There’s something profoundly relaxing about riding a moped in the biting cold of Berkeley nights. It’s cathartic, the cold air brusquely rushing past your cheeks, the sense of tranquility, even among all the strange sounds that the motorcycle makes. The sounds drown into a constant hum; your ears become attuned to the buzz of the motorcycle, and the vehicle itself becomes an extended allegory of the mind.
The vehicle itself has no purpose. Like the brain, without intent, the vehicle does nothing, achieves nothing, a simple tool to be manipulated. The winding roads up the mountain do little to shake me from my revelry. Bright lights flash by in an instant, alighting the road like the silhouette from an old camera’s bulb. “SNAP!” and your mind, complicit with the demands of a wandering soul, questions the very fibre of my being.
“What then, do you hold dear?” asks the wandering soul, shrouded in darkness, so very intimate with the fabric of my life.
“There are a few values that I hold to utmost importance – truth, honesty, and moral integrity,” I respond.
In that exact order, my worldview is lay bare to the world, three words, which to take from one of my favorite childhood books, Eragon, would comprise my true name, the sum of which comprises an entire individual’s being. Truth, as a vehicle of furthering humankind. Honesty, as a cardinal trait for which I could not be more appreciative in relationship and friendship. Moral integrity, a trait that lacks efforts to nail down its definition, a subjective measure at its core. These three are satisfactory to life.
However, moral integrity should be unsatisfactory to you, the reader. It appears that among these objective measures of a life well-lived, that there is an anomaly. What comprises moral integrity? I think that it cannot be the strength of one’s word. Promises are too fickle, subjected to the brunt of human emotion.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a fantastic read. I admit that I’m only 140 pages in, but the premise of the novel, a road trip with a father, son, and his two friends is intriguing and piquing. The book is an intellectual rollercoaster, with the ghost of a previous personality lingering in the shadows of the main story, threatening to escape and lay waste to the protagonist’s current personality. In fact, I’m really appreciating the contemplation that I’ve put into following the narrative. There is no escape from the compelling web that the author spins for you, as you dive deeper and deeper into a story with no apparent end.
The mind wanders and the body follows. The body is the motorcycle, but the mind is one and the same. I too look for the same peace that can be found in the journey.