Quotes of Note

"Don't look towards the sky

'Cause there's no heaven above

Don't look down beneath your feet

There's no hell below

But heaven and hell exist within

Heaven is what you make it and

Hell is what you're going through"

~Popa Wu [Wu Revolution (the first track off the album Wu-Tang Forever)] 

"The past cannot remember the past.  The future can't generate the future.  The cutting edge of this instant right here and right now is always nothing less than the totality of everything there is."

~Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance P.284)

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

~Nick Carraway (in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby)

"(A Child) ...would not have have stared in amazement if when one billiard ball struck the other, both had remained perfectly motionless.  When we speak of 'laws of nature' or of 'cause and effect,' we are actually speaking of what is 'reasonable.'  The laws of nature are neither reasonable or unreasonable, they simply are.  The expectation that the white billiard ball will move when it is struck by the black billiard ball is therefore not innate. We are not born with a set of expectations as to what the world is like or how things in the world behave.  The world is like it is, and it's something that we get to know.

~Alberto Knox (a character in Jostein Gaardner's book Sophie's World p. 273) 

"We stand for something. We are here to show those guys that are inching their way on the freeways in their metal coffins that the human spirit is still alive."

~Patrick Swayze (as "Bodhi," or "Bodhisattva", which is Sanskrit for "Being of Wisdom" in Point Break)

"I want to go back to the original principles; but the future I have seen in Korea is the polar opposite to this. People today look for instant gratification. We can't see the world solely as our resource, we must nurture ourselves within the environment. It's dangerous to pursue only progress."

~Hample Tzuntza (Korean Shaman)

"When we talked about Socrates, we saw how dangerous it could be to appeal to people's reason. With Jesus we see how dangerous it can be to demand unconditional brotherly love and unconditional forgiveness. Even in the world today we can see how mighty powers can come apart at the seams when confronted with simple demands for peace, love, food for the poor, and amnesty for the enemies of the state."

~Jostein Gaarder (Sophie's World - A Novel About the History of Philosophy)

"To doubt the literal meaning of Jesus or Moses incurs hostility from most people, but it's just a fact that if Jesus or Moses were to appear today with the same message he spoke many years ago, his mental stability would be challenged. This isn't because what Jesus or Moses said was untrue or because modern society is in error but simply because the rout they chose to reveal to others has lost 
relevance and comprehensibility. "Heaven above" fades from meaning when space-age consciousness asks, Where is "above"? But the fact that the old routes have tended, because of language rigidity, to lose their everyday meaning and become almost closed doesn't mean that the mountain is no longer there. It's there and will be there as long as consciousness exists. 

~Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance P.188)

"The allegory of a physical mountain for the spiritual one that stands between each soul and its goal is an easy and natural one to make... Most people stand in sight of the spiritual mountains all their lives and never enter them, being content to listen to others who have been there and thus avoid the hardships. Some travel into the mountains accompanied by experienced guides who know the best
 and least dangerous routes by which they arrive at their destination. Still others, inexperienced and untrusting, attempt to make their own routes. Few of those are successful, but occasionally some, by sheer will and luck and grace, do make it. Once there they become more aware than any of the others that there's no single or fixed number of routes. There are as many routes as there are individual souls." 

~Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance P.187)

"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. What else are the grades based on? Why else would people pay fortunes for some things and throw others in the trash pile? Obviously some things are better than than others... but what's the "betterness"?... So round and round you go spinning mental wheels and nowhere finding anyplace to get traction. What the hell is Quality?"

~Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) P.184

The real University, he said, has no specific location. It owns no property, it pays no salaries and receives no material dues. The real University is a state of mind. It is that great heritage of rational though that that has been brought down to us through the centuries and which does not exist in any specific location. It's a state of mind which is regenerated throughout the centuries by a ...body of people who traditionally carry the title of Professor, but even that title is not part of the real University. The real University is nothin less than a continuing body of reason itself.

But this second university, the legal corporation cannot teach, does not generate new knowledge or evaluate ideas. It is not the real university at all. It is just a church building, the setting, the location at which conditions have been made favorable for the real church to exist.

Confusion continually occurs in people who fail to see the difference, he said, an think that control of the church building implies control of the church. They see professors as employees of the second university who should abandon reason when told to and take orders with no backtalk, the same way employees do in other corporations.

The see the second university but fail to see the first.

~Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) P.148

"He became aware that the doctrinal differences among Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism are not anywhere near as important as doctrinal differences among Christianity and Islam and Judaism. Holy wars are not fought over them because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself.

In all of the Oriental religions great value is placed on the Sanskrit doctrine of "Tat t...vam asi" (Thou art that), which asserts that everything you think you are and everything you think you perceive are undivided. To realize fully this lack of division is to become enlightened.

Logic presumes a separation of subject from object; therefore logic is not final wisdom.

~Robert M. Pirisg (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) P.141

"The christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun."

~Thomas Paine

"When societies and cultures and cities are seen not as inventions of "man" but as higher organisms than biological man, the phenomena of war and genocide and all other forms of human exploitation become more intelligible. "Mankind" has never been interested getting itself killed. But the superorganism, the Giant, who is a pattern of values superimposed on top of biological human bodies, doesn't mind losing a few bodies to protect his greater interests.

