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Discussion Starter #1
ok, here is the new zen thread since everyone was hot to talk about it and we have already driven that kid from boston's thread into the ground like a railroad spike.
 

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I think Zen is a word people throw around all the time, without really knowing what it really means. Hell I am not sure if I even know exactly what it is. I mean I aint no monk who spent their entire life trying to achieve Zen or anything.

But I watched the Tao of Steve, does that count as background to base an educated argument? lol
 
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Discussion Starter #3
ok, I'll start. So there is this book by Robert Pirsig called "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance". If you were in your 20's before the internet was really a thing it was the book poeple would tell you to read when you told them you had a passing interest in motorcycles. But it isn't really about motorcycles, depending on how buddhist you actually are. What it really is is one person's mediation on motorcycle repair, surviving post electroshock therapy in the 1950's and how your outlook on life colors your outlook on everything else. Or in other words the kinds of things your hippy friends used to yammer on about when they were in their 20's and looking for the meaning to the universe. It is also a minor travel log of a guy taking a motorcycle camping trip with his young son on a 1960's 305 honda superhawk, which is probably the most appealing thing about it.

i find people fit into mostly 4 categories:
- People who read the book all the way through at a time when they didn't have any experience with motorcycles and didn't get it or how it relates
- People who read it all the way through when they did have experience with motorcycles and it seemed boring because they had already had the same thoughts and it was as interesting as a grocery list.
- People who didn't read it all the way through because they didn't understand how it realted to motorcycles or what the fuck this guy was yammering about
- People who didn't read it all the way through but pretend to have or pretend to have understand it and then talk endlessly about how motorcycling is some form of meditation and oneness of the universe through riding other general buddhist themes in the context of the bike which are not at all discussed in the book.
 

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Wax on motorcycles tends to leave an unsightly white residue. I usually just use a quality motorcycle wash rinse and towel dry. My VFR1200 needed and still could use some clean up work to remove the remaining wax from the previous owner.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
BTW, I think every motorcyclist should read it, for one of 2 reasons:

1) because it is nice to read about things other than motorcycling that reference motorcycling, and the book itself is almost a rite of passage.
2) so when someone tries to wax poetic about riding with you and they bring up the book you know exactly how full of shit they are.
 

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I read the book years ago and tried to read it again recently. The motorcycle parts were interesting to me, and I learned why my super hawk seized up in 1971. The rest of the book is babble as far as I am concerned, but I am a simple man, not a deep thinker.

another book that has great and not so great parts is Shop Class as Soul Craft, again I enjoyed the motorcycle parts and ignored the philosophical ones.

jack
 

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I would add a 5th category to that list Geeto: People who didnt read the book, knew it existed and what its basic concept was and thought it sounded like a load of shit.

I get the whole feeling of "Zen" when riding. Because you are not surrounded by a metal cage and glass, you are connected to the world in the same way that you are connected to it when taking a casual stroll down the street. I personally do feel a sense of freedom when riding, I am free from my phone since you cant really be on it while riding. I am free from safety restraints and the mediocrity of the daily drive to and from work. I like to feel the vibration of the engine and the road, hear the sound of the exhaust and feel the wind buffeting me as I ride. All things you do not generally feel in a car.

Is that zen? Fucked if I know. Do I care? No not really. I think "Zen" might be different to each person. But then I am just some gear head from Idaho that is pleased by simple things
 
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I posted this on the the other thread before this one got created...

I read the book. I had to start it multiple times before I actually got all the through it. Not one of my faves and I remember very little of it now, maybe 15 -10 years later.

Another book that was popular for a bit that I tried to read was Shop Class as Soulcraft. Never finished it. Someone bought it for me I think. It covered things my dad used to talk about (he was a shop teacher BTW) so I had high hopes but once I got into it, it was written way too much like a college thesis for my tastes. Basically the writing style annoyed me enough I gave up on it.

"Rebuilding the Indian" was one motorcycle book I got through the first attempt. Don't remember much of that one either but at least it kept my interest at the time.

Hmm... there was another about a guy that toured Italy on a Vespa. That one was interesting mostly because he went a lot of places I had just been. "Vroom with a view" I think it was called. I remember a few things he wrote bothered me because his experience didn't go along with mine and I thought he was whining. In any case it wasn't the knid of read that changes your life or outlook on things...
 

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I started to read it when it was first published but he was competing with Carlos Castaneda and Hunter S Thompson on my must read list. I'll have to take another run at it.
 

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To be fair, I don't remember Pirsig being so big on the riding as Zen thing. I haven't opened it in 20 years and I'm not completely sure that I ever finished it. My recollection was more a comparison of the guy that bought the best, paid to have it fixed by factory mechanics and enjoyed riding compared to the guy with the Japanese bike that learned to handle his own maintenance and considered it part of the costs and experience of riding. Then the whole thing devolves into comparing what constitutes "Quality" which is Pirsig's Zen buzzword and by his own definition cannot be defined.

I am not strictly sure what I actually remember and what came from my Dad when he was handing us the book in the mid-70's and saying "read this"
 

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Discussion Starter #14
To be fair, I don't remember Pirsig being so big on the riding as Zen thing. I haven't opened it in 20 years and I'm not completely sure that I ever finished it. My recollection was more a comparison of the guy that bought the best, paid to have it fixed by factory mechanics and enjoyed riding compared to the guy with the Japanese bike that learned to handle his own maintenance and considered it part of the costs and experience of riding. Then the whole thing devolves into comparing what constitutes "Quality" which is Pirsig's Zen buzzword and by his own definition cannot be defined.

