Compare And Contrast Piprsig's Quality And The Good Life

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The Good Life and Pirsig’s Quality

The Good Life to me is a concept that compares directly with Pirsig’s Quality. I believe that the Good Life is an idea that people strive to obtain, but obtaining it can never be accomplished. Because of this, people use the concept of the Good Life as a form of inspiration in their lives. Having this form of inspiration in our lives gives us something to strive for, and can prove to be beneficial. The Good Life also proves to be a concept that can be difficult to define. Living the Good Life can vary from person to person, and is more of a feeling than a definable idea. Pirsig’s Quality is another concept that is difficult to define and not able to be obtained. This is displayed multiple times throughout
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In chapter 15 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig prefaces Quality as, “Quality - you know what it is, yet you don’t know what it is” (Pirsig End of Part II). This quote is a great intro into the narrator’s explanation of what Quality is, or what he believes it to be. I believe that the Good Life is similar to this in many ways. You know what the Good Life is, what it feels like, and when you have experienced the Good Life, but it is difficult to explain what exactly it is or when you currently are in the Good Life. This mirrors the quote above. It is easy to understand what Quality is, what types of things are high in Quality, and when you have experienced Quality in the past, but most people are unable to give a definition to Quality. An example of knowing what Quality is without truly understanding the definition occurs in chapter 17 of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The narrator tells his class that although they cannot define Quality, they know what it is. At first, the students are skeptical and are dismissive to what their professor has to say. The narrator decides to show two examples of compositions to his students in order for them to observe the Quality within them. The compositions are described as, “... a rambling, disconnected thing with interesting ideas that never build into anything. The second was a magnificent piece by a student who was mystified himself about why it had come out so well. Phaedrus read both, then asked for a show of hands on who thought the first was best. Two hands went up. He asked how many liked the second better. Twenty-eight hands went up”(Pirsig ch.17). This is a clear, straightforward example of how people are able to determine what has Quality, without actually defining it. I believe that this is an example that pertains to the Good Life as well. Although the Good Life may be
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