Lila: An Inquiry into Morals

Lila: An Inquiry into Morals

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by Robert Pirsig
     
 

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The author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance examines life's essential issues as he recounts the journey down the Hudson River in a sailboat of his philosopher-narrator Phaedrus.  See more details below

Overview

The author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance examines life's essential issues as he recounts the journey down the Hudson River in a sailboat of his philosopher-narrator Phaedrus.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Seventeen years after the publication of his still-popular road story/philosophical meditation, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance , Pirsig offers another lengthy and absorbing investigation of how we can live well and rightly. Phaedrus, the one-named narrator ``who had written a whole book on values,'' is sailing down the Hudson River when he meets Lila Blewitt, an unapologetically sexual, psychologically unstable woman whom a mutual friend warns him against. But Phaedrus is drawn to her physically and interested in her intellectually, finding her ``a culture of one'' in whom he discerns an unexpected ``Quality.'' Sailing with him to Manhattan, where her mental state deteriorates further, Lila prompts Phaedrus to explore conflicts of values like those between Native Americans and Europeans or between the insane and the normal. Finally, after years of struggling, he formulates his ``Metaphysics of Quality'' which offers a system of understanding--and evaluating--actions according to a hierarchy of four evolutionary realms (natural, biological, social and intellectual). Though Lila's fate is left unresolved, Pirsig's wide-ranging philosophical explorations will provoke and engage readers. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Pirsig's newest work continues in the same philosophical vein as his earlier books, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ( LJ 10/15/74) and Guide book to ``Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance'' ( LJ 10/15/90). Lila is a novel-cum-philosophical tome that wrestles with the issues and problems of life in the Nineties. Phaedrus, the principle character, is a writer grappling with his latest treatise, the ``metaphysics of Quality.'' Lila, his aging and desperate wharf-bar pickup, provides the right amount of antagonism and criticism to hone his ruminations of life and civilization to something understandable and real. Pirsig has some fairly interesting ideas, but his evasiveness in defining his version of ``quality'' early on may lose some readers. His transition from the novel format to the philosophy lesson is uneven and distracting at times. However, his observations lead to some surprising revelations. Readers familiar with his earlier work will want this. Recommended.-- Kevin M. Roddy, Oakland P.L., Cal.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780553299618
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/28/1992
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
257,879
Product dimensions:
4.16(w) x 6.85(h) x 1.29(d)

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Lila: An Inquiry into Morals 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lila is even better than Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It is worth the time investment a hundred times over. I am a lifelong learner who reads as much as possible, and this is the best book I've ever read. It is thoughtful, valuable, and life-changing. It manages to totally reorient the way you understand reality in a deeply valuable way. Pirsig is truly a revolutionary philosopher. I had to put my pen down because I had the impulse to underline every passage!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pirsig/Phaedrus' further work on defining the undefinable 'quality' is not just an object called a book which you read subjectively. It is an experience in expanding your views of reality. While telling the story of Phaedrus and Lila, the book discusses American Indians, social anthropology, the history of science, and many other topics that shape our world today. Yet Pirsig leads you through the story from within the philosopher Phaedrus' mind. I would imagine that an outline for this book would be as long as the book itself -- but somehow, the information and thoughts just seem to flow naturally.

Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance first -- better introduction is given there to the terminology he uses throughout Lila.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pirsig doesn't disappoint with the intriguing follow-up to 'Zen...Motorcycle Maintenance.' Further investigation leads Phaedrus to delve into the metaphysics of Quality, which ultimately underscores existence, and undermines the prevalent subject-object dichotomy of which we are accustomed.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Almost as good as Zen and the Art