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Robert M. Pirsig

is anything you can do well. Anything you can do with .
Robert M. Pirsig you
Making... an art out of your is the way to solve the problem of technology.
Robert M. Pirsig art
The onlyyou can find on the tops ofis the Zen you bring up there.
Robert M. Pirsig you
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values(HC) /(TPB)
Robert M. Pirsig art
You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other...
Robert M. Pirsig cat
Some channel deepening seems called for.
Robert M. Pirsig
The world of underlying form is an unusual object of discussion because it is actually a mode of discussion itself.
Robert M. Pirsig world
The bones and flesh and legal statistics are the garments worn by the personality, not the other way around.
Robert M. Pirsig men
These shapes are all out of someone's mind. That's important to see. The steel? Hell, even the steel is out of someone's mind...
Robert M. Pirsig mind
When you look directly at an insane man all you see is a reflection of your own knowledge that he's insane, which is not to see him at all.
Robert M. Pirsig knowledge
Talk about rationality can get very confusing unless the things with which rationality deals are also included.
Robert M. Pirsig sin
Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not.
Robert M. Pirsig you
The number of rational hypotheses that can explain any given phenomenon is infinite.
Robert M. Pirsig men
No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it's going to rise tomorrow...
Robert M. Pirsig sun
Any philosophic explanation of Quality is going to be both false and true precisely because it is a philosophic explanation.
Robert M. Pirsig true
What I mean (and everybody else means) by the word ‘quality’ cannot be broken down into subjects and predicates. This is not because Quality is so mysterious but because Quality is so simple, immediate and direct.
Robert M. Pirsig body
What keeps the world from reverting to the Neandertal with each generation is the continuing, ongoing mythos... the huge body of common knowledge that unites our minds as cells are united in the body of man...
Robert M. Pirsig knowledge
Religion isn't invented by man. Men are invented by religion.
Robert M. Pirsig religion
My personal feeling is that this is how any further improvement of the world will be done: by individuals making Quality decisions and that's all.
Robert M. Pirsig men
We do need a return to individual integrity, self-reliance and old-fashioned gumption. We really do.
Robert M. Pirsig self
made it clear for the first time that the Immortal Principle, the One, Truth, God, is separate from appearance and from opinion, and the importance of this separation and its effect upon subsequent history cannot be overstated.
Robert M. Pirsig time
Man is not the source of all things, as the subjective idealists would say. Nor is he the passive observer of all things, as the objective idealists and materialists would say. The Quality which creates the world emerges as a relationship between man and his experience. He is a participant in the creation of all things. The measure of all things…
Robert M. Pirsig art
Can the dharma of the Hindus and the "virtue" of the ancient Greeks be identical?
Robert M. Pirsig virtue
Quality! Virtue! Dharma! That is what the Sophists were teaching! Not ethical relativism. Not pristine "virtue." But aret
Robert M. Pirsig teaching
The hero of the Odyssey is a great fighter, a wily schemer, a ready speaker, a man of stout heart and broad wisdom who knows that he must endure without too much complaining what the gods send...
Robert M. Pirsig wisdom
The Good was not a form of reality. It was reality itself, ever changing, ultimately unknowable in any kind of fixed, rigid way.
Robert M. Pirsig reality
Since the One is the source of all things and includes all things in it, it cannot be defined in terms of those things, since no matter what thing you use to define it, the thing will always describe something less than the One itself.
Robert M. Pirsig self
The One can only be described allegorically, through the use of analogy, of figures of imagination and speech... Everything is an analogy. But the dialecticians don't know that...
Robert M. Pirsig imagination
When a shepherd goes to kill a wolf, and takes his dog to see the sport, he should take care to avoid mistakes...
Robert M. Pirsig mistakes
Once it's stated that "the dialectic comes before anything else," this statement itself becomes a dialectical entity, subject to dialectical question.
Robert M. Pirsig men
What's really demanded in the Church of Reason is not ability, but inability. Then you are considered teachable. A truly able person is always a threat.
Robert M. Pirsig man
What is good, Ph
Robert M. Pirsig good
Gradually he no longer wonders what will happen next. He knows what will happen next, and tears flow for his family and for himself and for this world.
