Books I recommend personally, that are not mentioned elsewhere...

The Conceptual Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Bernard d'Espagnat

The Three Pillars of Zen, Phillip Kapleau

Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse

Narcissus and Goldmund, Hermann Hesse

The Atman Project, Ken Wilber

Up From Eden, Ken Wilber

The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemmingway

The World as I See It, Albert Einstein

Physics and Philosophy; The Revolution in Modern Science, by Werner Heisenberg, F. S. C. Northrop

Thought and Language, Lev S. Vygotsky, Alex Kozulin (Editor)

Language and Mind, Noam Chomsky

Excerpts from Lila Squad correspondences, compiled by Mary Wittler and Dan Glover
Mind and Nature; A Necessary Unity, Gregory Bateson

Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson

Naven, Gregory Bateson

A Recursive Vision : Ecological Understanding and Gregory Bateson

It is true that most scientists believe the organismic life can in principle be explained in terms of mechanics - that is, with no teleology, no goals or the like. I disagree, but I may have difficulty in coming up with a convincing argument. The simplest way I can put it is thus: the determination of an organism is not a echanistic determination, it is not a determination which can be described only 'from behind' , so to speak. Have you read Gregory Bateson - I recommend his work on this. Do you know the tale from Alice in Wonderland where they play this game (I don't know the english name) with flamingos for clubs and hedgehodges for balls and so on. Sure makes for a difficult if not outright unforeseeable mechanics of play :-)  Hugo Fjelsted Alroe
An Inquiry into the Good by Kitaro Nishida
Nishida was a Zen Buddhist who was influenced by William James’ theories of
Radical Empiricism and Pragmatism to transform mystical Zen experience into a
metaphysical philosophy.  To quote the author "I wanted to explain all things
on the basis of pure experience as the sole reality." - Roger Parker
Chance, Love, and Logic : Philosophical Essays, Charles S. Peirce

Pragmatism As a Principle and Method of Right Thinking : The 1903 Harvard Lectures on Pragmatism

The Essential Writings, Charles S. Peirce

Please forgive me if this is old news, but I found some interesting facts about C.S. Peirce and thought you might be interested. He worked for over twenty years for the United States Coastal Survey. He was a friend of William James', who gave Peirce credit for his own Pragmatism. (CSP called his version "pragmaticism".) He was removed from his post at Johns Hopkins University for his unorthodox beliefs and libertine lifestyle. James arranged for Peirce to continue his work through
lecture series and he was still able to get soem of his work published. Hundreds of thousands of manuscripts remain unpublished. His work is described by the editors of the "Oxford Companion to Philosophy" as a phenomenology.

Seems like Pirsig must have been familiar with him, although I don't
recall any mention in the books. Is their similarity in views more than
just a co-incidence?   - David Buchanan

The Mind's I, D. Hofstadter an excellent chapter called "What is it like to be a bat". It discusses the possibility to express subjective "be-ing" objectively, and in that case, what's left of the subject? The free-will? - Lars Marius Garshol Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies , D. Hofstadter … I'm reading with rising enthusiasm right now. In fact, what he says in it reminds me very strongly of Pirsig's ideas about Quality. - Lars Marius Garshol


The Fabric of Reality, David Deutsch To learn more, fast, about the multiverse, read David Deutsch's The Fabric of Reality. Note: This book won the P.A.M. Dirac Prize. See my review of it at - Doug Renselle


What Computers Still Can't Do, Hubert Dreyfus, 1992 For an excellent treatment of this subject, I highly recommend two very approachable (and well-known) books. First, Hubert Dreyfus' What Computers Still Can't Do (1992) (an updated edition of the original classic What Computers Can't Do (1972)). Also, see William Barrett's Death of the Soul: From Descartes to the Computer (1986).

For earlier work on this subject, I would suggest going all the way back to the Phenomenologists (Husserl, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and (especially!) Merleau-Ponty). Merleau-Ponty's writing is highly academic and intellectually

challenging, but it's the closest thing I've found to Pirsig's fundamental concepts in the world of academia. (Pirsig's Quality Event corresponds well with Merleau-Ponty's concept of Situation. Again, this post is just a teaser... The comparison can be extended ad infinitum… - Jason Gaedtke


Chaos (Deterministic Disorder), James Gleick In the words of Gleick, "Chaos shows how a purposeless flow of energy can wash life and consciousness into the world." – Ken Clark


Lifelines: Biology Beyond Determinism A nice example of the esthetic aspect of DQ, expressed in the DQ and SQ Principle as "Dynamic Quality is more pleasing than Static Quality,"appeared in the NY Times book review Jan. 18. The review was about a book called Lifelines: Biology Beyond Determinism. The reviewer described a battle currently being fought between those biologists who attribute evolution solely to the workings of genes, represented by Richard Dawkins, and those who favor biological pluralism, represented by Stephen Jay Gould.

Here's what caught my eye:

"Theoretical biologists sometimes seem to be divided by esthetic considerations as much as scientific ones. Where purists like Dawkins thrill to the cold logic of mathematical rigor, pluralists like Gould get their pleasures from the tangled bank of biological diversity. I suspect this is why the debate often seems so intangible. They aren't arguing about facts, but about which is more fun -- the ingenious equations of population genetics or the curious contrivances of the flamingo's beak and the panda's thumb. Given this, it is not surprising that the two sides can't agree. Who is to say if there is more value in the lucidity of mathematics or in the variety of nature?"

