Review of A Brief History of Everything by Ken Wilber (1996)

Philosophy, Human Nature and the Collapse of Civilization Michael Starks 3rd Ed. (2017) (2017)
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Abstract
The Einstein of the New Age holds forth in his unique and brilliant style on the history of world views and how to put spirit back in our life. If you have the patience to learn his jargon and read slowly there is alot of serious brainfood here. I read this and his Sex, Ecology and Spirituality(1995) with Hofstadter´s famous Godel, Escher, Bach(GEB) written in 1980(both of which I have reviewed here). Wilber´s work has many parallels with GEB, both of them massive works attempting to tie together disparate fields and different views of life. Unlike Hofstadter, who was mainly interested in the nature of intelligence, Wilber does not treat math, music or DNA, and he concentrates on world views that have a spiritual relevance but like Hofstadter he lacks any grasp of the logical structure of rationality, the dual systems of thought or the works of Wittgenstein and Searle, which obviates much of his work. For an account of those see my articles. He spent a vast amount of time working out the relationships between ideas and how they relate to individual and society, spirit and science. If you don´t have the time or patience for the whole book, read Superconsciousness Parts 1 and 2 which are an excellent summary. His shortest book, `The Marriage of Self andSoul is a much easier read that gives you a good idea of his style and purpose. He details alot of intellectual history (philosophy, psychology, religion, ecology, feminism, sociology, etc) and shows where nearly everyone went too far in the direction of Ascent (to the spirit) or Descent (to science,materialism, reductionism or Flatland). He trys to show how to heal the rifts by combining sense and soul (spiritual and material life, science and religion, internal and external, individual and social). Everything is related to everything else (holons in holarchies). The Age of Enlightenment denied the the spirit, the individual and the interior life but developed art, morals and science and led to democracy, feminism, equality and ecology, but this reductionism compressed the intellect and the spirit into the Flatland of science, rationality and materialism. He sees the loss of the spiritual point of view with the Age of Enlightenment as the major factor responsible for the malaise of modern times, but real spirituality or ìntelligent religion (i.e., the quest for enlightenment) as opposed to primitive religion (everything else-see my review of Boyer´s 'Religion Explained') was always rare. It is intelligent religion he sees as the panacea, but it is primitive religion that the masses understand, and it too has only materialistic goals. In sum, in spite of its shortcomings it is still unique and well worth the effort. Those wishing a comprehensive up to date framework for human behavior from the modern two systems view may consult my book ‘The Logical Structure of Philosophy, Psychology, Mind and Language in Ludwig Wittgenstein and John Searle’ 2nd ed (2019). Those interested in more of my writings may see ‘Talking Monkeys--Philosophy, Psychology, Science, Religion and Politics on a Doomed Planet--Articles and Reviews 2006-2019 3rd ed (2019), The Logical Structure of Human Behavior (2019), and Suicidal Utopian Delusions in the 21st Century 4th ed (2019)
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