LS Engineering and the 4 levels of MoQ

Jonathan B. Marder (
Mon, 17 Aug 1998 10:38:28 +0100

(Reposted - originally posted 12th August
Hi Lila Squad,

Pirsig's 4 levels seem to have some origins in the ways we react to and
manipulate our environment.
Here are some examples of engineering at each level using the tools of
that level:-

Inorganic - building with rocks
Biological - agriculture, breeding
Social - rituals, customs, myths, etiquette, education
Intellectual - argument, extrapolation, synthesis of ideas

Where we seem to run into ethical trouble is when we use tools from one
level to manipulate a higher level. Examples are:-
Genetic engineering (inorganic engineering of biology)
Eugenics (biological engineering of society)
Brainwashing (biological and social engineering of intellect)

These themes are "scary" stuff and I can think of quite a few novels and
movies based on them.

I think this may give some justification for the way Pirsig ranks
morality in Chapter 24 (though I still find his approach to be

Jonathan B. Marder <>
Department of Agricultural Botany, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Faculty of Agriculture, P.O.Box 12, Rehovot 76100, ISRAEL
Phone: +972 8 9481918 Fax: +972 8 9467763
Web page:

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