INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
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Joe Corbett has been living in Shanghai and Beijing since 2001. He has taught at American and Chinese universities using the AQAL model as an analytical tool in Western Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Communications. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and did his PhD work on modern and postmodern discourses of self-development, all at public universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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The Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Justice
“In this sense, for me, as for many others, the events of 9/11 were (at least partially and symbolically) a divinely sublime object of beauty dedicated to the annihilation of brute power and money.”
What is perfectly clear is that the American military isn't in the business of eliminating terrorists at all but of creating them, in droves.
If Truth be told, over 3000 people were horrifically murdered in an attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The Project for a New American Century now had its Pearl Harbor attack on America to justify an invasion of Iraq and a sweeping transformation of the entire Middle East in American interests, or so it was thought by the radical conservatives who concocted and conspired such a plan years before the planes were hijacked. With the subsequent military invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and the incursions into Pakistan and elsewhere, the next ten years would see more than 8 thousand American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of combined deaths among Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistani's and others, many thousands being innocent civilians. One can only imagine if the death of thousands of children was seen by American leaders as the necessary trade-off to avenge the lives lost on 9/11.
Ultimately the entire region would be left in shambles and at the mercy of an Islamic caliphate that makes al-Qaeda look like a group of choir boys. The American people themselves were left with a 4 trillion dollar war debt and a police-state of permanently constricted and violated civil liberties. American legitimacy as a world power was irreparably damaged, influencing its rapid decline as a world empire. The charge of war-crimes against the American officials responsible for the fiasco known as “the war on terror” have not yet been recognized much less initiated by institutions whose verdicts are enforceable, as America has not signed-on to the International Criminal Court. But as the recent prison sentences in Cambodia against leaders of the Pol Pot regime demonstrate, there is always hope that someday, however belated they may be, these charges will eventually be brought and executed against the Barack O'Bush regime for their untruthful deceptions and atrocities.
It is said that Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can hardly think of anything more sublimely beautiful than to see not just one but two epic displays of simultaneous horrific excess: first, the double-crumbling of a financial Babel at the center of a global empire of destruction where profit reigns supreme as the only worthy value, and second, the burning-smoking wreckage of an invincible Goliath that has inflicted untold death and suffering on millions worldwide over decades of military terror and repression. And all of this grand display was accomplished by the stroke of the brushes of a handful of humble servants to a higher purpose. They had laid bare in symbolic form the burning effigy of the Beast that knows only pride and insatiable greed for its fulfillment. Touché!!
What a beautiful inspiration and demonstration of creative genius to all who have dreamed of standing up to the bully and the juggernaut who cares not what or who gets swept aside by its machinations and demands for submission to the cold cruel efficiency of market commodification (or monetary quantification) of every aspect of life, even religion and spirituality. For a brief moment the world was restored to a more innocent time and space, one in which we would no longer be subjected to the power and wealth of our corporate-military overlords, but set free in the ashes of their ruins. In this sense, for me, as for many others, the events of 9/11 were (at least partially and symbolically) a divinely sublime object of beauty dedicated to the annihilation of brute power and money. It was as if a perfect harmony of resonance was singing throughout the universe.
What is the Good but that which we, who live among one another, agree together to work in solidarity toward a common purpose. After 9/11 in the West, and especially in America, the consensus of common purpose was to eliminate the origin of the threat that had flown the planes into their targets on that terrible day. Indeed, love was in the air, love for country and everything it stood for, even, dare I say, love for one's religion and race. And in direct proportion to this euphoria of love, so was there an intensity of hate for the other. In fact, much of the world was on America's side after the attack. But as George W. Bush soon succinctly put it, “either you're with us, or you're against us”, and thus the lines were drawn, staking-out the sides of good and evil with no gray area in-between or nuances of argument about what needed to be done. Blind obedience to the leader would tell us who was good and who was evil.
Chaos and discord through deception was there from the beginning in what is now chaos and discord throughout the region.
Diplomacy was out of the question, lest the answer to our overture come in the form of a mushroom cloud or, god forbid, a diplomatic solution. And besides, the United Nations was really just a proxy for American foreign policy, because well… who's running this show anyway? When Colin Powell got up before the UN and shamelessly presented his “solid case” of WMDs in Iraq, he broke the trust of the world community for America. The very basis upon which solidarity is built toward the common good was violated, and thus it was not the good but the bad for which he worked, not solidarity based on trust and visionary leadership but division based on broken trust and lies, and the consequences would soon be ugly. Chaos and discord through deception was there from the beginning in what is now chaos and discord throughout the region. We have American authorities (and their enthusiastic voters) to thank for setting the moral tone by lying and manipulating the trust of others. America, land of the ethics of the used car salesman, in Hucksters we trust.
Perhaps the greatest justice to come from 9/11 is the slow, creeping decline of an over-extended and dangerous empire.
Karma is the law of just rewards, you reap what you sow, you get what you deserve, to each according to their contribution and rightful position in the grand scheme of things. The balance sheet of Justice on 9/11 clearly went in favor of every person on the planet who had been a victim of the long arm of American imperialism, either militarily, economically, or politically, over decades of global domination. The blowback was visually dramatic and stunning, as if the challenger had been beaten, abused, and humiliated for ten rounds and then suddenly delivered what seemed like a knock-out blow in the final seconds of the final round. But of course, it did not end there. Eventually the perpetrators of the attack would pay-up as well with numerous deaths among al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. Yet the recruits to fight a holy war against the great Satan would only increase with each new terrorist attack of the beastly (dragonesque war-plane) invaders against the homeland homies. Any schoolboy would have known this, and yet the American leaders didn't, and they still don't.
What is perfectly clear is that the American military isn't in the business of eliminating terrorists at all but of creating them, in droves, and this is the ironic justice of a crusade against “terrorism” that began with the name “Operation Infinite Justice”. For every terrorist killed two were created, almost as if the universe was trying to correct itself from the imbalance that was created by the American terrorists. The universe will not be denied equity, which is after all a thermodynamic law of nature, even if it has to wait a generation for those whose friends, neighbors, and family members were slaughtered to grow up and become the next wave of 9/11 suicide bombers. Perhaps the greatest justice to come from 9/11 is the slow, creeping decline of an over-extended and dangerous empire. The moral bankruptcy of America will eventually be followed by its financial bankruptcy, and then by its collapse and disintegration probably something along the lines of the old Soviet Union when its hubris in Afghanistan led to its own disintegration.
If I was in America today I'd be packing my bags and heading for Wilber's Gulch somewhere deep in the mountains of Colorado, where I could go on strike from being an American with my fellow ex-patriots. Protesting in this way the less than worthless American military policy, designed to enrich corporate investors and secure planet-killing fossil fuels while slaughtering innocent civilians, can serve as an example to Americans of a self-imposed internal exile. Then, perhaps, Americans will eventually learn how to become more like human beings by not projecting their shadow around the world. Do you think Ken Wilber might want to join such a protest, or would he continue to project his shadow upon the “mean green” critics of America, just as the neoconservative and “progressive” war-mongers do?