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Robert M. Pirsig Quotes
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Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Only social patterns can control biological patterns, and the instrument of conversation between society and biology is not words. The instrument of conversation between society and biology has always been a policeman or a soldier and his gun.”

Only social patterns can control biological patterns, and the instrument of conversation between society and biology is not words. The instrument of conversation between society and biology has always been a policeman or a soldier and his gun.

— Robert M. Pirsig



Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Good is a noun rather than an adjective.”

Good is a noun rather than an adjective.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “I really don’t mind dying because I figure I haven’t wasted this life.”

I really don’t mind dying because I figure I haven’t wasted this life.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The major producer of the social chaos, the indeterminacy of thought and values that rational knowledge is supposed to eliminate, is none other than science itself.”

The major producer of the social chaos, the indeterminacy of thought and values that rational knowledge is supposed to eliminate, is none other than science itself.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “People say mental hospitals are for the patients, in fact they are to protect society from them. They are justified in doing that. Society has to do what is best for itself.”

People say mental hospitals are for the patients, in fact they are to protect society from them. They are justified in doing that. Society has to do what is best for itself.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “One could almost define life as the organized disobedience of the law of gravity. One could show that the degree to which an organism disobeys this law is a measure of its degree of evolution.”

One could almost define life as the organized disobedience of the law of gravity. One could show that the degree to which an organism disobeys this law is a measure of its degree of evolution.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The logic of science was infallible, and if the scientists were sometimes mistaken, this was assumed to be only from their mistaking its rules.”

The logic of science was infallible, and if the scientists were sometimes mistaken, this was assumed to be only from their mistaking its rules.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Socrates is not just expounding noble ideas in a vacuum. He is in the middle of a war between those who think truth is absolute and those who think truth is relative. He is fighting that war with everything he has.”

Socrates is not just expounding noble ideas in a vacuum. He is in the middle of a war between those who think truth is absolute and those who think truth is relative. He is fighting that war with everything he has.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “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.”

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


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The more you read, the more you calm down.”

The more you read, the more you calm down.

— Robert M. Pirsig



Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The real ugliness lies in the relationship between people who produce the technology and the things they produce, which results in a similar relationship between the people who use the technology and the things they use.”

The real ugliness lies in the relationship between people who produce the technology and the things they produce, which results in a similar relationship between the people who use the technology and the things they use.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “If you stare at a wall from four in the morning till nine at night, and you do that for a week, you are getting pretty close to nothingness.”

If you stare at a wall from four in the morning till nine at night, and you do that for a week, you are getting pretty close to nothingness.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Analytic and romantic understanding should be united at a basic level. Reassimilate the passions from which the rational mind fled.”

Analytic and romantic understanding should be united at a basic level. Reassimilate the passions from which the rational mind fled.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Cultivate peace of mind which does not separate one’s self from one’s surroundings. When that is done successfully, then everything else follows naturally.”

Cultivate peace of mind which does not separate one’s self from one’s surroundings. When that is done successfully, then everything else follows naturally.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “That which destroys the old mythos becomes the new mythos.”

That which destroys the old mythos becomes the new mythos.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Now, to take that which has caused us to create the world, and include it within the world we have created, is clearly impossible. This is why Quality cannot be defined. If we do define it, we are defining something less than Quality itself.”

Now, to take that which has caused us to create the world, and include it within the world we have created, is clearly impossible. This is why Quality cannot be defined. If we do define it, we are defining something less than Quality itself.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Who really can face the future? All you can do is project from the past, even when the past shows that such projections are often wrong. And who really can forget the past? What else is there to know?”

Who really can face the future? All you can do is project from the past, even when the past shows that such projections are often wrong. And who really can forget the past? What else is there to know?

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Laws of nature are human inventions, like ghosts. Laws of logic, or mathematics are also human inventions, like ghosts. The whole blessed thing is a human invention, including the idea that it isn’t a human invention.”

Laws of nature are human inventions, like ghosts. Laws of logic, or mathematics are also human inventions, like ghosts. The whole blessed thing is a human invention, including the idea that it isn’t a human invention.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “It’s better to live with a sad truth than with all the happy progress talk you get up here in the North.”

It’s better to live with a sad truth than with all the happy progress talk you get up here in the North.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “What I am is a heretic who’s recanted, and thereby in everyone’s eyes saved his soul. Everyone’s eyes but one, who knows deep down inside that all he has saved is his skin.”

What I am is a heretic who’s recanted, and thereby in everyone’s eyes saved his soul. Everyone’s eyes but one, who knows deep down inside that all he has saved is his skin.

— Robert M. Pirsig



Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “I suppose philosophy is historically not a woman’s game, though that is changing.”

I suppose philosophy is historically not a woman’s game, though that is changing.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Civilization, or “the system” or “society” or whatever you want to call it, is best served not by mules but by free men.”

Civilization, or “the system” or “society” or whatever you want to call it, is best served not by mules but by free men.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “You have to remember, that insane people can do some horrors themselves. I had committed no crime, though. I hadn’t shot anybody. Yet.”

You have to remember, that insane people can do some horrors themselves. I had committed no crime, though. I hadn’t shot anybody. Yet.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “I think metaphysics is good if it improves everyday life; otherwise forget it.”

