Zen and the Art of Not Speaking as (a) God



“I think I’ll just stay with ordinary sculpture,” the sculptor says.

“I think I’ll stick to painting,” DeWeese says.

Chris asks, “What are you going to stick to?”

“Mah guns, boy, mah guns,” I tell him. “That’s the Code of the West.”

They all laugh hard at this, and my speechifying seems forgiven. When you’ve got a Chautauqua in your head, it’s extremely hard not to inflict it on innocent people.




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




I add, almost to myself, “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. And if you project forward from that pattern, then sometimes you can come up with something.




The trouble is that essays always have to sound like God talking for eternity, and that isn’t the way it ever is. People should see that it’s never anything other than just one person talking from one place in time and space and circumstance. It’s never been anything else, ever, but you can’t get that across in an essay.





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






—All from “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – An Inquiry into Values” by Robert M. Pirsig


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