“the enamored contemplation of quality…”
That was the last line of a dream I was having before I woke up (late) this morning.
In my dreams, I must be kind of a wordy blowhard…but only in my dreams.
When I was in High School, my friend Ben and his father were reading a book called “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance“. They turned me on to it…and I’ve read it a couple of times in the years since then.
The reason I mention the book is that the central theme is trying to define exactly what quality is and where it comes from.
It’s still kind of elusive, really. I know when I see it…I know when it hits me like some kind of accidental friendly wind, filling my sails with pleasure and appreciation….but I don’t always feel it coming. It doesn’t always hit me from an expected angle.
Our first trip to Colorado, we listened to the audio version of the book.
If you’ve ever read it, you know that it’s kind of “wordy”, too. Lots of long passages about quality and ethics and a lot of other pretty heavy topics….it can be a book that requires some effort and thought.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t a bad choice for a long drive through the middle of the country in the late night of Summer.
It fit to listen to a book that also talked about a long motorcycle trip (in addition to all the philosophy) while we were taking the first long road trip of our young children’s lives.
I don’t know why that phrase would pop into my head at the tail end of a dream this morning…but when I woke up and remembered that I must have been dreaming about quality it made me think about this book…and the rest is, how they say….hist….
I don’t know that as a culture that we really expect quality like we might have at some other point.
We expect rapid obsolescence….so why be surprised if anything is built to be more than temporary?
If you look at Architectural Digest or the Robb Report… magazines that seemed designed to celebrate and fuel the lust for things, you definitely get the impression that quality can be bought.
If you’re willing to shell out some money, you are going to run the chance of getting something that may be pretty high quality.
But it doesn’t guarantee that you’re purchasing something that is going to have any lasting value. It doesn’t guarantee that you haven’t spent a lot of money for this year’s style or fad.
One of the nicest surprises I get when I’m shopping is finding a product that’s inexpensive and also…because of how it’s designed and constructed… is of really high quality.
I don’t know why that would be a noteworthy surprise.
You can’t really explore what quality is in a 500 word blog post…I think it takes at least half a continent to do that…but when you wake up from a dream with words lingering, what else are you going to do?