BOOMERITIS by Ken Wilber


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Self-proclaimed philosopher and creator of a “genuine world philosophy” Wilber (The Marriage of Sense and Soul, 1998) delivers a talky and tedious so-called novel of ideas to explain a cloying system of categorization, the need for which is never made clear.

Wilber’s main character is a young graduate student named Ken Wilber, who is obsessed with the “fact” that artificial intelligence will exceed human intelligence in about 30 years. But forget plot: this is postmodernism, and what we get is the thinnest sheen of narrative as Ken attends lecture after lecture of busty professorettes who sound as though they are reading excerpts from Wilber’s exhausting explanation of modern society. The strategy seems to be that popularization of New Age sociology can be achieved through personality color-coding: for example, archaics are beige, animists are red, mythics are blue, etc., a notion pounded home repeatedly. The title comes from the supposition that the baby boomer generation displays a good deal of narcissism. In making the accusation, it can be argued, Wilber engages in a good bit of the same himself, and seemingly the best justification he dredges up for all the hyper-jargon and semi-technical tongue-twisters here comes in eighth-grade double-entendres delivered in bold script through Chloe, a faceless nympho vixen who reminds us that, in the end, thinking is no fun unless there’s sex involved. The story provides excuses for professors to say things like “But in order to move into second tier, the fixation to pluralism and the green meme in general needs to be relaxed” and for Chloe to say things like “If we live 200,000 years, you and I will be able to make love at least a billion times.” But the more important agenda is the hodge-podge and ongoing survey of recent postmodern scholarship and goofy New Age brain-teasers examined through the paradigm of an inescapably wacky pseudo-philosophy.

L. Ron Hubbard on a skateboard.

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-57062-801-7
Page count: 464pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2002