A couple of points about this passage. First, it's great to see one of our principles directly confirmed by someone who probably never heard of the MoQ. Second, it's good to reminded that esthetic considerations have often been used as indicators of "truth" in the scientific community. Third, it's dawned on me that some of the Squad's differing views are more about esthetics than anything else. - Platt Holden


Order Out of Chaos, Ilya Prigogine & Isabelle Stengers A really good book on the material Pirsig shared… - Doug Renselle


The Quantum Universe, Hey & Walters


The Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra

Twenty years ago I read The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra. I didn't remember much of it, but yesterday found an interesting passage. I quote from the book:-

"The basic recurring theme in Hindu Mythology is the creation of the world by the self-sacrifice of God - 'sacrifice' in the original sense of 'making sacred' - whereby God becomes the world which, in the end becomes again God. This creative activity of the Divine is called *lila*, the play of God, and the world is seen as the stage of the divine play. Like most of Hindu mythology, the myth of lila has strong magical flavour. *Brahman* is the great magician who transforms himself into the world and he performs this feat with his 'magic creative power', which is the original meaning of *maya* in the *Rig Veda*. The word maya - one of the most important terms in Indian philosophy - has changed its meaning over the centuries. From the 'might', or 'power', of the divine actor and magician, it came to signify the psychological state of anybody under the spell of the magic play. As long as we confuse the myriad forms of the divine "lila" with reality, without perceiving the unity of Brahman "underlying all these forms, we are under the spell of maya. Maya, therefore, does not mean that the world is an illusion, as is often wrongly stated. The illusion merely lies in our point of view, if we think that the shapes and structures, things and events, around us are realities of nature, instead of realizing that they are concepts of our measuring and categorizing minds. Maya is the illusion of taking these concepts for reality, of confusing the map with the territory."

There you have Capra's definition of the mystic (Brahman is supreme) and logical positivist (maya is supreme). Pirsig really has introduced something new with DQ (lila is supreme). - Jonathan B. Marder

Mathematical Theory of Communication, Claude Shannon
I mentioned Claude Shannon who developed mathematics for analysing communications, but he only looked at the "information content" (the carrier) and ignored semantic meaning. ... We've had many discussions on patterns, symbols, codes and language, and I'd say that ALL those things are carriers. Words are carriers of value. The whole MoQ is an abstract structure represented by carriers of value. If you want to experience a "non-abstract" MoQ, go out for a walk, don't read a book about it! Abstraction is about manipulating carriers - you can't have intellect without it. - Jonathan Marder
The Cosmic Code, Heinz Pagels


The Story of the Quantum Banesh Hoffman

Note: This is old material, dated, but clean, simple perspectives. - Doug Renselle In The Beginning, John Gribbin Note: Gribbin is one of my favorite author's although he uses a broad brush. This book covers a lot of ground, fast. I found some questionable stuff here too. - Doug Renselle


The Meaning of Quantum Theory, Jim Baggott Note: If you want to learn the mathematics this is a good place to start. - Doug Renselle


Quantum Mechanics and Experience, David Albert Albert is a Bohmian determinist, however. - Doug Renselle


The Quantum Society, Danah Zohar & Ian Marshall


The Origins of Virtue, Matt Ridley

points to the social component of existence, but without the metaphysical foundation it becomes just a first movement of the pendulum back towards sociology (upbringing) and nothing is gained. - Bodvar Skutvik


Coming of Age in the Milky Way, Timothy Ferris It is one of the clearest popular books on these subjects that I have seen in many years of reading. This is the idea of the Vacuum Genesis of the universe. It turns out that the total energy content of any Quality Event (object) such as the Earth is approximately equal to its gravitational potential as calculated via E = Mc Squared. If this is true for the whole universe then the universe has no net positive energy. That is, the universe could have come from nothing, answering the question, "Why is there something instead of nothing?" All we need is a first cause or singularity. The next time we get down and think that we are nothing we will be right. It is a good read. – Ken Clark


MACHINE BEAUTY: Elegance and the Heart of Technology, David Gelernter Gelernter has his own terminology, of course, but the primary phenomena that he is addressing is the desperate need for a conscious awareness of Quality, specifically in computer software development, but also on a longer technological scale. As you might expect, many of his comments relate directly to Pirsig's work, specifically as presented in ZMM. As an example, consider the notion of "random access" and the additional value that it adds to a given pool of information. - Jason Gaedtke

If a running program is an information processor, does that mean it is just like the brain? After all, the brain is an information processor, too, right? Wrong: the brain is no mere information processor, it is a *meaning creator* --and meaning creation is a trick no computer can accomplish. ... You can build a sophisticated digital rose-recognition system,. wave a rose in front of it and thereby bring about lots of electrical activity; and perhaps after a while some words will appear on a screen -- "rose recognition accomplished" or "damn, what a rose!".-- but no one and nothing has had the sensation of having seen anything. And no computer scientist has any reason to believe that any computer ever *will* have such a sensation, or any other sensation. Granted there is no reason in principle why you couldn’t build a machine that shares with the brain this remarkable capacity; but there is also no reason to suppose you could do it without reproducing the brain itself."

Incidentally, this quote comes from Gelernter’s book Machine Beauty where you’ll find the entire first chapter devoted to a

stunning confirmation of the MOQ. Note his emphasis in the above passage on the brain as a *meaning creator.* As wonderful as computer technology may be, what can it tell us about the MEANING of a computer virus or the MEANING of the information on the Internet? Science and technology are concerned with means; the MOQ (and most of us) are concerned with meanings. There’s a huge, huge difference. - Platt Holden


Adhocism, The Case for Improvisation, Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver, 1973 "Ad hoc means "for this" specific need or purpose." "It can be applied to many human endeavors, denoting a principle of action having speed or economy and purpose of utility. Basically it involves using an available system or dealing with an existing situation in a new way to solve a problem quickly and efficiently." "..adhocist actions: [can be] not only using contingent situations as opportunities for resourcefulness, but using opportunities to produce contingent, open-ended results."

"A purpose immediately fulfilled is the ideal of adhocism; it cuts though the usual delays caused by specialization, bureaucracy and hierarchical organization."

"By realizing his immediate needs, by combining ad hoc parts, the individual creates, sustains, and transcends himself."

"We live in a pluralist world confronted by competing philosophies, and knowledge is in an ad hoc, fragmented state prior to some possible synthesis...The objection to this pluralism, to such ad hoc amalgams of competing cultures, styles and theories, is that it is indecisive, arbitrary and confused. These are in certain cases the weaknesses of adhocism, although

they obscure its essentially purposeful nature." - Dave Thomas


Livets Tegn, En Snegl paa Vejen, Jesper Hoffmeyer, Translation: Minding Nature look at page 29 and the diagram 'B' which is to depict the semiotic "tripod". For those who don't have the book visualize a big Y. The down spoke is "Interpreter", the right is "Object" and the left is "Primary Sign". To give a hint of what it is all about there is a similar diagram 'A' where the down spoke is "doctor", the right is "Measles" and the left is "Red spots". For the doctor the red spots are sign of measles, for the mother merely signs of something wrong with her child. They are

nothing IN THEMSELVES, there is always a relationship: a context. This is…contextualism… - Bodvar Skutvik


The Dancing Universe, from Creation Myths to the Big Bang, Marcelo Gleiser, Dutton Books-1997 …for those on the squad ,like myself, who are not huge science and physics buffs this is a very clear lay overview of

the progress and conflict between science, philosophy, religion, and mythology from pre Socratic until present with an up to date bibliography.

