[MD] The need for quality
andrew.chu at gmail.com
Sat Aug 19 22:55:13 PDT 2017
Hey Wes, good to meet you.
So it’s interesting, I actually thought Lila was inconclusive in its ending. I know the core of the book is meant to explore quality and its implications with respect to morality. And in that his effort to do what was best for Lila, Pirsig seemed to offer a conclusive end at first glance.
However, personally I think, while it was a necessary next step following ZAMM, Pirsig’s conflation of morality and quality is what made Lila a weaker piece.
The core question to me relates to that of human intent. Did he do what he did with a creative intent or a consumptive intent? That is the critical question in my mind.
Recall that in ZAMM, Pirsig deploys an untrustworthy narrator to an expert degree (he has said that Phaedrus is actually the hero of the story and the narrator is in fact the ghost). Perhaps, unbeknownst to us, Lila is a similar work, where the entire treatise is a giant rationalization for Pirsig’s effort to capture Lila for his own.
The fact that he made an effort to challenge Rigel and save her in his own mind is moral by any common standard, but morality, like quality itself, is in the eye of the beholder, and as we all are human, we know that what is in the mind and in the eye is not always reflective of what is in the heart.
I would prefer to put aside the concept of morality for the moment and consider the most basic delineation of any human action. Is it either done with creative intent or consumptive intent, i.e. are you seeking to invest yourself into something to create something greater than the sum of the parts or are you looking to extract something from the world for your own benefit or pleasure? The same exact action, take the challenging of Rigel for instance, can take on wildly different implications given a differing intent of the subject. It’s very difficult to observe at the moment of the action, but I think human experience and history shows us that the cumulative consequences of seemingly similar actions taken with divergent intents ultimately show great disparity, i.e. actions cumulatively taken with extreme consumptive intent, over time, generally resemble what most would refer to as morally evil, whereas actions cumulative taken with creative intent, generally resemble what most cultures would refer to as morally good.
I wonder then, if Lila saw something that we the reader were not privy to. Perhaps, she saw that despite all of Phaedrus’ noble rationalization, he still ultimately wanted what every other John wanted in her past. And thus she chose Rigel, because at least there was no pretense about what he was or why he did what he did.
From: WES STEWART
Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2017 5:41 PM
To: moq discuss
Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality
I am new here too, found out about the site a few days ago. I use to be on Demings quality management Linked-in discussion group.
Thanks for the post! Pursig had stated our ability to reason; contemplative and reflective thought is at the top of the MOQ. This is what can bring change to a culture or society. He also stated morality and quality are the same thing; this is similar to William Edwards Deming. The owner of an organization must have quality inside his character, in order to be capable of providing a quality product or service.
In Lila towards the end; when Lila has her epiphany clutching the rubber doll, Pursig takes on what he feels is his moral responsibility to look after Lila for the rest of her life. Even when Rigel shows up offering to take her away, Pursig challenges him, knowing it is not in Lilas best interest. His life without Lila
would be much easier is what his biological self would urge; however his morality and quality of character have been built through his intellect.
Pursig had empathy with Lila knowing what she was probably going to face.
Pursig was always in an inner struggle trying to make sense or find purpose in the world. He knew who he was and was trying to make the world his students lived in a better quality atmosphere in which to learn, he abandoned grading at Bozeman. Deming spoke openly as a University professor , that no one ever fails his class , everyone gets a passing grade.
Quality in a human being is all about character. I agree with you, bigger houses, more diplomas, expensive cars, boats and other toys have nothing to do with a quality human being. It was in Pursig when he decided to do what's best for Lila, look after her for the rest of her life. He strongly interceded against Rigel taking her but was over ruled by Lila.
----- Original Message -----
From: Andrew Chu <andrew.chu at gmail.com>
To: moq discuss <moq_discuss at lists.moqtalk.org>
Sent: Fri, 18 Aug 2017 21:24:07 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: [MD] The need for quality
My name is Andrew and I came across this site after re-visiting Zen recently. Zen was, without a doubt, the book that has made the most formative impact on my own personal philosophies and values.
So I’m not sure who else is still active, but figured it was worth reaching out.
It seems to me that the world today could benefit greatly from a broader understanding of Quality.
The fundamental framework that qualities are intrinsic in things, peoples, cultures is driving more and more swaths of humanity apart. Your quality is determined by where you live, what car you drive, what language you speak, the color of your hair, the religion you practice, the party you voted for. These are all driven by the simple humanistic tendency to make sense of the world by creating symbolic representations of disparate pieces of data and observations. However, without an understanding of the nature of quality, these simple models have in many ways *become* the world. The representations have become the reality.
And that’s a problem.
The simple acknowledgement that quality exists within the relationship between things, encompassing both the subjective and the objective nature of our individual experiences, could give people the freedom to feel comfort in their own perspective on the world while also understanding that that relationship is unique to them and might not be shared equally by others. It could give us the opportunity to start breaking down some of the increasingly prevalent Us vs Them dichotomies we see in the world.
Anyhow, I hope this finds everyone well. I look forward to engaging in dialogues about all things Quality.
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