Ever since Robert Pirsig brought out his best-seller about a motorcycle road trip, variations on the ‘Zen and the Art of …’ theme have emerged in relentless numbers. A quick online search – specifically excluding the search terms “motorcycle maintenance” – threw up over 30 million results.
It’s obviously a catchy phrase.
Few of these bits of writing actually have anything to do with Zen. In the past, as long as the topic had some vague leaning towards hippiedom, it qualified. The more recent trend suggests that people are favouring a somewhat random “anything goes” approach:
- Zen and the art of stem-cell research;
- Zen and the art of overcoming erienerphobia;
- Zen and the art of faking orgasms;
- Zen and the art of hitting yourself over the head with a bottle;
- Zen and the art of rotting teeth;
- Zen and the art of Barney the Dinosaur;
- Zen and the art of removing small animals from your anus; and so forth.
Then again, I suppose in an ironic, arse-backwards kind of way, these miscellaneous musings may very well contribute to a truer experience of the world. And there my point has just eaten itself. Damn.