Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+9346) 16 years ago
A retired professor came into my office the other day, retracing the path of the characters in this book. It is officially fiction but unofficially, most of it is true. We had quite a chat. I am ashamed to admit I have never read the book but he graciously gave me a copy and I plan to start it this weekend.

If anyone here either remembers those lads passing through in 1968 or are huge fans of the book--and I gather, those are legion, it is enormously popular especially among the motorcycle crowd--Prof. Henry Gurr may be posting here in the near future. He is setting up a web site about his travels and would love to hear any and all stories connected with ZMM.

So, any Zen and Motorcycle Fans out there???

--Amorette
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Posted by Joe Whalen (+174) 16 years ago
"Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", first published in 1974, is one of those titles that you'll find on the bookshelves of a wide range of readers. It's usually recommended by a friend or given as a gift and it can be an imposing and dense novel at first glance. But I also found it to be rewarding to the degree that it's one of those books that I've read a couple of times over.

It's the story of a former physics instructor at MSU-Bozeman who uses a cross-country motorcycle trip with his young son to re-examine the values by which he's pieced his life back together after psychologically breaking down several years before in Bozeman. The trip begins in Minneapolis, crosses the Dakotas and Montana, and ends in San Francisco. The physical landscape is often used as a metaphor for the state-of-mind of the narrator along the way and makes for a fascinating journey across the West.

True, it's most useful to those who spend lots of hours in the saddle of a motorcycle, who think about philosophy, or dabble in technology. But it's also the deeply-moving story of a man heroically fastening himself together in an effort to save his young son's life.

Robert Redford has evidently discussed film possibilities for "Zen" with the author, Robert Pirsig. If the film gets a green light, it would be difficult to shoot the movie without footage of Miles City, which is a way-station early in the novel.
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Posted by Tim Walters (+73) 16 years ago
Well, I read it, and bought a couple of motorcycles from the shop they stopped at. Lived at 411 Yellowstone from 1967-1972. Is the shop still there? I haven't been to Miles in quite a while, maybe 10 years...

Tim Walters
jazzrat2000@hotmail.com
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+9346) 16 years ago
Bill's Marine and Cycle is still there, although under new owners and a different name, but it's still next to Cook Lake.

--Amorette
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Posted by Les Snavely (+14) 11 years ago
Hi, I taught Philosophy years ago. I recommended the book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintence" to my students. That was nearly 30 years ago, and I STILL get letters from them! Travelers [motorcyclists] from all over the world come to Bowman, North Dakota, for it is one of the places specified in the book. These people speak dozens of languages, but they all have one thing in common, to ride the whole length of the route layed out in the book. We never really know the effect of a Philosophy Class or of a philosophy book!
Read on. Les Snavely
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Posted by Ben Hughes (+22) 11 years ago
I have a well worn copy. It would be one of the book I would take to a desert island or for spending a winter in a secluded cabin.
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Posted by poisonspaghetti (+281) 11 years ago
You've got to be kidding. I thought it was pretentious and boring - its one redeeming quality was the description of a stop in Miles City. A treat for someone who is far from home.
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Posted by Bonnie Bergerson (+2) 11 years ago
There is a follow up book that will be published in September, and Bill Bergerson, owner of Bill's Marine & Cycle did a lenghty interview with the author, Mark Richardson, and also has a early manuscript of the book. Mark will be here again in the spring to visit Bill. Bill does remember the first visit from Pirsig, and was visited later by many following the path he talks about in the book.
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Posted by Bonnie Bergerson (+2) 11 years ago
The new book coming out is titled "Zen and Now - On the trail of Robert Pirsig and the art of motorcycle maintenance."
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Posted by Dan (+463) 11 years ago
There is new one out titled "Shovelhead Manifesto", anyone read it yet? Think I'm gonna give that one a shot...
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Posted by Dan (+463) 11 years ago
well I was wrong, the title is "The Shovel Revial; A Motorcycle Manifesto"
I just read it and I think comparing it to "Zen" or even mentioning it in the same post is comparing apples to oranges.
If you have a small amount of time to waste go ahead and give it a shot. If youre looking for something thought provoking, entertaining or fresh, might want to pass on it...
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Posted by Kim (+35) 11 years ago
I read the book in college. I remember I loved how Pirsig described the landscape. I also remember thinking, at the time, that some of it felt pretentious. If I read it now, me thinks it might give me an eye-roll or two, and might seem a little "Jonathan Livingston Seagull-ish", sort of corny and dated.
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Posted by Ben Hughes (+22) 11 years ago
I would like the critics to tell us what the book was really about.
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Posted by Henry Gurr (+20) 11 years ago
Hello Miles City Forum!


