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Pirsig introduces his ideas on values in his first book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZMM). The text contains three interweaved narratives: a motorcycle trip across America, the reconciliation of the narrator with his son and former "insane" self, Phaedrus, and a number of philosophical discussions concerning the quality of contemporary Western life.
ZMM was finally published in 1974 and became an astonishing literary success despite being refused by more than 121 publishers. The text continuously attracts large numbers of readers and is possibly the most widely read philosophy book of the 20th century. It had a profound impact on my personal and professional development and I hope that the MP3 Podcast together with the original text (linked on the left hand side) inspires many new readers. Though less famous, ZMM's sequel Lila: An Inquiry into Morals is also worthy of note as it systematically extends Pirsig's discussions into a developed Metaphysics of Quality (MOQ).
Pirsig mentions several towns that he and his son visited during the actual motorcycle tour that the journey described in ZMM was based on. Several people have followed the route the Pirsigs took in 1968 but if you cannot take the tour yourself, you might be interested in the aerial views of the towns via the links given below.The surrounding lakes and rivers and folds in the mountains will also be evident.
• Montana > Baker > Miles City > Laurel > Red Lodge > Cooke City > Yellowstone National Park > Gardiner > Bozeman > English Department at the Montana State University > Missoula > Three Forks > Butte > Anaconda > Philipsburg > Hall > Lolo Pass > Billings >
last updated February 2, 2011, by Christoph Bartneck