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Robert M. Pirsig Quotes

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Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion.”

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



Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.”

The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Even though quality cannot be defined, you know what quality is.”

Even though quality cannot be defined, you know what quality is.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.”

Although motorcycle riding is romantic, motorcycle maintenance is purely classic.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The past exists only in our memories, the future only in our plans. The present is our only reality.”

The past exists only in our memories, the future only in our plans. The present is our only reality.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “To live for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.”

To live for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.”

Boredom always precedes a period of great creativity.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good – Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?”

And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good – Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The truth knocks on the door and you say, go away, I’m looking for the truth, and it goes away. Puzzling.”

The truth knocks on the door and you say, go away, I’m looking for the truth, and it goes away. Puzzling.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “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.”

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



Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.”

You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It’s easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things.”

When you want to hurry something, that means you no longer care about it and want to get on to other things.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster.”

Any effort that has self-glorification as its final endpoint is bound to end in disaster.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “My favorite piece of technical writing: Assembly of Japanese bicycle require great peace of mind.”

My favorite piece of technical writing: Assembly of Japanese bicycle require great peace of mind.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.”

If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The real cycle you’re working on is a cycle called yourself.”

The real cycle you’re working on is a cycle called yourself.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Sometimes it’s a little better to travel than to arrive.”

Sometimes it’s a little better to travel than to arrive.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “We take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.”

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


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Is it hard?? Not if you have the right attitudes. Its having the right attitudes thats hard.”

Is it hard?? Not if you have the right attitudes. Its having the right attitudes thats hard.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “In the high country of the mind one has to become adjusted to the thinner air of uncertainty...”

In the high country of the mind one has to become adjusted to the thinner air of uncertainty...

— Robert M. Pirsig



Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “It’s so hard when contemplated in advance, and so easy when you do it.”

It’s so hard when contemplated in advance, and so easy when you do it.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Quality isn’t a thing. It is an event.”

Quality isn’t a thing. It is an event.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses.”

For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “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.”

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


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “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.”

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


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The ultimate test’s always your own serenity. If you don’t have this when you start and maintain it while you’re working you’re likely to build your personal problems right into the machine itself.”

The ultimate test’s always your own serenity. If you don’t have this when you start and maintain it while you’re working you’re likely to build your personal problems right into the machine itself.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Stuckness shouldn’t be avoided. It’s the psychic predecessor of all real understanding. An egoless acceptance of stuckness is a key to an understanding of all Quality, in mechanical work as in other endeavors.”

Stuckness shouldn’t be avoided. It’s the psychic predecessor of all real understanding. An egoless acceptance of stuckness is a key to an understanding of all Quality, in mechanical work as in other endeavors.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “An egoless acceptance of stuckness is a key to an understanding of all Quality.”

An egoless acceptance of stuckness is a key to an understanding of all Quality.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “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.”

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


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Within a Metaphysics of Quality, science is a set of static intellectual patterns describing this reality, but the patterns are not the reality they describe.”

Within a Metaphysics of Quality, science is a set of static intellectual patterns describing this reality, but the patterns are not the reality they describe.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “If you don’t generalize you don’t philosophize.”

If you don’t generalize you don’t philosophize.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “One of the most moral acts is to create a space in which life can move forward.”

One of the most moral acts is to create a space in which life can move forward.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “We want to make good time, but for us now this is measured with the emphasis on “good” rather than on “time”...”

We want to make good time, but for us now this is measured with the emphasis on “good” rather than on “time”...

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “When you live in the shadow of insanity, the appearance of another mind that thinks and talks as yours does is something close to a blessed event.”

When you live in the shadow of insanity, the appearance of another mind that thinks and talks as yours does is something close to a blessed event.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Sanity is not truth. Sanity is conformity to what is socially expected. Truth is sometimes in conformity, sometimes not.”

Sanity is not truth. Sanity is conformity to what is socially expected. Truth is sometimes in conformity, sometimes not.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “It’s not the ‘nice’ guy who brings about real social change. ‘Nice’ guys look nice because they’re conforming. It’s the ‘bad’ guys, who only look nice a hundred years later, that are the real Dynamic force in social evolution.”

It’s not the ‘nice’ guy who brings about real social change. ‘Nice’ guys look nice because they’re conforming. It’s the ‘bad’ guys, who only look nice a hundred years later, that are the real Dynamic force in social evolution.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “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.”

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


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “When you’ve got a Chautauqua in your head, it’s extremely hard not to inflict it on innocent people.”

When you’ve got a Chautauqua in your head, it’s extremely hard not to inflict it on innocent people.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “When somebody goes outside the cultural norms, the culture has to protect itself.”

When somebody goes outside the cultural norms, the culture has to protect itself.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “When a shepherd goes to kill a wolf, and takes his dog to see the sport, he should take care to avoid mistakes. The dog has certain relationships to the wolf the shepherd may have forgotten.”

When a shepherd goes to kill a wolf, and takes his dog to see the sport, he should take care to avoid mistakes. The dog has certain relationships to the wolf the shepherd may have forgotten.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Mental reflection is so much more interesting than TV it’s a shame more people don’t switch over to it.”

Mental reflection is so much more interesting than TV it’s a shame more people don’t switch over to it.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.”

There’s so much talk about the system. And so little understanding.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The solutions all are simple – after you have arrived at them. But they’re simple only when you know already what they are.”

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


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The way to see what looks good and understand the reasons it looks good, and to be at one with this goodness as the work proceeds, is to cultivate an inner quietness, a peace of mind so that goodness can shine through.”

The way to see what looks good and understand the reasons it looks good, and to be at one with this goodness as the work proceeds, is to cultivate an inner quietness, a peace of mind so that goodness can shine through.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “One thing about pioneers that you don’t hear mentioned is that they are invariably, by their nature, mess-makers. They go forging ahead, seeing only their noble, distant goal, and never notice any of the crud and debris they leave behind them.”

One thing about pioneers that you don’t hear mentioned is that they are invariably, by their nature, mess-makers. They go forging ahead, seeing only their noble, distant goal, and never notice any of the crud and debris they leave behind them.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “That’s all the motorcycle is, a system of concepts worked out in steel.”

That’s all the motorcycle is, a system of concepts worked out in steel.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “If you have a high evaluation of yourself then your ability to recognize new facts is weakened.”

If you have a high evaluation of yourself then your ability to recognize new facts is weakened.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Reality is always the moment of vision before the intellectualization takes place. There is no other reality.”

Reality is always the moment of vision before the intellectualization takes place. There is no other reality.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “We keep passing unseen through little moments of other people’s lives.”

We keep passing unseen through little moments of other people’s lives.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The Buddha takes no position on gods, he suggests they may exist or they may not, but either way you can live a moral life.”

The Buddha takes no position on gods, he suggests they may exist or they may not, but either way you can live a moral life.

— Robert M. Pirsig

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