Fooled by momentary appeal. Paul Simon and Robert Pirsig


Culture and psychology have all the answers to malaise and melancholy, right? Figuring out the mysteries of life and love are easy, right? Bumper-sticker slogans and positive-thinking memes strike chords in us, so we share them in affirmation, but we mistake that for internalizing and practicing their wisdom…

The back cover of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values” – a book by Robert M. Pirsig first published in 1974.

“The problem is all inside your head”, [they say] to me

“The answer is easy if you take it logically

I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free

There must be fifty ways to leave your [sadness]”

[They say], “it’s really not my habit to intrude

Furthermore, I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued

But I’ll repeat myself at the risk of being crude

There must be fifty ways…”

[They say], “it grieves me so to see you in such pain

I wish there was something I could do to make you smile again”

I said, “I appreciate that and would you please explain

About the fifty ways”

[They say], “why don’t we both just sleep on it tonight?

And I believe in the morning you’ll begin to see the light”

And then [they coddle me] me and I realized [they] probably [were] right

There must be fifty ways to leave your [intuition and ideals and Self, and conform unquestioningly to cultural conditioning]

You just slip out the back, Jack

Make a new plan, Stan

You don’t need to be coy, Roy

Just get yourself free

Hop on the bus, Gus

You don’t need to discuss much

Just drop off the key, Lee

And get yourself free


Neil D. 2020-03-18


Published by Neil Durso

Just another mid-lifer sharing the journey...

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