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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 29, Issue 3, 2019

Philosophy in an Age of Crisis, Part III

Jialing Zhao
Pages 171-176

Quality and Life
A Thesis on the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

With the swift development of technology, the distance among people’s hearts surprisingly becomes further and further. Residents living in the congested cities feel more lonely than those who inhabit countryside. The mass media makes them consider ever ything at hand stereotyped. They parrot their designated work again and again, without passion or enthusiasm. Hence facing these social predicaments and interior struggle, Robert M. Pirsig embarks on a trip to cross America by motorcycle, in order to gain spiritual epiphany and freedom. Therefore, he finds quality is the panacea that may solve the present problems. Quality has a long history, which is closely analogous to Plato’s goodness. Quality is one, just as the supreme spirit in the Buddhist Upanishad whose universe and ego are identical. However, modern technology lacks of oneness, so that each time touching it, people only feel cruel and ugly since both the creator and the owner do not have the sense of identity for their innovative or possessive things. The injection of quality into technology may break through the difficulties resulting from the traditional method of dichotomy for the reason that quality spurs technology to melt nature and human’s soul, creating something that exceeds the two. This thesis aims to probe the meaning of quality and the account of modern crisis caused by the absence of quality. The last part points out how to reconcile the conflict between human’s value and technological needs, so as to achieve the ultimate goal that enhances people’s happiness.

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