Saturday, February 4, 2017

Green’s Failure as “the Leading Edge”: Some Comments on Wilber’s “Trump and a Post-Truth World”

I’m happy to welcome Ken Wilber back to the resistance to the postmodernist, Boomeritis green worldview that has generated such nasty and revolting behavior among so many otherwise decent and civilized people in the Advanced Sector.

In his recently published “Trump and a Post-Truth World,” Wilber surgically dissects the contradictions, pomposities, and insecurities that riddle almost every Boomeritis green analysis of and policy prescription for today’s lawfully chaotic world.

This is particularly welcome as it seemed that, with his post-Wyatt Earp emphases on “integral spirituality” and “the fourth turning,” he had withdrawn his sharp insights into what his own model revealed about our political economy, thereby leaving the field of integral political analysis to the very Boomeritis green perspectives he knows and now has pronounced to be a spiritual and cultural dead end.
What virtually all of the above [Trump] voters had in common was ressentiment—they resented the cultural elite, whether in government or universities or “on the coasts,” and they wanted, if “revenge” is the wrong word, it’s not far off.  But there was, I am suggesting, another and very strong, hidden current in all of this, and that was the antagonistic reaction and turning away evidenced by a leading-edge that had gone deeply sour and dysfunctional, and wasn’t even serving the 25 percent of the population that were themselves at green.  The deeply self-contradictory nature of “there-is-no-truth” green had collapsed the very leading-edge of evolution itself, had jammed it, had derailed it, and in a bruised, confused, but inherently wisdom-driven series of moves, evolution was backing up, regrouping, and looking for ways to move forward.  This included activating an amber-ethnocentric wave that had always been present and very powerful, but that had, for the most part, been denied direct control of society starting around a century or so ago (as orange and then green stepped in).
As I’ll indicate below, while I think much in his analysis of the amber and orange wave is weak or incomplete, his critique of the Boomeritis variant of green is dead-on, including his recapitulation of a potentially strong and vibrant “healthy”—or, as I prefer, “mature”—version of the actual and necessary postmodern green which is struggling to survive suffocation by the Boomeritis believers.

Diagnosing the Postmodernist Madness

Wilber, when he’s set his mind to it, has been consistent in his critique of this very immature version of green since the 1995 publication of Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality, and emphatically in the 1997 release of The Eye of Spirit: An Integral Vision for a World Gone Slightly Mad

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Trumpet Shall Sound

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
—I Corinthians 15:52

Integralites have spilled gallons of ink (literally and figuratively) on the Donald Trump phenomenon; I am no exception (although my spillage is perhaps somewhat more modest in quantity).  Last summer I penned “Integral Trump, or the Center Cannot Hold” in an attempt to apply an integral lens to this weird, unsettling, and unexpected dynamic.  At the time I was less interested in Mr. Trump the human being and more in both what he had tapped into in the United States and how that fit into an obvious global dynamic that includes the election of Narendra Modi as Indian prime minister, the depredations of ISIL and Bashar al-Assad, Brexit, the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, the reconsolidation of dictatorships in Russia and China, and other political disruptions.  Further, I was and am most interested in answering the question, what then must we (integralites) do?

Additionally, I have been skeptical about attempts to “colorize” political leaders, starting with Ken Wilber’s boasts that Al Gore and Bill Clinton were reading his works and leading up to current integralite labeling of people like Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, or Bernie Sanders as “integral leaders.”  It is unclear to me how, without a rigorous analysis of our own wishes and beliefs, we can avoid projecting onto folks like these our own worldviews.  I took a close look at this phenomenon during the last American presidential election when Boulderite Terry Patten claimed Mr. Obama “the best hope we have for more integral politics and policies” in urging all of us to vote for his re-election.

There is also the evergreen assumption among many integralites that waves of consciousness, including this first transpersonal one, generate a particular and specific political economic policy perspective, a belief rife with the mythic amber worldview that integralites have presumably transcended, included, and integrated.

Until someone demonstrates otherwise, I will continue to insist that levels of consciousness are not political platforms.  I tend to agree with Ken Wilber’s long-held assertion that “left” and “right” are types—the fifth element of the Integral Model.  That means that within each level folks can skew “liberal” and “conservative” and remain consistent with the contours of each stage of consciousness.  Even in Spiral Dynamics, an integral model I find inadequate for understanding the evolutionary phenomenon, many caution against the tendency to assign specifics to the SD levels. 

We can demonstrate this by making the case that Donald Trump and many of his faction offer a non-left Boomeritis green perspective, rather than the orange (or earlier) version that most integralites presume.