It clearly illustrates that all science is done within the context of the social patterns of its time. And it shows how time after time philosophers and scientists include things in their supposedly "objective" theories that were clearly "subjective" based, conscientiously or not, on their philosophical POV or their societies POV. - Dave Thomas


Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance About the guidebook to ZMM -- I have that and consider it good. Lots of anecdotal information from lots of resources. Also the early part on Zen instruction and the phases is fun and allows a SOMite to make comparisons to another world. I like to imagine that people in the middle of the next millennium will easily move twixt a Zen-like focused meditative behavior and an MoQ-like defocused gregarious behavior. One without the other seems empty or incomplete. Also, the two states appear to me complementary. - Doug Renselle

Unfortunately it was published before Lila, so it's definitely missing a substantial section of Pirsig's philosophy. - Ciona


The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Zukav I've found the threads on quantum theory and physics to be fascinating: right now I'm reading The Dancing Wu Li Masters, which seems to relate nicely to what the squad has been discussing. – Ciona

DaWuLiMa is a great book. If you got Zukav's major points as foundation, you can go to the man himself John von Neumann. - Doug Renselle

QED, Richard Feynman quotes from Eddington and Heisenberg are no longer completely valid because Feynman has cleared up many of the conundrums. QED is a series of four lectures by Richard Feynman in which he attempted to describe Quantum Electrodynamics in words to a lay audience. Good Book. Read his series of four lectures… The results of the two pinhole experiments are fascinating and leave many questions unanswered; among them the problem mentioned about the act of measurement altering the results of the experiment. - Ken Clark Zen in the Art of Archery Pirsig talks about [this] book as being influential in his thought in "Subjects, Objects, Data, and Values", so it should probably be required background reading. It's been added to my reading list. - Keith A. Gillette


What N Means, George A. Morgan A great book on N… if it's still in print. My copy is from 1941. - Donald T Palmgren


I'm Not Really Here, Tim Allen …a great explanation of Lila (the concept not the book). It's not technical but it is very funny, and the hummer doesn't over-ride the quality of the message. Alen majored in Phil. in college, and dedicates the book to RM Pirsig. Anybody who liked Tao of Physics will get a kick out of this one. - Donald T Palmgren


Why do Philosopher's Always Sign With Their Middle Initial? History of Western Philosophy, vol 7, Continental Philosophy since 1750: The Rise and Fall of the Self, Robet C. Soloman One of the better "intro" level books He starts out with "What Rousseau discovered in the woods" and moves briefly through German Idealism, Phenominology, Existintialism, and winds up in Postmodernism – focusing with each on their answer to "What is the Self?"


Phenominology of Spirit, Hegel Hegel is probably the most difficult thinker of all. Phenominology of Spirit (PoS) is certainly the most difficult book in philosophy -- not for a lack of writing skill on H's part, but just because his thinking is both wildly unusual and full of subtleties. As far as his writing goes, The PoS was written on the eve of the battle of Jena, 1806, with Napoleon's troops at the door. He must have written the book as fast as his pen could move, and yet years later he declined the opportunity to

revise it. Time constraint was not its difficulty. But for one thing, when he wrote it he assumed (and had to assume) that the reader had already read it. (Boggled yet?)


The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche …Pirsig doesn't say that DQ and the Dharmakaya light are the same, but I find the following, taken from a book by a Tibetan Buddhist master, very interesting: "Could this possibly suggest that the role of meaning [....] is somehow analogous to the Dharmakaya, that endlessly fertile, unconditioned totality from which all things rise?" (Taken from "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" from contemporary master Sogyal Rinpoche. The lines above are from a paragraph where he

discusses similarities between Tibetan Buddhism and the theories of physicist David Bohm.

In Buddhism the Dharmakaya is the dimension of unconditioned truth, into which any kind of concept has never entered. It is the "ground of all", from which subjects and objects emerge. To summarize this point, I think that DQ and the Dharmakaya, while not necessarily identical, do convey much the same meaning. Dharmakaya therefore should have nothing to do with occultism… - Maarten


Man's Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl Due to the all-inclusive nature of Pirsig's Metaphysics, I keep finding similar ideas scattered throughout every field of thought. Indeed many have put values first in history. … Victor Frankl … argued for a new psychology: logotherpy. Where Freud said everything man does is for sex, where Bentham said everything man does is for happiness, where Adler said everything man does is for power; Frankl said everything man does is for meaning. While all of these are probably

correct, placing meaning before happiness, power, and sex has definite implications for the MoQ. When meaning is seen as the center of man's action, everything man does is for an all-inclusive, qualitative value. In my opinion it is a psychology of quality. - Kevin Sanchez


The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes


Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Karl Marx

Marxist Concept of Man, Eric Fromm

To understand the distortions of Marx and Marxism and the nature of his deeper philosophies, see Marx's Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, incl. "Estranged Labour", and other early Marx as defined by any responsible biographer. Eric Fromm"s Marxist Concept of Man is a good book too. "A provocative new view of Marx stressing his humanist philosophy and challenging both Soviet distortion and Western ignorance of his basic thinking." <-- words on the cover. – Andrew Russell Walden, Henry David Thoreau

Yoga for Yahoos, Aleister Crowley

I am 16 years old and hope you can forgive my youth. Three writings and one thought lead me to Pirsig's philosophy.