Gary Wegner, http://zamm.home.att.net/index2.htm , suggested I have a look here.

I am "the retired professor" that "came into Amorette Alyson's the other day". This is mentioned above, in first post of this thread.

1) I was the one retracing the path of book "Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"!! And indeed as Amorette said: I "would love to hear any and all [your] stories connected with ZMM"!!

2) Ben Hughes (above) says, RE: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, he "would like the critics to tell us what the book was really about."

3) Although I am not an expert, here is my reply:

4) As many readers have said, ZMM, is really MANY books! Thus it is hard to "peg":

It is a story of a man in search of him self. It is a father son story. It is a suspense/ mystery novel. It is an autobiography. It is a travelogue. It is a book about university education and good writing. It is a book about achieving your own values and as such is about right living & Quality living and "living in the now of Zen". It shows ushow to live a pragmatic philosophy that will establishe a foundation, presently absent, for modern science and philosophy.

The ideas in "Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (ZMM) will offer any serious reader, deep revolutionary truths concerning the whole process of achieving a quality life. This book will likely be highly significant in their lives, as is attested in the Amazon.com reviews. Link below.

For any alert literate adult (especially students), the ZMM book forces the reader to think a great deal about themselves, their values, and their whole life: What are they doing in life. Why they are "at a job" or at an "institution of higher learning"? In general ZMM supports "a student" whether he or she is in a "Formal University Education" or in The School of "Hard Knocks"! This book shows "a student", how it is necessary to thoughtfully combine science and humanities and personal values in any endeavor.

Written in a manner that is accessible and maintains interest, ZMM covers science, philosophy, scientific trouble shooting, problem solving, the process of scientific discovery, building the structure of science, and more. For this reason, ZMM was used as an auxiliary text for six years in both of my physics classes.

In ZMM we are shown how best to work with (and within) our own God given psychological and material resources. For example, the role of the "flash of insight", analogy, and metaphor are shown to be fundamental to human thinking and learning. Author Pirsig points out how proper learning is often prevented in our present day culture, and most especially in our schools and universities.

Author Robert Pirsig patiently instructs us, how to learn and improve our lives despite the deficiencies of our upbringing and society around us.

"Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"has an impact much like the ancient "Tao Te Ching" by Lao Tzu, , Pirsig's Book, like Lao Tzu's, is to practical guide life and living, .... a hand book for "Westerners" to apply Zen to their lives.Read the following paragraph meditatively, it also says what ZMM is all about.
"The philosophy of Lao Tsu is simple: Accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than it is, Study the natural order of things and work with it rather than against it, for to try to change what is only sets up resistance. Nature provides everything without requiring payment or thanks and also provides for all without discrimination-therefore let us present the same face to everyone and treat all men as equals, however they may behave. If we watch carefully, we will see that work proceeds more quickly and easily if we stop "trying," if we stop putting in so much extra effort, if we stop looking for results. In the clarity of a still and open mind, truth will be reflected. We will come to appreciate the original meaning of the word "understand, "which means to stand under" We serve whatever or whoever stands before us, without any thought for ourselves. Te-which may be translated as "virtue" or "strength"-lies always In Tao, or "natural law." In other words: Simply be."

An other way to understand what ZMM author Robert Pirsig has written, to to go to Amazon.com book reviews. Scroll down part way to "Editorial Reviews" and to near bottom for "Customer Reviews" at: http://www.amazon.com/Zen...317#citing

At the end of the "customer reviews" you can click to See all 507 customer reviews...

Sincerely

Henry Gurr
HenryG Aiken.SC.edu
http://ww2.usca.edu/Resea...essorGurr/
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Posted by Henry Gurr (+20) 11 years ago
Hi Miles City and

Barb Holcomb in a Miles City Forum Post, re Cafe' Utza, stated that
"The author [of ZMM, Robert Pirsig] was a professor at MSU in the late 50s/early 60s. My dad had him for a class and my mom knew of him."