~Robert M. Pirsig (Lila An Inquiry into Morals)

"Of all the contributions America has made to the world, the idea of freedom from a social hierarchy has been the greatest. It was fought for in the American Revolution and confirmed in the Civil War. To this day it's still the most powerful, compelling ideal holding the whole nation together.

And yet, although Jefferson called this doctrine of social equality "self evident," it is not at all self-evident. Scientific evidence and the social evidence of history indicate the opposite is self-evident. There is no "self-evidence" in European history that all men are created equal. There's no nation in Europe that doesn't trace it's history to a time when it was "self-evident" that all men are created unequal. Jean Jacques Rousseau, who is sometimes given credit for this doctrine, certainly didn't get it from the history of Europe or Asia or Africa. He got it from the impact of the New World upon Europe and from the contemplation or one particular kind of individual who lived in the New World, the person he called the "Noble Savage."

The idea that "all men are created equal" is a gift to the world from the American Indian. Europeans who settle here only transmitted it as doctrine that they sometimes followed and sometimes did not. The real source was someone for whose social equality was no mere doctrine, who had equality built into his bones. To him it was inconceivable that the world could be any other way. For him there was no other way of life."

~Robert M. Pirsig (Lila-An Inquiry Into Morals)

"In the past our common universe of reason has been in the process of escaping, rejecting the romantic, irrational world of prehistoric man.  It's been necessary since before the time of Socrates to reject the passions, the emotions, in order to free the rational mind for an understanding of nature's order which was as yet unknown.  Now it's time to further an understanding of nature's order by reassimilating those passions which were originally fled from.  The passions, the emotions, the affective domain of man's consciousness, are a part of nature's order too.  The central part.

~Robert M. Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

“You gonna tell me the history of the blues? I am the goddam blues. Look at me. Shit. I’m from West Virginia, I’m the first man in my family not to work in the coal mines, my mother scrubbed floors on her knees for a living, and you’re going to tell me about the goddam blues because you read some book written by John Hammond? Kiss my ass.” 

~Bill Withers

"From the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to American politics-the name Jesus had been hijacked as an ally in all kinds of power struggles.  Since the beginning of time, the ignorant had always screamed the loudest, herding the unsuspecting masses and forcing them to do their bidding.  They defended their worldly desires by citing Scripture they did not understand.  They celebrated their intolerance as proof of their convictions.  Now, after all these years, mankind had finally managed to utterly erode everything that had once been so beautiful about Jesus."

~Dan Brown, "The Lost Symbol," p.410

"If you think you know me, or you have some part of me, because of the music and then you think that I'm being controlled like a dog on a leash because I do things with her.  Then screw you brother or sister, you don't know what's happening.  I'm not here for you, I'm here for me and her."

~John Lennon (on him and Yoko)

"I like to think about the life of wine, how it is a living thing.  I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing.  How the sun was shining, if it rained.  I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it's an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now.  I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened it a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I'd opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive.  And it's constantly evolving and gaining in complexity, that is until it peaks, like your '61. And the. It begins it's steady inevitable decline."

~Maya, from the movie "Sideways" (2004)

"In India, even a thorn, or a worm, even an earthquake is sacred, because something is happening where the earth is maintaining itself, correcting itself, balancing itself. In this natural happening there might be some pain some suffering, some difficulties for human beings, but if you look at the earth as a whole, all natural phenomen...a have their place, from the Indian point of view."

~Satish Kumar

"Seek not the ways of the men of old; seek instead what they sought."

~Rob Olds

"What is it about human beings in Western culture that permits us to pursue activities that threaten our very survival? What is it that is so important to us that we are apparently willing to destroy the planet-and ultimately ourselves-to get it? Why do we persist in these practices even after we realize their self defeating futility? What does this tell us about out society and our own nature? What matters most deeply to us? Is our society with our true nature and deepest values?"

~William Keepin

"When I feed the poor, they call me a saint; 
When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."                                                               

~Dom Helder Camara

"I'm asking this particularly of young people that watch. Please do not be cynical, I hate cynicism, for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you amazing things will happen."

~Conan O'Brien (On his last night as host of the tonight show.)

"As a religious act, to make something of the new day.  To celebrate the arrival of a new dawn is a very fine thing to do.  You know, we just barge through it we get up bleary eyed, hung over, make a dash for the kettle and the coffee, and the taster.  And then run out the door, worried we're late for work. Imagine starting the day quietly, evenly, considerately, it's a very very different approach."

~Reverend Peter Owen-Jones 

"The ways of these people are really coming to an end. There are two worlds that have colided here, there is the world of the Navajo and there is the world of the white man.  And what have we replaced this way of life with?  Stress, money, junkfood.  Is that progress?"

~Reverend Peter Owen-Jones 

"We have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.  We are and always will be the United States of America.  It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful about what we can achieve, to put thier hands on the arc of history and bend it once more towards the hope of a better day."

~Barack Obama

"I'm quite worried about my headache tomorrow morning. So I try to fight for starting the test tomorrow afternoon..."

~Rossi on testing after winning his 8th world championship.

"You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you... but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. Well, you think what you want about me; I'm not changing. I like... I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get."

~Del Griffith (John Candy)

"Englishman must have a hobby. Some like to collect the stamp or make jam. But the most fun is to kill a a little animal with a shotgun or rip him up with a wild dog."


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