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Robert M. Pirsig quotes (showing 1-30 of 428)

“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, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“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, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“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.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“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, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“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, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“Is it hard?'
Not if you have the right attitudes. Its having the right attitudes thats hard.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
“To live only for some future goal is shallow. It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.”
Robert M. Pirsig
“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.

On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“The only Zen you find on tops of mountains is the Zen you bring there.”
Robert M. Pirsig
“For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses. ”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“If someone's ungrateful and you tell him he's ungrateful, okay, you've called him a name. You haven't solved anything.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“The law of gravity and gravity itself did not exist before Isaac Newton." ...and what that means is that that law of gravity exists nowhere except in people's heads! It 's a ghost!"
Mind has no matter or energy but they can't escape its predominance over everything they do. Logic exists in the mind. numbers exist only in the mind. I don't get upset when scientists say that ghosts exist in the mind. it's that only that gets me. science is only in your mind too, it's just that that doesn't make it bad. or ghosts either."
Laws of nature are human inventions, like ghosts. Law of logic, of mathematics are also human inventions, like ghosts."
...we see what we see because these ghosts show it to us, ghosts of Moses and Christ and the Buddha, and Plato, and Descartes, and Rousseau and Jefferson and Lincoln, on and on and on. Isaac Newton is a very good ghost. One of the best. Your common sense is nothing more than the voices of thousands and thousands of these ghosts from the past.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work which will be a material reflection for others to see of the serenity at the center of it all.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government. There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“The test of the machine is the satisfaction it gives you. There isn't any other test. If the machine produces tranquility it's right. If it disturbs you it's wrong until either the machine or your mind is changed.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of the mountain, or in the petals of a flower. To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha - which is to demean oneself.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called yourself.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“The real purpose of the scientific method is to make sure nature hasn’t misled you into thinking you know something you actually don’t know.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“…the doctrinal differences between Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism are not anywhere near as important as doctrinal differences among Christianity and Islam and Judaism. Holy wars are not fought over them because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It's easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“Like those in the valley behind us, most people stand in sight of the spiritual mountains all their lives and never enter them, being content to listen to others who have been there and thus avoid the hardships.”
Robert M. Pirsig
“In the high country of the mind one has to become adjusted to the thinner air of uncertainty...”
Robert M. Pirsig
“When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“I argued that physical discomfort is important only when the mood is wrong. Then you fasten on to whatever thing is uncomfortable and call that the cause. But if the mood is right, then physical discomfort doesn't mean much.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“And what is good, Phaedrus,
And what is not good—
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
“(What makes his world so hard to see clearly is not its strangeness but its usualness).Familiarity can blind you too.”
Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

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