Andrew Cohen discusses Boomeritis. Does his alternative transcend the problems he identifies?

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Comment by Edward theurj Berge on October 12, 2010 at 9:56am
I think Gary Hampson's evaluation of this whole MGM mythic meme is accurate in evaluating the Cohen-Wilber critique here. See Appendix A of "Integral reviews postmodernism." A few samples:

Todorovic comments that, “the spread of terminology like MGM has weaponized the previously neutral SD colors and opened the door to prejudice, even hatreds…”

Pending adequately referenced critical contextualisation, there is thus sufficient evidence to suggest the contra-indicative plausibility that (a) the memetic construction, mean green meme, is substantively mythic (transmitted more by the emotive dogma of received opinion than via the reflexivity of balanced reason), and (b) an alternate characterisation of the Green vMeme could be coined as, “big mind, kind heart, healthy hierarchy.”
Comment by Balder on October 11, 2010 at 12:43pm
I posted this video awhile back in response to Joseph's thread, Evolution as Metaphysics and Spiritual Violence. Since that discussion has come up again, I thought I would post a few comments on this short film.

I think Cohen's general critique of relativism and spiritual narcissism is valid and useful. He is critiquing a "California culture" that I thankfully do not encounter very often, but I believe it likely is still prevalent in some communities here.

However, while Cohen didn't say anything that impressed me as especially problematic or narcissistic in the various clips of him, the overall message of the film nevertheless struck me as rather ironic. In particular, I was concerned by the claim that there was only one way to go beyond the Boomer narcissism of California, and that was to embrace an evolutionary worldview in which we realize we are, or can be, the very leading edge of the universe-birthing evolutionary process itself. Such a grandiose identification is certainly one that would appeal to a nascent or overt narcissist, no? "I am, or I am going to be or embody (if I follow this path), the leading edge of the universe's 13-billion-year evolutionary accomplishments (e.g., one of the most evolved beings, participating in or creating the greatest and highest spiritual culture, so far ever to have emerged in history)."

I recognize Cohen's message is more nuanced than this, and I recognize also that there are ways the above message can be held or related to that are not inherently narcissistic, but the message is such that it seems like it could potentially be quite a lure for, or quite conducive to, spiritual narcissism. Subjugating "small-self" impulses to a higher purpose can be a way to challenge narcissism, but it can also be a way to fuel narcissistic idealization and identification ("collective narcissism"). At the least, there doesn't seem to be a recognition, in the film itself, that the message promoted might not only be resisted by narcissistic relativists, but it might also have its own potential narcissistic traps ... its own nectar equally attractive to the self-involved mentality he is criticizing.

What do you think?
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