Tag Archives: Writing

Off to Kuching

Kuching CBD I’m off tomorrow to [Kuching](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuching) (somewhere near [here](http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=kuching,+malaysia&ie=UTF8&om=1&z=15&ll=1.522457,110.375948&spn=0.024796,0.041757&t=k)), to spend a week before and a week after [Chinese New Year](http://www.educ.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/438/CHINA/chinese_new_year.html) with [Anthony’s family](http://www.flickr.com/photos/timbomb/sets/72057594114318895/).

This is the first time we’ve had a chance to visit them for about two and a half years, so it’s going to be great to go back. Last time I was only there for seven days, so I’m looking forward to a bit longer to get to see more of the countryside around the city, spend some more time getting to know the kids (who are all much more grown-up) and relaxing.

I’ll be taking some work along with me to take advantage of the quiet and the absence of Internet to get some writing done. We’ll see how that goes…

I’ll be back on Feb 25. I really, really doubt I’ll post anything much between now and then, but I’ll take some pictures and post them on [Flickr](http://www.flickr.com/photos/timbomb/) when I get back. Possibly pictures of me measuring twice my current diameter from being force-fed [char siu](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Char_siu)!

Happy Year Of The Pig!

A new Gneuby…

… as they say. I alluded to various things going on in an earlier post and I’ve thought perhaps I should actually put more news up. Heck, anything’s better than no content, right. Besides, we’re all friends here…

Just before heading off for the Christmas/New Year break, and after a few email conversations with the Formation Director and a certain amount of pondering, I submitted an application to [St. Raphael the Archangel Theological Seminary](http://www.johannite.org/vocations.html) to enter their priesthood formation programme.

What this means, is that I undertake a four year distance education programme which, all things being equal, ends with me becoming ordained as a priest in the [Apostolic Johannite Church](http://www.johannite.org/index.html).

Yep, a [Gnostic](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnosticism) priest. Possibly not as great a surprise as all that to people that know me.

For the moment though, I am what is called colloquially among the brothers and sisters in the seminary a “Gneuby”, gleefully reading the early history of the church and trying to drag myself into writing the several essays that make up my first batch of assignments.

Not certain what else to say. Drop some questions in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

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Shards

What is the word for…
That aspect of you that sets me off
And that sliver of me that is set off
Setting off in turn that facet of you
This nexus of you and me
In which we’re caught

When the others watch us
Do they see us winking?

Ken Wilber via Googlism

(Just because it’s nice to check occasionally)

[Googlism for: ken wilber](http://www.googlism.com/index.htm?ism=ken+wilber&type=1)

ken wilber is a fraud
ken wilber is a fraud by david deida
ken wilber is the preeminent scholar of spirituality in our time
ken wilber is the author of one taste
ken wilber is america’s most translated academic author
ken wilber is praised
ken wilber is a champion of that which really matters
ken wilber is now the most translated academic
(more after the bump)

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Continue reading

I’ve been thinking…

… about what to contribute to the ongoing discussion of [Ken Wilber](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Wilber)’s [Wyatt Earp post](http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/show/46) and I was just reading [Tom’s](http://zenunbound.com/blogmandu.html) [post](http://zenunbound.com/2006/06/rattlesnake-post-was-not-test.html) about [his own feather-ruffling post on Zaadz](http://zenunbound.com/2006/05/is-zaadz-den-of-rattlesnakes.html) and a thought arose that I thought might be worth contributing.

In [the follow-up](http://www.kenwilber.com/blog/show/48) to a first post which offended and delighted people in various proportions, Wilber explains his use of provocation:

>So in your own responses, you can look to whether it was with compassion or idiot compassion, whether second-tier depth or first-tier flatland—what was your own response? How many perspectives can you include? It’s a simple challenge. A challenge to: what altitude are you, what are your own levels and lines, and most of all, what are your shadow elements? So, if I may respectfully suggest, look at your response to that first blog and ask yourself those questions.

