Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Zen and the Art of. . .

Because I recently checked out a copy of the 25th anniversary edition, I could pull a Fred Exley and commemorate Robert M. Pirsig's passing as Exley did with Edmund Wilson's writing after Wilson died (see Pages from a Cold Island). Exley made reading Edmund Wilson a religious experience after his North Country neighbor passed on. Although I appreciated Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I wasn't as completely enamored of it as Exley was of Wilson's work. All the same, it's a death worth noting, and Zen is a great book I may reread this summer. Philly.com has a nice obituary.

And here's a Pirsig quotation that the writer Jenny J. Chen found among a selection at Literary Hub:

"Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you are no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow."
- The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Rest in peace, Robert M. Pirsig

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