The three writings were: William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, and Aleister Crowley's Yoga for Yahoos. (Synchronistically, some of the only books mentioned in ZMM and Lila.) - Kevin Sanchez


Quantum Questions, Ken Wilber I can't say enough about Quantum Questions by Ken Wilber. This book is an edited collection of the mystical writings of the great quantum physicists - Jeans, Planck, Eddington, Einstein, etc. It reveals a deep mystical drive in these physicists, some of them Nobel laureates, and discusses the bridge between science and religion. – Andrew Russell


Consilience, E.O.Wilson E.O.Wilson, whom I have long admired, has written a new book called Consilience, and summarizes his thesis in an article in the March 98 Atlantic Monthly. - Hugo Fjelsted Alroe


Merk Verden, Tor Nørretranders I would like to recommend a book by the Danish journalist/writer Tor Nørretranders, Merk verden (Notice/mark the world). I don't know if it has been translated to English, it ought to be. He writes about MoQ (among a lot of other interesting subjects), just using other words. - Gunn Era


The History of Danish Dreams, Peter Hoeg …very good book about ages and time and society, that I highly recommend… - Donald T Palmgren


The Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Beauchamp and Childress

Liberals and Communitarians, Mulhall and Swift

I came across Macintyre about 2 years ago whilst reading The Principles of Biomedical Ethics - Beauchamp and Childress. He was described as a Communitarian philosopher/ethicist, and having dug out a couple of books which refer to his framework of thought I see no reason to dispute this. My apologies to … Macintyre but I feel that Macintyre and the rest of the Communitarian ethicists are so caught up with the idea that society is the pinnacle of evolution that I want to puke. This is not to say that I feel that society and social activities are unimportant, I just believe that some individual rights are of

greater importance than the rights of society. …I have not seen any evidence so far… to make me believe otherwise. - Horse


Philosophy and Psychology in the Abhidharma, Herbert V. Guenther, Random House, 1957, p.144/146

Mahayana Buddhism, Paul Williams, Routledge, 1989, p.


Out of Control, Kevin Kelly

This book must be written from the "subsumption architecture" idea. Look at this passage:

"Powerful computers birthed the fantasy of a pure disembodied intelligence. We know the formula: a mind inhabiting a brain submerged in a vat. If science would assist me, the contemporary human says, I could live as a brain without a body. And since we are big brains, I could live in a computer's mind...etc"

This classical - um - SOM approach, the feefloating mind that looks upon objective reality, is what the MOQ so fervently opposes. But first an aside. Through the entire life of TLS the definition of Intellect has troubled us. The obvious: Intellect as mind (of SOM) or consciousness or awareness or 'ability to think' has surfaced again and again and just as often have I rejected it. The Intellect of Quality is none of this: it has grown out of the Social level! MIND "as such" has no place in the MOQ! This is a horribly important point to understand the Quality idea, but back to Out of Control.

The book contains an approach to the mind - or Intelligence problem - which at first resembles the Quality one, but after Life it jumps to Intellect missing the Social dimension altogether, and is soon just as lost as the Matter/Mind approach. For example it refers to the Black Room experiments … where people being deprived of sense impulses soon loose their ability to concentrate and goes into thought loops or start to hallucinate. If body was the creator of intellect it should be as snug in a black room as elsewhere. The body/brain connections are not severed, only the ones to the environment! And not to the MATERIAL environment, but to SOCIAL reality. And yet it touches upon the 'flock mind' (social), but never gets the grip on that thread and goes on to all sorts of visions how intelligent machines can serve us. I see that I have stopped underlining after the first third. The only feasible thing is to regard mind as MIND/MATTER-thinking. Making both Intellectual Value Patterns. What this means for the AI/AL I haven't yet probed, but I feel there is an opening here. - Bodvar Skutvik


The Prodigy, Amy Wallace, Dutton, 1986

The Hesperia Constitution, William James Sidis

Amy Wallace's bio of William James Sidis (namesake and godchild of William James) mentioned by Pirsig in his work. Sidis wrote, The Hesperia Constitution,' which is available via the Harvard University Archives. - Doug Renselle


The Come As You Are Masquerade Party, Samuel Rosenberg, 1970, Prentice Hall - Doug Renselle



Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Princeton, 1955 This is THE bible from what I can tell, but it is very challenging mathematics. - Doug Renselle


Quantum Reality, Nick Herbert I recommend also Nick Herbert's book, Quantum Reality. … it compares eight different interpretations of QM. I

think it is excellent, but at the same level as Zukav's DaWuLiMa. It's metaphysics, essentially. - Doug Renselle


Quantum Theory, David Bohm Quantum Theory is in between von Neumann and Zukav/Herbert. Danah Zohar and hubby Ian Marshall hold Bohm in very high esteem. - Doug Renselle


Quantum Mechanics and Experience, David Z Albert Following in the tracks of Bohm is David Z Albert (I think one of Bohm's students?) and his book Quantum Mechanics and Experience. This book shows you how to think in QM using the standard bra-ket notation. I found it very easy to follow, except Albert is a latent determinist which irks me no end. - Doug Renselle


Quality Without A Name, Christopher Alexander Alexander describes quality as the ultimate goal of any design product. This will appeal most to technically-minded members of the Lila Squad, because it arises out of highly abstract musings on design principles of object-oriented programming. There is an emphasis on *patterns* as being important in themselves, independently of SOM. - James McCabe


The First Three Minutes, S. Weinberg For a quick view of one persons interpretation of the beginning you can find an extract of The First Three Minutes by (I think) S. Weinberg in my essay that is posted in the Forum. – Ken Clark


The Nature of Reality, Richard Morris, McGraw-Hill - Ken Clark Complexity, M. Mitchel Waldrop, Simon and Schuster - Ken Clark Mapping the Next Millennium , Stephen S. Hall, Random House - Ken Clark The Co-evolution of Climate and Life, Stephen H. Schneider and Randi Londer, Sierra Club Books - Ken Clark The Physics of Immortality, Frank J. Tipler, Doubleday - Ken Clark Wrinkles in Time, George Smoot and Keay Davidson, Avon Books - Ken Clark The God Particle, Leon Lederman with Dick Teresi, Delta - Ken Clark Einstein's Universe, Nigel Calder, Greenwich House - Ken Clark The Origin of the Universe, John D. Barrow, Basic Books - Ken Clark Dreams of a Final Theory, Steven Weinberg, Vintage - Ken Clark Life Itself - Its Origin and Nature, Francis Crick, Simon and Schuster - Ken Clark God and the New Physics, Paul Davies, Simon and Schuster - Ken Clark Science and Common Sense, James B. Conant, Yale University Press - Ken Clark The Western Intellectual Tradition, Jacob Bronowski, Harper Torchbooks - Ken Clark The Ages of Gaia, James Lovelock, Bantam - Ken Clark Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge, Niels Bohr, Science Editions, Inc. - Ken Clark