Robert M. Pirsig family
Trials never end, of course. Unhappiness and misfortune are bound to occur as long as people live, but there is a feeling now, that was not here before, and is not just on the surface of things, but penetrates all the way through: We've won it. It's going to get better now. You can sort of tell these things.
Robert M. Pirsig happiness
The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.
Robert M. Pirsig war
What follows is based on actual occurrences. Although much has been changed for rhetorical purposes, it must be regarded in its essence as fact. However, it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It's not very factual on motorcycles, either.
Robert M. Pirsig change
You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame.
Robert M. Pirsig art
The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.
Robert M. Pirsig truth
We're in such a hurry most of the time we never get much chance to talk. The result is a kind of endless day-to-day shallowness, a monotony that leaves a person wondering years later where all the time went and sorry that it's all gone.
Robert M. Pirsig time
Now I want to begin to fulfill a certain obligation by stating that there was one person, no longer here, who had something to say, and who said it, but whom no one believed or really understood. Forgotten. For reasons that will become apparent I'd prefer that he remain forgotten, but there's no choice other than to reopen his case.I don't know his whole story. No one ever will, except Ph
Robert M. Pirsig believe
The world of underlying form is an unusual object of discussion because it is actually a mode of discussion itself. You discuss things in terms of their immediate appearance or you discuss them in terms of their underlying form, and when you try to discuss these modes of discussion you get involved in what could be called a platform problem. You have no platform from which to discuss them other than the modes themselves.
Robert M. Pirsig world
You look at where you're going and where you are and it never makes sense, but then you look back at where you've been and a pattern seems to emerge. And if you project forward from that pattern, then sometimes you can come up with something.
Robert M. Pirsig war
The romantic mode is primarily inspirational, imaginative, creative, intuitive. Feelings rather than facts predominate. "Art" when it is opposed to "Science" is often romantic. It does not proceed by reason or by laws. It proceeds by feeling, intuition and esthetic conscience. In the northern European cultures the romantic mode is usually associated with femininity, but this is certainly not a necessary association. The classic mode, by contrast, proceeds by reason and by laws... which are themselves underlying forms of thought and behavior. In the European cultures it is primarily a masculine mode and the fields of science, law and medicine are unattractive to women largely for this reason. Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.
Robert M. Pirsig inspirational
In recent times we have seen a huge split develop between a classic culture and a romantic counterculture... two worlds growingly alienated and hateful toward each other with everyone wondering if it will always be this way, a house divided against itself.
Robert M. Pirsig war
What Ph
Robert M. Pirsig
When you look directly at an insane man all you see is a reflection of your own knowledge that he's insane, which is not to see him at all. To see him you must see what he saw and when you are trying to see the vision of an insane man, an oblique route is the only way to come at it.
Robert M. Pirsig knowledge
It took me more than a week to deduce from the evidence around me that everything before my waking up was a dream and everything afterward was reality. There was no basis for distinguishing the two other than the growing pile of new events that seemed to argue against the drunk experience. Little things appeared, like the locked door, the outside of which I could never remember seeing. And a slip of paper from the probate court telling me that some person was committed as insane. Did they mean me?
Robert M. Pirsig war
They had made the mistake of thinking of a personality as some sort of possession, like a suit of clothes, which a person wears. But apart from a personality what is there? Some bones and flesh. A collection of legal statistics, perhaps, but surely no person. The bones and flesh and legal statistics are the garments worn by the personality, not the other way around.
Robert M. Pirsig art
We are at the classic-romantic barrier now, where on one side we see a cycle as it appears immediately... and this is an important way of seeing it... and where on the other side we can begin to see it as a mechanic does in terms of underlying form... and this is an important way of seeing things too. These tools for example... this wrench... has a certain romantic beauty to it, but its purpose is always purely classical. It's designed to change the underlying form of the machine.
Robert M. Pirsig beauty
People arrive at a factory and perform a totally meaningless task from eight to
Robert M. Pirsig meaning
That's all the motorcycle is, a system of concepts worked out in steel. There's no part in it, no shape in it, that is not out of someone's mind
Robert M. Pirsig art
I've noticed that people who have never worked with steel have trouble seeing this... that the motorcycle is primarily a mental phenomenon. They associate metal with given shapes... pipes, rods, girders, tools, parts... all of them fixed and inviolable, and think of it as primarily physical. But a person who does machining or foundry work or forge work or welding sees "steel" as having no shape at all. Steel can be any shape you want if you are skilled enough, and any shape but the one you want if you are not.
