LS Re: Moral precedence in the 4 levels

Theo Schramm (
Fri, 7 Aug 1998 19:00:31 +0100


>Hi Squad,
> Due to an apparent lull in incoming e-mail in the last couple of
>days, I've had some space to think, rather than merely react to what
>others have sent in. I also had another go at Chapter 24 of Lila,
>where Pirsig talks about the place of morality in the
>interrelationships between the 4-levels. I'm sorry to say that I am
>now more troubled than ever.
>Remember in ZAMM where Pirsig describes a lecture on one of Plato's
>dialogues, where there seems to be something wrong in the >explanation?
>Well, that's how I feel about Chapter 24. Something is wrong in >there,
>and I can only partly put my finger on it. One of the most important
>messages I've derived from Pirsig is that if something FEELS wrong,
>then it IS wrong, either in explanation or in comprehension.

I agree and I too am deeply disturbed by Chapter 24 (possibly for
different reasons) and it calls into question the whole idea of morality
in the MoQ. The last sentence of your post here is very important and
Pirsig's evaluation of right and wrong does not FEEL right to me. I have
put my finger upon it from my point of view and it is summed up in the
statement which seems to be the cornerstone of Pirsig's morality in the

"What's good is freedom from any static pattern, but that freedom
doesn't have to be obtained by the destruction of the patterns

To keep it very simple, and thus avoid distracting myself, I will use
just one example. Marriage is undoubtedly a static pattern. It is an
instituton formulated by society, for the good of society and it
involved a ritual for validation. By Pirsig's thinking it should be the
more moral option for me to leave my wife and have a dynamic sexual and
intellectual relationship with another woman. Or, perhaps, I should
avoid destruction of the static pattern of marriage to my wife by merely
having a secret affair, thus keeping the marriage intact.

This feels wrong to me and calls into question the whole idea that the
MoQ is a moral metaphysics. An affair must involve freedom from a static
pattern and yet I like my static patterns, I love my wife and any moral
code which tells me that our predominantly static relationship isn't one
of the highest goods, I am compelled to reject. Pirsig draws no
distinction between change and good change. I feel emotionally and
rationally that change is not always good.

How can I reconcile the two?


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