EppsNet Archive: Robert Pirsig

You Don’t Count, You’re Not on TV

16 Feb 2011 /
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

There’s this primary America of freeways and jet flights and TV and movie spectaculars. And people caught up in this primary America seem to go through huge portions of their lives without much consciousness of what’s immediately around them. The media have convinced them that what’s right around them is unimportant. And that’s why they’re lonely. You see it in their faces. First the little flicker of searching, and then when they look at you, you’re just a kind of an object. You don’t count. You’re not what they’re looking for. You’re not on TV.

The Serenity at the Center of It All

15 Feb 2011 /
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

So the thing to do when working on a motorcycle, as in any other task, is to cultivate the peace of mind which does not separate one’s self from one’s surroundings. When that is done successfully then everything else follows naturally. 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.

This Instant Right Now

14 Feb 2011 /
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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.

What We Are and What We Do

13 Feb 2011 /
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

In that strange separation of what man is from what man does we may have some clue as to what the hell has gone wrong in this twentieth century.

We’re in Such a Hurry

12 Feb 2011 /
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

What I would like to do is use the time that is coming now to talk about some things that have come to mind. 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.

Truth Knocks

5 Feb 2011 /
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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

Art and Technology

4 Jan 2009 /

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. The time for a real reunification of art and technology is really long overdue.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

3 Jan 2009 /
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

My son sees a book I’m reading lying on a table . . .

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” he says. “What kind of a title is that?”

I say, “It’s hard to explain.”

“Life,” he says in a mystical voice, “is like a motorcycle. You must maintain your motorcyle.”

He makes a gong sound . . .


I am in an enormous vault, dead, and they are paying their last respects.

It’s kind of them to come and do this. They didn’t have to do this. I feel grateful.

Now [my son] motions for me to open the glass door of the vault. I see he wants to talk to me. He wants me to tell him, perhaps, what death is like. I feel a desire to do this, to tell him. It was so good of him to come and wave I will tell him it’s not so bad. It’s just lonely.

I reach to push the door open but a dark figure in a shadow beside the door motions for me not to touch it. A single finger is raised to lips I cannot see. The dead aren’t permitted to speak.

But they want me to talk. I’m still needed! Doesn’t he see this? There must be some kind of mistake. Doesn’t he see that they need me? I plead with the figure that I have to speak to them. It’s not finished yet. I have to tell them things. But the figure in the shadows makes no sign that he has even heard.


26 Dec 2008 /
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

He looks up the trail trying to see what’s ahead even when he knows what’s ahead because he just looked a second before. He goes too fast or too slow for the conditions and when he talks his talk is forever about somewhere else, something else. He’s here but he’s not here. He rejects the here, is unhappy with it, wants to be farther up the trail but when he gets there will be just as unhappy because then it will be “here.” What he’s looking for, what he wants, is all around him, but he doesn’t want that because it is all around him. Every step’s an effort, both physically and spiritually, because he imagines his goal to be external and distant.