Friday, September 30, 2011

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance part 5

I feel like there are  more things than you can count that you have to form an opinion about.  Political issues, religious issues, philosophical issues, and many more.  I feel overwhelmed sometimes because I don't know where I stand on many of these things.  
Because of this, I used to think about each thing individually. For each issue, I would figure out what I thought and move on to the next one.  What I knew, but didn't realize, is that these issues all interconnect.  If I come across new ideas and they change my view point on one thing, then other things might change as well.  
This makes me want to spend hours just sitting and thinking about what I believe and how that affects my position on various subjects.  
In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance this changing of ideas and positions has been an ongoing theme throughout the book.  The narrator starts with one view and then narrows it down, discovers new aspects or ways of thinking about it, changes views because of this new information, and discovers new aspects again.  He is not afraid to find a new viewpoint that might be better.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wood Sculpture

Made up of individual triangles stacked on top of each other.
We used 23 cans of spray paint to coat both the inside and the outside.
I admit it, we are the cause of global warming.
It is a little over 12 feet tall.
If you happen to be in Carlson Tower before Monday, October 3rd take a look.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance part 4

"The past exists only in our memories, the future only in our plans.  The present is our only reality.  The tree that are aware of intellectually, because of that small time lag, is always in the past and therefore always unreal.  Any intellectually conceived object is always in the past and therefore unreal.  Reality is always the moment of vision before the intellectualization takes place.  There is no other reality."

This seems a really fine way of cutting it.  Why is it worth it to think about these things?  Do they help us understand the world around us?
Does thinking about the past, present, and future this way redefine how I act or how I live?
Does it matter?
I'm not sure.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance part 3

Instead of talking about a quote or piece of text that really grabbed me, I wanted to talk about the scenery.  Especially in this part the scenery matches what he is talking about in the Chautauqua.  As he gets closer and closer to Phaedrus's breaking point in the Chautauqua, he and his son get closer and closer to the top of the mountain.  
There is an interesting point where they get above the tree line and he wants to head back down.  At the same time in the Chautauqua he leaves Phaedrus's line of thought and heads off on his own.  He is scared to pursue the things that destroyed him in the first place.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Theatre Production: Little Room

In Theatre Production we made our first scale models.

 Little rooms.  1' = 1/4'' scale.
 They have a window and a door.
A little person lives inside.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Response 1

Hey Afreen,
In your post you mentioned your reaction to the slightly fuzzy beginning of the story.  I came to almost the same conclusions.  I think Phaedrus used to be him.  He doesn't have a split personality, he has a old and a new personality.
I do agree with you about the motorcycles.  While I feel that I am learning quite a bit more about how they work,  the reason I am interested in the story is the mystery of what happened to him.  I want to learn what happened.
Even though I want to know, it feels slightly rude to keep prying into why he is who he is.  Yes, it is in a book, but it is written in such a way that you have to pry to find out.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance part 2

"Quality... you now what it is, yet you don't know what it is.  But that's self-contradictory.  But some things are better than others, that is, they have more quality.  But when you try to say what Quality is apart from the things that have it, it all goes poof!  There's nothing to talk about.  But if you can't say what Quality is, how do you know what it is, or how do you know that it even exists?" - Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Is he right?  Is defining Quality really that hard?
I can provide many examples of why one thing is better than another, but is that quality or opinion?  Maybe quality is in the eye of the beholder.  This would make sense because then we would all define it differently.  There wouldn't be one definition of quality.  You might think that one movie is better than another.  I might disagree completely.
If that is the case then the definition of quality would be something like this.  Quality is your opinion of how much better one object/idea is than another. 

How would you define quality?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance part 1

"If all of human knowledge, everything that's known, is believed to be an enormous hierarchic structure, then the high country of the mind is found in the uppermost reaches of this structure in the most general, the most abstract considerations of all.
Few people travel here. There is no real profit to be made from wandering through it, yet like this high country of the material world all around us, it has its own austere beauty that to some people make the hardships of traveling through it seem worthwhile." - Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Reading this book is both something I look forward to and dislike at the same time.  It is a book that lulls your mind into a basic story and then hitting it with huge ideas.  I feel very stretched.  Every time I put it down I have new information to try and assimilate into my world view.  There are many things in here that I'm not sure I agree with but don't have enough information to say why.  Like he says in the quote above, I feel as if I am at the uppermost country of my mind.  These ideas he is bringing up make sense on some level but don't on others.  I haven't ever thought about scientific theory, personality, and motorcycles as being connected before.   I don't understand everything that is going on in this book but my hope is that I will find some austere beauty.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Plugged In

What is with the term “plugged in”?  I have been hearing it frequently.  People use it when they are talking about clubs, groups, and organizations.  For example: “I got plugged into choir” Or “You should get plugged into theater”.  
It makes me think of a lamp.  A lamp needs electricity to provide work.  It needs to be plugged in.  If I am the lamp then the activity/group is my electricity.  The problem I have with this is that a lamp doesn't give anything back to the electricity.  When we are a part of a group it is not just providing our needs but we are giving back to the group.  There is a give and take.  
If we go into a group setting expecting to have our needs met and not have to give anything back then we are doing a disfavor to both ourselves and to the group.  Instead of “plugged in” can we say “involved”?  I know it is a small thing but small things show a larger mindset.  
Let’s start to change it.