To speak of certain government and establishments as ‘the system’ is to speak
correctly, since these organisations are founded upon the same structural
conceptual relationship as a motorcycle. They are sustained by structural
relationships even when they have lost all other meaning and purpose. People
arrive at a factory and perform a totally meaningless task from eight to five
without question because the structure demands that it be that way. There’s
no villain, no ‘mean guy’ who wants them to lead meaningless lives, it is just
that the structure, the system demands it and one is willing to take on the
formidable task of changing the structure just because it is meaningless.

But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repair
of a motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes;
and as long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true
system, the real system, is our present constructions of systematic thought
itself, rationality itself, and if a factory is torn down but the rationality, which
produced it, is left standing, then that rationality will simply produce another
factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic government, but the systematic
patterns of thought that produced that government are left intact, then those
patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government.

Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance