Archive for the ‘Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance’ Tag

Believing In The Importance Of The Struggle — Robert M. Pirsig, Dead At 88   1 comment

pirsig-with-chris-1968_custom-1dfd21fa4918cd9508463228a8dd69566ee06eb0-s800-c85Source: William Morrow/HarperCollins

It’s just a little after midnight in Tucson, and I’m having trouble sleeping. It could be that Joy is having surgery later today. It could be that in this age of hand-held technology it was several hours ago I received news alert on the passage of Robert M. Pirsig at age 88.

In the 1970’s I was interested in motorcycles — own a couple. It was a time in which I loved reading about technology and philosophy. So, in 1974 when I read a review of a recently published book, “Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values,” I went out and bought a copy.

The inside cover jacket begins with a quote from the book:

“ The study of the art of motorcycle maintenance is really a miniature study of the art of rationality itself. Working on a motorcycle, working well, caring, is to become part of a process, to achieve an inner peace of mind. The motorcycle is primarily a mental phenomenon.”

What better way to write about the conflict between science and religion, and the nature of Quality in art than to have it as part of a motorcycle narrative of a trip Pirsig, his eleven-year-old son and two friends took from Minnesota to California? As it turns out, the real trip was not a motorcycle trip, but a philosophic trip that centers on an insane passion for truth.

In February of this year, I posted a blog entitled, The Zen of Visual Imagery – Balancing Passion and Obsession, in which I reference the novel I have worshiped over the years. Whether in my own teaching of educational philosophy or photography, I can’t talk about life without referencing Pirsig for the truth. It is time for a Chautauqua.

–kenne

Hiking In The Catalina Mountains   Leave a comment

Hutch's PoolWest Fork Trail Leaving Hutch’s Pool — Panorama Image by kenne

“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’re 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. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.

But of course, without the top, you can’t have any sides. It’s the top that defines the sides. So on we go—we have a long way—no hurry—just one step after the next—with a little Chautauqua for entertainment. Mental reflection is so much more interesting than TV it’s a shame more people don’t switch over to it. They probably think what they hear is unimportant, but it never is.”

― from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig 

 

Peace of Mind   Leave a comment

Motorcycle Sunset (1 of 1)-2 blog zenSunset image on the back of Mat Bailey’s motorcycle by Katie Turner Bailey, computer art rendering by kenne

“Peace of mind produces right values,

right values produce right thoughts.

Right thoughts produce right actions

and right actions produce work

which will be a material reflection

for others to see of the serenity

at the center of it all.”

— from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

The Zen Of Visual Imagery — Balancing Passion and Obsession   7 comments

The Zen of Visual Imagery — Image by kenne

I love all facets of making visual imagery, e.g., writing, music, cameras, catching the moment, editing the moment to share my perspective of the experience — I could go on and on. For me, visual imagery is a passion.

In recent years I have been able to spend more time with this love, even getting into digital video and taking on a lot of digital media projects.  However, as with any endeavor, doing it full-time can reduce the love affair to being just another relationship — creativity suffers in the relationship and obsession overtakes passion. To maintain a harmonious balance between passion and obsession I:

  • Don’t do what I love full-time.
  • Make sure the love is surrounded by other endeavors.
  • Surround yourself with passionate people.

By balancing passion with obsession we are able to maintain the thrill in the passion. Georgia O’Keeffe had a passion for the desert, but it was her obsession with how to represent it that led to her imagery of bleached bones. One can have a passion for mountain climbing and have a goal of reaching the top, but as Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has written, “To live for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.” Only then will you experience real passion, only then will you truly be alive.

kenne

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