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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber


Bald Ambition

A Critique of Ken Wilber's
Theory of Everything

Jeff Meyerhoff

A Note from the Publisher :

Integral philosophy is not only a system to be promoted and applied to our daily lives, but also a hypothesis to be validated and even challenged by specialists in various fields of science. In that area, not many initiatives have been taken. Since Jeff Meyerhoff offered his summary of "Bald Ambition" in the Summer of 2003 to, the response has been predictable: sporadic comments, mostly cynical and dismissive, with an occasional appreciative comment. Apparently, "Green" pomo critiques of a "yellow" integral model can be put aside as irrelevant.

I would like to break this habit, so engrained among Wilberites. Personally, I found Meyerhoff's text refreshing and stimulating, especially for those who, like me, have internalized Wilber's way of seeing the world over the years. I may not go with all of his conclusions, but I approve the effort, in the spirit of a healthy dialectic. This is how the game of science and philosophy should be played. This could be the start of a true Wilber debate.

Actually, what Jeff has done, and very few have even tried, is go back to Wilber's sources -- among these are: Piaget, Habermas, Charles Taylor, Jacques Derrida, and A.O. Lovejoy -- and offer his own interpretation of these. In good postmodern fashion, Jeff has attempted to "contextualize Ken", as the title of a review by Andy Smith of Jeff's book aptly read. He has also analysed Wilber's Story of the Kosmos with the help of Hayden White's model, to better spot any blind areas and hidden values in the system. To many Wilber fans, the integral philosophy is taken to be an objective description of reality. Meyerhoff argues there's more subjectivity here then we might care to know.

He writes:

"There have been mild, piece-meal criticisms of Wilber's work, but there is no sustained book-length critique that examines closely his scholarly sources and arguments and offers a response from a strongly formulated critical, rational, postmodern and spiritually-informed position. I examine the major areas Wilber weaves together into his integral synthesis and demonstrate the problems (and strengths) of his arguments, methods, underlying philosophy and use of sources."

Several publishers have turned down the manuscript of "Bald Ambition", for unfortunately, there isn't a market yet for this type of literature. Therefore, will publish "Bald Ambition" as a series, with a new chapter every two weeks. For starters, we offer the Introduction and section A of the first chapter, together with a title page and table of contents, for those who want to print the book.

Frank Visser
December 2005

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