06 november, 2006

The color of Ken


I started this blog in dutch about one year ago. Returning from a fantastic holiday in India, I was fed up with the 'way of the west' and its arrogance towards other parts of the world. Connected with that I lost faith in modern science (or in the way it is used in society at the moment) It occurred to me that in many ways it's role in western society has become that of the old time religion: a way to control thought. In a sense, there is a fundamentalistic tendency in the mostly atheist or laist societies of Europe. This fundamentalist atheism seems to serve economic interests. Science, so to say, has become 'opium for the people'. In the past year I used the blog to explore my own beliefs, to search for new ways to view the world and to express sentiments towards actual events like the mohammed drawings or the ID-debate.

Of large influence on my new way of thinking is Ken Wilber. I read Frank Vissers biography 'Ken Wilber, thinking as passion'. Knowing he teamed up with Don Beck on his more recent work, I also read 'Spiral Dynamics'.
The way in wich conflict between Frank Visser and Ken Wilber is handeled by Wilber and some disappointment in reading 'Spiral Dynamics' bring me to publish my first post in English to express my views.

Most of the interesting part of the 'Spiral Dynamics'- book can also be found on the internet, i.e. the descriptions of the different vMeme categories, the difference between first tier and second tier. Distinguishing the various meme-colors to me was not immediatly clear and the book has some merit in offering great exercice in that.
What was disappointing to the book, was the explanation on the managing of vMemes. Here the authors satisfy with a simplistic version of books on 'how to point noses in the same direction'.
Moreover some very obnoxious Americo-centered comments/interpretations have made it to the book. For Americans, that is not so unusual, but for authors that tell you how to talk to different vMemes that's unforgivable.
I desperatly wish the 'spiral dynamics' to be taken seriously for it's a theory that has clear merits for the modern times, but in order to be taken seriously the authors should take their audience serious, all of the audience not just the American.

In his conflict with Frank Visser and other critics, Ken Wilber takes on the role of Wyatt Earp to shoot at his opponents.
Recently, Wilber is fighting a lot against what he calls boomeritis. By this he means the narcistic attitude of the Baby Boom generation, a generation stuck in the green first tier meme and unable to take on to the yellow second tier meme. He, of course, has according to himself allready made it to yellow (or beyond).
Now, I am but a humble Belgian engineer but with no degree in philosophy or any other social science, but is openly declaring yourself as being better then others not one of the more clear symptoms of narcisism.
Moreover, a major characteristic of second tier is the absence of antagonism with first tier. While first tier memes have tendency to fight each other, second tier is respectfull of the first tier memes knowing they all are rooted in specific social conditions and therefor not merely changed by words.
The Wilber-stand is antagonistic towards his opponents. Therefor Wilber must be in the same tier as his opponents (either first or second).
Finally, who the fuck is Wyatt Earp?
I knew the name from some Kevin Costner western movie. Wikiing the name gives you an idea of the man, some mythical cowboy-pioneer it seems, maybe some kind of founding father in the USA, clearly someone rooted in American history, and as such a very bad metaphor to use in a discussion with international critics (consider e.g. Frank Visser has dutch nationality).
For someone who calls himself an integralist, Wilber should have known better. Using culturally embedded symbols in an international discussion is not exactly doing the job in fighting etno-centrism.

So, to conclude a note to Wilber and Beck (my ego is jumping for joy in the foolish prospect of being read by one of them):

  • Both of you are doing good jobs in creating new paradigms.
  • Both of you tend to forget the world outside the USA.
  • Both of you, in order to be taken seriously, must realise that, in Europe at least, gurus (or pandits if you like, Ken) either in the management field or in the spiritual field are generally not taken seriously, no matter how sound the message is. So don't try to be one.
  • Ken, get your ego to shut up so you can move to second tier and tell us how it really is.
  • Ken, the II is beginning to smell like a sect. Use a deodorant

Thank you,

A not so humble Belgian

2 opmerkingen:

seventh sister zei

If I may 'enlighten' you a little about Wyatt Earp, he was a mythic lawman of the American west who was, in most people's opinion, not really any better than the outlaws. He was a gunfighter who just happened to show up when Dodge City needed to get the rest of the gunfighters under control so they gave him a badge and he fought on the 'right' side of the law.

It appears that he did not mind killing others, especially since his badge gave him license to do so.

leerlingalchemist zei

Hey, thank you very much for the information. I'm now trying to make sense of Wilbers use of this metaphore.