I know, I know. You think my title slug is an unconscionable and unwarranted attack on America's foremost philosopher of the absurd. But hey, I didn't say that. Ken Wilber said that. About a month ago. Check it out by clicking this handy link:
I wouldn't want you -- or heavens, Ken Wilber! -- to think I was quoting him out of context, so bear with me here, as this needs a bit of development. The following is from Ken Wilber's introduction to The Collected Works of Ken Wilber, Volume 7, by Ken Wilber, which is modestly titled (presumably by Ken Wilber) "The Integral Vision at the Millennium" (online here). For some reason I didn't quite catch (probably to flog Boomeritis, also by Ken Wilber), Ken Wilber is talking about the baby-boom generation...
Boomer weaknesses, most critics agree, include an unusual dose of self-absorption and narcissism, so much so that most people, boomers included, simply nod their heads in acknowledgment when the phrase "the Me generation" is mentioned.As you can see in this cover clip from his book, The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion, Ken is one serious guy.
“Ken Wilber is one of the most important pioneers in
the field of consciousness in this country. I regard
him as my mentor. He is the source of inspiration and
insight to all of us. Read everything he writes --
it will change your life.”
~Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Now, no one who has ever read this blog even casually can fail to have grasped in what high regard I hold Dr. Chopra. This is a hugely impressive statement because, you know... and this could be just me, but... it's almost as if he's saying that Wilber is transfiguring the face of the planet in the most astonishing global awakening history has ever seen.
There is one thing that bothers me, though.
Uh... were we trying for something here, Ken?
That's right. Not only is Ken Wilber current Reigning Deity of the Longhair No-hair Club for Men, he's also a member. Sort of. Or something. At any rate, he wants to make sure you know that he's hip to the jive and can sling the lingo with the best of them. Here he continues the rant he began with that unseemly suggestion about his penis...
Not only did I grok what the postmodernists were saying, I have given, in dozens of writings, what numerous experts and specialists in the field (including experts on Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, among others) have called some of the best, and in a few instances, THE best, treatment of these topics. As only one example, the chapter on postmodernism in The Marriage of Sense and Soul one reviewer called "the best short introduction to postmodernism available."Whoa, dude! Izzzat so? I wonder who that reviewer was, because I just went to Amazon and read the opening pages of that chapter, and look, this is not my expert academic specialty or anything (though I did graduate Ad Hominem), but that's one of the most confused pieces of nonsensical crap I've ever read. Which is (trust me) saying something.
First off, he says...
The disaster of modernity was that it reduced all introspective and interpretive knowledge to exterior and empirical flatland: it attempted to erase the richness of interpretation from the script of the world.
Since this occurs in the chapter titled "Postmodernism: To Deconstruct the World," we can assume Wilber is talking about modernism, not some vague "modernity." But by whatever name, with the "empirical flatland" remark he seems to confuse it with positivism -- which would have come as a great surprise to, oh say, Ezra Pound or T.S. Elliot. I'm going to guess he came by this definition of disaster by way of Rene Guenon's Traditionalist sonata for violin and three hankies, The Reign of Quantity & the Signs of the Times -- or something in that general area of dyspeptic Perennialist nostalgia.
Wilber might have done better to read Gonzo Marketing in which I explained that all of 20th century philosophy -- i.e., your basic "postmodernism" -- could be reduced to two simple questions:
I guess in Wilber's book that makes me guilty of "pluralistic relativism" -- which I had to look up. In essence, it seems to describe those who don't buy a fucking word of his trumped-up "truths" and two-bit Integral Spiral Dynamic Transpersonal foosball filosofication.
Speaking of which, right after the "disaster of modernity" embarrassment above, he continues by parenthetically whacking the tarbaby another good one...
(In postmodernese: Modernity marginalized the multivalent epistemic modes via an aggressive hegemony of the myth of the given that hierarchically inverted hermeneutic inscriptions due to the phallologocentrism of patriarchal signifiers. Translation: it collapsed Left to Right.)
Ouch. I mean, I know this is supposed to be "parody," but I want to look away before he really hurts himself with that stuff. Left and Right, btw, do not indicate any sort of political inclination. Rather, think of the occultist notion of "Left Hand Path," and if you can imagine that general swamp, try to think of a Right Hand counterpart. Now quick: make the sound of One Hand getting the clap from all this masturbatory exhibitionism. But don't worry about the details. Just remember:
the unlikely story of how America slipped the surly bonds of earth & came to
believe in signs & portents that would make the middle ages blush
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SPECIAL THANKS TO
New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)
Tuesday, July 11