Todd A. Pownell

I read Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in the early fall of 1997. I purchased the book myself while on vacation. I was seeking out ZMM, but I think it is more true to say that ZMM was seeking me. The book (ZMM) was casually mentioned to me and the title intrigued me because I am also a motorcycle enthusiast and an amateur dirt bike racer. At that time, I was also awakening to something hidden within myself that was always there but which was suppressed by a social conformity, but more so from a lack of confidence in myself due to circumstances and environment. Prior to reading ZMM, I experienced a subtle difference in my perception of the world when I gazed at the Grand Canyon for my first and only time (1996). That experience sort of started a heightened awareness in myself, and a new beginning for me. Since then, I had done some reading of Hinduism beliefs and of some Eastern thought in general. Shortly after reading ZMM, I continued with reading Lila in Dec. and Jan. of 1997/1998. Reading Lila was a wonderful experience for me; as I was reading it when I was in Vail, Co. on a skiing trip and I found myself feeling the pulse of the "Giants" during that time. But strangely, they ("The giants") were not my adversary or against me at that time of my experience.

ZMM was a "seed crystal" for me and Lila was its continued growth. I feel Pirsig is highly unique in his personal perspective and internal battle, which is in us all but yet solely his. The success of ZMM is indeed due to a "culture bearing phenomenon" of which Pirsig has beared the weight of an entire culture (of the 70's & 90's) with pain and a sadness unheard of, unseen and rejected but yet he fought nonetheless, without ever knowing that his painful battle also contained his joy and his genius and indeed it is phenomenal! And all I can say is, "Thank for your battle and your efforts, Mr. Pirsig! The success is deserved and is for us all".

I have only read ZMM & Lila one time each, but I'm sure will have me returning to them quite often!

Although Pirsig critiques and rejects certain "eastern thought" in ZMM, I feel that some of the Mystics, Rishis & Romantics come very close to Pirsig's "Quality" in various stages of history. (But generally, not recent history) And now, our culture continues to speed up and the metaphors for and between static and dynamic quality seemingly multiplies.

As for myself, I was born on June 4th, 1968. I have no formal or college education. My personal expertise (pursued after high school) is in the Gemology and Jewelry industry as an artist, stone setter and appraiser. I live in northeast Ohio, USA, in a suburb of Akron & Cleveland Ohio.

Some other authors that have touched and effected me greatly are: Boethius, "The Consolation of Philosophy" / 520+ AD St. John of the Cross, "Dark Night of the Soul" / 1577-1578 William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven & Hell" etc. / 1789-1790 (I have done a personal study on this one) Various writings of Kahlil Gibran, "The Prophet, etc." / 1918-1950 Various writings of Thomas Merton / 1960's

Some other topics that interest me are: Chaos Theory & Fractals Super String Theory and hidden dimensions (I have a very limited understanding of these scientific theories, but I do enjoy contemplating them.)

In the meantime, I continue to remember and find it perfectly natural realizing that "Good is a noun!"

Back to the members page.