Which some people have [tried to brand a cult loyalty test](http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/?p=245). But here’s what arose in me when pondering this:

*Every* blog post is a challenge to examine your cognitive development, your lines of development and most especially your Shadow. Every post we read, every post we write.

When we blog we are Mind reading and Heart writing and we are monkey-chattering.

That’s all.

Getting Away With It

Years ago, I listened to a radio interview with some of the guys who created the professional surfing circuit. One interview in particular stuck with me. I have no idea what the guy’s name was, but he said something along the lines of:

>The thing is, we all understood that we’d managed something pretty remarkable getting people to pay us to do what we loved doing. We all knew that in some sense we were getting away with it. I think sometimes that today’s pros take themselves a bit too seriously.

It’s stuck with me, because whenever I meet an artist or a musician or a programmer who loves what they do but carries around this sense of gravitas… that what they do is Important… I can’t help thinking that they need to remember, that anyone who has the immense privilege of making a living doing what they love needs to remember…

You’re getting away with it.

Which is fabulous and more power to you. But instead of writing books and web pages chiding other people about the need to “Get Real” or looking down your nose at people who have gotten themselves stuck doing something less rewarding, try having some humility and compassion, count your blessings and share the love rather than your judgements.

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On victimhood, White Privilege and brokenness

Something I posted to [one of my lists](http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sexualracismsux) this morning that I enjoyed writing a great deal.

On 22/01/2006 Craig wrote:
> Many people have a hard time accepting the concept of White Priviledge, and get hostile about it. When people of color are rejected or ignored, race might be a factor. You can never tell. White people never have that extra burden on them, or the same sets of negative stereotypes they have to wade through.

Accepting this aspect of the current environment might be my key to understanding why I feel such hostility to so many of Ashley’s early postings and why it drives me nuts when “kindly” white friends advise friends of colour to “just get over it” or to stop accepting a “victim mentality”.

The early stages of a rights movement – suffrage for women, civil rights for black folks in the US, suffrage and land rights for indigenous Australians, gay rights – the consciousness-raising part, begins with the people who find themselves in the under-privileged part of the System (the social-practice-media-industry-power-holding-and-wielding-hegemonic-structure that is enacted and re-enacted daily by each of us, the Patriarchy, the White Society, the racialised gay community) gaining a consciousness that they *are* oppressed, that to just keep living life as though the System were normal and natural is *wrong*, that it is *broken*, that *we* are all *broken*.

This can be agonising! Some people of the oppressed group who can distance themselves from their fellows by their talent or their looks or their ability to acquire money do so and accuse the others of not working hard enough, of being victims. Many members of the over-privileged group or class do likewise. Because to change the System is traumatic – we fear it might break or worse that our privilege will be over-turned and we will find ourselves victims. So we oppose a critique of the System.

As things progress it becomes necessary, I believe, for the over-privileged group to understand – not just their role and power in this, but their *victimhood* in this. That these Systems that divide us according to looks or belief or origin or behaviour into Us and Them hurt all of us as a human people.

For white people to accept the role of [White Privilege](http://www.whiteprivilege.com/definition/) is to accept an invitation to brokenness. To understand with your mind and then start to see, just as the early rights movement had to, that the System is neither normal not natural, this it is wrong, that it is broken, that we are all broken.

… and to go through that to find the energy to act and advocate and work through the healing of these terrible, open wounds in the body of the human People; to collectively build an understanding that They *are* Us and that when you keep down children of colour – you are keep Us down and that when you bomb villages in a far away country you are bombing Us.

And that’s how the ending of all this begins.

Or that’s what I believe.

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No Boundary

What is the word for the breeze
between the tree and me
That carries the scent of its leaves
Connecting the leaf to my nose
How many leaves?
How many other noses?
How many breezes?

Twenty Boomeritis Blunders… or is it Four?