Essays in Radical Empiricism, William James

The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James

Principles of Psychology, William James

Pragmatism, William James

The Meaning of Truth, William James

A Pluralistic Universe, William James

Will to Believe and Human Immortality, William James

Pirsig had a mistrust of "philosophology", so I decided to read some "sources". I am now reading Essays in Radical Empiricism. In the first essay in the series "Does Consciousness Exist", James tried to make the argument that consciousness is derived from experience and not distinct from it. James writes:" As, subjective we say that experience represents; as objective it is represented...there is no self-splitting of it into consciousness and what the consciousness is of. Its subjectivity and objectivity are functional attributes solely, realized only when experienced is retrospective experience.

I think Pirsig's metaphysics follows the same line of thought. Subjects and objects are one way of classifying our dynamic experience. Another interesting passage I found in the same essay was, what I take as, an indication in the direction of the MOQ. "If one were to make an evolutionary construction of how a lot of originally chaotic pure experiences became gradually differentiated into an orderly inner and outer world, the whole theory would turn upon one's success in explaining how or why the quality of an experience, once active, could become less so, and, from being an energetic attribute in some cases,

elsewhere lapse into the status of an inert or merely internal nature. This would be the evolution of the psychical from the bosom of the physical, in which the esthetic, moral and otherwise emotional experiences would represent a halfway stage."

In my reading of James, I have found and interesting account of his struggle with the criticism of the Victorian values of his time to establish his philosophy. - Herb Penry


The Axemaker's Gift, James Burke - Donald T Palmgren Frame Analysis, Goffman Goffmanian sociology with its inter-personal (rather than inner-personal definition of the self) spells a death toll for psychology. Goffman's Frame Analysis is a great book and easy to read, but it went over in the sociology community like a led zeplin because if you approach it with SOM in your head, with the traditional Cartisan mind or Freudian ego,

then it doesn't make any sense. If you read it as a thinking person-member of society (social/moral person) then it's dynomite! - Donald T Palmgren


The Great Books

- Zaine


The Marriage of Sense and Soul, Ken Wilber

Pirsig is using his MoQ to create a lens through which we can see our world and somehow restore the meaning of Quality. ZMM is the story of him fighting the SOM beast. Wilber has identified what the beast is (the alienation of man; the

detachment of sense and soul; science and religion), how it was born (via rationality and science denying the validity of the spiritual because the spiritual cannot be defined by scientific terms; hence the world loses depth/meaning - this is the central problem of ZMM), and how we can transcend it (healing the divide between science and religion by framing them both as different interpretations, different lenses with which we view the world, and therefore Spirit). This is the core of his

latest book The Marriage of Sense and Soul. - Andrew Russell

Andrew has been urging us all to read Ken Wilber for insights into Dynamic and static value and he recommends the following websites for further reading:

The World of Ken Wilber

This is a page dedicated to Wilber by Frank Visser, who translates Wilber's work into Dutch. He actually visited Ken, and has audio clips on his site that are an interesting twist. The PL Ken Wilber site:

A nice site, not exactly up to the minute, but still rich in material. Ken Wilber Online:

Ken's publisher, Shambhala, has this site for him, advertising both books and thought. Some good exclusive interviews, etc.



The Emperor's New Mind, Robert Penrose the mathematical physicist Robert Penrose, from his book The Emperor's New Mind:

"I imagine that whenever the mind perceives a mathematical idea, it makes contact with Plato's world of mathematical concepts. When one 'sees' a mathematical truth, one's consciousness breaks through into this world of ideas, and makes direct contact with it (accessible via the intellect). I have described this 'seeing' in relation to Godel's theorem, but it is the

essence of mathematical understanding."

Diana has rightly described the essence of Quality as Dhrama, the principle of rightness. I would argue that Pirsig '"sees" the truth of Dharma just as Penrose "sees" a mathematical truth. So put me down on the side of those who believe that Platonic ideals do indeed *really* exist as patterns of value, not imaginary (logocentric) ideas.

[See] Mark Lencho's essay "Who are you and what should you do", for a rough guide to the static levels and their moral implications. – Platt Holden

  Affective Computing, Rosalind Picard Rosalind Picard, author of the book, Affective Computing describes how computers can be given certain emotional abilities, how emotions can be regarded as an integral and essential part of human rationality. This idea comes very close to the "coherence of romantic and classical understanding" a core idea in Robert Pirsig's philosophy. For those interested in AI and the MoQ Jonathan recommends this site on Human and Machine dignity.


Schumacher My head is spinning with Schumacher. I haven't finished the whole book yet, but I'm thrilled by it all. It might be a conceptual jolt to say: inorganic = mineral

biological = plant

social = animal

intellectual = human

but it works, it fits, and all of his explanations could be Pirsig speaking about MoQ levels. - Hettinger

… found a remarkable likeness to Pirsig's static Q-levels - in the same way as Wilber - but the first and decisive confrontation with the Subject- Object metaphysics is absent from both thinkers, so even if one finds a lot of valuable and MOQ-like observations, it is this fundamental chess opening that sets Pirsig's system apart from anything previously thought. - Bodvar Skutvik


Ape Talk and Whale Speak, the Search for Interspecies Communication I'm reading a fascinating book right now called Ape Talk and Whale Speak, The Search for Interspecies Communication, and I recommend it to everyone… It's fun to read, and full of real-life examples of intellect in animals; animals' ability (and lack of ability) to enter into human communication, whether social or intellectual; examples of non-human sets of intellectual patterns; difficulties of truly separate sets of intellectual patterns relating to each other in any way; and interesting thoughts like Dr. Lilly's (I paraphrase, don't have my book at hand), who noted that a severely mentally-retarded human's mental ability far outshines any animal's (on a testable level) and wondered whether proto-humans killed off all their near-competitors in the intelligence area, and that's the reason there aren't more gradations. - Hettinger


Heidegger and Asian Thought, Graham Parkes I've just started a "great" book: Graham Parkes' Heidegger and Asian Thought. It traces the influence of Asian philosophy on German philosophy (and visa versa) from Leibniz down to Heidegger, and half of the contributing authors are Asian (5 of them Japanese. German philosophy has dominated in Japan since the turn of the century, and Heidegger was a big fan of zen). The attack on S-O is common to both traditions. I'll quote here from the great Indian philosopher Samkara: "The purport of this science is not to represent Brahman definitely as this or that object, its purpose is rather to show that Brahman as the eternal inward self is never an object, and thereby to remove the distinction of objects known, knowers, acts of knowing, etc, which is fictitiously created by Nacseience." Now, I know from ZMM that phaedrus/pirsig got his degree in Indian philosophy. I'm certain that he studied Samkara.

