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10 quotes from one of the greatest American writers and philosophers of the 20th century

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Robert Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig is the author of only two books - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (1991). Someone could say: Well, then what is so special about him? There were other incredible minds in the States and they were definitely more prolific writers. It could be regarded as impossible but inside these two books, Pirsig managed to say more than other writers in 30 volumes. He was able to synthesize the inconceivable number of theories, researches, and personal experiences that he had gone through during his long life in less than 1000 pages. And that is not because he had nothing more to say. Matter of fact, the biography of Robert Pirsig is quite interesting. He was a prodigy child who had an alleged IQ of 170 at the age of nine. Several years later he graduated high school at the age of 14. He studied Biochemistry, entered the U.S. Army, which brought him to South Korea and when he came back to the States he became a professor at the age of 30, teaching creative writing. At the age of 33, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was treated with electroconvulsive therapy on numerous occasions. One of his sons – Chris – who is a main character in his first book, got stabbed to death at the age of 22. And while all of that happened, Pirsig never stopped his ardent and vigorous researches into the essence of quality, metaphysics, truth, and existence in general.

Here are some of the pearls that crystallized inside his two books:

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On this date, more than six centuries ago...

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What Happened on April 17, 1387 and 1397

Geoffrey Chaucer is considered the greatest English poet before Shakespeare. He is also famous as one of the first scholars along with Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, and Desiderius Erasmus, to use vernacular language for writing his most renowned work – The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer was an important civil servant, diplomat, and courtier who was trusted by three successive kings – Edward III, Richard II, and Henry IV. However, history remembers him mostly with his poetic works, which embody a great variety of subject matter, genres, styles, and approaches towards the complex themes of the human condition, religion, and existence.

Canterbury Tales was written between 1387 and 1400. According to the scholars, the date when Chaucer's characters started their fictional pilgrimage was the 17th of April 1387. It was today, 634 years ago when one of the greatest journeys in the world of Literature began and it is still inspiring poets and artists from all around the globe. It could be a coincidence but ten years later, the same date (17.04.1397) was the first time that Geoffrey Chaucer publicly tells the Canterbury Tales at the court of King Richard II.

Sometimes fictional events could have even a greater impact upon human culture than historical ones. In that regard, factual and fictional worlds intertwine and together they influence human reality and the way our civilization progresses. Today, we celebrate one of these cases when a body of Literature changed our perception and had a great effect on our future activities.


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