In Twenty Boomeritis Blunders, Jim Andrews accuses Ken Wilber of twenty blunders ranging from mild to serious in his novel, _Boomeritis_. Matt Dallman lauds this as “funny and intellectually rigorous” and talks about the necessity of skeptical investigation of Wilber’s work.

Matt also tries head off a “poor argument” against Andrews essay, by noting that:
>”… of course Wilber’s book is an attempt at fiction. But the same intellectual framework that undergirds that books undergirds the last five or so non-fiction books from him.”

So, I started this essay with some hope of some reasonable argument. I encourage you to read Andrews’ essay and make up your own mind if it’s valid, especially if you’ve read _Boomeritis_ and especially if it irritated you.

Basically, the “blunders” Andrews enumerates fall into X groups:
**Slack writing**: the typo in #0, calling reviewers “critics” in #5 and Wilber’s repetitiveness in #1
**Bad fact checking**: the bogus legal cases in #2, #3, #4, incorrect naming in #6, #8, dumb statements about Vietnam in #7, incorrect attribution in #10
**Lack of evidence**: for physical transformation in #14, for paranormal phenomena in #15, for meditation as a transformative practice in #18, for most growth being in the young and the old in #20
**Bad arithmetic**: #16, #17 (although it isn’t clear that apples are even being added to oranges in these passages)
**Disagreements in emphasis**: not mentioning the politicization of literary criticism in #9, not spending enough time talking about the negative effects of tofu in #11, not spending enough time talking about feminism, and leaving it to one character to dismiss it in #12, talking about sex too much in #13
**Writing fiction in a novel:** … in #19.

To take any of this seriously, you have to set aside, as Matthew suggests, that Andrews has strangely chosen to critique a novel rather than non-fiction writing – if you don’t you’re struck with the fact that he’s criticising statements made by fictional characters (rather than Wilber). Even accounting for that, it seems to me you could take the slack writing, bad fact checking and bad arithmetic charges and either lay them at the feet of Wilber’s editors or simply recommend he stick to non-fiction. I can’t really take the disagreements in emphasis or #19 seriously (too. many. sexual. fantasies!?) – they all just boil down to saying, essentially, “I didn’t like the guy’s book, I would have written it differently”. It’s by no means clear that Andrews’ rewrite would have made it any better as a novel.

That all leaves us with, in my opinion, four “blunders” out of twenty that aren’t sort of… silly; and they’re all lack of evidence (which in this context means peer-reviewed publications) for four things presented as facts:

– physical changes in ITP,
– paranormal phenomena,
– the efficacy of meditation in mental growth and
– developmental growth being restricted to mostly the young and the elderly.

I agree that it would be preferable if these things were either presented a lot more conditionally or someone found or published some evidence for them. Burying them in amongst typos, writing critique and your issues about people expressing their sexuality (however puerile you might find it) hides an important point, I think.

But what would I know?

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On the topic of why some postmodern folk have problems with the notion of hierarchies of societies

From RACE – The Power of an Illusion . Background Readings | PBS:

From here we see the structuring of the ideological
components of “race.” The term “race,” which had been a classificatory
term like “type,” or “kind,” but with ambiguous meaning, became
more widely used in the eighteenth century, and crystallized into
a distinct reference for Africans, Indians and Europeans. By focusing
on the physical and status differences between the conquered and
enslaved peoples, and Europeans, the emerging ideology linked
the socio-political status and physical traits together and created
a new form of social identity. Proslavery leaders among the colonists
formulated a new ideology that merged all Europeans together,
rich and poor, and fashioned a social system of ranked physically
distinct groups. The model for “race” and “races” was the Great
Chain of Being or Scale of Nature (Scala Naturae), a semi-scientific
theory of a natural hierarchy of all living things, derived from
classical Greek writings. The physical features of different groups
became markers or symbols of their status on this scale, and thus
justified their positions within the social system. Race ideology
proclaimed that the social, spiritual, moral, and intellectual
inequality of different groups was, like their physical traits,
natural, innate, inherited, and unalterable.

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