WH’s speedlinking for today has a link to a post on why so many focus on refuting Wilber (although the post itself seems to have vanished.)
When I saw that brief description of the post, what immediately came to mind is KW’s personality. His writings reflects a personality that invites, if not begs, people to tear him (and his theories) down a few notches. Whenever a particular identity and image is held onto and presented as strongly as in KW’s case (of being macho, smart and hip), it invites others to punch holes in it and tear it town. It is quite beautiful in a way, although can get ugly as well: if he doesn’t do it himself, others will do it for him, reminding him of his own task.
I am not saying that he is not macho, smart and hip. He is very much all of those, and genuinely so. There is just a very strong air of it being a particular image as well, and one that he spends a great deal of energy building up and presenting. And that draws some people to tear it down as flies are drawn to honey.
There are of course other aspects to all of this as well: inaccuracies in how he presents the views of others (it seems that he sometimes almost deliberately misrepresents the views of others), the way he puts down people criticizing or questioning his theories and models (sometimes harshly and with little compassion), his status as one of the most brilliant thinkers of our times (which in itself is reason enough for some to focus on punching some holes there), how he has a God-like status among some (again, a good reason for some to bring him down a few notches), and probably genuine holes in the theories and models themselves.
So in a way, it may all be part of a natural compensating process. He strongly holds onto a certain image so others want to deflate it, showing that it is only an image. He misrepresents certain views of others, so others naturally react. He puts others down, and this attitude is then mirrored back at him. Some of his followers are a little too enamored by him, so certain folks want to show that he is not quite the god some make him into.
It is all a natural, inevitable, process. One that is beautiful in the way everything is a perfect mirror, inviting us all to see in ourselves what we would rather not see. And one that also can get quite ugly through our resistance to this process.
If I hold onto a certain image, others will try to deflate it. This is an invitation to myself to see how I am holding onto the image, and let go of it. If I resist, it gets ugly and everything only intensifies.
There is a reason this happens with Ken Wilber, and not people like Dalai Lama, or Douglas Harding, or Adyashanti. And it goes beyond just his role as innovator and theory builder. In their cases, there is no resistance, so no need to punch holes in their image or theories, and no need to pull them down a few notches. In KW’s case, there is resistance, and this invites attacks.
To me, it is not so difficult to image someone developing the exact same theories and models as KW, but with no identification with a particular identity, and no resistance. In this case, there will still be questions and criticism of his work, but it will (mostly) happen in a far more uneventful and less dramatic way. And probably with more of a sense of partnership and collaboration, at least from his side, than of advesarial positions.
That is not to say that it would be better that way. When we are attached to a particular identity, then drama is good. It helps us see our identifications. And it even helps develop the theories, although sometimes in less comfortable ways.