In some sense, the goal of philosophy in general, in both Asia and Germany has been the overcoming of the S-O distinction. - Donald T Palmgren


Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning, Eugene Gendlin

Focusing, , Eugene Gendlin

…a rather dry but comprehensive work called Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning, which is worth leaving through, but his pop-psychology book Focusing will actually take you farther. - The Blue Book, Wittgenstein I wonder how different LILA would be if Pirsig read Wittgenstein's Blue Book before writing it [LILA]. I know he wouldn't have 'settled' the philosophical familiars the way he did -- so cavalierly. He might have been tempted to make use of them. In ZMM, the Narrator says, 'I think metaphysics is good so long as it's useful; otherwise forget it.' … (By the way, the Blue Book is a must-read in metaphysics. It's only 70 pages long but it's very clear [if you're a classical thinker at least] and it provides a lot of good questions and approaches -- *directions* to explore, not settled answers.) - Donald T Palmgren


The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins I believe that the originator (or discoverer) of the concept of a meme was Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene. If you read Chapter 11 - The New Replicators - about 4 pages in you'll see the following: "As my colleague N.K.Humphrey neatly summed up in an earlier draft of this chapter:'...memes should be regarded as living structures, not just metaphorically but technically". – Horse

Richard Dawkins is a leading spokesman of a purposeless existence and the meaninglessness of life. That he writes books filled with purpose and meaning is an irony that apparently escapes him, and many others… - Platt Holden


The Collapse Of Chaos, Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart In the book The Collapse Of Chaos by Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart the authors attempt to deal with … most of the … topics in Lila. Despite the lack of a metaphysical foundation and language, they come to remarkably similar conclusions....In fact, though it is obvious they haven't read it, many passages could have been in Lila. ( In some areas I would even argue

they got further than Pirsig.) They never completely throw off SOM, but they do toss out reductionism and you can tell they don't buy into conventional SOM "wisdom."

On page 431 they address the topic as follows: "A dynamic does not necessarily imply a purpose. Darwinian evolution has a dynamic, but organisms do not seek to evolve. The existence of attractors does not imply that dynamical systems are goal-seekers: on the contrary, they are goal-finders, which only recognize what the 'goal' is when they have found it." They then go on to state that it is a tempting fallacy to " derive a sense of purpose from a dynamic and see it as a spiritual frame that we must use. "

On 9/8 Ken Clark wrote " As I see it DQ is not a goal, but simply a force that is directed by our individual, previously-established patterns of value."

On 9/9 Horse stated "This doesn't mean purpose ceases to exist though, just the opposite, it goes at a completely different

character..........Purpose/Meaning is value. To exist is to have purpose and meaning."

Jonathan Marder on 9/15 wrote "I think that 'purpose', that SOM platypus, is the bridge between the August and September discussion programmes."

My final clip is again from Horse on 9/8 in response to my question from a few days earlier where I wondered if the journey and the goal were one and the same thing........."Why not? Who says there must be a goal!" - Roger Parker


Consciousness Explained , Daniel C. Dennett In Consciousness Explained , Daniel C. Dennett attempts to do what the title implies. However, he is hopelessly mired in conventional SOM. He finally, but awkwardly, succeeds by pointing out the absurdities in conventional models. This book begs for the conceptual clarity of the MOQ. He concludes that the conscious self is a "center of narrative gravity", or what we would term a pattern of values. He knows under his conceptual metaphysics that this conscious self isn't real (it isn't a thing), but he calls it a "glorious fiction" ( an intellectual pattern?) and argues that it does exist.

Students of Dennett, please be merciful in your critique of my summary. Like I said, I found the book to be awkward to wade through. But combining this with Pirsig's metaphysical foundation does begin to explain consciousness. -


New York Times book review, A. C. Grayling Writing in the New York Times book review, A. C. Grayling, who teaches philosophy at Birkbeck College, London, and editor of Philosophy: A Guide Through the Subject, says:

"The perennial ideas that grip the philosophic imagination and more or less exhaust (in both senses) its endeavor can be summarized as two: the idea of meaning or value in the universe, and the idea that reality has an ultimate nature. The two are linked, in that they supply or at least suggest interpretations of each other. The first is connected with all our questions about whether there is a transcendent source of value, one that specifies goals and makes demands on how we live and behave. Questions of deity, morality and esthetics lie under this heading, and even an answer that says there is no transcendent grounds of value, and that we must find them within, is vitally important to us. The second idea might seem now to be the possession of the natural sciences; but they in turn generate new forms of the ancient question, and so far have made slow progress with such puzzles as, for example, the nature of mind. The idea of reality prompts questions about knowledge, truth and meaning -- in short: the relation of mind to the world -- and like the first idea, it invites us seek not merely knowledge but understanding of everything comprehended under it."

A couple of things struck me in reading this passage:

First, I wonder if members of the LS agree with the general proposition suggested by Grayling that philosophy boils down to these two basic ideas. Second, it seems obvious that the MOQ falls directly under the scope of the first idea in that it espouses a "transcendent source of value." Third, when Grayling said, "The idea of reality prompts questions about

knowledge, truth and meaning -- in short the relation of mind to the world ..." I gagged at his "relation of mind to the world" assertion. We Pirsigians can spot a subject/object assumption a mile away, making me wonder just how many so-called academic philosophers in the colleges today recognize that "relation of mind to the world" is just an assumption, nothing more, and a most questionable assumption at that. Not many I wager.

