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Metaphysics of Quality

The Metaphysics of Quality is a philosophy developed by Robert M. Pirsig in his book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”

He further developed In “Lila,” the sequel to Zen, published 15 years later. I read them both in 1991 when the Lila came out. I re-read them a few months ago when Jake framed my writing around the concept of Zen and the Art of Weekly Accounting.

Static Patterns of Quality

There are Static Patterns and Dynamic Quality. With the Static Patterns are four levels.

  1. Inorganic: the physical world of objects and matter. This level is characterized by the absence of consciousness and is governed by the laws of physics and chemistry.
  2. Organic: the world of living organisms. This level is characterized by consciousness and the presence of self-awareness. It is governed by the laws of biology and evolution.
  3. Social: the world of human society and culture. This level is characterized by the presence of shared values and beliefs, and it is governed by the laws of psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
  4. Intellectual: the world of ideas and values. This level is characterized by the presence of abstract concepts, such as truth, beauty, and morality. It is governed by the laws of logic, ethics, and spirituality.

Dynamic Quality connects and disrupts the Static Patterns in all directions.

  • DNA Mutation: Dynamic Quality introduces a new organic pattern that either helps it to survive and replicate or causes it to die off.
  • Example

A new Intellectual Pattern can cause great change in a society over time.

We all generally exist in an Aristotalian metaphysics – based on subjects and objects. The Metaphysics of Quality says that each of us are an Organic Pattern that live in a Social Pattern governed by Intellectual Patterns.

Because each of us is capable of creating an idea…each of us, in a way, can recreate the Social Patterns around us which can also make our Organic Patterns healthier too.

Pattern Language

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