To be fair, I can never remember what I actually remember and what came from my Dad when he was handing us the book in the mid-70's and saying "read this"
I think you got it pretty well, If he talks about zen and riding at all it's in a very abstract way for maybe 1-2 pages. The title is misleading, it's a philosophical discussion as to what constitutes a person's value structure.

What is really interesting, and to be honest you have to be really educated to get this, is the comparison of classical to romantic approaches to life, similar to the view people had at the time to the different periods of art and history of the same names. However, most of you will recognize it as a person bitching that people today don't take the time to learn the old skills like they used to. SO it goes to show you that even 40 years ago people were still bitching about "kids today".
 

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I'm no Buddhist or hippy so possibly the closet I get to feelin zen is about now sat on the patio in blazing sun (yep sun in England) with a pint of cold cider, a smoke and classic rock radio in the background :)
 

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That is a good point thought, artisan level work is slowly fading away. Partially because it is time consuming and we live in an instant gratification society. Partially because no one is teaching it anymore. For instance, my best friends father is a Master Luthier (guitar builder) one of like 3 in the world who can do what he does (Ren Ferguson, google him if you are interested). Anyway, my friend left a $20/hr job to move home and apprentice under his father. Well his father was all about it at first, then decided he didn't want to share his secrets and such. Needles to say my friend was beyond frustrated. He now lives in North LA and is struggling to get his Ukulele shop off the ground. Meanwhile his father is now VP of Guild Guitars new acoustic dept. Ren is a great guy, but it is the mentality of not wanting to share know;edge that is killing off some the most artistic industries
 
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That is a good point thought, artisan level work is slowly fading away. Partially because it is time consuming and we live in an instant gratification society. Partially because no one is teaching it anymore. For instance, my best friends father is a Master Luthier (guitar builder) one of like 3 in the world who can do what he does (Ren Ferguson, google him if you are interested). Anyway, my friend left a $20/hr job to move home and apprentice under his father. Well his father was all about it at first, then decided he didn't want to share his secrets and such. Needles to say my friend was beyond frustrated. He now lives in North LA and is struggling to get his Ukulele shop off the ground. Meanwhile his father is now VP of Guild Guitars new acoustic dept. Ren is a great guy, but it is the mentality of not wanting to share know;edge that is killing off some the most artistic industries

I don't know if this is really true. I think we have more artisan level work than we have ever had in history, if you are willing to make some concessions like the use of sewing machine in place of hand stitching. And I think there has been a resurgence to learn new techniques, and to use more technology in new and interesting ways. I think the internet has given rise to independent craftsmen who can make a living at it where as before they could not in all areas of the arts (esp music).

the problem with saying we are loosing skills is we really don't know how many skills have been lost in the past because they don't exist anymore. We know the ancient greeks made computational machines but nobody here has that same skill because it died out. Nor do we need it because we developed other skills that created computers. If you start to think about how many skills are lost to the ages you start to stare into the void of human history.

As for your friend, we don't know the whole story there. Maybe his dad didn't want to teach him because they fought a lot and had different ideals. Who knows.
 

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I don't know if this is really true. I think we have more artisan level work than we have ever had in history, if you are willing to make some concessions like the use of sewing machine in place of hand stitching. And I think there has been a resurgence to learn new techniques, and to use more technology in new and interesting ways. I think the internet has given rise to independent craftsmen who can make a living at it where as before they could not in all areas of the arts (esp music).

the problem with saying we are loosing skills is we really don't know how many skills have been lost in the past because they don't exist anymore. We know the ancient greeks made computational machines but nobody here has that same skill because it died out. Nor do we need it because we developed other skills that created computers. If you start to think about how many skills are lost to the ages you start to stare into the void of human history.

As for your friend, we don't know the whole story there. Maybe his dad didn't want to teach him because they fought a lot and had different ideals. Who knows.
I dont know the exact details, I have an outside looking in opinion. What I saw was the Ren had told us many times how he had worked hard for decades to get to where he was. Tim (my friend) has quite a lot of natural talent for the work, and I think there might have been some jealousy there. It was only a few years ago that Ren asked Tim to do some inlay work on a fret board, tim found out later that it was for a guitar built for Kiks Brooks of Brooks and Dunn, I think the total value of the thing was north of $30k. Tim made maybe a few hundred off the deal, interesting family dynamic there, long story.

You do make a good point, how many skills have been lost due to lack of need? I will admit that the internet has given birth to many new trades, some cool, some just odd.
 

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I'm not so sure about the artisan thing either.

I think that people think they can learn everything from youtube. Hell, my friend is raising his kid with that as his prime resource. Instead of specializing people just figure that when it is time I will learn how to do that. Whatever that is. I am certainly guilty of this. My dad was that kind of renaissance man before the internet and he is constantly laughing at all the mistakes and internet experts that he runs into that seem to simplify everything.

Keep secrets to yourself is nothing new. If you learned the glassmaking trade in Murano and tried to leave the penalty was death. My own grandfather worked in restaurants his whole life and had some recipe for shrimp Cantonese that was legendary. One night, after my grandmother died when it was just the two of us, he asked me if I wanted to know how to make his shrimp Cantonese. Figuring it was a bonding moment with the old hardass, I said sure. He smiled, shrugged and said "Well, you're not gonna!"

Regarding the losing skills point, was this the board that posted the wave reader piece? That was interesting and I guess basically that skill has pretty much been lost.

Edit: Yep. This was the place
http://www.caferacer.net/forum/general/26262-petrolicious-bikes-2.html#post355390

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/magazine/the-secrets-of-the-wave-pilots.html?_r=2
 

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Rounding back to Zen. I googled what it's definition is: a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.

I don't know that one could meditate while riding, seems unsafe to me.
 
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