Monday, September 26, 2011

Science, Art and Religion: Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance

Robert Pirsig's profound philosophical novel, Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, is a study on the relation between three pillars of thought on which humanity stands- art, science and religion. The novel is an account of a long trip taken by the unnamed protagonist, presumably the author, with his kid on a motorcycle. Lot of philosophic discussions exploring the way human mind thinks, termed Chautauquas are wound in the novel.

At the starting of the novel, the protagonist is shown as a man of reason. His interest to do all the maintenance works of his bike is the point made to demonstrate this. Basically he categorizes people into romantics, who only looks at the beauty of things and classical, who has a more practical approach and loves analysing and problem solving. Also there is the presence of a mysterious ghost whom he calls Phaedrus, who the reader realise on the course of the journey to be the disturbed past of the hero.

The story deals with the philosophical journey on which Phaedrus embark insearch of the meaning of Quality. He goes deep and deep into the subject to the point of insanity. The novel ends with the hero identifying with Phaedrus at the end of the journey. He identifies the link that connects art and science- religion.

Though the book contains exhaustive philosophical discussions and may prove tough and deterring for some one who wants entertainment in his reads, it will be interesting and even rewarding for a patient and serious reader.


  1. This book is loved everyone who reads it. Always come highly recommended. I have not read this yet.

  2. I never thought I will ever read a philosophical book in my life. But your review makes me want to find the link too. I guess I have to start serious reading at some point in life. :) Picking it up asap.

  3. Hmmm life is as so busy busy and so much chaos that more philosophy will make it boring :)

    but a good review Thanks


  4. Good review Harish:) But basically i am too lazy to read philosophy:P Probably not my forte! Nice review, though!

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  6. I have the book...Took me 3 readings over 4 years to like need to experience life a little to enjoy the offerings of the book...same with "Sophie's World" which is a tad easier on the brain, that my opinion...evolved souls may understand and like the first time itself.

  7. Another friend was recommending this one....havent read it though.

  8. i read this novel long long back and i still cherish it!!!

    i wish for a movie to be made out of this .. lets see!!!

    would like to recommend few novels:

    shantaram by GD Roberts
    the goal by E Goldratt
    The 4 hour work week by Tim ferris.
    The motorcycle diaris .. Che Guvera


  9. Hi Harish, am here after a long time.

    I see that u have added ur contact info now. thanks for that. And thanks for adding my blog in ur blogroll and writing such wonderful words for me :)