Robert Pirsig and the Zen of Nature Writing
- Tuesday, July 10, 2018 from 3:30pm to 6:30pm
- Gaines Hall - view map
Have you always wanted to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but never have -- or would like to read it again in a new way? Here's your chance: join a focused learning community offering plenty of discussion and writing.
Robert Pirsig and the Zen of Nature Writing, an introductory non-credit course centering on Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), investigates the relations between the genre of nature writing and Pirsig's observations on the connections between technology and art. The course offers a unique opportunity for non-traditional students, life-long learners, and the Bozeman community.
The course, taught by visiting scholar Dr. Peter Olson, explores Pirsig's"inquiry into values" and its resonances in current conversations about environmental issues. Pirsig composed ZAMM after a stint teaching at Montana State University in the late-1950s. Central to the book's narrative is a return to Bozeman where he hikes into the Gallatin Range and recollects the thoughts of his alter-ego Phaedrus. Pirsig's "Chautauqua" investigates the aesthetic split caused by culture's dependence on technology and its increasing distance from Nature. Yet in nature Pirsig discovers a unifying force he terms "quality." In Pirsig's ZAMM, the natural environment close by Bozeman, Montana, and its university setting, provide him a landscape for exploring a holistic view of nature that he associates with a Zen perspective.
This course surveys a selection of writing from the genre of "nature writing" that will help situate Pirsig's ideas about technology and the environment. Nature writing is held to be a space in which we can reorient ourselves to the environment. To address nature writing as a genre and the relations between art, technology, and Zen, we will also read and discuss Don Scheese's Nature Writing: The Pastoral Impulse in America as well as Fritjif Capra's The Turning Point.
The course meets at MSU on Tuesdays from 3:30pm to 6:30pm on July 10, 17 and 24. No prerequsities or prior experience are necessary.
Learn more or register at https://eu.courses.montana.edu/CourseStatus.awp?&course=18MZEN