Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Favorite Quotes

"Quality—you know what it is, yet you don’t know what it is. But that’s self-contradictory. But some things are better than others, that is, they have more quality. But when you try to say what the quality is, apart from the things that have it, it all goes poof! There’s nothing to talk about. But if you can’t say what Quality is, how do you know what it is, or how do you know that it even exists? If no one knows what it is, then for all practical purposes it doesn’t exist at all. But for all practical purposes it really does exist."

"Care and Quality are internal and external aspects of the same thing. 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 characteristic of quality."

'When one isn't dominated by feelings of separateness from what he's working on, then one can be said to "care" about what he's doing.  That is what caring really is, a feeling of identification with what one's doing.  When one has this feeling then he also sees the inverse side of caring, Quality itself.'

'I would like not to cut any new channels of consciousness but simply dig deeper into old ones that have become silted in with the debris of thoughts grown stale and platitudes too often repeated. "What's new?" is an interesting and broadening eternal question, but one which, if pursued exclusively, results only in an endless parade of trivia and fashion, the silt of tomorrow. I would like, instead, to be concerned with the question "What is best?," a question which cuts deeply rather than broadly, a question whose answers tend to move the silt downstream. There are eras of human history in which the channels of thought have been too deeply cut and no change was possible, and nothing new ever happened, and "best" was a matter of dogma, but that is not the situation now. Now the stream of our common consciousness seems to be obliterating its own banks, losing its central direction and purpose, flooding the lowlands, disconnecting and isolating the highlands and to no particular purpose other than the wasteful fulfillment of its own internal momentum. Some channel deepening seems called for.'

    "The Good was not a form of reality. It was reality itself, ever changing, ultimately unknowable in any kind of fixed, rigid way."

    'A single thought begins to grow in his mind, extracted from something he read in the dialogue Phædrus. "And what is written well and what is written badly—need we ask Lysias, or any other poet or orator, who ever wrote or will write either a political or any other work, in metre or out of metre, poet or prose writer, to teach us this?"'

    "What is good, Phædrus, and what is not good—need we ask anyone to tell us these things?"

    "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."

    "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."

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

    'I like the word "gumption" because it's so homely and so forlorn and so out of style it looks as if it needs a friend and isn't likely to reject anyone who comes along. I like it also because it describes exactly what happens to someone who connects with Quality. He gets filled with gumption.'
    "A person filled with gumption doesn't sit around dissipating and stewing about things. He's at the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what's up the track and meeting it when it comes. That's gumption."

    "If you're going to repair a motorcycle, an adequate supply of gumption is the first and most important tool. If you haven't got that you might as well gather up all the other tools and put them away, because they won't do you any good."

    "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 centre of it all."

    "What's wrong with technology is that it's not connected in any real way with matters of the spirit and of the heart. And so it does blind, ugly things quite by accident and gets hated for that."

    "The way to solve the conflict between human values and technology needs is not to run away from technology. That's impossible. The way to resolve the conflict is to break down the barriers of dualistic thought that prevent a real understanding of what technology is--not an exploitation of nature, but a fusion of nature and the human spirit into a new kind of creation that transcends both."

    "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."

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

    "When the world is seen not as a duality of mind and matter but as a trinity of quality, mind, and matter, then the art of motorcycle maintenance and other arts take on a dimension of meaning they never had."

    "Man is not the source of all things, as the subjective idealists would say. Nor is he the passive observer of all things, as the objective idealists and materialists would say. The Quality which creates the world emerges as a relationship between man and his experience. He is a participant in the creation of all things. The measure of all things—it fits."

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

    "I think that if we are going to reform the world, and make it a better place to live in, the way to do it is not with talk about relationships of a political nature, which are inevitably dualistic, full of subjects and objects and their relationship to one another; or with programs full of things for other people to do. I think that kind of approach starts it at the end and presumes the end is the beginning. Programs of a political nature are important end products of social quality that can be effective only if the underlying structure of social values is right. The social values are right only if the individual values are right. The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there. Other people can talk about how to expand the destiny of mankind. I just want to talk about how to fix a motorcycle."

    Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each Tuesday That Artsy Reader Girl assigns a topic and then post her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


    1. Yes, that book is full of quote-worthy material. I really ought to read it again.

      Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

    2. I've never read it but now I am curious.

    3. I've never read this before but I've always been interested in it. These quotes are astounding, though, so I'm definitely going to have to get hold of a copy of this sooner rather than later.

      Here are my ten favourite quotes.

    4. Certainly different!!

    5. "gumption".... Yes, praise for an old fashioned word. :-)

      I am blushing, I have never read this famous book...

    6. on my TBR for a looong time now (bought it as a gift for a couple of people) but not yet got to reading it..
      love 'gumption' and love the quotes which talk about hurrying.. so true

    7. I loved this book when it first came out. I reread it once and wasn't quite as enthusiastic. Your quotes intrigue me: maybe a third read is in order?

      best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    8. These were great! I got out my quotes notebook. TY


    Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!