Sunday, August 28, 2011

ZAMM (part 2) - Journey through Life

Part 2 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM)

Remember board games? Long before computers, video games, etc. You may remember this one ...

The Game of Life

The Game of Life was invented in the 19th century by Milton Bradley.  A hundred years later, TV personality Art Linkletter became its spokesman in the 1960s and helped to make the game popular, again. (It was one of my favorites when I was a kid.)

In this 3 D board game, all the participants start out on a level playing field - one tiny plastic car inserted with one man (a blue peg) or woman (a pink peg). The car and its occupants (spouse, kids picked up along the way) jump along the wiggly line of squares on the board, following a path of twists and turns until you come to the end of road.

Along this Life's journey,the spin of the wheel and a few choices determines your career and salary, the inevitability of getting married, and possible expansion of the family. You go through good times with windfalls of cash. And there's the bad times of negative cash flow - taxes, payoffs to a fellow player who is wreaking revenge on you, helping a relative down on his luck.

Life reaches its climax at the Day of Reckoning. In the end, you will give an accounting of your worldly goods. Do you have enough cash to win? If not,you may opt to go for broke - putting all your assets on the wheel and giving it a spin. If fate has it and your number come up,you win the game. Hooray!  If not, you end up on the poor farm waiting for the others in the game to finish. In that case, the most fortunate - with piles of cash - retire to Millionaire's Acres.

End game?

In this version of Life, the end game is the one with the most money wins.  (That's if he/she doesn't get lucky at the spin of the wheel - kind of like winning the lottery.)  And I saw a bumper sticker expressing this world view once: The one who dies with the most toys wins.

But what does the Good Book say? To paraphrase Job - You can't take it with you. (reference Job 1:20-21)

The Journey of Life

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance describes a journey. The author, Robert Pirsig, with his son (and another couple who travel with them part of the way) embark on a trip riding motorcycles, starting in Minnesota. Their odyssey takes them through the badlands of the Dakotas, the varied landscapes of Montana and Idaho, and down the West Coast - many times on the road less traveled.

The experience of the motorcycle allows them to connect with their environment otherwise missed in the artificial bubble of a car. These travelers sense changes in the landscape and climate as well as the attitude of the people about them.

During this journey, the author has flashbacks of his old life, the one in which he went insane. His former self had been erased in a mental institution -- almost. From this background he tells his story - his journey and lessons he has learned and observed on the rocky road of his search for the meaning of values ... and even grasping for an attribute of the Divine perhaps?

Good News for our journey

Many philosophers describe life as a journey, like Robert Pirsig in his watershed book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Is the accumulation of material goods all there is?  Where are we?  Where have we been?  Where are we going? 

Yet, we are not totally left without a compass. The Real Game of Life comes with a Divine road map. Here is a sampling of the squares we may land on as mapped out by the Good Book.

Start of our journey:    We are all born into this imperfect world.

Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
Job 5:7 (King James Version)

First leg of the journey:    During childhood, the development of our talents may need guidance and encouragement.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (King James Version)

New territory:    We need a GPS from above to guide us, especially when we are young and starting out life outside the home.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 (King James Version)

Warnings:    We need to discern the dangers in the road, ahead.

My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
Proverbs 1:10 (King James Version)

Alternate route:    Some of us may choose to get married and not go through our journey alone.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
Proverbs 18:22 (King James Version)

End of the road:    Near the end of life, we need assurance.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4 (King James Version)

Exit sign and off-ramp:  The final exit comes when we leave the road of this life and step into eternity.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
Psalm 23:6 (King James Version)

Travel log:  It is being written in our lives every second.  Many have shared their experiences to  guide others on their journey in the real game of life.  Many have blogged about it and offered wonderful advice.  May the travel logs of others, who have mapped their way, help us to make wise choices along our path and avoid the dangers in the road ahead.

Question:  Any words of wisdom learned from your life's journey?

Check out:  ZAMM (part 1) - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Photo: everystockphoto.comThe Game of Life

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