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

country road

The hereness and nowness of things is something they know all about

…these roads are truly different from the main ones. The whole pace of life and personality of the people who live along them are different. They’re not going anywhere. They’re not too busy to be courteous. The hereness and nowness of things is something they know all about. It’s the others, the ones who moved to the cities years ago and their lost offspring, who have all but forgotten it. The discovery was a real find.

I’ve wondered why it took us so long to catch on. We saw it and yet we didn’t see it. Or rather we were trained not to see it. Conned, perhaps, into thinking that the real action was metropolitan and all this was just boring hinterland. It was a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling.


by Robert Pirsig (born September 6, 1928)
from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974)

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Robert Pirsig, author of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” was born September first, this day in 1928. Pirsig, a former philosophy professor, loosely journals a cross country trek he took with his son in 1968. After being rejected by over 120 publishers, the book was finally published in 1974 by William Morrow and Company, with the caveat that it probably wouldn’t do very well. Children of the 60’s and 70’s know that wasn’t so: the book became a cult classic and sold over four million copies.

120 rejections. Let that sink in. American counterculture “zen” isn’t all laying back and letting it be.

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