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The Underlying Message Essay

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The Underlying Message

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is not specifically about orthodox Zen Buddhist practice nor does if specifically teaches how to repair a motorcycle. It does, however, dig into the inner structure of the thought process to form a foundation to support any form of logic. This is accomplished by means of a trek through the author’s mind as he recounts his past in attempt to rediscover who he once was. As the author comes to term with his duality, the reader is conditioned to understand the author’s philosophical ideas, which are the underlying beams of his value system.
Pirsig presents his message through lectures to the reader. These lectures are comprised of history, philosophy, and common sense. The
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Are they really needed to judge a student’s progress, or do they just blind the student from the true objective of learning? To answer the question an experiment was conducted which in return raised more questions and experiments. The focus went from the class’ reaction to a particular student and from the student to an assignment. Ultimately, the assignment, an essay about the town where the student resided, focused upon a single brick in a single building of the town.
From the preceding episode Pirsig demonstrated how a complex problem could be solved systematically. More importantly, he also showed how one must be led to understanding and that it cannot be merely preached. In the case of the individual student, she could not write a rhetorical paper until the subject was simple enough for her to understand. Granted, Phaedrus continued to tell his student what to write about, but once she could see how for herself, she no longer needed to be dictated. Working back up and putting the pieces of the problem back together, the students then were in position to decide for themselves what is the importance of grades. Half the class was not in accordance with the instructor’s opinion, but that was not the intention, or he would have just told them what is the purpose of the grading system according to his own opinion.
The author is careful to point out that this divide and conquer method does not always work on a general scale but only on an individual
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