Major themes[ edit ] The main goal of this book is to develop a complete metaphysical system based on the idea of Quality introduced in his first book. As in his previous book, the narrative is embedded between rounds of philosophical discussion. Unlike his previous book, in which he creates a dichotomy between Classical and Romantic Quality, this book centers on the division of Quality into the Static and the Dynamic. According to the novel, the known universe can be divided into four Static values: inorganic, biological, social, and intellectual. Everything in the known universe can be categorized into one of these four categories, except Dynamic Quality.
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Zen is one of my all time favorite books and had a profound impact on my person. This was something that I noticed a few times earlier on in Lila. This is what struck me as different about this book.
In the case of Lila, I thought I understood more, and found that I had more disagreements with Pirsig. This was a first reading though, and having read Zen multiples times, I always get more out of it with each subsequent read. It may be a bit early to fully judge Lila.
I was also really disappointed with the ending. My problems with the actual ideas presented were twofold. Certain others I question the manner in which he comes to his conclusions.
Many of his ideas come to him in flashes. He sees the truth of it, and then puts together all the pieces of the puzzle to explain it. I wonder whether his reasoning is just a post hoc rationalization without any real merit.
That he is just finding things to fit his conclusions, which is what makes the simple brilliance of his ideas so right sounding to him and to the reader. I will say that my thoughts did seem to change as the book went on. I found his ideas about insanity really insightful. And at some point all his talk of dynamic vs. There seemed to be some sort of logical leap at the end though that jumped from the intellectual pattern being subservient to the mystic pattern which I think he equated with full dynamic quality.
In the end, I think this is a worthwhile read, though it lacked the cohesion of Zen. It purported to be "an inquiry into morals" and in my mind failed in a true exploration of that purpose. For every idea I read which I disagreed with there were many more that I not only agreed with, but almost felt this great sigh of relief escape me because here finally someone was able to express in words thoughts I have not been able to do so for myself.
Because no matter how rational and logical my reasoning is, how much it is based on a deep scientific understanding of the universe, there is a point where certain ideas i have about morals and ethics and "good" come down to certain assumptions that I have no method or framework to explain. At the base of all his writings Pirsig is trying to explain this same something and so I very much value his works.
Not only because I think he is mostly correct in his assertions, but because I believe he is mostly responsible and thoughtful in his methods.
I appreciate that his process of explanation incorporates his understanding of physics and biology, evolution and anthropology, eastern mysticism and personal experience, and that he weaves all these different ways of understanding the universe into one grand idea.
Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals
But within a month Pirsig set off on his Honda Super Hawk, accompanied by his young son, Chris, and friends John and Sylvia Sutherland, on the day journey from Minneapolis to San Francisco that, six years, two drafts and some , words later, became the basis of an immediate bestseller. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintentance was published in He was born in Minneapolis. His father Maynard, who was studying law, was of German descent; his mother, Harriet nee Sjobeck , of Swedish background. Robert started school while living in Hendon, north-west London, while his father trained at the Inns of Court. By the time the family returned to Minnesota, where his father taught at the university law school, Robert was so advanced that he skipped two grades.
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