Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A collection of quotes and sayings by Robert M. Pirsig on atheism, God, inspirations, religion, philosophy, writing, truth, faith, doubt, science, purpose and dedication.

100 Notable Robert M. Pirsig Quotes That Will Keep You Going

Quick Facts

Famous As: Writer, Philosopher

Born On: September 6, 1928

Died On: April 24, 2017

Born In: Minneapolis, U.S.

Died At Age: 88

Robert M. Pirsig is an American author and philosopher known for his book ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. He was a bright student and very curious to understand various singularities of life. He lost interest in studies and dropped out of school. He served the U.S Army for a short while before returning back to earn a bachelorette in Eastern Philosophy. His curiosity to further research on Eastern philosophy made him study at ‘Banaras Hindu University’. After coming back to his native, he started working as a freelance journalist and technical writer while writing short stories. His writing skills encouraged him to publish his first philosophical book ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values’. He had recorded his philosophical discoveries during his motorcycle journey from Minnesota to California. His next book ‘Lila: An Inquiry into Morals’ was a semi-autobiographical book and has been acknowledged to have developed the ‘Metaphysics of Quality’. We give you a peek into the notable quotations and thoughts by the acclaimed writer in his words. We have collected some of the famous quotes and sayings by Robert M. Pirsig from his writings, books, philosophy, researches and work which reflect his wisdom about life.

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

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

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

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

Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

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

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

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

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

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

Robert M. Pirsig

It's the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

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

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

When analytic thought, the knife, is applied to experience, something is always killed in the process.

Robert M. Pirsig

(What makes his world so hard to see clearly is not its strangeness but its usualness).Familiarity can blind you too.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

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

The pencil is mightier than the pen.

Robert M. Pirsig

Absence of Quality is the essence of squareness.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

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

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

Robert M. Pirsig

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

The more you read, the more you calm down.

Robert M. Pirsig

If your mind is truly, profoundly stuck, then it might be much better off than when it was loaded with ideas

Robert M. Pirsig

Logic presumes a separation of subject from object; therefore logic is not final wisdom.This is Zen. This is my motorcycle maintenance.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

Your common sense is nothing more than the voices of thousands and thousands of these ghosts from the past.

Robert M. Pirsig

The more you look, the more you see.

Robert M. Pirsig

To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top. Here’s where things grow.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

To all appearances he was just drifting. In actuality he was just drifting.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

This condemnation of technology is ingratitude, that's what it is. Blind alley, though. 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

You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow.

Robert M. Pirsig

If you get careless or go romanticizing scientific information, giving it a flourish here and there, Nature will soon make a complete fool out of you.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

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

I think now the trace of egotism may have been the beginning of all his troubles

Robert M. Pirsig

Stuckness shouldn't be avoided. It's the physic predecessor of all real understanding.

Robert M. Pirsig

The cutting edge of this instant right here and now is always nothing less than the totality of everything there is.

Robert M. Pirsig

Gumption is the psychic gasoline that keeps the whole thing going.

Robert M. Pirsig

A person who sees Quality and feels it as he works is a person who cares. A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person who's bound to have some characteristics of Quality

Robert M. Pirsig

A classical understanding sees the world primarily as underlying form itself. A romantic understanding sees it primarily in terms of immediate appearance.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

Morals can't function normally because morals have been declared intellectually illegal by the subject object metaphysics that dominates present social thought

Robert M. Pirsig

If Quality were dropped, only rationality would remain unchanged.

Robert M. Pirsig

Oh, the laws of physics and of logic…the number system…the principle of algebraic substitution. These are ghosts. We just believe in them so thoroughly they seem real.

Robert M. Pirsig

One thing about pioneers that you don’t hear mentioned is that they are invariably, by their nature, mess-makers.

Robert M. Pirsig

The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away.

Robert M. Pirsig

Some things you miss because they’re so tiny you overlook them. But some things you don’t see because they’re so huge.

Robert M. Pirsig

What keeps the world from reverting to the Neanderthal 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

Motorcycle maintenance gets frustrating. Angering. Infuriating. That's what makes it interesting.

Robert M. Pirsig

Motivation of this sort, once it catches hold, is a ferocious force, and in the gradeless, degreeless institution where our student would find himself, he wouldn’t stop with rote engineering information.

Robert M. Pirsig

He’d no longer be a grade-motivated person. He’d be a knowledge-motivated person.

Robert M. Pirsig

Caring about what you are doing is considered either unimportant or taken for granted.

Robert M. Pirsig

Science grows by its mu answers more than by its yes or no answers.

Robert M. Pirsig

Bouncing on beds, I remember from childhood, is a great depression reliever.

Robert M. Pirsig

My favorite cure for boredom is sleep. It's very easy to get to sleep when bored and very hard to get bored after a long rest.

Robert M. Pirsig

Like trying to keep a fatman out of the refrigerator. 'Lila

Robert M. Pirsig

First you get the feeling, then you figure out why.

Robert M. Pirsig

The classic mode, by contrast, proceeds by reason and by laws—which are themselves underlying forms of thought and behavior.

Robert M. Pirsig

Grades really cover up failure to teach.

Robert M. Pirsig

Stuckness shouldn’t be avoided. It’s the psychic predecessor of all real understanding.

Robert M. Pirsig

The idea that “all men are created equal” is a gift to the world from the American Indian.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Not sure of much of anything these days. Maybe that’s why I talk so much.

Robert M. Pirsig

The past cannot remember the past. The future can’t generate the future. The cutting edge of this instant right here and now is always nothing less than the totality of everything there is.

Robert M. Pirsig

When any distribution is locked into a rigid sequential format it develops Joes that dictate what new changes will be allowed and what will not, and that rigidity is deadly.

Robert M. Pirsig

You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in.

Robert M. Pirsig

You always suppress momentary anger at something you deeply and permanently hate.

Robert M. Pirsig

We always condemn most in others, he thought, that which we most fear in ourselves.

Robert M. Pirsig

It is a kind of nowhere, famous for nothing at all and has an appeal because of just that.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Do what is “reasonable” even when it isn’t any good.

Robert M. Pirsig

Whole community of millions of living things living out their lives in a kind of benign continuum.

Robert M. Pirsig

That’s the way the world keeps on happening. Be interested in it.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

The stream of national consciousness moves faster now, and is broader, but it seems to run less deep.

Robert M. Pirsig

It’s important now to just live with this and not fight it mentally…mind control….

Robert M. Pirsig

An experiment is never a failure solely because it fails to achieve predicted results.

Robert M. Pirsig

Familiarity can blind you

Robert M. Pirsig

He came to see his early failure as a lucky break, an accidental escape from a trap that had been set for him, and he was very trap-wary about institutional truths for the remainder of his time.

Robert M. Pirsig

Metaphysics is good if it improves everyday life; otherwise forget it.

Robert M. Pirsig

To all appearances he was just drifting. In actuality he was just drifting. Drifting is what one does when looking at lateral truth.

Robert M. Pirsig

Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire.

Robert M. Pirsig

That's the way it is. The intelligence of the mind can't think of any reason to live, but it goes on anyway because the intelligence of the cells can't think of any reason to die

Robert M. Pirsig

Mental reflection os so much more interesting than tv [that]it's a shame more people don't switch over to it. They probably think what they hear is unimportant, but it never is.

Robert M. Pirsig

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

Robert M. Pirsig

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

It’s an old split. Like the one between art and art history. One does it and the other talks about how it’s done and the talk about how it’s done never seems to match how one does it.

Robert M. Pirsig

Your common sense is nothing more than the voices of thousands and thousands of these ghosts from the past. Ghosts and more ghosts. Ghosts trying to find their place among the living.

Robert M. Pirsig

I am a pioneer now, looking onto a promised land.

Robert M. Pirsig

To the ocean. That sounds right. Where the waves roll in slowly and there’s always a roar and you can’t fall anywhere. You’re already there.

Robert M. Pirsig