I am very inspired by the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance. So much so, that I feel the ideas in this book are keys to a better way of being.
I have started a YouTube Channel, A Quality Existence, where I explore how to discern a harmonious way of being in a confusing world.
There are all sorts of things to be learned from Zamm. It is almost a type of Bible in the sense that the wisdom inside the pages is so eternal, so broad, and so applicable to the human experience, past present and even future. For example, much of what Pirsig was noticing within these pages was a way that the world is changing rapidly due to technology, and how technology affects all manner of human relationships, with each other, with lofty ideas, with nature, with everything really. His observations and predictions are all the more apt today, as technology advances at a dizzying rate.
I suspect most of you know this book, which is why you clicked on this channel. But for those of you who don’t, its a book about a singular genius named Phaedrus who drives himself crazy searching for Quality; and how his post-treatment self, who is essentially a “new personality”, the narrator of the book, tries to recreate his search and coming to some conclusions based on fragments of memories and a trunkful of notebooks, to implement the findings in the world.
While Phaedrus’ quest of Quality is described both in a linear and in abstract fashion, probably the one attempt to articulate it that stands out the most for me is when the book discusses another singular genius’ own search, that of 19th century mathematician Henri Poincare. In his search for how mathematicians arrive at facts, he observed that this wasn’t exactly a logical method, it was more a felt sense of harmony that would allow the mathematician to make a choice of the infinite amount of mathematical combinations.
At one critical point, which actually is the point that the “crazy genius” Phaedrus falls apart from the impact of realization, he likens Quality with Tao. And the Tao operates in very much the same way as Quality – it is a sense of harmony that emerges from chaos.
The great philosopher Alan Watts, who was in a large part responsible for the understanding and adoption of Eastern thought in the West in the mid 60’s, once illustrated the way of Zen meditation thusly: A heron gazes at the water without straining to see a fish. He is looking at the water as a whole. A fish will be there, and by allowing the whole area of vision to come to his eyes, he will see the ripple in the water, wherever it is.
These are some illustrations of the attitude of Quality.
In the real world, says the “cured” narrator in Zamm, the one who is piecing together Phaedrus’ explorations into quality and applying them to life, Quality is what you care about, what gives meaning, what shines forth out of the Chaos.
Exploring Quality and applying it in the world is what I would like to attempt in my own small way, not being a singular genius by any stretch of the imagination, but by being an ardent fan, you could say. As well as someone, who after 50 years on this planet has learned a thing or two about Quality myself through trial and much error.
Using the concepts in this book as a basis, I will be exploring a variety of aspects of life, and how to operate with Quality in these domains. Some of these aspects will likely include:
Working Models of Psyche
Optimal health as a basis for a Quality Existence
Spirituality and the “Noetic” Dimension
Pain and Suffering
Connection to others
Problems with Technology
Meaning and Purpose in Life
Relationship with Nature
Knowledge and Learning
So, within these ideas is the potential to encompass more or less the totality of experience, and there is a lot of material out there all the time that can inform these categories. As my own inquiry proceeds, I plan to report on this quest here. I am hoping to develop these categories, based on the concepts in this book and in my own learning and life experience. So I hope you will join me as I explore how how to have Quality Existence.