I am interested in contacting Ms. Holcomb, since I am the professor collecting as much information as I can re Pirsig, and her parents seem like a good resource.

My webpages and webphotos show the information I have been able to collect so far. See link bellow.

If you know how to reach Barb Holcomb, please have her contact me. I am the professor who has the webpages mentioned in my post above in this thread.

Also see my Cafe' Utza post mid thread at:
http://www.milescity.com/...1&tid=1350

Sincerely

Henry Gurr
HenryGAiken.SC.edu
The URL for my site has been chanted. (Plz update your records)
http://VentureArete.org/R...essorGurr/

[This message has been edited by Henry Gurr (7/31/2014)]
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Posted by Henry Gurr (+20) 4 years ago
Dear Miles City Forum & Enthusiasts of Robert Pirsig's book => "Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance" (ZMM)

Please tell Amorette A, Joe W, Barb H, and Robyn at Miles City College, that Henry Gurr says "Hello"!!

[deleted - spam]
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+9346) 4 years ago
Sadly, Robin at MCC is no longer with us. I'm not sure who Barb H. is but Joe W. and I are still chugging along here in Miles City.
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Posted by MRH (+1303) 4 years ago
I'm not sure who Barb H. is


Appears to be Barb Holcomb, from one of his previous posts.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+13769) 4 years ago
I know but ain't telling.
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Posted by Henry Gurr (+20) 28 days ago
Announce Publication of the FREE till midnight Wed Nov, 21 2018, Sarah Vinke eBook Biography Available TITLED> (Cost $0.99 after that.)

A WOMAN OF QUALITY: Sarah Vinke, ‘The Divine Sarah’, and the Quest for the Origin of Robert Pirsig's 'Metaphysics of Quality', in his Book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
*************


To Miles City Forums

This email is to announce the publication of the Sarah Vinke Biography
(SVB), summarize what is accomplished, and synchronize up-coming plans.

After a tentative slow start in early 2015, James Essinger and Henry Gurr biography of Sarah Vinke “The Divine Sarah” of the ZMM book, is now finally publicly available =>,
(Book description at Amazon link below. )


The Sarah Vinke Biography, will be accessible in TWO versions:
C)An Amazon eBook Version, which for a limited time, will purchase at $0.00=free. This link is where you may place your order (s/b FREE), AND Below the Order Box, on this page, you should especially study “Read Any Device” AND Below book description “Kindle Spot Light” tells how to easily view SVB on practically ANY digital device!! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KDG7F59/

D)And as soon as possible, we will publish a Paperback Book Version, available on SAME Amazon link for ~$3.60


Additional extensive detailed information is here, most especially The Resource Page:
http://venturearete.org/ResearchProjects/ProfessorGurr/Documents/BiographySarahVinki
http://venturearete.org/ResearchProjects/ProfessorGurr/Documents.BiographySarahVinkeResourcePage.

Eventually Henry Gurr plans a trip "Out West", I will be sure to stop in Miles City to see Amorett Allyson, & Joe Whalen & Barb Holcom. (Please forward,)

On my trip I will generally:
3)To place paper copies in Libraries (or Archives), where potential audience might be: This includes, Library Archives” at => Dallas Center IA, Grinnell College, U Wisconsin Archive, U Minnesota, Montana State University, Historical Societies, Genealogical Societies, etc.
4)To hold public “Book Signing Events” at each whistle-stop, with the public & newspaper reporters invited etc. A few paper copies of SVB, will be available. :

Since technical problems may crop up at ANY time!! Please email me pronto, if something unexpected happens!

Please email reply with your thoughts about you like our new book.

Also, since Sarah was VERY important to Robert Pirsig, and the creation of ZMM,
We hope you will please help get the word out =>
C)Forward this email to interested persons, and
D)On your WebSite or Blog, ANNOUNCE the availability of this new biography.

Sincerely

Henry Gurr henryg At usca.edu Put if correct symbol
Coauthor, Project Coordinator & Sponsored.

Google will quickly find, by typing the following
Professor Henry Gurr University of South Carolina Aiken
Robert Pirsig Photos
Welcome to ZMMQ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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