I just finished reading Robert M. Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I understand to be a popular-yet-important book for those looking to enter the realm of philosophical discussion and discourse.
Of course, the text features the author's long endeavor to define "quality," specifically in a philosophical context.
After re-reading chapters 19 and 20, I'm still unsure if I have understood what Pirsig claims "quality" to be. At first, I thought he meant that "quality" is essentially "reality," including all the atoms in the universe (or multiverse, I suppose), both in actuality and in theory (i.e., hypothetical situations, along with thoughts, are also included in the realm of "quality"). In other words, I interpreted "quality" to be the general domain of discourse we humans perceive as the "universe."
I wasn't satisfied with my interpretation, albeit because of a person reason: why not just say "quality" is "reality"? And if that's the case, why do we need two words to describe one thing? I thought that there must be something more significant about Pirsig's claim.
In this Wiki entry, quality is broken down into two classes: the dynamic, and the static. "Dynamic" quality cannot be explicitly defined, unlike "static quality," which can be defined (in terms of increasing morality, static quality includes non-organic forms, organic forms, social forms, and then intellectual forms).
Here is my question: is Pirsig trying to say that "quality" is the opposite of chaos/disorder? After all, dynamic quality is allegedly the "force of change" in our universe, along the continuum of increasing morality. Is it also fair to say that static quality is the result of the dynamic quality?
I would think that in this paradigm, reality now becomes an environment (i.e., "platform"), while "quality" becomes the main driver of action/evolution in this environment.
If I have this entire understanding wrong, feel free to explain it further. I really just want to make sure I'm not misunderstanding Pirsig.