[MD] The need for quality

WES STEWART wesstt at shaw.ca
Thu Sep 21 20:45:02 PDT 2017

Thanks for the response Dan; 

...and yes the Boat, and the Plastic Baby was Inorganic, Lila the Biological, Rigel- Social and Pirsig the Intellectual. 

We can never be entirely certain of anything, however Lila is a a well known and important term in Hindu philosophy. Robert Pirsig attended Banaras Hindu University in India, to study Eastern philosophy and culture. 

This is from Lila Chapter 1. 

"There is Lila, this single private person who slept beside him now, who was born and now lived and tossed in her dreams and will soon enough die and then there is someone else—call her lila—who is immortal, who inhabits Lila for a while and then moves on. The sleeping Lila he had just met tonight. But the waking Lila, who never sleeps, had been watching him and he had been watching her for a long time. " 

My interpretation of that, and it could be wrong, quality was reality itself, as he writes about his MOQ. It appears he also believes that the "quality that is our reality is an entity because he feels it had been watching him, and he had been watching her for a long time. 

Immortal is an absolute, it is not subjective, it is a term that is well defined, however as human beings we are like how Plato describes. We are chained in a cave, with a bit of light entering, we are facing the walls and we see only shadows. 

The entity Lila that Pirsig had been watching for a long time, was perfection. Lila the eternal, is a system that is undergoing continuous improvement, in all four areas of MOQ. Same as Jiro but only in one area; sushi.. 

From: "Dan Glover" <daneglover at gmail.com> 
To: "moq discuss" <moq_discuss at moqtalk.org> 
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2017 12:55:10 AM 
Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality 

Wes, all, 

I believe when asked Robert Pirsig said how the name Lila came from 
the distinct odor of the lilac bush and not from the Sanskrit word. I 
am fairly certain the MOQ does not subscribe to any notion of absolute 
reality (God, Creator) for that would connote an objective reality we 
all agree upon, the antithesis of the notion of Quality. 

In ZMM, Pirsig writes: 

"Two weeks after the vacation was over, one evening after work, I 
removed the carburetor to see what was wrong but still couldn’t find 
anything. To clean off the grease before replacing it, I turned the 
stopcock on the tank for a little gas. Nothing came out. The tank was 
out of gas. I couldn’t believe it. I can still hardly believe it." 

So he did not tear the whole motorcycle apart. I wouldn't mind knowing 
where you got the part about Chris saying so in front of an audience 
if you could forward that. 

Now, so far as the character Lila goes, 'she' was Robert Pirsig. So 
was Rigel. And Phaedrus. And the boat. The notion behind the 
development of the characters in the novel Lila had to do with 
explicating the four levels of the MOQ: the boat, inorganic, Lila, 
biological, Rigel, social, Phaedrus, intellectual. 

That said, there is no divine absolute perfection in the MOQ. That 
would presuppose the elimination of betterness. So to pursue such an 
entity would appear to be only done in ignorance, which I am fairly 
sure was not what Jiro or Pirsig were doing. 


On Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 12:53 AM, WES STEWART <wesstt at shaw.ca> wrote: 
> Hello Ardie; 
> We try to define divine absolutes. 
> I believe that Jiro was pursuing the divine absolute of perfection, and that is quality. 
> Lila is a Sanskrit word, meaning, play, sport, spontaneity or drama, between the absolute reality (God,Creator) and within each of us. 
> This sums up the meeting at the marina bar with the sleazy woman, the play, sport, spontaneity and drama. 
> In the latter part of the novel Lila, she showed up with a shirt she bought for Pirsig that she placed on a doll; yet he had no clue. Pirsig was asking his reading audience for an answer. 
> She had quality in some areas that he did not, and we all do. 
> He tears his whole motorcycle apart, and his son recollects in front of an audience, "He forgot to check whether there was gas in the tank". 
> Because he is a creative writer, he is bringing the reader to have thoughts that play, sport, and bring spontaneity and drama. 
> He is bringing an insight to himself, and also to us us; never tear your engine apart if you ran out of gas. 
> We all have to learn as Jiro learns, to the same extent as Pirsig learns about Lila. He was willing to forsake his life and focus on the quality of life of another human being such as Lila. 
> How would you measure this act on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), or how many photons struck the screen? How good looking that person was? 
> I could measure it if I had the data, but the current narrative in our culture is that you cannot. 
> Pirsig's kind act is equally measurable; give me some data and I could give you some numbers. Why the sophists ever lost, we all know that. 
> Pirsig blames and I agree it was, human greed. 
> The corporate and political worlds do not want a science that is able to measure morality, yet we can do this through Pirsig's model and statistical data. 
> How many lives were lost in the Iraq war, and who profited would be an easy equation to put a morality stamp on, by who profited and how many deaths. 
> From: "Adrie Kintziger" <parser666 at gmail.com> 
> To: "moq discuss" <moq_discuss at moqtalk.org> 
> Sent: Saturday, September 16, 2017 4:46:45 AM 
> Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality 
> Hi all, 
> I had really no idea about this Jiro person.At first i tought that when you 
> offered the tubelinks that it would lead me to a sort of game or so. 
> If you like this quality/craftmanships endevours.... 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPUPyuz_ink 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dibIlrai8fU 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk4cwtQJmwU 
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xNZx_kX0o8 
> You tube will offer the rest of the suggestingpack;. 
> I would not call it quality however, but craftmanship hunting for 
> conceptual quality.Like Jiro's sushi, as it 's presenting and preparing 
> requires the hand of the master,.....but the fish itself delivers the taste 
> and meat.The hand of the 
> karate-kid-sushi master is only the serving hand. One would almost think 
> that it bares resemblances wit the tea ceremony. 
> Adrie 
> 2017-09-14 4:13 GMT+02:00 WES STEWART <wesstt at shaw.ca>: 
>> Hello Andrew and All about "Jiro dreams of Sushi" 
>> I thought it was a great documentary for anyone interested in quality. 
>> Prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and former US president Barack Obama 
>> dined together at Jiro's 10 seat restaurant that is by a subway station. 
>> Jiro has the same basic tenets that were preached strongly by Deming; 
>> a) He believes in continuous improvement, perfection is impossible to 
>> obtain, but constantly move in that direction 
>> b) Does not focus on money but focuses on quality 
>> c) Keep a good supplier and pay them a healthy rate, so they can remain in 
>> business 
>> Jiro's suppliers of fish and seafood all seem to have a high degree of 
>> integrity; they are not there just to purchase and sell as much as they 
>> can. Jiro purchases only from those that have methods to determine how good 
>> the tuna or seafood will be. His tuna supplier is able to tell how good the 
>> taste will be, just by feeling the texture of the meat. His tuna supplier 
>> states as a matter of fact for every 10 tuna there is 1 noteworthy one. His 
>> other suppliers are not in it for the money but to provide a quality 
>> service and be known for that. Some of them speak openly lets purchase some 
>> seafood that is worthy of Jiro's skills. 
>> Jiro also uses the scientific method. Through experimentation and testing 
>> he has brought a high degree of quality to his sushi; his methods are not 