Robert M. Pirsig art
These shapes are all out of someone's mind. That's important to see. The steel? Hell, even the steel is out of someone's mind. There's no steel in nature. Anyone from the Bronze Age could have told you that. All nature has is a potential for steel. There's nothing else there. But what's "potential"? That's also in someone's mind!
Robert M. Pirsig nature
You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it's going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.
Robert M. Pirsig faith
I think present-day reason is an analogue of the flat earth of the medieval period. If you go too far beyond it you're presumed to fall off, into insanity. And people are very much afraid of that. I think this fear of insanity is comparable to the fear people once had of falling off the edge of the world. Or the fear of heretics. There's a very close analogue there.
Robert M. Pirsig fear
What's happening is that each year our old flat earth of conventional reason becomes less and less adequate to handle the experiences we have and this is creating widespread feelings of topsy-turviness. As a result we're getting more and more people in irrational areas of thought... occultism, mysticism, drug changes and the like... because they feel the inadequacy of classical reason to handle what they know are real experiences.
Robert M. Pirsig art
A rush of wind comes furiously now, down from the mountaintop. "The ancient Greeks," I say, "who were the inventors of classical reason, knew better than to use it exclusively to foretell the future. They listened to the wind and predicted the future from that. That sounds insane now. But why should the inventors of reason sound insane?"
Robert M. Pirsig future
Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion. Then, when you are no longer thinking ahead, each footstep isn't just a means to an an end but a unique event in itself. This leaf has jagged edges. This rock looks loose. From this place the snow is less visible, even though closer. These are things you should notice anyway. To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top. Here's where things grow.
Robert M. Pirsig life
I think metaphysics is good if it improves everyday life; otherwise forget it.
Robert M. Pirsig life
Any philosophic explanation of Quality is going to be both false and true precisely because it is a philosophic explanation. The process of philosophic explanation is an analytic process, a process of breaking something down into subjects and predicates. What I mean (and everybody else means) by the word ‘quality’ cannot be broken down into subjects and predicates. This is not because Quality is so mysterious but because Quality is so simple, immediate and direct.
Robert M. Pirsig body
In our highly complex organic state we advanced organisms respond to our environment with an invention of many marvelous analogues. We invent earth and heavens, trees, stones and oceans, gods, music, arts, language, philosophy, engineering, civilization and science. We call these analogues reality. And they are reality. We mesmerize our children in the name of truth into knowing that they are reality. We throw anyone who does not accept these analogues into an insane asylum. But that which causes us to invent the analogues is Quality. Quality is the continuing stimulus which our environment puts upon us to create the world in which we live. All of it. Every last bit of it.
Robert M. Pirsig truth
Now, to take that which has caused us to create the world, and include it within the world we have created, is clearly impossible. That is why Quality cannot be defined. If we do define it we are defining something less than Quality itself.
Robert M. Pirsig world
Traditional scientific method has always been at the very best 20-20 hindsight. It's good for seeing where you've been. It's good for testing the truth of what you think you know, but it can't tell you where you ought to go.
Robert M. Pirsig truth
The solutions all are simple... after you have arrived at them. But they're simple only when you know already what they are.
Robert M. Pirsig you
The mythos-over-logos argument points to the fact that each child is born as ignorant as any caveman. What keeps the world from reverting to the Neandertal with each generation is the continuing, ongoing mythos, transformed into logos but still mythos, the huge body of common knowledge that unites our minds as cells are united in the body of man. To feel that one is not so united, that one can accept or discard this mythos as one pleases, is not to understand what the mythos is.
Robert M. Pirsig knowledge
There is only one kind of person, Ph
Robert M. Pirsig person
You have all these fragments, like pieces of a puzzle, and you can place them together into large groups, but the groups don't go together no matter how you try, and then suddenly you get one fragment and it fits two different groups and then suddenly the two great groups are one. The relation of the mythos to insanity. That's a key fragment. I doubt whether anyone ever said that before. Insanity is the terra incognita surrounding the mythos. And he knew! He knew the Quality he talked about lay outside the mythos.
