Saturday, June 10, 2006

Ken Wilber loses it...

Over at Blogmandu, there's a good post pointing to the continuing weirdness of Ken Wilber.

Now yeah, I admit that I knew I wouldn't find an actual idea there, and so it's kind of a guilty pleasure to read it. But still...

  • What the hell is a "mean green meme?" Can't he say anything without lapsing into jargon that reasonably intelligent folks like me can understand?
  • Wilber writes, "Derrida is dead, the adolescent rebellion of tearing things down and spray-painting your name on the ruins is over, and the adults are now in the process of, as usual, contributing something constructive and creative for the advancement of humanity in general." He can start by doing something constructive like, you know, figuring out what Derrida actually said, which wasn't just about "tearing things down." See Nagarjuna, too.
  • "They stole my ideas!" As Blogmandu points out, this comes in response likely to this post here.
  • Here's a beaut:
    But in general, good criticism shows me new areas that I can include. I FUCKING LIVE FOR GREAT CRITICISM, IT MEANS MORE TRUTH FOR A MORE INTEGRAL MODEL.

    Er, ummm... then why not have comments on your blog?

  • I have neither the time nor patience to go through the rest of this bilge, but I will comment on this bit:

    In other words, blue will continue to believe that evolution does not exist, no matter how much evidence you produce to the contrary. Blue will actually produce a ton of what it considers to be facts; it will quote the Bible chapter and verse, bringing forth what are indeed actual phenomena and actual facts at that blue level, facts that are absolutely true at that level. So these types of arguments are futile as regards their core claims (although you can always learn something from both sides, simply because they are both producing interesting truths and facts and evidence at their own levels.) But when it comes to cross-level truth-claims, neither side will reach a happy resolution to their core disputes. Orange will not be happy because blue does not accept evolution; blue will not be happy because orange does not accept the Bible. Nor will they be happy until blue evolves to orange (or orange regresses to blue)…. But absent that, both of these less-than-integral levels violate, among other things, the principles of integrative epistemology (see excerpt B).

    Thus, it is a completely valid argument for a developmentalist to point out that fact (i.e., the cross-level or paradigm-clash intractability). There is nothing that turquoise or indigo can ever say to green that will make it happy. Thus, the idea that, for example, turquoise is supposed to enter a “dialogue” with green is nonsensical, and nothing in that dialogue will change green’s mind fundamentally (unless green transforms to turquoise). Turquoise can see green and its facts, but green cannot see turquoise and its facts, and thus this cross-level altitude problem jams any real dialogue in that capacity—and yet all that green does is scream for dialogue, dialogue, dialogue…. which in these cases are empty, empty, empty.

    I have the secret of the universe for you Ken Wilber: when confronted with situations like this, where you are dealing with an opponent, who in the words of Penn and Teller is peddling bullshit, is

    • a) yes, point out that when an opponent is indeed, in the reality based world, phenomeonlogically, epistemologically, honest-to-goodness full of shit, it is OK to do so (with compassion and wisdom and wit hopefully, and not using potty mouth words like I just as I do not as I say!), but also

    • b) to change the focus on the discussion to something productive, "where the differences are not a source of conflict" to either quote or paraphrase Thomas Merton.

    The latter really works. In between a) and b) right now I just had an encounter with a Jehovah's Witness, who rang my doorbell. He declined to visit our temple.

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