Generational Theory Forum: The Fourth Turning Forum: A message board discussing generations and the Strauss Howe generational theory

Full Version: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Typical Silent book
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Recently I read this book (should've done earlier). The author's indeed a Silent, and I found many bits that fit the typical Silent personality.

- His son (*1957, hence a young Boomer) never gets strict orders, and throws tantrums - apparently because he prefers a father who slaps him to a father who never, ever makes any rule. Of course, the father / author doesn't get that.
- Both the author and his friend seem to have trouble in their marriage.

- The friend is completely unable to repair stuff in his house - for no apparent reason, he's just neurotic like that.
- The author even had to undergo psychiatric treatment, which involved electroshock therapy.
- He finds that repair workshops have detoriated: In the past, mechanics were old men who really knew their shit (Lost!); but in recent years, they're young folks who spend all the time listening to music during "work" and always seem misplaced in the workshops (young Silents or old Boomers).

- Later in the book, he actually finds an old mechanic like that (who might be seventy already), i.e. a Lost, who fixes his problem easily for a small price.
- He is artistically inclined, of course.
- He is so learned he even scares a professor in college.
- He doubts everything - even the fact that everything's either matter or spirit.

Oh, and while the author's definitely a Silent, the book's seen as a typical Boomer book today, what with the "generation of 1968" and the "Easy Rider" feeling. Not the only time Boomers stole Silent stuff and claimed it for themselves.
A few more things I noticed:

- He prefers going on winding roads through small towns instead of straight highways
- He thinks Quality (of which he is obsessed) is the very opposite of "squareness"
- Some years ago, reactionaries tried to purge lefties from colleges - the last gasp of the Nomads
- One young (Boomer) mechanic is so incompetent he breaks what he's supposed to repair - but doesn't even think he was doing something wrong. Typical "Prophet" narcissism.
The title is based on this earlier book:

Most people I know who have read the Pirsig book say it's full of great advice and observations for living. You are focusing on it from a point of view of a younger generation criticizing the older generations. But no-one has to read it from that lens. The fact as I see it is that today's younger generations have not gone through the process which Silents and Boomers did in the Awakening era of questioning the delusions and limited consciousness that society has imposed upon us, and finding some liberation from this and moving through life in a new way.

Boomers do take or get credit for a lot of things Silents did. But it's also true that most people haven't read Strauss and Howe and don't know what the dates are for generations. All people know is there were people of a certain age in the sixties and 1970s who questioned authority and went through a rebellion or awakening or degeneration of some sort, depending on your view, and these are often labeled as "boomers," when according to various dating schemes many of them are older than boomers.
from wikipedia:
"The narrator aims towards a perception of the world that embraces both sides, the rational and the romantic. This means encompassing "irrational" sources of wisdom and understanding as well as science, reason and technology. In particular, this must include bursts of creativity and intuition that seemingly come from nowhere and are not (in his view) rationally explicable. He seeks to demonstrate that rationality and Zen-like "being in the moment" can harmoniously coexist. He suggests such a combination of rationality and romanticism can potentially bring a higher quality of life."

Seems right to me. It coincides with my own masters philosophy paper.

from wikipedia:
"At the time of its publication, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, in his book review for the New York Times wrote,

I now regret that I lack the expertise in philosophy to put Mr. Pirsig's ideas to a proper test, for this book may very well be a profoundly important one—a great one even—full of insights into our most perplexing contemporary dilemmas. I just don't know. But whatever its true philosophical worth, it is intellectual entertainment of the highest order.[7]

Since then, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance has become the best-selling philosophy book of all time."
"But no-one has to read it from that lens"? Well, then it was fucking time.

"questioning the delusions and limited consciousness"? Less big words and more facts. If that's not too much for you.
(11-08-2019, 07:49 AM)Hintergrund Wrote: [ -> ]"But no-one has to read it from that lens"? Well, then it was fucking time.
That's your choice; that's fine with me
Quote:"questioning the delusions and limited consciousness"? Less big words and more facts. If that's not too much for you.
Those big words represent some pretty big and basic realities.