Monday, March 17, 2008

Some Convenient Truths

Al Gore's documentary about global warming "An Inconvenient Truth" had a clear message to the world: our continued use of fossil fuels will spell disaster for our immediate future. So we have a responsibility to restrain ourselves, cut back on our systematic waste of energy, and turn the tide if at all possible. Some have pointed to exaggerations or factual errors in Gore's presentation. Wilber has devoted an Integral Naked session with best seller author Michael Crichton (of Jurassic Park) on the topic framing this anti-warming crusade as a green-religious effort, that is supposed to make us feel guilty about how we degrade Mother Earth. Now, isn't this a very convenient truth? So we can go on burning up our resources?

Take the Middle East. The received view is that the Israeli people settled in a land largely empty of inhabitants, upon which they were attacked by all their neighbours, and are justified in claiming more and more fruitful land, for their growing population, to this very day. Backed up by huge financial and military US support. Again, a very convenient truth. Don't mention the fact that in a period of sixty years three million refugees have been put in refugee camps, whose future fate even today is barely a topic of negotiation. And in the meantime, Israel is taking more and more land, keeping Palestinians into some kind of reservation area in Gaza and the West Bank. Where one casualty on the side of Israel justifies killing 150 Palestinians in revenge. And only Libya, of all countries, had the nerve to point this out in a recent Security Council meeting.

Take Iraq, again. Yesterday on Dutch television there was a documentary about how the US has "sold" the Iraq war to the world, and how many (though not as many as they wanted) "bought" it. How Colin Powell, whose credibility was only slightly less then Mother Teresa at that time, had to tell a pack of lies to the UN, even to the point of waving a tube of Antrax before the audience (which contains talk powder). Or a major press conference, in which a Dutch and Danish army officer were standing right behind the US speaker, signalling to the audience the large "coalitionof the willing", while none of these countries were involved in the war efforts at that time. Isn't it ironic that the country which has the largest number of weapons of mass destriuction invades a country which is supposed to have these weapons, which turns out not to be true, but then it invades it anyway, because of connections with Al-Qaeda, which turn out to be non-existent.... Is there any reality check here other then: we have to grab the oil before it's too late? Wilber's take on the Iraq war has more or less been: even if one doesn't agree fully with Bush, it takes a Blue Bush to smash a Red dictator like Saddam in the face. Not to mention other dictators in the word, past or present, who have been left alone or have even been actively supported by the US, when it served their interests.

Or take the vexed topic of Wilber criticism. The received view in the Integral scene is that most critics misrepresent or misunderstand (or both) Wilber, so they can be safely ignored. Or they are "bad critics" because they don't have the right "altitude" to understand his lofty visions. Or,... well you get the picture. Enough to stifle a debate from the start. Another very convenient truth. So let's just promote Wilber's next, next views, and ignore any of his critics. What's their problem? It's echoes the feeling many in the US had after the 9/11 attacks: "why does the world hate us?". Integral Ideology is it's proper name. Criticism is well... inconvenient.

I personally would like to hear more about Integral views on these topics which really take a look at these convenient truths.