Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
"The school was
what could euphemistically be called a 'teaching
teaching college you teach and you teach and you teach with no time for
time for contemplation, no time for participation in outside affairs. Just
teach and teach
until your mind grows dull and your creativity vanishes and you become an
saying the same dull things over and over to endless waves of innocent
students who cannot
understand why you are so dull, lose respect and fan this disrespect out into
The reason you teach and teach and you teach is that this is a very clever way
a college on the cheap while giving a false appearance of genuine education."
(Webmaster's Note: Does this sound like
the University of Tennessee?)
"....This was the
Church of Reason lecture, which, in contrast to
sketchy lecture notes, was very long and very carefully elaborated."
"It began with a
reference to a newspaper article about a country
building with an electric beer sign hanging right over the front entrance.
had been sold and was being used as a bar.... The article said a number of
complained to the church officials about it. It had been a Catholic church,
and the priest
who had been delegated to respond to the criticism had sounded quite irritated
about the whole
thing. To him it had revealed an incredible ignorance of what a church really
was. Did they
think that bricks and boards and glass constituted a church? Or the shape of
the roof? Here,
posing as piety was an example of the very materialism the church opposed.
The building in
question was not holy ground. It had been desanctified. That was the end of
it. The beer sign
resided over a bar, not a church, and those who couldn't tell the difference
revealing something about themselves."
"Phaedrus said the
same confusion existed about the University and that was
of accreditation was hard to understand. The real University is not a
material object. It is
not a group of buildings that can be defended by police. He explained that
when a college lost
its accreditation, nobody came and shut down the school. There were no legal
fines, no jail sentences. Classes did not stop. Everything went on just as
got the same education they would if the school didn't lose its accreditation.
All that would
happen, Phaedrus said, would simply be an official recognition of a condition
existed. It would be similar to excommunication. What would happen is that
real University, which no legislature
can dictate to and
which can never be identified by any location of bricks or boards or glass,
would simply declare
that this place was no longer 'holy ground.' The real University would vanish
from it, and all
that would be left was the bricks and the books and the material
manifestation." pg. 147.
University, he said, has no specific location. It owns
property, pays no
salaries and receives no material dues. The real University is a state of
mind. It is that
great heritage of rational thought that has been brought down to us through
the centuries and
which does not exist at any specific location. It's a state of mind which is
throughout the centuries by a body of people who traditionally carry the title
but even that title is not part of the real University. The real University
is nothing less than
the continuing body of reason itself."
"But this second
university, the legal corporation, cannot teach,
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." pg. 148.
"You are never
dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No
fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it's going to rise tomorrow.
When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any
other kinds of dogmas
or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt." pg.
From Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.
Last Modified: 13 October 2006 EST