“Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance” Book Discussion


Ottawa Bar

Free Peanuts and Cold Beer All Around

“Well, in a nutshell,” said Jim; “the book was about a motorcycle
trip. The guy doing the narration, the father, was taking Chris, his
son, cross-country on the back of his motorcycle. They were traveling
with two friends, John and Sylvia, who were also riding a motorcycle.
Most of the drama took place in the head of the narrator. He was
trying to put the pieces of his traumatic past back together. Because
of a nervous breakdown, the narrator’s old personality was
institutionalized, and given electric shock treatment. After his
hospitalization, his original personality—Phaedrus, the English
Professor, was replaced with the personality of the narrator of the
story. Remembering the `how’s,’ `what’s,’ `where’s,’ and `why’s’ of
the world-shaking truth that the old personality, Phaedrus, felt
compelled to communicate to the world was what most of the story was
about. A good deal of the tension, however, came from Chris’s
relationship with his father because, according to the narrator, Chris
was probably in the first stages of insanity himself. At the end of
the book, the narrator and Chris confront each other and Phaedrus, the
old personality, merged with the narrator’s personality. Since Chris
was more than happy to get his old dad back, the book ended on a happy
note. Well, that’s a sketch of the book, but as you know, there was a
whole lot more to it.”

“Yeah, I know,” I said, “that’s what I’m interested in, the
philosophy stuff—the `big revelation’ Phaedrus was trying to
communicate. What was it?”


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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4 Responses to “Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance” Book Discussion

  1. Mèo Lười Việt says:

    You seem to be over excited reading this book?!

  2. ElizOF says:

    Hope you enjoy i… read it in college and thought it was an okay book really… 😉

  3. ElizOF says:

    I hope you enjoy reading it … I read it in college and thought it was an okay book really… 😉

  4. bwinwnbwi says:

    Overly let down was my first reaction to this book (remember what I said about it back during the earlier part of this trip–just after I finished it?) Actually, this book posed more questions than answers back then, however, over time, I was able to revisit the book and see that it was like the mirror image of the philosophy that I adopted as my own in later life–so, yes, I am over excited by this book. Thanks for all these comments. Take care.

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