Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


Robert Pirsig

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Zen and the Art of... can help.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

As he and Chris descend the mountain, the narrator muses that he cannot evaluate how truthful it is that the Tao and Phaedrus’s Quality are one and the same. What Phaedrus’s philosophizing really accomplished, however, is an expansion of reason: reason can now encompass thoughts that would have seemed irrational before.
The narrator’s point here is an important one: Quality is not a religious concept. Rather, much like Kant’s or Copernicus’s revelations, it is simply a means of expanding the scope of reason. It only seems irrational because reason hasn’t yet been able to assimilate it into its corpus.
Quality Theme Icon
Rationality and Irrationality Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Chris and the narrator complete their descent and arrive in Bozeman at night. Exhausted, they check into Bozeman’s main hotel so as not to disturb the DeWeeses.
The duo’s departure from the mountain signifies the end of this particular story of Phaedrus’s groundbreaking realizations about Quality.
Quality Theme Icon