Yup. Basically the whole time I'm reading this book I'm just like: "Yup."
Even when I was a kid I always wondered about the way history is taught in this country. And why it's that way. Now as a history major and future teacher myself it becomes even more pronounced. The parts about the history I knew, but the parts about how the textbooks get into rotation I didn't and it's very interesting.
Just started Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
check out my review!!!!!
lol one of the few of these i've written up on goodreads, and if i recall, i was trying to sound like i understood the book when in hindsight i really really didn't. very complex and broadbased stuff thats hard to really internalize.
I just finished Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and couldn't recommend it enough, not that it needs any more praise. Brilliant philosophy grounded in a real story with real characters, not much more needs to be said. But I'll say it anyway.
It's a book of prose in thought -- the entire plot is told through the thoughts and recollections of a guy on a motorcycle vacation across the United States with his son. His goal is to create a Chautauqua, which from what I understand was sort of a travelling classroom with strong religious roots and a goal of spreading new ideas and challenging old ones. I may be wrong about some of that. But anyway, his Chautauqua begins with a narrow focus on the relationship between man and technology and steadily grows to a complete overhaul and rethinking of metaphysics and epistemology.
I don't really know how groundbreaking the philosophy really is. Hell, I'm not sure I could explain the philosophy right now without bumbling it and getting across the wrong message. It's pretty thorough and well thought out. Whatever the case, it's interesting and unlike a lot of philosophy, quite practical and applicable.
One significant piece of understanding that I took from it was exactly what sort of a thinker I am. Near the beginning of the book, the author introduces a dichotomy of thought (as a process) and understanding (as a result); the names he gives these opposing concepts are classic and romantic and both are easy enough to understand. Classic thought is purely analytical, breaking things down into smaller comprehensible pieces based on functionality and material and size and everything like that. the technical instructions of how to build something from Ikea is an example of classic understanding at work. Romantic thought is different, in that through it, our appreciation for the things that we experience is derived from the outset of our perception. A romantic thinker isn't too interested in figuring out how and when and under what circumstances the armoire was built, because all that matters now is that the armoire is here and it looks beautiful. you can apply that analogy to literally anything you see.
I learned that I am through and through a classic thinker and that it'd do me quite a bit of good to try to cultivate my romantically thinking side. Appreciate things in the very moment I see them instead of appreciating them in hindsight as worthy of appreciation for reasons a), b), c), etc. The overall point (and supposed end goal of the Chautauqua) is that these two different types of thought should play equal roles in your experience of the world.
And to go along with all the observations and random thoughts that the main character shares with the reader, there's some pretty fantastic bits about not just motorcycle maintenance but tending to technology in general that I really loved. I'm in the middle of trying to fix up a sh*tty bike that I bought for 50 euros a few months ago and it was fun to read advice on how to approach technical problems while I had a real life (and obviously very similar) project right in front of me.
I know a lot of people have already read this book, it's been a bestselling classic for decades now. But if you haven't and you're into philosophical fiction, this is a really fantastic approachable read and a potential life changer depending on where your head is at once you start delving into its ideas. There's a lot to get from this book.
you should write ur thoughts here tho, i wouldn't mind hearing them. also once u finish u should take 90 minutes and listen to this podcast which i've recommended on this site a few times... just a couple late 30s casually discussing philosophy of different sorts, its pretty accessible and grounded in common sense to it brings pirsig's weird theories down to earth