Monday, February 21, 2005

Zen and the continuation...

The first two bricks in chapter one were self-realization and "being trained not to see." As we continue onward in our journey Pirsig introduces us to technology. At first we are riding the motorcycle along with him. Then as we discuss John and Sylvia, the riding companions, we are introduced to maintenance of the motorcycle, which Pirsig himself enjoys. Yet John is frustrated by it all. John doesn't want to know what goes on inside of the engine. John enjoys the benefits of the technology, yet not the technology itself.

Is John a symbol of the world in general, or just that part of the world that doesn't investigate the concepts or technologies that drive it?

Another important metaphor is the landscape. The landscape in the country is empty of technology yet full of life. Is Pirsig saying that rural life is real and urban life is cold and lifeless? By introducing us to technology and showing the basic routine of maintaining a motorcycle Pirsig is really showing us his love of "that which makes things work."

Our third brick is, of course technology. When combined with self-realization and being "trained not to see" we see that Pirsig is showing that people, in general, have been trained not to care about these technologies, not to marvel at the beauty that lies within the engineering of technologies.

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