This chapter introduces us to the story, and give the first discussion
which is about how some people cannot deal with technology.
It's the first day of a motorcycle trip to the west-coast of the
writer and his son Chris, together with a couple called John and Sylvia.
I can see by my . . .
In the very first sentense, it says he is riding on
a motor cycle, at 8:30 in the morning, and the wheather
is already hot.
I'm happy to be riding back into this country. It is
a kind of nowhere, famous for nothing at all and has an
appeal because of just that. . . .
We get our first tast of Zen.
I whack Chris's knee . . .
First mentioning of Chris,
who will be all the time sitting
at the back on the cycle.
I've wondered why . . .
About the truth he says:
``The truth knocks on the door and you say, ``Go away, I'm
looking for the truth,'' and so it goes away.''
What I would like to do is use the time that is coming
now to talk about some things that have come to mind.
We're in such a hurry most of the time we never get much
chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-
to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person
wondering years later where all the time went and
sorry that it's all gone.
Indeed a good observation.
What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua . . .
Here he states that what he writes will be about:
``What is best?'', instead of ``What is new?''.
This is setting one of the central themes of the book.
The problem of technology
After a while Sylvia sits down . . .
Shows how people precieve things in different ways. His final
conclusion is given in the following:
Disharmony I suppose is common enough in any
marriage, but in their case it seems more tragic. To me,
It's not a personality clash between them; it's
something else, for which neither is to blame, but for which
neither has any solution, and for which I'm not sure
I have any solution either, just ideas.
With this statement he starts his first discourse in the book,
which is about the role of technology.
Sylvia is completely . . .
Here he states about John and Sylvia's attitude towards technology:
``They want not to understand it.
Not to hear about it. And the more I try to fathom what
makes me enjoy mechanical work and them hate it so,
the more elusive it becomes. The ultimate cause of this
originally minor difference of opinion appears to run
way, way deep.''
I might have thought . . .
In the following paragraphs he gives an example that John does
not understand the choke, and seems not to be able to understand
an explaination given to him, as he makes the same mistake again.
It is not due to stupidity or to laziness, but to a kind of
blind spot for technical things (see paragraphs
Later he discovered that it also applies to other things, and
gives an example of a dripping faucet, which they ignored to
repair, but he observed that Sylvia
wasn't ignoring that faucet at all! She was
suppressing anger at that faucet and that goddamned
dripping faucet was just about killing her!
It's not the motorcycle maintenance, not the faucet.
It's all of technology they can't take. . . .
Here he states his conclusion, and then continues to explain
how it is also reflected in many other things.
Other things fit in . . .
I could have been Sylvia's friend who thought
Another striking observation is: You always
suppress momentary anger at something you deeply and
And about John and Sylvia: To get away from technology out into the
country in the fresh air and sunshine is why they are
on the motorcycle in the first place.
He also notice that John and Sylvia refer to it as ``it'', which to
them is a kind of force that gives rise to technology, something
undefined, but inhuman, mechanical, lifeless, a blind
monster, a death force.. It, in their though is run by
technologists which speak an inhuman language.
I disagree with them . . .
I think that the description that is given here is very accurate.
Technology is something that is not considered as human in our
society. It is often depictated as something dangerous in the
media, and people are totally unaware of the fact that most of
our wealth is based on the results of technology. In paragraph
86 it says: And they feel that
technology has got a lot to do with the forces that are
trying to turn them into mass people and they don't like it.
Here he states that hatred of technology is self-defeating.
He explains this in the following quote:
the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the
circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle
transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or
in the petals of a flower. To think otherwise is to demean
the Buddha...which is to demean oneself.
I my copy I have encircled this quote and put an exlamation
mark besides it in the border. The writer does not clearly
explain what he means with ``the Buddha, the Godhead''. (In
Chapter 20 he makes a connection between
Zen and quality.)
Although, I think that
Pirsig does not share my world view
as a Christian, I still agree with this statement. The statement
made here made me think of Chapter 5 :
The Universial Presence of The
Pursuit of God by Tozer.
And I equally believe that hating technology is to demean oneself.
Contents | Chapter 2