It's always a source of great pleasure to me to be able to see current affairs and commentary through the lens of the MOQ. It's like getting a new pair of eyeglasses with which to see truth more clearly. Or, to avoid the S/O paradigm, to see that what one is the truth. - Platt Holden

The Dream Society To relay newspaper/magazine articles and other inputs that have a bearing on our discussion is very useful, and in this context I must tell you something that made me jump the other day. This was by radio so I can't guarantee that I got everything right, but it was about a Danish future researcher who had written a book called The Dream Society in which he gave the following picture of past and future history: Stage: Name: Reality: Leader:

1 Hunter/Gatherer many gods he tribe elders

2 Agriculture the God the landowner

3 Industry the product capital owners

4 Information knowledge rational experts

5 Dream Society experience emotion creators

He said that the last stage would be a return to the first one in a spiral sense.

As I see it is this a description of a MOQ based culture (by one who of course haven't heard of Pirsig) Experience as primary

reality is pure MOQ while dreams and fantasies are more unfamiliar and is not used much in LILA, (but lots of dreaming in ZMM), but I guess they are just another Dynamic Quality channel.

"I have seen popular books on this subject: The Tao of Physics, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, that seem rather eager to jump from an observation of similarity to a statement of identity. But be careful to follow the scientific rule of saying no more than you really know. My personal belief, from talking to physicists and trying to gauge their level of understanding of Buddha's world is that they don't know anything." (letter from Robert Pirsig to Anthony McWatt, March 29th,

1997). – Bodvar Skutvik


A New Science of Life, Rupert Sheldrake …biologist Rupert Sheldrake's writings in the past, and I think a careful reading of A New Science of Life will clear up a lot of misunderstandings in what I am saying. I have done a short review on the book which you can find by following the link at

the end of this email if you care to. it really ties into Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality quite well. - glove


Zen and Japanese Culture, Daizetz T.Suzuki [in] Zen and Japanese Culture by Daizetz T.Suzuki, there is a much different definition. it says:

What is there even before the world came into existence? what the zen master wants to know about is the cosmic landscape prior to the creation of all things. When is timeless time? Is it no more than an empty concept?

the master's answer was:

The old pond, ah!

A frog jumps in:

The water's sound!

Let me try to give a little more intelligible account of the master's koan. An ancient pond is likely to be located in some old temple grounds, filled with many stately trees. Such surroundings add to the tranquillity of the unrippled surface of the pond. When this is disturbed by a jumping frog, the disturbance itself enhances the reigning tranquillity; the sound of the splash reverberates, and the reverberation makes us all the more conscious of the serenity of the whole. However, this consciousness is awakened only in him whose spirit is really in consonance with the world spirit itself.

These images are not figurative representations made us of by the poetic mind, but they directly point to original intuitions, indeed they are intuitions themselves. When the latter are attained, the images become transparent and are immediate expressions of the experience. An intuition in itself, being too intimate, too personal, too immediate, cannot be

communicated to others; to do this it calls up images by means of which it becomes transferable. But to those who have never had such an experience it is difficult, even impossible, to reach the fact itself merely through images, because in this case images are transformed into ideas or concepts, and the mind then attempts to give them an intellectual interpretation.

As long as we are moving on the surface of consciousness, we can never get away from ratiocination. but the master is not living there as we are, he has passed through the outer crust of consciousness away down into its deepest recesses, into a realm of the unthinkable, into the Unconscious, which is even beyond the unconscious generally conceived by the


It is by intuition alone that this timelessness of the Unconscious is truly taken hold of. And this intuitive grasp of reality never takes place when a world of Emptiness is assumed outside our everyday world of the senses; for these two worlds are not separate but one. therefore, the master sees into his Unconscious not through the stillness of the old pond but through the sound stirred up by the jumping frog. Without the sound there is no seeing into the Unconscious, in which lies the source of creative activities (DQ?) and upon all artists draw from their inspiration.

For me, this is zen and its parallel to MOQ very evident as well.

I thank you for making me aware of Bryson's book A Walk in the Woods. I will read it for I have had similar experiences when walking, as well as with sounds when in meditation. – Lithien


The Unknown Artist, Muneyoshi Yanagi, 1972 I've found a virtual must-read book if you can find it. Muneyoshi Yanagi's The Unknown Artist

(1972). I want to present Yanagi's ideas here in abstract and paraphrased, and relate those to the "What the hell is DQ?" question.

Yanagi begins by commenting on the pursuit of deformation, the quest for freedom, and the avoidance of regularity in Modern art. Of course a big inspiration to Modern art was Picasso and Matisse's "discoveries" of primitive art from Africa, the Americas, and the South Seas. It is a principal of Modern art that "Free" beauty boils down to irregular beauty.

(Sounds like DQ, doesn't it?)

Among the earliest people to consciously take irregularity, freedom and crudeness as aesthetic principals underlying their work were the Tea Masters of Japan (16th cen CE). To Yanagi, they prefigure Modern artists. (Like Picasso studying African masks, the cultured, sophisticated Japanese studied and consciously imitated the 'primitive' Koreans.)

If you don't know much about Zen art: it is the "art of imperfection." Hisamatsu in his Zen and the Fine Arts (1971, also a great book) says: "Zen is a religion of non-holiness. Ordinarily in religion God or Buddha is something sacrosanct; in Zen, however, Buddha is non-holy as the negation of transcendent holiness... [Zen] is of the nature, as Lin-chi said, of "killing the Buddha, killing the patriarch."

("If you see the Buddha on the road, kill him." Robert M. Pirsig? ..forget him. Zen is not a procilatizing movement. It doesn't try to win converts. If that's what you think... Well, I'll shut-up before I get myself in trouble. Everybody already knows where I stand on the 'philosophy as intellectual warfare'-issue. But, remember, in ZMM, the Narrator says, 'I'm always suspicious of far-reaching social movements. They rarely make anything better. All the world really needs is quality individuals leading quality lives.' [paraphrased from memory])

But to give you a better idea of what Zen art is like, Yanagi writes: "A glance at the imperfections of Tea [bowls] will make this clear. The shapes are irregular, the surfaces dry or sandy, the glazes of uneven thickness; the pieces piled in the kiln remain unglazed where pots rest upon one another; fire cracks are accepted. All these characteristics are not merely put up w/, but are taken as an integral part of pot making and are therefore of potential beauty. The Tea Masters found depth in this

naturalness... The precise and perfect carries no overtones, admits of no freedom; the perfect is static and regulated, cold and hard." (No wonder Modernist in the 50s-60's didn't like motorcycle technology.) Freedom, Yasagi declares, indeed *is* beauty! The Japanese craftsmen deliberately deformed their bowls by not using a wheel, and left the surface rough.