>> the same methods that he learned 20 years ago. Jiro's level of taste is 
>> highly refined/evolved and that is his measuring tool. One Japanese food 
>> critic, had stated Jiro is extremely critical of his own work, we see the 
>> scientific method once again. Richard Feynman the physicist and Nobel 
>> laureate, told his students in one of his lectures, "try to prove yourself 
>> wrong as quickly as possible, that way progress can be made." I think the 
>> truth of this statement is what frustrated a very young Robert Pirsig, the 
>> hypothesis, followed by another hypothesis, followed yet by another 
>> hypothesis. Pirsig later writes the scientific method is not perfect, but 
>> it is the best thing that we have. 
>> Paulo Freire a philosopher in education tells us that "knowledge emerges 
>> (whether on sushi or anything else) only through invention and 
>> re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing hopeful inquiry 
>> human beings pursue in the world, with the world and with each other." 
>> Concerning the article on Japan and innovation I agree with you on that, 
>> Andrew. I think all societies create conforming individuals, however 
>> Japanese society more so. If you do not conform to the ideal, you may 
>> suffer depression and regard your own life as worthless. How does a person 
>> come up with anything original (innovation) if you were taught here listen 
>> to this and repeat it back and your success at repeating it back is what we 
>> will rate you as a human being. A society full of automatons, is not an 
>> innovative society, you need dreamers like Jiro, dreaming of new 
>> innovations in how he prepares the rice, massages the octopus, or any new 
>> hypothesis he comes up with that he feels will bring improvement. 
>> Towards the end of the documentary I found it interesting that others 
>> describe Jiro as a non-conformist, a rebel. He is invited to a school to 
>> speak to the students and has not decided to tell them whether to fit 
>> perfectly in to the school system or whether he will encourage them to be 
>> rebels. 
>> He visits his parents graves with his son and there is a flower vase with 
>> wilted flowers in it. His son asks him, "Perhaps we should have brought 
>> fresh flowers", he replies "Just dump the water in, its only a ritual and 
>> my parents never liked me, anyways." You can see he is not only critical of 
>> the old dogma of society, but the old dogma on how sushi should be 
>> prepared. The old dogma on how sushi should be prepared , was what he 
>> prepared yesterday. 
>> From: "Andrew Chu" <andrew.chu at gmail.com> 
>> To: "moq discuss" <moq_discuss at moqtalk.org> 
>> Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 9:58:47 PM 
>> Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality 
>> Fantastic! Very glad to hear and curious as to your thoughts and 
>> reflections when they are done percolating. 
>> Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 11:55 PM 
>> To: moq discuss 
>> Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality 
>> Hello Andrew; 
>> I just finished watching Jiro, I will give your recommendation to watch 
>> this documentary a 6 stars out of a top rating of 5. The documentary was 
>> nothing short of awesome. I have lots of ideas, from watching this. 
>> Thank you Andrew 
>> From: "Andrew Chu" <andrew.chu at gmail.com> 
>> To: "moq discuss" <moq_discuss at moqtalk.org> 
>> Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 1:29:56 PM 
>> Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality 
>> Hi Wes, I don’t dispute the importance of Deming and his impact. In fact, 
>> his merging of concepts of quality with industrial advancement is very much 
>> in line with Pirsig’s reflections on his motorcycle and the nascent fear of 
>> technology in our culture in that similar time frame of post war america. 
>> I suppose my thought is that when those metrics of quality reach a 
>> theoretical peak, as they did in your prior example and as they largely 
>> have in modern manufacturing today, what then? The observable improvements 
>> start to flatline and what was once dynamic in nature becomes static. At 
>> the same time what once gave meaning as an indicator of a trend towards 
>> dynamic quality now becomes weighed down as simply being a placemarker for 
>> static quality. 
>> We now can manufacture prolifically with little to no deviation in 
>> quality. But then what do we choose to do with that power? We then devalue 
>> the goods themselves, devalue their design and the thought put into them to 
>> create endless landfills of plastic widgets, disposable goods, one-time-use 
>> knick-knacks. What was undoubtedly a trend towards a higher dynamic quality 
