Brian (digibri) wrote,
Brian
digibri

Quote from ZAMM


"The explanation, I suppose, is that the physical distance between people
has nothing to do with lonliness. It's psychic distance, and in Montana and
Idaho the physical distances are big but the psychic distances between
people are small, and here it's reversed.

It's the primary America we're in. It hit the night before last in
Prineville Junction and it's been with us ever since. There's this primary
America of freeways and jet flights and TV and movie spectaculars. And
people caught up in primary America seem to go through huge portions of
their lives without much consciousness of what's immediately around them.
The media have convinced them that what's right around them is unimportant.
And that's why they're lonely. you see it in their faces. First the little
flicker of searching, and then when they look at you, you're just a kind of
an object. You don't count. You're not what they're looking for. You're
not on TV.

But in the secondary America we've been through, of back roads, and
Chinaman's ditches, and Appaloosa horses, and sweeping mountain ranges, and
meditative thoughts, and kids with pinecones and bumblebees and open sky
above us mile after mile after mile, all through that, what was real, what
was around us dominated. And so there wasn't much feeling of lonliness.
That's the way it must have been a hundred or two hundred years ago. Hardly
any people and hardly any lonliness. I'm undoubtedly overgeneralizing, but
if the proper qualifications were introduced it would be true.

Technology is blamed for a lot of this lonliness, since the loneliness is
certainly associated with the newer technological devices...TV, jets,
freeways, and so on...but I hope it's been made plain that the real evil
isn't the objects of technology but the tendency of technology to isolate
people into lonely attitudes of objectivity. It's the objectivity, the
dualistic way of looking at things underlying technology, that produces the
evil. That's why I went to so much trouble to show how technology could be
used to destroy the evil. A person who knows how to fix motorcycles...with
Quality...is less likely to run short of friends than one who doesn't. And
they aren't going to see him as some kind of object either. Quality destroys
objectivity every time.

Or if he takes whatever dull job he's stuck with...and they are all, sooner
or later, dull...and, just to keep himself amused, starts to look for
options of Quality, and secretly pursues these options, just for their own
sake, thus making an art out of what he is doing, he's likely to discover
that he becomes a much more interesting person and much less of an object
tot he people around him because his Quality decisions change him too. And
not only the job and him, but others too becqause the Quality tends to fan
out like waves. The Quality job he didn't think anyone was going to see is
seen, and the person who sees it feels a little better because of it, and is
likely to pass that feeling on to others, and in that way the Quality tends
to keep on going."

-Rober Pirsig
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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