration and ignorant bliss. While the unnamed narrator (Pirsig) constantly tunes his machine, John prefers to not know anything about how his engine runs. This equates to the two men seeing the world differently. The author learns to care deeply for anything that involves his life while John prefers to let a mechanic do all the maintenance in life. The narrator is anxious to teach John his ways and patiently waits for his motorcycle to break down so he can be the hero and enlighten him. For me, the book gets interesting when John and his wife go they separate way. The narrator and his son are left to travel the rest of the journey alone. The reasoning of temperate reason versus dark passion is fascinating. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Oct 1, 2021 |
good, pretty interesting read, if only for exposure to the names of some old philosophers

took me a little while to understand what was going on too, so i guess thats a good thing

also very interesting to read this at the same time as "Is God a Mathematician?" (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3095024-is-god-a-mathematician), at least at the beginning of this book it seems to be asking the same question
  royragsdale | Sep 22, 2021 |
I understand why this book is conserved a type of modern classic. It definitely offers an alternative lens to view the world. The storyline in between the philosophy helps relate some of the broader concepts and was inserted in just the right spots to lighten up the deeper content. However I felt the storyline was a little underdeveloped, I never was able to fully embrace emotion for the characters, they always felt detached, but in someway I guess that was the point. They were not what the book was about, just a type of vehicle to bring the true story to the readers attention ( )
  Crystal199 | Sep 13, 2021 |
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One is tempted to call the book a psychomelodrama, for Pirsig's intentions are as extravagant as his themes. The attempt to triumph over madness, suicide, death in the self, of his son, for our world, by means of the patient exploration of ideas and emotions is certainly an extravagant ambition. That he succeeds in finding a plausible catharsis through such an enterprise seems to me sufficient reward for the author's perseverance, and ample testimony to his honesty and courage.
tillagd av Shortride | ändraThe New York Times Book Review, Edward Abbey (betalvägg) (Mar 30, 1975)
 
Whatever it's true philosophical worth, it is intellectual entertainment of the highest order.
tillagd av Shortride | ändraThe New York Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt (betalvägg) (Apr 16, 1974)
 

» Lägg till fler författare (17 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Robert M. Pirsigprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Bacon, PaulOmslagsformgivaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Hermstein, RudolfÜbersetzermedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Jonkers, RonaldÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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And what is good, Phaedrus,

And what is not good -

Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?
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for my family
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I can see by my watch, without taking my hand from the left grip of the cycle, that it is eight-thirty in the morning.
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You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It's easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.
Live in the future, then build what's missing.
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Wikipedia på engelska (6)

A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, this book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life.--From publisher description.

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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)

813 — Literature English (North America) American fiction

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Medelbetyg: (3.81)
0.5 17
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2.5 49
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