Friday, October 9, 2009

Boomeritis Triumphant: Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Equally as urgent as the development of healthy individual egos emerging from Amber is to the health of the Prime Directive, so too equally critical is the emergence of healthy Green from the swamp of Boomeritis. Wilber has identified the contours of healthy Green in numerous places, but it is difficult to find it much in the real world. Instead, we mostly encounter Boomeritis Green.

Today’s announcement by the Norwegian Nobel Committee that it has awarded its Peace Prize to President Barack Obama is just the cherry on the Boomeritis sundae.

What characterizes the Boomeritis variant of Green, according to Wilber, is the significant and stubborn persistence of a Red narcissism.
Boomeritis is that strange mixture of very high cognitive capacity (the green meme and noble pluralism) infected with rather low emotional narcissism—exactly the mixture that has been noted by so many social critics. In other words, the very high developmental meme of pluralism becomes a shelter and a haven for a reactivation of some of the lower and intensely egocentric memes (e.g., purple and red). In green’s noble attempt to move beyond conformist rules (many of which are indeed unfair and marginalizing), and in its genuine desire to deconstruct a rigid rationality (much of which can be repressive and stultifying)—in short, in green’s admirable attempt to go postconventional—it has often inadvertently embraced anything nonconventional, and this includes much that is frankly preconventional, regressive, and narcissistic.
Barack Obama personifies the Green Boomeritis variant in his intense subjectivism, his eagerness to adhere to his Boomeritis anti-American cousins in Europe, his devotion to extreme egalitarianism, his belief in the magical properties of his rhetoric, and his unconscious social divisiveness. Campaigning on a promise to promote bipartisan approaches to national problem-solving, for instance, he has governed with a thinly-disguised disdain for the beliefs and concerns of the opposition—a classical First Tier characteristic.

Obama of course also represents a significant tendency among the American citizenry that also identifies with these character traits. The irrational “change you can believe in” theme of Obama’s campaign last year exemplified the Boomeritis assumptions that it has all the correct answers and that they can be applied without any particular consequences.

Now the Norwegians have come along and awarded him their Peace Prize simply on the promise that they discern in his rhetorical flourishes. This faith in the magic of words is a hallmark of the Red stage of consciousness, where power is projected onto external objects whose propitiation is required in order to find security. In a world beset by global dislocations as momentous as the period of the Depression and World War II in the twentieth century, it is completely reasonable to seek safety from the fears and agonies increasing numbers of us are experiencing. It is equally reasonable that how we seek that safety will reflect the level of consciousness we have attained, especially in the self line.

The Nobel Committee’s press release on the award notes that “Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics.
Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.
Note the extreme narcissism baldly presented: “Thanks to Obama’s [unspecified] initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role,” because “only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future.”


At least, to an extent I find remarkable, Obama’s support chorus in the mainstream media has had the grace to be embarrassed for him.

Predictably, however, the One does not get it. “Let me be clear,” he said in a statement affirming his eagerness to receive the Norwegian Boomeritis accolades. “I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations."

Spirit is up to something when it shines through this Boomeritis capturing of major levers of international political and cultural power. What that is, I cannot discern. I certainly trust that there is at least an explanation, if not a reason, for what is unfolding. In the meantime, it is necessary for those with a valid insight into the power of the integral to continue to do whatever we can to help healthy Green slough off its Boomeritis straightjacket so that it can make its important and valuable contributions to Kosmic evolution.

And while this unfolds, for people living in the real world, the Nobel Peace Prize lost any pretensions to significance when it was awarded to Yassir Arafat in 1994.
. . . Since, in normal development, green pluralism eventually gives way to second-tier consciousness and an integral embrace, why did this generation become so stuck at the green meme?—at pluralistic relativism, extreme egalitarianism, antiheirarchy furies, deconstructive postmodernism, fragmenting pluralism, I do my thing and you do yours and to hell with integral anything? One of the central reasons appears to be that the intense subjectivism of the green meme was a prime magnet and refuge for the narcissism that, for whatever reasons, many social critics have found prevalent in the Me generation. It appears that Boomeritis intensifies a fixation to the green meme, making it almost impossible to let go of. Because narcissism finds such a happy home in pluralism, both get stuck with each other. This combination of high pluralism and low narcissism is Boomeritis, and it follows that Boomeritis is one of the primary roadblocks to the integral embrace.

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