Monday, 2 February 2009

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Extract

At the moment I am reading and enjoying immensely 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert M Pirsig.

This particular passage jumped out at me and I felt that I needed to share it with blog.

'To speak of a certain government and establishment institutions as 'the system' is to speak correctly, since these organisations are founded upon the same structural conceptual relationships as a motorcycle. They are sustained by structural relationships even when they have lost all other meaning and purpose.People arrive at a factory and perform a totally meaningless task from eight to five without question because the structure demands it be that way. There's no villain, no "mean guy" who wants they to live meaningless lives, it's just that the structure, demands it and no one is willing to take on the formidable task of changing the structure because it is meaningless.

But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is on effects only , no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality that produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that it produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There's so much talk about the system, a so little understanding.

Food for thought.


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