Ken Wilber is often hailed as the smartest guy you never heard of. For an ‘integral’ part of his theory, Wilber built on Jean Gebser’s work on societal and evolutionary development, which suggest societies move through levels of consciousness as they grow, ie: tribal, fundamental, entrepreneurial, liberal, infinity and beyond. Buzz Enlightenedyear? Throughout his tenor, Wilber has generally ignored republican antics in favor of lib coaching (Summary Alert: with deeper levels of consciousness, comes greater responsibility). In Trump And A Post-Truth World, Wilber labels the main pitfall of liberals as ‘aperspectival madness’, or how pluralism (moral-relativism) has paved the way for this truthless post-modern landscape. Progressives tend to insist that all perspectives are equal and, in such a world, truth itself dissolves into an egalitarian nightmare. He also points to the onslaught of fake news as contributing to the problem and how search engines are weaponizing shitty viewpoints by trading meaning for popularity. He rails against click-bait, which *cough* reminds me, before reading further please like and share my Man Trapped On Whataburger Roof Calls 911 For Rising Cholesterol Levels.
At the onset of this book review, I hit the Discord archives to see when I first used the term post-truth and in my article Surviving in a Post-Truth World I found this strangely prophetic, yet non-PC quote:
“At this rate the GOP will never elect some Randian John Galt type, they’re going elect Gordon Gekko’s retarded brother. They protect and back the sociopaths of our society. They’re going to get completely screwed on this deal and, worse yet, so are the rest of us.”
—Me, 2012! Shart of the Deal? (I know, Dr. Leigh, I can hear you now, but I have adopted a more PC term in 2017 See: re-republicans.)
Actually it’s not strangely prophetic, it’s par for the ‘Cord …Mick Zano, the 2nd smartest guy you never heard of?
To be successful, Wilber believes politics must be inclusive. It must acknowledge and incorporate all stages and levels of development that came before. Last week a Sully quote captures why our political parties are failing so miserably at this:
“As any Burkean conservative will tell you, the present is what you work with. ‘Home is where you start from,’ in T.S. Eliot’s words. The reactionary, like the progressive, never fully grasps this, cannot see the connections that require that present actions are most effective when they build on what is, rather than what was, or, for the progressive, what could be.”
—Andrew Sullivan, Trump’s Mindless Nihilism
In podcast-land a Jungian theorist named Nathan Schwartz-Salant urged the embracing of our collective shadow. He, like Wilber, warns against being judgmental, because this is a long and arduous journey of personal and collective growth. The Jungian suggests we welcome Trump, not reject him, and thereby own the darkness—identify with your inner-Trumpness to integrate the societal shadow (paraphrased for your enjoyment). He then offered as an example the travels of Enkidu and Gilgamesh. To gain his important companion, Gilgamesh had to first defeat his hairy nemesis. Then they released a series of Bob and Bing-style ‘On the Road’ cuneiform tablets that totally wowed them in Sumer.
Me? …I don’t want to get into Hair Force One with Orange Man! Yes, I have failed at this collective integration thingie …bigly. I’ve been painfully aware of this fact for a long time. Thanks, Wilber! And thanks, Pokey!
Where I agree with Wilber:
Although I’m steeped in Wilber, it never occurred to me that at certain points in history the latest level of consciousness may not have even existed. This is why tearing down statues of folks for their behaviors centuries ago is even more absurd than it seems on face value #ThinkOfThePigeons!
The prime example of aperspectival madness in politics is the behavior of CNN. Like good liberal elites, the Anderson Coopers of the world have always championed pluralism. CNN started giving equal time to opposing views so they gradually devolved from journalists to moderators. If you add Fox’s incessant lies to CNN’s incessant placation of said lies …welcome to my rightmare. Cooper’s hardest interview this year was with Phoenix fake-newser Paul Horner, who since died. Where were you on the night of September 27th, Mr. Cooper? I can hear the Horner headline now: Cooper Hires Bigfoot For Hoaxter Hit! Paul and I were Facebook friends, not good friends, just Fakecquaintances.
