Laurie and I are heading out for a couple of days to see some old friends and watch the Giants in spring training. I don't know about you guys, but I find these kinds of moments reflective. Whenever I am packing a bag, even for a small trip like this one, it just brings out a sense of reflectiveness and that makes me reach for a different kind of literature.
I grew up reading fiction, but turned to poetry and counterculture material in my teens and twenties, but mainly read non-fiction, now. I was out of step with my peers in that I was reading counterculture stuff (Kerouac, et al) in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan and Brook Shields ruled the cultural landscape.
But one of my favorite books when I was a kid, in my teens, was Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig. There is something about this book that brings me back to it over and over again. Certainly it was a kind of classic of its time. Published in 1974, it probably represents some of the best of the countercultural literature.
As I write this I am looking at a mass market paperback edition from the early 80s. And the thing of it is, I know if I can bring myself to relax with this book and slowly chew on this material, which is concerned with romantic ways of seeing the world versus scientific rationality... or Dionysus versus Apollo... that it will bring me back to a time before all this concern about Israel and the well-being of the Jewish people and our betrayal by the progressive movement.
Pirsig wrote the following:
The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower. To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha -- which is to demean oneself.
I get that entirely and I very much hope that the time never comes in my life when I forget it.
I have to say, tho, that right at this moment I am looking forward to nothing so much as watching the Giants in Scottsdale and seeing if Buster Posey can actually come back as a star catcher.
We shall see.
Oh, and by the way,
Read School's piece about Harvard's betrayal.
I may be indulging myself, and just writing off of the top of my head as I sometimes do, but School's piece is significant.