BUT, Beauty in the Tea ceremony does not ultimately reside in the dynamic imperfection. It should reside in what the Buddhist term *muso*, the unchanging formlessness behind all phenomena. (Unchanging? "Behind all phenomena?" This sounds more like Kant that Pirsig's DQ. [Bo, I had to throw that tin there for your benefit. ;-) In *muso* there is

neither acceptance nor rejection, freedom nor restraint. "True beauty in Tea cannot lie in either the perfect nor the imperfect, but must lie in a realm where such distinctions have ceased to exist, where the imperfect is identified w/ [i.e. identical to] the perfect." (Yanagi)

So maybe we should say, first there is just Quality. Then Quality can be divided-up into two aspects: it's dynamic aspect and it's preduring, static aspect. By saying that DQ is unknowable (which if it's pure DQ w/o any sq, yes it must be) perhaps Pirsig has misled us into thinking that DQ = *muso* (or any other transcendental, monist, skyhook like Ding-an-sich or God or whatever). - lonewolf, Joseph Campbell Foundation If anybody's interested in Joseph Campbell, the Joe Campbell Foundation has a great webpage at <>. I'm a member of the JCF, and personally, I think Campbell was the greatest scholar/philosopher of the last century. Well worth checking out! - Donald T Palmgren The Demon Haunted World, Carl Sagan …has a section on how if some Queen or King in the seventeenth century gave all the money to the best scientist to create a machine that could send words across the country (telephone) the scientist would create a lot of fascinating inventions, but

never close to creating what the scientist (I'll say he since they were all at that time) was charged to create. But given a 150 years later it would have been easy. Intellect Quality truly grows from the Society in which the individual thinker creates. -

Lord of the Flies

Heart of Darkness, Conrad

in Lord of the Flies there are two groups of kids. the ones who revert back to bestiality, as symbolized by the beast, and the ones who try to preserve social order. the regression is one to the antecedent biological level, survival of the fittest, not the intellectual one. but I have an example of a book where the intellect tries to circumvent society by supporting the

biological level (which is the way Pirsig says it does) the book is Heart of Darkness by Conrad. here we have an exemplary individual who is above the rest, Mr. Kurtz who abandons society and goes native. Marlowe who goes in search of him represents society. what he discovers is madness. Without the restraint of society, intellect goes berserk. however, there is a transcendence of sorts experienced both by Kurtz and Marlowe. Kurtz' last words: "the horror, the horror" point towards the realization of the biological in us, i.e. our capacity for violence. the same beast which appeared in Lord of the Flies as an outside symbol becomes internalized within. The Heart of Darkness (the biological level) exists in all of us and it needs societal order and restraint to operate, perhaps not freely, but productively. this is needed for the species to survive. to revert into total freedom would be chaotic and would be a regression not a step forward. we arose from chaos like the Greeks myths ascertain, but need not submit to it for a little society and intellect dance a tenuous line wavering between order and freedom. too much of either is disastrous. the dance itself when it is done just right is Dynamic Quality which is Morality. that is where the Value lies. Morality is then defined by the proper relationship between levels. the proper relationship meaning the dance which perpetuates both with just enough freedom to create change and just enough order to prevent chaos. the word "dance" connotes creativity and passion given rein in an artistic but controlled fashion. - Lithien

The Story of Philosophy, Will Durant  "The chief condition of happiness, then, barring certain physical prerequisites, is the life of reason-the specific glory and power of man.  Virtue, or rather excellence, will depend on clear judgment, self-control, symmetry of desire, artistry of means; it is not the possession of the simple man, nor the gift of innocent intent, but the achievement of experience in the fully developed man. Yet there is a road to it, a guide to excellence, which may save many detours and delays: it is the middle way, THE GOLDEN MEAN.  The qualities of character can be arranged in triads, in each of which the first and last qualities will be extremes and vices, and the middle quality a virtue or an excellence. So between cowardice and rashness is courage: between stinginess and extravagance is liberality; between sloth and greed is ambition; between humility and pride is modesty; between secrecy and loquacity, honesty; between      moroseness and buffoonery, good humor; between quarrelsomeness and flattery, friendship; between Hamlet's indecisiveness and Quixote's impulsiveness is self-control.  "Right" then, in ethics or conduct, is not different from "right" in mathematics or engineering; it means correct, fit what works to the best result." - Jason Nelson
 The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil  The idea is set forth in “The Age of Spiritual Machines" by Ray Kurzweil. He conjectures that reality operates in the same fashion as computer simulations in software games that display images of a virtual world. The portions of the virtual environment not being interacted with by the user (that is, offscreen) are usually not computed in detail, if at all. The software designers figure there is no point in wasting valuable computer cycles on regions of the simulated world no one is watching. - Platt Holden
 The World As Will and Representation by Arthur Schopenhauer, E. F. Payne (Translator)
The Wisdom of Life and Counsels and Maxims by Authur Schopenhauer, T. Bailey Saunders (Translator)

The World as Will and Idea by Arthur Schopenhauer, David Berman (Editor), Jill Berman (Editor)

The Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason by Arthur Schopenhauer, E. F. J. Payne (Editor)

To me Schopenhauer's Will is not limited to biological quality but is rather more inclusive, like Dynamic Quality itself--"the free force of life, the source of all things, completely simple and always new." As such, you can correctly I think call it an "instinct," whether an instinct for survival or an instinct for happiness, humor, freedom, perfection, beauty, or "pure being."
Or, you can call Will "dharma," the principle of rightness "which gives structure and purpose to the evolution of all life and to the evolving understanding of the universe which life has created."
In other words ... I see Schopenhauer's Will to be synonymous with Pirsig's Dynamic Quality--"the ultimate and highest force in the world."

     Platt Holden