I think metaphysics is good if it improves everyday life; otherwise forget it.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “We have artists with no scientific knowledge and scientists with no artistic knowledge and both with no spiritual sense of gravity at all, and the result is not just bad, it is ghastly.”

We have artists with no scientific knowledge and scientists with no artistic knowledge and both with no spiritual sense of gravity at all, and the result is not just bad, it is ghastly.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Familiarity can blind too.”

Familiarity can blind too.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Art is anything you can do well. Anything you can do with Quality.”

Art is anything you can do well. Anything you can do with Quality.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Cliches and stereotypes such as “beatnik” or “hippie” have been invented for the antitechnologists, the antisystem people, and will continue to be. But one does not convert individuals into mass people with the simple coining of a mass term.”

Cliches and stereotypes such as “beatnik” or “hippie” have been invented for the antitechnologists, the antisystem people, and will continue to be. But one does not convert individuals into mass people with the simple coining of a mass term.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “We must understand that when a society undermines intellectual freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally bad, but when it represses biological freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally good.”

We must understand that when a society undermines intellectual freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally bad, but when it represses biological freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally good.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “You’ve got to keep close to your spouse I think, which is a very hard thing to do in America, with everything always pulling you away. I would advise all married people to spend two hours talking to each other. That’s my moral for the day.”

You’ve got to keep close to your spouse I think, which is a very hard thing to do in America, with everything always pulling you away. I would advise all married people to spend two hours talking to each other. That’s my moral for the day.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Science values static patterns.”

Science values static patterns.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “You go up the mountaintop and all you’re gonna get is a great big heavy stone tablet handed to you with a bunch of rules on it.”

You go up the mountaintop and all you’re gonna get is a great big heavy stone tablet handed to you with a bunch of rules on it.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Objects are inorganic and biological values; subjects are social and intellectual values.”

Objects are inorganic and biological values; subjects are social and intellectual values.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Talk about rationality can get very confusing unless the things with which rationality deals are also included.”

Talk about rationality can get very confusing unless the things with which rationality deals are also included.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle. I think that what I have to say has more lasting value.”

Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle. I think that what I have to say has more lasting value.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The number of hypotheses available to explain any given phenomenon is infinite.”

The number of hypotheses available to explain any given phenomenon is infinite.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The kid who is scared is the one the bullies go after. I used to get beat up pretty badly.”

The kid who is scared is the one the bullies go after. I used to get beat up pretty badly.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “That’s the classical mind at work, runs fine inside but looks dingy on the surface.”

That’s the classical mind at work, runs fine inside but looks dingy on the surface.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “99 per cent of your life recognises things without definition, a baby recognises its mother’s face without having it defined. It’s just an arbitrary rule this rule of definition that Socrates set down.”

99 per cent of your life recognises things without definition, a baby recognises its mother’s face without having it defined. It’s just an arbitrary rule this rule of definition that Socrates set down.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The funny thing about insane people is that it is kind of the opposite of being a celebrity. Nobody envies you.”

The funny thing about insane people is that it is kind of the opposite of being a celebrity. Nobody envies you.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Education should not be fun. You are being brought up into society and society has a way of doing things. It may not be pleasant but sooner or later you are going to have to do it anyway.”

Education should not be fun. You are being brought up into society and society has a way of doing things. It may not be pleasant but sooner or later you are going to have to do it anyway.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “If you are following the dharma no matter what you do it is moral.”

If you are following the dharma no matter what you do it is moral.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “An evolutionary morality argues that The North was right in pursuing that war because a nation is a higher form of evolution than a human body and the principle of human equality is an even higher form than a nation.”

An evolutionary morality argues that The North was right in pursuing that war because a nation is a higher form of evolution than a human body and the principle of human equality is an even higher form than a nation.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “What is seen now so much more clearly is that although the names keep changing and the bodies keep changing, the larger pattern that holds us all together goes on and on.”

What is seen now so much more clearly is that although the names keep changing and the bodies keep changing, the larger pattern that holds us all together goes on and on.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “If there were only one person in the world, is there any way he could be insane?”

If there were only one person in the world, is there any way he could be insane?

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The buddah can reside in the gears of a motorcycle as easily as in a flower on a mountaintop. To believe otherwise is to demean the buddah; which is to demean one’s self.”

The buddah can reside in the gears of a motorcycle as easily as in a flower on a mountaintop. To believe otherwise is to demean the buddah; which is to demean one’s self.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “Cultures are not the source of all morals, only a limited set of morals. Cultures can be graded and judged morally according to their contribution to the evolution of life.”

Cultures are not the source of all morals, only a limited set of morals. Cultures can be graded and judged morally according to their contribution to the evolution of life.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The bones and flesh and legal statistics are the garments worn by the personality, not the other way around.”

The bones and flesh and legal statistics are the garments worn by the personality, not the other way around.

— Robert M. Pirsig


Robert M. Pirsig Quote: “The Good was not a form of reality. It was reality itself, ever-changing, ultimately unknowable in any kind of fixed, rigid way.”

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

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