X is dead
I do not like to get into politics in my writing, so I won’t. I don’t care who you voted for, ok?
My son sent me an article by Ken Wilber, a philosopher, who views Trump’s election as an evolutionary necessity. Wilber believes it serves as a needed correction, like a market correction, only on a much grander scale.
Because I come from a liberal, “post-modern” background, all around me my people are very emotional about Trump and how could he? and how could they? and we have to resist! but it’s so massive, and how can we? Really, perhaps all is lost. For whatever reason, I never wanted to go there. The article put words to the feeling for me. To sum it up, using Wilber’s vocabulary, it feels exactly right to me that to transcend we must include.
I learned a new verb recently: to “other.” It’s the opposite of to “include.” Liberals are against Trump’s wall, but we build walls of our own all over the place, separating ourselves from whatever we don’t like, whatever we fear to look into, whatever we disapprove of. It’s very easy to build an invisible wall and not notice, or build an emotional wall and justify it. I’ve done it many many times myself.
To understand why Ken Wilber sees inclusion as necessary politically, as well as evolutionarily, you’ll have to read the article, Trump and a Post-Truth World. It is long (see side note), I read it over several days. And it helps if you already know a little about Wilber’s developmental stage theory, which is worth knowing about because his theory explains what’s going on in the world without taking sides. For me the article was instructive, encouraging, and helpful. Because it shows a way forward. One that makes sense to me.
For anyone, like myself, who does not want to resist Trump or anything else, there is another way. And that way is to work on yourself, work within your own mind, on your own perceptions and beliefs. Of course this kind of work will affect the world around you for the good. How could it not? It’s the most basic, and the most radical (fr. Latin, meaning root) form of grassroots effort there is.
I have some very undeveloped parts of me. There are toddlers, deplorables, and self-centered bitches. Shy suicidal loners who don’t care and won’t vote. Arrogant know-it-alls who tell everyone else what they should be doing. Furious veterans of futile civil wars. I’m getting more in touch with some of these aspects of myself because of the therapy I’m doing. I once built a huge wall. I really did, inside myself, and the taxpayers (internally speaking now) have paid for it. There was me, standing alone, so smart and superior and squeaky clean, and the undesirable parts of myself were all on the other side of the wall taking drugs and lobbing homemade bombs over into my home territory.
It didn’t work out so well. I’ve realized now that I can’t go on without them. They have too much of my energy tied up in their separate agendas. I have to stop and listen, find out what they want and need. Even though they seem destructive, disgusting, shameful, dangerous, sick, pitiful, unenlightened, you know — embarrassing to think of as me. I have to take the initiative here, include them, learn from them, and help them get what they need to develop. I am not interested in continuing to live in a separate universe from aspects of my own self. It’s been very painful.
Leadership is necessary, says Wilber. I can relate to that. I’ve been lost, reading one self-help book after another throughout my whole adulthood. Progress is slow. But I’ve found my leader. He is not a bully. He is not a liberal. His name is Bob. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. No, he’s not a religious figure either. He’s a nobody, an X, an unknown, a figment of my imagination. Obviously he must be a part of me too. I made him up! Or so I thought. But then…. It’s all very strange.*
Socrates, the oft-quoted, said the beginning of wisdom is to know that you don’t know. Enter X, the unknown. Algebra (see note) is born. Actually it’s been around for a long time. But it is born again every time someone realizes they don’t know everything there is to know, and thus becomes curious instead of judgmental.
*See yesterday’s post for more about strange Bob and his algebra
To find other Bob stories, click on the “My Bob” tag below