>> has now enabled some broader systemic issues of lower static quality. 
>> The point on japan is well taken. I respect the Japanese culture a lot and 
>> in particular their attention to quality and thoughtfulness. But even their 
>> receptiveness and empirically superior adoption of Deming’s teachings has 
>> had side effects. For so many years, they saw positive results with their 
>> adoption of quality controls that becoming a productive part of the 
>> well-oiled machine, i.e. the Sony’s the Honda’s and the Mitsubishi’s, 
>> became a key indicator of success for much of the culture, it became a 
>> status symbol. 
>> Now, these very same giants find themselves struggling to innovate because 
>> the system has become so engrained (https://www.washingtonpost. 
>> com/world/asia_pacific/japanese-entrepreneurs-face-a- 
>> special-challenge-the-wife-block/2016/06/21/1df476ca- 
>> 324c-11e6-ab9d-1da2b0f24f93_story.html?utm_term=.f56192a1be5a), 
>> mechanically, organizationally, socially. They must now reverse their prior 
>> thinking and priorities to revalue innovation, to revalue deviation so as 
>> to compete in a faster moving, more innovative world where thoughtful 
>> deviation from the mean is what allows for new creations and discoveries. 
>> So what was once dynamic quality as indicated by six sigma, has now, in 
>> some ways, enabled certain systems of lower static quality. Proving, at 
>> least in my mind, that any quantitative measure for quality must be taken 
>> at face value and continuously revisited in the context of the larger 
>> movements and systems in place, in the context of our unique place in the 
>> ever-changing environment. 
>> Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 2:54 PM 
>> To: moq discuss 
>> Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality 
>> Hello Andrew and Ardie and All; 
>> This is not my theory its Deming's and it is widely accepted. Douglas 
>> MacArthur head of the Allied command at the end of World War II , assigned 
>> Deming to teach the Japanese about quality. Deming traveled all over Japan 
>> giving 4 day seminars on how to build quality into products and service. He 
>> had the attention of the leaders of Japanese industry such as Sony, 
>> Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Honda. The message from Deming was the importance 
>> of the control chart, honesty, fairness, respect, equality, teamwork and 
>> listening to your employees. 
>> They religiously followed Deming and they named the annual award for 
>> quality the Deming prize. From his seminars they translated them into 
>> Japanese and created management manuals from them. They offered Deming 
>> money for them he refused and told them take the money for yourselves, you 
>> need it more than me. 
>> No country ever in the history of warfare had recovered so quickly as 
>> Japan, economists were claiming their economic recovery was unprecedented, 
>> it was out of control and going upward at an astronomical rate, it began 
>> rapidly claiming markets, that others had a monopoly on. Every year they 
>> flew Deming in for the awards presentation, Deming was revered and a 
>> household name in Japan, yet no one in America had heard of him. 
>> During the forties and fifties while he gave his 4 day seminars in Japan 
>> he was often handed gifts, he would walk the streets of Japan, looking for 
>> the most destitute and give the gifts he was given to others. Deming lived 
>> a modest life in Washington, a statistician and a night school teacher at a 
>> university. It was in the 1980s when Japan bashing started and Ford motors 
>> was losing 1 billion dollars every year, that ABC did a special on quality 
>> calling it "If Japan can do it why can't we?" 
>> ABC News always heard the Japanese talking about the Deming prize, and how 
>> Deming had taught them everything about quality. They were startled when 
>> they discovered Deming was an American and living in Washington. When the 
>> news team pulled up in front of Deming's modest house, with his grand 
>> children's plastic wading pool on the front lawn, they could not believe 
>> this incredible story. 
>> The ICAO (International Civil Aviation Authority) SMS manual recommends 
>> every state, monitor incidents and accidents using a control chart. 
>> From: "Andrew Chu" <andrew.chu at gmail.com> 
>> To: "moq discuss" <moq_discuss at moqtalk.org> 
>> Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 11:05:27 AM 
>> Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality 
>> Hi Wes and Adrie, 
>> The original story as laid out by Wes does actually strike me as an 
>> example of quality or dynamic quality as it were. In my parlance, the key 
