This post contains excerpts from Robert Pirsig's book Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals.

The words are all his, the editing choices are all mine, the consequences of reading are all yours.

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Ruthlessness

… the Metaphysics of Quality says that what is meant by ‘human rights’ is usually the moral code of intellect-vs.-society, the moral right of intellect to be free of social control. Freedom of speech; freedom of assembly, of travel; government by consent … According to the Metaphysics of Quality these ‘human rights’ have not just a sentimental basis, but a rational, metaphysical basis. They are essential to the evolution of a higher level of life from a lower level of life. They are for real. But what the Metaphysics of Quality also makes clear is that this intellect-vs.-society code … is not the same as the society-vs.-biology codes of morals that go back to a prehistoric time. They are completely separate levels of morals. They should never be confused …

Is society good or is society evil? … in one level society is the higher evolutionary pattern and in the other it is the lower. Unless you separate these two levels of moral codes you get a paralyzing confusion … [that] dominates all thoughts about morality & society today … There are no chains more vicious than the chains of biological necessity into which every child is born. Society exists primarily to free people from these biological chains … has done that job so stunningly well intellectuals forget … and turn on it … with shameful ingratitude. [because of this] Today we are living in an intellectual and technological paradise and a moral and social nightmare.

… the 20th century intellectual faith in man’s basic goodness as spontaneous and natural is disastrously naive … a devastating fiction … cannibalism, not cooperation, was a pre-society norm … American Indians … ambushed & tortured [other tribes] … maybe it is man’s basic goodness which invented social institutions to repress this kind of biological savagery in the first place.

… the Metaphysics of Quality concludes that the old Puritan & Victorian social codes should not be followed [or attacked] blindly … They should be dusted off and re-examined, fairly and impartially, to see what they were trying … and actually did accomplish towards building a stronger society. We must understand that when a society undermines intellectual freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally bad, but when it represses biological freedom for its own purposes it is absolutely morally good. These moral bads and goods are not just ‘customs’. They are as real as rocks and trees.

… the Metaphysics of Quality concludes that [ the destructive sympathy by intellectuals toward lawlessness in the 60’s ] was really stupid … The idea that biological crimes can be ended by intellect alone, that you can talk crime to death, doesn’t work … The instrument of conversation between society & biology has always been a policeman or a soldier and his gun. All the laws of history … Constitutions & the Bills of Rights & Declarations of Independence are … instructions to the military & police.

… ’racism’ … goes all the way back to square one, to the subject-object metaphysics wherein man is an object who possesses … culture … it goes on to reason that because it is immoral to speak against a people because of their genetic characteristics it is therefore also immoral to speak against a people because of their cultural characteristics … and Science says there is no morality outside of cultural morality, therefore any moral censorship of minority patterns of crime … is itself immoral. That is the paralysis …

… the Metaphysics of Quality says … that to say a cultural pattern is an integral part of a biological person is like saying the Lotus123 program is an integral part of an IBM computer. Not so. Cultures are not the source of all morals, only a limited set of morals. Cultures can be graded and judged morally according to their contribution to the evolution of life. A culture that supports the dominance of social values over biological values is an absolutely superior culture to one that does not, and a culture that supports the dominance of intellectual values over social values is absolutely superior to one that does not.

It is immoral to speak against a people because of the color of their skin, or any other genetic characteristic … But it is not immoral to speak against a person because of his cultural characteristics … these are changeable and they do matter … The fight to sustain social codes isn’t a war of blacks vs. whites … or poor people vs. rich … or … stupid people against intelligent … It’s a war of biology vs. society … and intellect, to end the paralysis of society, has to know whose side it is on, and support that side … Where biological values are undermining social values, intellectuals must identify social behavior … and support it all the way without restraint. Intellectuals must … limit and destroy destructive biological patterns with complete moral ruthlessness the way a doctor destroys germs.

“Today we are living in an intellectual and technological paradise and a moral and social nightmare.”
“... it is not immoral to speak against a person because of his cultural characteristics ... these are changeable and they do matter ...”