As a woman who's pretty good at deconstruction and even better at reconstruction, I found an interesting book review by Elizabeth Debold, titled Boomeritis & Me. She's writing in reference to Ken Wilber's book, Boomeritis (Shambhala Publications, 2002).
Debold writes: "...So, what is boomeritis? First of all, it isn't just something for those of us born during the boomer years, 1946-1964. According to Wilber, "Boomeritis is simply pluralism infected with narcissism."
Sounds relatively harmless.
Pluralism, simply defined, is our current social reality, where diverse racial, ethnic, and religious groups mix within one culture. However, Wilber is referring to something more specific—the intellectual capacity that emerges from that social reality: the ability to appreciate differences, to understand the ways that diverse cultures construct reality, and to fashion an identity, or self, that goes beyond one's family and culture of origin. Boomers do happen to have a particular and, of course, unique historical role in this development.
As he writes, "The Boomers, to their great credit, were the first major generation in history to develop [this capacity]. That's a very important point...The Boomers moved beyond the [previous cultural stages of] traditionalism and...scientific modernism...and pioneered a postmodern, pluralistic, multicultural understanding...And that is exactly why the Boomers spearheaded civil rights, ecological concerns, feminism, and multicultural diversity. That is the 'high' part of the mixture, the truly impressive part of the Boomer generation and the explosive revolutions of the sixties..." These revolutions, as partial as they have been, changed forever our sense of human possibility and refashioned the contours of human identity.
And the low part? The narcissism, naturally. Wilber is certainly not the only one who has noticed—how could one not?!—that the boomer generation, which unself-consciously and even proudly wears the appellation "the Me generation," is more than a bit stuck on itself—and has left something sticky on the generations that have followed. Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism and Robert Bellah and colleagues' Habits of the Heart have beautifully and poignantly documented how self-involved and isolated we are. Concerned critics have despaired at how this inflated self-involvement has ripped the social fabric and, grasping to bring order to the chaos created by this unparalleled selfishness, they have often, futilely, called for a return to traditional values. Yet these problems can never be solved by looking backward.
The world is changing at warp speed. There is no way back nor is there a "back" to go to. Wilber does what no other critic of the cultural scene has done: he not only elaborates in agonizing detail the corrosive effects of "that strange mixture of very high cognitive capacity...infected with rather low emotional narcissism," but he places it within an evolutionary context and, in so doing, points to a possibility for humanity beyond boomeritis. The solution to boomer narcissism cannot come from looking to the past but only in realizing the demand of the future. Wilber confronts us with how critical the present moment actually is—because beyond the social fragmentation aggravated by boomer self-absorption is the potential for a more holistic, integral future..."
Click on this link in order to read the article on the website: What Is Enlightenment? And have faith in yourself. We can put everything back together even better than it was before. Or is that my narcissism speaking for me? ha!
Wilber, Ken. Boomeritis: A Novel that will set you Free http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boomeritis
Wilber, Ken. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Wilber