I don’t know about you, but the motorcycle bug didn’t quite bite me.
But while in college, bikes were around everywhere – though I never had one – you could hop on one, zip past your campus off to the wide open and empty ring road and feel the wind against your face and all that.
But that bug just sat on me, not quite biting really. And for a while as the bug sat, there was a small possibility of a bite. I admit it might have contemplated a bite, but not quite digging into action.
And around the same time, I discovered that man, Robert Pirsig. I got my hands on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. And the bug contemplated a nibble one more time. But of course. I was studying Mechanical Engineering, sweeping the ‘scalpel like a surgeon’ on all things that were meant to subdue nature’s ways – forces, energy, motion, water, by waving it on Vectors, Volts, Thermodynamics, Mass, Hydraulics and Gravity.
I was a classic. The Spanner. Not the flower, a romantic.
And I ought to have my hands full of grease and oil. It was a natural by-product to be awe inspired by machinery. By a bike. By the feeling of the two stroke piston reverberating through the clutch plates to your grip on the bar. Up from the foot rest through your foot to the back of your neck, making the hair stand on its end.
But it was Phaedrus himself that had a bigger influence than his hippie, roadie ways and a sudden new bug came from nowhere and bit me with this line that was to stay with me for ever –
Quality is a direct experience independent of, and prior to intellectual abstractions.
And a few others like these –
Truth knocks on the door and you say, go away, I’m looking for the truth, and it goes away.
To live for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.
Traditional scientific method has always been at the very best, 20 – 20 hindsight. It’s good for seeing where you’ve been. It’s good for testing the truth of what you think you know, but it can’t tell you where you ought to go.
‘And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good— Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?’
I guess the bike bug just got bored and left without ever making an earnest attempt.
But after all these years, this video here seemed to beckon the bug back with some desperation. I imagine this might have urged that bug to act back then.
Watch this in full screen. Dedicate a few minutes. Think of nothing else.
Did it bite you? Tell me about it.