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Remembering Robert M. Pirsig

The author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance studied philosophy at UMN
May 25, 2017

Robert M. Pirsig, author of the cult classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, died last month at the age of 88. He earned bachelor's degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota in 1950.

We remember this famous alumnus by reflecting upon a few quotations from his book.

"Zen and the Motorcycle Maintenance" book cover
Cover of the first edition
Source: Minnesota Historical Society
“Of the value traps, the most widespread and pernicious is value rigidity. This is an inability to revalue what one sees because of commitment to previous values. In motorcycle maintenance, you MUST rediscover what you do as you go. Rigid values makes this impossible.”
“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.” 
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away.” 

Learn more about Pirsig's Minnesota connections in the Philosophy Librarian's blog.

Read an obituary of Pirsig from The Guardian.