I’ve been thinking about quantity versus quality lately and for some reason Robert Pirsig’s book –Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – popped into my head, though it has been many years since I read it.
The full title is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values and it’s really about the values we live by. Do we value quality?
Pirsig’s book is full of quotable bits and here’s one I especially like: “What is good, PhÊdrus, and what is not good…need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”
And this one makes me laugh: “You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.”
I would argue with that – I’ve been reading about Caravaggio and I can’t think of a more imperfect artist or a more perfect painter!
Perfection in Caravaggio is in the details – a fingernail, a reflection on a goblet, a fold in the cloth – and if god is in the details, then he is pretty nearly perfect.
Never mind his darkness, his theatrics – the truth is that we don’t have to live with him, just his work and that is a joy.