Robert M. Pirsig men
The mythos. The mythos is insane. That's what he believed. The mythos that says the forms of this world are real but the Quality of this world is unreal, that is insane!
Robert M. Pirsig world
It's paradoxical that where people are the most closely crowded, in the big coastal cities in the East and West, the loneliness is the greatest. Back where people were so spread out in western Oregon and Idaho and Montana and the Dakotas you'd think the loneliness would have been greater, but we didn't see it so much. The explanation, I suppose, is that the physical distance between people has nothing to do with loneliness. It's psychic distance, and in Montana and Idaho the physical distances are big but the psychic distances between people are small, and here it's reversed.
Robert M. Pirsig people
That's the way it must have been a hundred or two hundred years ago. Hardly any people and hardly any loneliness. I'm undoubtedly over-generalizing, but if the proper qualifications were introduced it would be true.
Robert M. Pirsig people
Technology is blamed for a lot of this loneliness, since the loneliness is certainly associated with the newer technological devices... TV, jets, freeways and so on... but I hope it's been made plain that the real evil isn't the objects of technology but the tendency of technology to isolate people into lonely attitudes of objectivity. It's the objectivity, the dualistic way of looking at things underlying technology, that produces the evil. That's why I went to so much trouble to show how technology could be used to destroy the evil. A person who knows how to fix motorcycles... with Quality... is less likely to run short of friends than one who doesn't. And they aren't going to see him as some kind of object either. Quality destroys objectivity every time.
Robert M. Pirsig hope
Quality tends to fan out like waves. The Quality job he didn't think anyone was going to see is seen, and the person who sees it feels a little better because of it, and is likely to pass that feeling on to others, and in that way the Quality tends to keep on going.
Robert M. Pirsig think
The Professor of Philosophy has made a mistake. He's wasted his disciplinary authority on an innocent student while Ph
Robert M. Pirsig author
The Professor of Philosophy seems quite aware of what has happened. His previous little eye-flick of malice toward Ph
Robert M. Pirsig war
has always been eminently attackable and eminently attacked throughout history, and shooting down Aristotle's patent absurdities, like shooting fish in a barrel, didn't afford much satisfaction.
Robert M. Pirsig history
Dialectic generally means "of the nature of the dialogue," which is a conversation between two persons. Nowadays it means logical argumentation. It involves a technique of cross-examination, by which truth is arrived at.
Robert M. Pirsig truth
is the essential Buddha-seeker who appears again and again in each generation, moving onward and upward toward the "one." Aristotle is the eternal motorcycle mechanic who prefers the "many."
Robert M. Pirsig war
is not using dialectic to understand rhetoric, he is using it to destroy it, or at least to bring it into disrepute, and so his questions are not real questions at all... they are just word-traps which Gorgias and his fellow rhetoricians fall into.
Robert M. Pirsig sin
When it is known that Plato put his own words in Socrates' mouth (Aristotle says this) there should be no reason to doubt that he could have put his own words into other mouths too.
Robert M. Pirsig words
Many of the older Sophists were selected as "ambassadors" of their cities, certainly no office of disrespect. The name Sophist was even applied without disparagement to Socrates and Plato themselves.
Robert M. Pirsig men
What is essential to understand at this point is that until now there was no such thing as mind and matter, subject and object, form and substance. Those divisions are just dialectical inventions that came later. The modern mind sometimes tends to balk at the thought of these dichotomies being inventions and says, "Well, the divisions were there for the Greeks to discover," and you have to say, "Where were they? Point to them!" And the modern mind gets a little confused and wonders what this is all about anyway, and still believes the divisions were there. But they weren't, as Ph
Robert M. Pirsig time
The followers of Heraclitus insisted the Immortal Principle was change and motion. But Parmenides' disciple, , proved through a series of paradoxes that any perception of motion and change is illusory. Reality had to be motionless. The resolution of the arguments of thecame from a new direction entirely, from a group Ph
Robert M. Pirsig change
The results of Socrates' martyrdom and Plato's unexcelled prose that followed are nothing less than the whole world of Western man as we know it. If the idea of truth had been allowed to perish unrediscovered by the Renaissance it's unlikely that we would be much beyond the level of prehistoric man today. The ideas of science and technology and other systematically organized efforts of man are dead-centered on it. It is the nucleus of it all.
