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Watch this guy, Jim Gaffigan, from last Sunday. then read the "Zen" rebuttal below.

Robert M. Pirsig died in April  at age 88. He will always be remembered as the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which holds a Guinness record as the most rejected bestseller in history. When it was finally published, Zen sold 5 million copies worldwide in the years immediately after its 1974 publication.

Few knew that Pirsig was also an accomplished bluewater cruiser, who wrote “Cruising Blues and Their Cure,” an essay for Esquire magazine in 1977 about sailing under the influence of depression, which he suffered his entire adult life.

Substitute "cruising" for sailing in the excerpt below, and you will understand Pirsig's brilliant notion that we "take out" our boats to reconnect with nature. Take that, Jim Gaffigan! Your life is shallow and artificial.

The house-car-job complex with its nine-to-five office routine is common only to a very small percentage of the earth's population and has only been common to this percentage for the last hundred years or so. If this is reality, have the millions of years that preceded our current century all been unreal?

An alternative - and better - definition of reality can be found by naming some of its components...air...sunlight...wind...water...the motion of waves...the patterns of clouds before a coming storm. These elements, unlike twentieth-century office routines, have been here since before life appeared on this planet and they will continue long after office routines are gone. They are understood by everyone, not just a small segment of a highly advanced society. When considered on purely logical grounds, they are more real than the extremely transitory life-styles of the modern civilization the depressed ones want to return to.
If this is so, then it follows that those who see sailing as an escape from reality have got their understanding of both sailing and reality completely backwards.

Sailing is not an escape but a return to and a confrontation of a reality from which modern civilization is itself an escape. For centuries, man suffered from the reality of an earth that was too dark or too hot or too cold for his comfort, and to escape this he invented complex systems of lighting, heating and air conditioning. Sailing rejects these and returns to the old realities of dark and heat and cold. Modern civilization has found radio, TV, movies, nightclubs and a huge variety of mechanized entertainment to titillate our senses and help us escape from the apparent boredom of the earth and the sun and wind and stars. Sailing returns to these ancient realities 

Robert Pirsig, 1928-2017.

Robert Pirsig, 1928-2017.