Sometimes people who really want to grasp post-postmodernism for whatever reason just seem incapable of doing so. That’s all right. That’s to be expected. I sympathize with their intellectual curiosity and I wish it were easier for them. But the fact is that the mere desire to learn something isn’t enough.

Human worldviews don’t move like the odometer of a car as a defined response to a defined event. When it comes to shifting entire worldviews from one stage to the next, they move, if they do, because life circumstances have forced some sort of a crisis or other tipping point that left a person with no other option. You can appreciate Integral philosophy from many different stations of life, but if you want to understand the way that it is a response (in Wilber’s writing specifically) to postmodernism, then begin by deep studying of postmodernism.

That’s not special pleading. That’s someone telling a freshmen philosophy student that on their first day of their first philosophy class they’re not going to understand what it’s all about. You have to study for years, and then what do you have? A minor or major in philosophy from a university. Even that credential is hardly any guarantee that you have absorbed the wisdom of Socrates or any other big thninker. (And certainly no guarantee that you have grasped any one of the partially valid critiques of “big thinkers” on offer by various postmodernists, for that matter.) Don’t be so arrogant as to presume otherwise, or you will surely accuse other people of arrogance who are simply doing the work that you haven’t done and presume not to require.

If you’re basically thinking on a par with an 17th or 18th-century English gentleman, then good for you … that’s delightful to hear! But don’t complain when you’re told that you’re behind the curve of deep learning, okay?

I say this in response to a reader in social media who writes:

I don’t know why you are talking about AFTER post post modernism. I have yet to see a definition of post post modernism that was not just ignoring it, or did not look like a joke, a troll, or the meandering double speak of someone who is trying to get attention for how special they are. When the answer to a challenge to support a statement is “well, some people are just thinking on a different level,” there is a problem. That answer is known as “special pleading.” It is also known as”the Emperor’s new clothes,” or by a relatively new name, “the courtier’s reply.” ….

I respond:

I’m not going to give you a full reply, but I don’t mind throwing in two cents. Part of your frustration, I think, is that you are talking as if all answers to the question of defining PPM are basically equal except as one may make distinctions using conventional (pre-vision-logic, instrumental) rationality, like would be used in a high school debate tournament. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re not really seeing postmodernism’s distinctive features accurately to begin with, so I wouldn’t expect you to grasp post-postmodernity either.

Honestly, I would encourage you to study postmodernism as a philosophical movement deeply first before trying to grasp PPM or you will continue to be frustrated. Begin with the tail end of modern philosophy and birth of what came next starting with Kant and Hegel and Schelling and Nietzsche, and pay especially close attention to Hegel’s methodology. Try to understand why it is that his project failed, and how it is picked up again by 20th-to-21st century PPM philosophers in a different and chastened form including most notably Ken Wilber.

While you’re brushing up on the last two centuries of philosophy, work through the “linguistic turn” in English and American philosophy as well, especially later Wittgenstein, and a little Heidegger too. While this is unfortunately not a significant influence on Wilber, so far as I can tell from his published work, it’s still important for grasping the depth to which postmodernism smashed all prior approaches to philosophy.

I mention this because you’ve been a part of this group for a while and you’re reading (or at least skimming) the resources mentioned, but you still think all will be solved if only you get a good definition of PPM. That works in case law and medicine, but is no good in 21st century philosophy. Dispel your illusions about language as well, and that will help you grok postmodernism more fully.

That said, I must add that “WELL, SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST THINKING ON A DIFFERENT LEVEL,” ought never be the response to an argumentative challenge. An argument ought to be challenged on the level it was proffered, or dismissed as unworthy of the attempt at counter-argument. When someone informs you that they’re thinking on a different level, it may be because they are arguing poorly … or it could be that they are simply expressing themselves as part of a multi-faceted, multi-level human interaction with you for a wide variety of possible reasons … and YOU, seeing through a narrow and singular prism, falsely believe they are debating your rational argument with a fallacy. It happens.

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