Robert M. Pirsig truth
Man is not the source of all things, as the subjective idealists would say. Nor is he the passive observer of all things, as the objective idealists and materialists would say. The Quality which creates the world emerges as a relationship between man and his experience. He is a participant in the creation of all things. The measure of all things...
Robert M. Pirsig art
How are you going to teach virtue if you teach the relativity of all ethical ideas? Virtue, if it implies anything at all, implies an ethical absolute. A person whose idea of what is proper varies from day to day can be admired for his broadmindedness, but not for his virtue.
Robert M. Pirsig mind
"What moves the Greek warrior to deeds of heroism," Kitto comments, "is not a sense of duty as we understand it... duty towards others: it is rather duty towards himself. He strives after that which we translate 'virtue' but is in Greek aret
Robert M. Pirsig war
Lightning hits! Quality! Virtue! Dharma! That is what the Sophists were teaching! Not ethical relativism. Not pristine "virtue." But aret
Robert M. Pirsig teaching
The rain has lifted enough so that we can see the horizon now, a sharp line demarking the light grey of the sky and the darker grey of the water.
Robert M. Pirsig light
The hero of the Odyssey is a great fighter, a wily schemer, a ready speaker, a man of stout heart and broad wisdom who knows that he must endure without too much complaining what the gods send; and he can both build and sail a boat, drive a furrow as straight as anyone, beat a young braggart at throwing the discus, challenge the Pheacian youth at boxing, wrestling or running; flay, skin, cut up and cook an ox, and be moved to tears by a song. He is in fact an excellent all-rounder; he has surpassing aret
Robert M. Pirsig wisdom
Now he began to see for the first time the unbelievable magnitude of what man, when he gained power to understand and rule the world in terms of dialectic truths, had lost. He had built empires of scientific capability to manipulate the phenomena of nature into enormous manifestations of his own dreams of power and wealth... but for this he had exchanged an empire of understanding of equal magnitude: an understanding of what it is to be a part of the world, and not an enemy of it.
Robert M. Pirsig truth
The halo around the heads of Plato and Socrates is now gone. He sees that they consistently are doing exactly that which they accuse the Sophists of doing... using emotionally persuasive language for the ulterior purpose of making the weaker argument, the case for dialectic, appear the stronger. We always condemn most in others, he thought, that which we most fear in ourselves.
Robert M. Pirsig fear
Why destroy aret
Robert M. Pirsig
Plato finds it necessary to separate, for example, "horseness" from "horse" and say that horseness is real and fixed and true and unmoving, while the horse is a mere, unimportant, transitory phenomenon. Horseness is pure Idea. The horse that one sees is a collection of changing Appearances, a horse that can flux and move around all it wants to and even die on the spot without disturbing horseness, which is the Immortal Principle and can go on forever in the path of the Gods of old.
Robert M. Pirsig men
In his attempt to unite the Good and the True by making the Good the highest Idea of all, Plato is nevertheless usurping aret
Robert M. Pirsig good
Under Aristotle the "Reader," whose knowledge of Trojan aret
Robert M. Pirsig knowledge
Poor rhetoric, once "learning" itself, now becomes reduced to the teaching of mannerisms and forms, Aristotelian forms, for writing, as if these mattered.
Robert M. Pirsig writing
The bones of the Sophists long ago turned to dust and what they said turned to dust with them and the dust was buried under the rubble of declining Athens through its fall and Macedonia through its decline and fall. Through the decline and death of ancient Rome and Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire and the modern states... buried so deep and with such ceremoniousness and such unction and such evil that only a madman centuries later could discover the clues needed to uncover them, and see with horror what had been done.
Robert M. Pirsig death
Plato often names Socrates' foils for characteristics of their personality. A young, overtalkative, innocent and good-natured foil in the Gorgias is named Polus, which is Greek for "colt." Ph
Robert M. Pirsig nature
It is an immortal dialogue, strange and puzzling at first, but then hitting you harder and harder, like truth itself. What Ph
Robert M. Pirsig truth

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