>> quality is the relationship the narrator has to his work. This work could 
>> be described as quality / safety manager or it could perhaps be more 
>> accurately described as the narrator’s relationship to the factory “system” 
>> or “environment”. 
>> In my mind, the high quality is most directly and clearly expressed before 
>> the statistics show it. The high quality is a function of the narrator 
>> getting lost in thought around the system and the problem at hand. His 
>> thoughtful progression into the system and into the problem is where the 
>> dynamic quality lies. The statistics provide a measure of this, but they 
>> are symptomatic and indicative. In this case, the statistics are a clue to 
>> dynamic quality but can never be deterministic in nature. 
>> For example, if someone took this solution at face value and went to 
>> another factory next door and said “we should buy boots for all the 
>> workers.” This may or may not result in a lower occurrence of injuries. If 
>> it does result in lower injuries is that indicative of dynamic quality? I 
>> would argue not really because there was no true thought around the 
>> process, there was no deep relationship between the observer, the problem 
>> solver and the observed, the problem/system/environment in that case. It 
>> could very much be attributed to dumb luck that boots for the second 
>> factory worked. 
>> So for me statistical improvements are a great tool, and can show 
>> improvement in quality, but like the stock market, these signals can be 
>> easily misinterpreted and causality can ultimately be difficult to 
>> define/prove. 
>> As an example, quality companies in my opinion show the greatest 
>> opportunity for stock price accretion but this is over the long term and 
>> over the course of that period there may be sharp rises and sharp declines 
>> which would be difficult to tie back to a particular level of quality be it 
>> static or dynamic. 
>> The point on systems of thought being the key element to change is 
>> undoubtedly true. I wholeheartedly agree. What I have found in my own 
>> experience in dealing with my son’s school for example, is that implicit 
>> and explicit racial segregation, for instance, is driven primarily by 
>> systems of thought around value, quality and excellence. Statistics are 
>> then drawn into the discussion as an after thought to provide supporting 
>> evidence for the underlying systemic thought. You can change the basis of 
>> statistical measure. You can tear down the school, factory or rebuild a new 
>> one, but as long as the system thought is still in place, then this is as 
>> much an edifice as the original building itself. 
>> From: Adrie Kintziger 
>> Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 12:37 PM 
>> To: moq_discuss at moqtalk.org 
>> Subject: Re: [MD] The need for quality 
>> Hi, all , Wes. 
>> I took a snip of your proposal/story 
>> " 
>> I will build a story, that gives you an idea of Deming, and how his 
>> philosophy enhances Pirsig, and how Pirsig's philosophy enhances Deming. 
>> This is a simple story. 
>> The story begins with let us say; I am a new quality /safety manager for a 
>> company with 500 employees that work outdoors. 
>> A senior manager comes to me and tells me the workers injury compensation 
>> payments are too high. He tells me to do something about lowering injuries. 
>> He also adds its costing him on around $3000 dollars per injury, because an 
>> employee sits on average 4 days before recovering from their injury. 
>> I have some statistical data of injuries from the previous 36 months. It 
>> appears that ankle injuries are the most frequently occurring injuries. I 
>> add up the ankle injuries for the 36 months, I then divide by 36 and come 
>> up with a number of 41. So on average this organization has 41 ankle sprain 
>> or fractures that occur every month. 
>> I want to do something because it is a moral thing; lowering that average 
>> will also reduce the number of people who suffer pain and injury each 
>> month. Would someone say my moral thinking is subjective? A psychopath 
>> might. 
>> At this point I calculate standard deviation of 1, and come up with an 
>> upper limit of 47 ankle injuries and a lower limit of 35, I calculate 
>> standard deviation of 2 upper limit 53, lower limit of 29. I calculate 
>> standard deviation of 3 upper limit of 59 and a lower limit 23. 
>> Next month I can forecast the ankle injury rate with 99% certainty will 
>> fall between 59 and 23. I can also say that 68% of the time it will fall 
>> between a standard deviation of 1, from 47 to 35. 
>> Pirsig would call this a static pattern, Deming would say it is in a state 
