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Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (Harper Perennial Modern Classics (Prebound)) (Englisch) Bibliothekseinband – 2. August 2005

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Bibliothekseinband, 2. August 2005
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In his now classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig brings us a literary chautauqua, a novel that is meant to both entertain and edify. It scores high on both counts.

Phaedrus, our narrator, takes a present-tense cross-country motorcycle trip with his son during which the maintenance of the motorcycle becomes an illustration of how we can unify the cold, rational realm of technology with the warm, imaginative realm of artistry. As in Zen, the trick is to become one with the activity, to engage in it fully, to see and appreciate all details--be it hiking in the woods, penning an essay, or tightening the chain on a motorcycle.

In his autobiographical first novel, Pirsig wrestles both with the ghost of his past and with the most important philosophical questions of the 20th century--why has technology alienated us from our world? what are the limits of rational analysis? if we can't define the good, how can we live it? Unfortunately, while exploring the defects of our philosophical heritage from Socrates and the Sophists to Hume and Kant, Pirsig inexplicably stops at the middle of the 19th century. With the exception of Poincaré, he ignores the more recent philosophers who have tackled his most urgent questions, thinkers such as Peirce, Nietzsche (to whom Phaedrus bears a passing resemblance), Heidegger, Whitehead, Dewey, Sartre, Wittgenstein, and Kuhn. In the end, the narrator's claims to originality turn out to be overstated, his reasoning questionable, and his understanding of the history of Western thought sketchy. His solution to a synthesis of the rational and creative by elevating Quality to a metaphysical level simply repeats the mistakes of the premodern philosophers. But in contrast to most other philosophers, Pirsig writes a compelling story. And he is a true innovator in his attempt to popularize a reconciliation of Eastern mindfulness and nonrationalism with Western subject/object dualism. The magic of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance turns out to lie not in the answers it gives, but in the questions it raises and the way it raises them. Like a cross between The Razor's Edge and Sophie's World, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance takes us into "the high country of the mind" and opens our eyes to vistas of possibility. --Brian Bruya -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


"Profoundly important...full of insightsinto our most perplexing contemporarydilemmas." -- "New York Times""The book is inspired, original...the narrative tact, the perfect economy of effect defy criticism. The analogies with "Moby-Dick" arepatent." -- "The New Yorker""A miracle ... sparkles like an electric dream."-- "Village Voice""An unforgettable trip."-- "Time"

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Von Donald Mitchell TOP 500 REZENSENT am 12. Mai 2007
Format: Taschenbuch
Before reviewing Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, let me mention that most people will either love or hate the book. Few will be indifferent.

Those who will love the book will include those who enjoy philosophy, especially those who are well read in that subject; people who ride and maintain their own motorcycles; readers who are interested in psychology, particularly in terms of the mass hypnosis of social concepts; individuals who are curious about the line we draw between sanity and insanity; and people who want to think about how to deal with troubling personal situations, especially as a parent. As someone who has all of these interests and perspectives, the book fit my needs very well.

Those who will dislike the book are people who like lots of action in their novels, dislike the subjects described above, and who want easy reading. This book is very thick with concepts, ideas, metaphors, and layering which reward careful reading and thought. Most text books are considerably easier to read and understand. Few modern novels are any more difficult to read from an intellectual and emotional perspective.
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A review of this book by me, or even a thoughtful critique,could add nothing to what has been so well-said in the numerouseloquent essays among the 200 below. Among the decisively best dozen, reviewer Barron T. Laycock, only a few reviews below, describes "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" about as well as it need be done. Another finely-drawn perspective is provided immediately below by reviewer Cicha1994, who gets to the bottom of Pirsig's magic of delivering an incredibly complex synthesis with timely spoonfuls of sugar thusly:
"Mr. Pirsig has an uncanny sense of timing, and he never allows the heavier passages to labor on too long. This is avoided by craftily interspersing his philosophical discourse amongst very down-to-earth and charming observations made during a motorcycle trip ..."
Not daring to venture into the rarified air of the erudite reviews already here, I humbly offer a more fundamental observation, one that is "down-to-earth as fertilizer," as we say.
How I came to read this book the first time -- of how many? -- I can't imagine. I have no interest in Zen, never owned a motorcycle and so needed no advice about keeping one humming. What I found I did have very strong interests in was everything Persig had to say.
"Zen and the Art..." was an immediate best-seller when it was published 26 years ago. That couldn't have inspired my interest in it, for I have instinctive misgivings about best-sellers. But I did read it and have been all the better for it. Every subsequent reading has opened a little door or niche missed before.
Call any used book store and mention of "Zen and the Art..." and you'll get immediate recognition of it, often a comment like, "Oh, yeah. That Robert Persig book.
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dieses buch schafft - wie ich finde - den spagat zwischen massen(-markt-)tauglichkeit und (wenn man will) leichter konsumierbarkeit und (so man sich darauf einlässt) tiefgründigkeit und denkanstößen zu durchaus auch schwerer verdaulichen fragestellungen grundlegender philosophischer natur. bemerkenswert fand ich die art und weise, in der der autor es schafft, eine neue sichtweise auf dinge zu beschreiben, ohne dabei suggestiv zu wirken. es war für mich gefühlt eine reise durch eine andere anschauungswelt, bei der immer mitgeschwungen ist, dass das _eine_ mögliche idee ist, diese dinge zu betrachten - es wurde nie der anspruch auf absolutheit erhoben.

sehr empfehlen kann ich übrigens - am besten nach lektüre dieses werkes - das zweite buch des autors: 'lila - an inquiry into morals'. es knüpft an vielen stellen an die ideen, die in diesem buch entwickelt werden an, und führt sie noch viel weiter (ich glaube, dass der autor selbst die ursprünglichen ideen weiter verarbeitet und die ergebnisse dann beschrieben hat).

so oder so - klar kaufempfehlung - zumindest, wenn man ein über die gewöhnliche unterhaltungsplörre hinausgehendes werk sucht.
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Despite the book's title, Pirsig's journey is primarily one through the history of Western philosophy, from the pre-Socratics through Plato, Aristotle, the 18th century empricists, and 19th century idealists. On this level alone, the book succeeds in being one of the most accessible and reliable treatments of the field. But the text is also a critique of the whole Western "logocentric" tradition, with its emphasis on reason, or "dialectic." Like Kant ("Critique of Pure Reason") or Kierkegaard ("Concluding Unscientific Postscript"), Pirsig uses reason to expose the limitations of reason. And what does he replace it with? Not Eastern mysticism or Zen riddles but rhetoric. More than the classic rhetoricians that Pirsig exhalts or the 20th-century structuralists and post-structuralists (Barthes, Derrida, Foucault) for which Pirsig's narrative is practically an illustration, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" makes the case for language as the basis for all reality, for all that we think, experience and perceive. It's this conflict between dialectic and rhetoric that drives the narrative, realized in plain yet compelling prose that's capable of staying with the attentive reader for the rest of his or her lifetime. After reading the book twice, I was unable to look at the self, the world, at all things constructed by language in quite the same way. The least successful parts of the book, it seems to me, are the narrator's protracted discussions of the nature of "reality" as a moment inaccessible to human intellect and his somewhat naive, 1960's-style musings on the nature of "quality.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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