Robert Pirsig    Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals

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Press here for latest Interview with Robert Pirsig, May 1999

In this book, Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, takes us on a poignant and passionate journey as mysterious and compelling as his first life changing work.
Instead of a motorcycle, a sailboat carries his philosopher-narrator Phaedrus down the Hudson River as winter closes in. Along the way he picks up a most unlikely traveling companion: a woman called Lila who in her desperate sexuality, hostility, and oncoming madness threatens to disrupt his life. In Lila Robert Pirsig has crafted a unique work of adventure and ideas that examines the essential issues of the nineties and his previous book did the sixties.

The high country of the mind:

The high country of the mind. It takes a lot of effort to get there and more effort when you arrive. But unless you make the journey, you are confined to one valley of thought all your life.

...The high country passage through the metaphysics of quality allowed entry to another valley of thought in which the facts of life spread out over a huge fertile plane of understanding. In this plane of understanding, static patters of value are divided into 4 systems: 1) inorganic 2) biological 3) social 4)intellectual.

On Materialism and Idealism:

For the materialists reality is all matter, which creates mind. For the idealists reality is all mind which creates matter.

Mind is contained in static inorganic patterns. Matter is contained in intellectual patterns.

The mind matter paradox exists because the connecting links between these two levels of value patterns have been disregarded.

Two terms are missing: Biology and Society.

Mental patterns do not originate out of inorganic nature. They originate out of society, which originates out of biology, which originates out of inorganic nature.

There is no direct connection between mind and matter.

The intellectual level of patterns and the historic process of freeing itself from its parent social level namely the church, has invented a myth of independence from the social level for its own benefit.

Science and reason- the myth says, come only from the objective world, never from the social world. The world of objects imposes itself upon the mind with no social mediation whatsoever.

Free will versus determinism:

To the extent that one's behavior is controlled by static patterns of quality, it is without choice. To the extent that it follows dynamic quality which is undefinable, one's behavior is free.