>> of statistical process control. Pirsig would say it's a system that will 
>> not change unless there is "dynamic quality" added to it. Deming would say 
>> there has to be some "special cause" variation in order for change to 
>> happen, the static pattern he see's is "common cause" variation, it's a 
>> normal distribution curve, it is a normal pattern that occurs in nature. 
>> Let's say I do some research and visit 50 employees out in the field, and 
>> startled to find that 48 of them wear low cut running shoes, only two of 
>> them were wearing something with good solid ankle support 
>> I go to several work boot suppliers, ask them for advice and I am impressed 
>> with one of them having so much knowledge on what good ankle support is in 
>> a workboot. What's average better and best, in both comfort and support, 
>> then he shows me the longest lasting, high quality boot with those 
>> attributes. 
>> At a company meeting, I explain my rational and ask upper management to 
>> reimburse every employee for boot purchase from that one supplier. I add in 
>> that boots are personal protective equipment, and OHS regulations require 
>> us to reimburse our employees for this. Maybe there is a large debate, 
>> maybe the accountant says, "the guys out in the field are all idiots, they 
>> just have to be more careful." Maybe at the end of the meeting the CEO 
>> steps in and says "We have not been able to lower that rate in 3 years, in 
>> spite of threats of termination and terminations, we have lost lots of our 
>> most productive employees." He then agrees to go with my recommendations. 
>> I have done something to change the system, we wanted to see that average 
>> of 41 ankle injuries per month drop, and if we make the next month 
>> measurement and find, that it is below 23 (standard deviation of 3) , it 
>> may mean something. It may mean that the process of how ankle injuries 
>> occurr is no longer a stable process, something has changed in the system. 
>> As more people purchase boots we see, it drops to 20 then the following 
>> month it goes to 15, thats a trend, because in the past 3 years it never 
>> went below 23. Thats improvement in the quality of the working environment 
>> for employees out in the field, thats something that is measureable. 
>> I measure the ankle injury rate for another 36 months, after the changes, 
>> and see that the average is now 13 with the Upper control limit is 21 and 
>> the lower control limit is now 0, thats real, we can see those numbers. Now 
>> that is an improvement in the quality of the working environment of 68%, 
>> specific to ankle injuries. 
>> Maybe the CEO talks with me about those 0 ankle injury months, and tells me 
>> upper management has decided that they want them all to be 0 ankle injury 
>> months. I try to explain to him about human beings and variation. "Common 
>> cause variation in rain, wind, heat, terrain, stress, fatigue, having a 
>> baby, and worried about keeping your job all fix those static patterns of 
>> quality, from 0 to 21. Even the support of an employees direct manager 
>> affect those numbers along with cooperation and teamwork from fellow 
>> employees. Threats of firings or lay-off's do not help, after all, who can 
>> think clearly when they are agitated, because distractions cause those 
>> ankle sprain injuries." 
>> I tell him to expect the average to remain the same around 13. I tell him 
>> the 0-21 variation from month to month is a normal distribution pattern 
>> that is seen in nature. I state to him matter of factly, that business men 
>> cannot really make demands on nature or science to change. Both safety and 
>> quality will always see these normal distribution patterns, and for that 
>> reason it will never reach 0 every month. I say to him that I will try to 
>> come up with some other ways to improve the quality of the working 
>> environment for our employees, but expect it not to move until I come up 
>> with some ideas and we implement those changes...... 
>> ------------------------------- 
>> (Adrie) 
>> This is not so very different from the story earlier on,in wich case you 
>> proposed a mechanism swinging around a hinge of variables. 
>> I did re-read it several times to reconsider, but i have to come back to my 
>> first comment.It is not critisism but common sense. 
>> I can tell the story with fewer words and lesser vocabulary pitch.But it is 
>> an example to make something clear.Not to ridicule you. 
>> Ok, lets say a guy comes at the banks of the Amazon, finding a statician at 
>> the waterline collecting statistical depth table's.As he likes to go to the 
>> other side,he asks to the statician,"can 
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