Aperspectival madness is also rampant in my field of behavioral health. For my day job I attend meetings that include clinical members, school personnel and ancillary agencies who meet to develop a given child’s treatment plan. Often the non-clinical team members carry equal weight to the clinical professionals. This is primarily due to the fact the overseers, those in charge of funding and appeals, are often doggedly egalitarian. If you can imagine this scenario transposed to a medical setting, the charge nurse or the anesthesiologist could overrule the strategy and approach of the surgeon. Talk about death panels. I have seen psychologists lose arguments to probation officers because ‘everyone’s viewpoint is equally valid.’ As a result, tons of non-medically necessary services are offered just because someone on the team felt they’re warranted. This enables, not empowers and such practices will make the inevitable shift to single-payer even more cost-prohibitive.
Where I disagree with Wilber:
I too have warned of this brewing millennial shit storm, but today one thing stands between my daughter and a viable future—and no offense, Mr. Wilber—it has little to do with a Madam President or even a President Sanders. Wilber allows himself to be harder on libs because they are the ‘leading-edge of consciousness’, at least en masse. They are the group who must start to learn inclusion of all things conservative, fundamental, mythic and otherwise. Libs are alienating people, for sure, but much of this is a reaction to years of Fox & Frauds atrocities. Dems still support competent pragmatic candidates, at least for the moment. He gives zero credit to Obama, who tried to speak to mutual goals and mutual respect and always tried to be everyone’s president.
Meanwhile, what Wilber calls a ‘necessary evolutionary reset to a sturdier base’ comes in the form of President Ass-Clown Hitler. That’s not name calling; Trump clearly represents ego-bozoic thought. And Is Mike Pence the best representative of mythic-traditional values? Wilber claims libs sickened all levels due to their failure to lead. I disagree. The train wreck of the right has been much more prominent in the 21st century.
Wilber does list some GOP atrocities, but then he adds the copout-caveat: “I’m not saying that’s right.” Republicans are the most dangerously misinformed group, not in the country, but in the world. Heck, even the Pope and the Dalai Lama have harsher words for our toddler-in-chief! Sure some blame can be leveled against the Anderson Coopers of the world, but somehow I’m still looking at you, Sean Hannity. The right is certainly poised to inflict the most damage. Unraveling the Iran Deal, inflaming NK tensions, wrecking trade deals with Canada, ignoring Puerto Rico, and blowing up healthcare is just this week’s agenda. Four more beers! Four more beers!
Wilber needs to distinguish between cultural issues and political ones, or simply put:
Sure some liberals embrace a moral relativism, but in my adult life everything tangibly wrong with our political landscape has clear roots in republican legislation. The right embraces the worst aspects of ethnocentrism. Wilber would likely add, ‘well, today’s millennials embrace the worst aspects of worldcentrism.’ Fine, let’s at least all agree we’re the two smartest people in the world.
That Jungian fella warned of the “danger of becoming the fodder of tyrants and despots.” That may well be a pitfall of the liberal leaders of tomorrow, but today? Hmmm.
Wilber doesn’t really hint at how to deal with the 800lb orange gorilla in the room (tyrant-Kongism?). He welcomes him as the monster that might break the liberal fever. Ken believes as long as the conveyor belt allowing personal growth is functioning for all levels and all people, we will solve our problems as a society and continue to grow. He also feels a jump over green (liberal) to integral may occur, not the skipping of a stage, but the onset of an integral view propped on a diseased green. Libs have lost their shit, for sure, but I believe it’s justifiable outrage and I disagree with how we got here.
Allowing republicans to destroy the world seems a tad integral-relativistic. Ha! Running rings around you logically. This administration will dismantle the Constitution one tweet at a time. Forget levels of consciousness for a moment, how do we get these folks to process basic information? Can we start there? Compassion in the face of willful ignorance has proven challenging. As for Wilber’s common lib-falls, I do not fear truth, any holarchical structure, or the occasional non-pc comment (obviously), and yet, I too, have struggled to view modern day conservatism with compassion. A jerk in progress?
In this two decade discussion I have seen no movement from the right on any issue. They keep doubling down on their wrongness. And as for those more Trumpian aspects of our collective shadow, frankly, I just want to impeach the shit out of them #NotMyLevelOfConsciousness. Ha!
Oh, and please check out this related article on: Horus, The Egyptian Sky God, Arrested For Suspected Links To ISIS.
*Exception to the void of insight on the right is my blogversary, Pokey, who is often insightful, but not really conservative. Oh, and he introduced me to Wilber, back in the early Pokezoic Era.