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Boomeritis : A Novel That Will Set You Free Hardcover – June 11, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1 edition (June 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1570628017
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570628016
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,750,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wilber (A Brief History of Everything) shifts (sort of) from philosophy to fiction in this story about a young MIT grad student's journey to self-discovery, which is finally little more than a thinly veiled attempt to outline and promote a theory of consciousness. Dubbed Ken Wilber, just like his creator, the novel's protagonist finds answers in his search for identity when he attends a series of consciousness lectures at an institute called the Integral Center. There, Wilber is exposed to an eight-level theory of consciousness and buys into the lecturer's premise that baby-boomers made the first step into higher awareness before they got "stuck" in their own narcissism and self-absorption, leaving it to subsequent generations to take things to the next level. Wilber makes a halfhearted effort to inject some plot elements as he tracks his friends' romances and their reaction to the theory, but most of this book is a lengthy rant about the shortcomings of boomers, padded with analysis of various thinkers, political movements and the effect of computers on modern thought. Wilber (the author) has some interesting ideas but, philosophical issues aside, this isn't much of a novel, and Wilber's failure to develop a coherent narrative, some semblance of a plot or interesting characters will deter many readers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Wilber here introduces concepts discussed in his Integral Psychology in the form of a highly entertaining postmodernist novel. Wilber's central character, also named Ken Wilber, is a student at MIT who is energized by his belief that within 30 years artificial intelligence (AI) will have so progressed that humans can upload their consciousness and move from carbon-based to silicon-based life forms. One day he stumbles into an integral psychology seminar and comes to realize that what humans do with these next 30 carbon-based years will greatly affect the AI of the future. The entire seminar is presented within the framework of the novel, along with lunchtime synthesis and analysis presented by Ken and his friends (representatives of Gen X and Y), with Ken's sexual fantasies intruding at regular intervals. Integral psychology is based on levels of consciousness, along with the belief that Gen X and Y will be the first to enter the second tier of consciousness. The boomers came close but then got bogged down in egocentrism and ethnocentrism. Unfortunately, as Ken and his friends are discovering, boomers are ruling the world and trying to perpetuate their flawed philosophies. Boomeritis is destined to be a cult classic and is recommended for all libraries. Debbie Bogenshutz, Cincinnati State & Technical Coll. Lib.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Ken Wilber is one of the most widely read and influential American philosophers of our time. His recent books include "A Brief History of Everything", "The Marriage of Sense and Soul" and "Grace and Grit".

Customer Reviews

Read the next few pages very carefully.
R. Hanson
A great introduction to Integral Thinking and proof that the much revered Wilber has a lighter side and knows how to take himself not so seriously.
Oscar Del Santo
All the characters in this book are flat talking heads.
Stephen Norquist

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 107 people found the following review helpful By R. Hanson on June 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
At least thirty percent of the population will probably not like this book, yet it may turn out to be a great example of the Perfect Postmodern Novel. If the three editorial reviews of "Boomeritis" I've seen are any indication, many readers will not understand Wilber's intent in writing this book. It's so sad when you see people get whacked between the eyes with a Stick Of Compassion and yet they don't even know they've been whacked.
You'll soon see why I give this book 5 stars, but this is what you can expect to find in Boomeritis (as I shamelessly rip concepts and phrases from the book - I doubt Ken would mind. He might even find it humorous):
1) This book is sharply critical of many of society's closely held ideals and ideas, and many sacred cows are viciously gored. Too, it isn't soothing that the author comes across as polemical and pathetically narcissistic.
2) As written, there seems to be no difference between fact and fiction. Did this really happen? Does this character really exist, or not? At least one character, in fact, has a real-life counterpart of the same name and job description, but others seem to be an amalgam of various personalities both real and fictional. And many so-called facts are truly questionable.
3) Some of the main characters have been portrayed with shady, shallow, and reprehensible backgrounds. A certain segment of the readership will probably find the demographic distribution of these characters to be expected and fitting, others will find it curiously unnerving.
4) It's boring! The writing is incredibly flat. It often seems to be all Theory, a stream of verbal vomit, with no flowing prose or colorful descriptions of surroundings, people, or places.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Chakwin on June 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Wilber is a strange character. He's unbelievably smart and unbelievably well-read. He's also unbelievably goofy, so reading him is often like meeting up with a version of the owner of Garfield the Cat with a 300 IQ.
This book tracks the attendance of a 20-something young man (with a 300 IQ and a hopelessly goofy personality) named Ken Wilber at a series of lectures at something called the Integral Center. He is a student at MIT and working on some sort of artificial intelligence project with the idea that silicon can develop the consciousness that flesh has now and evolve much more quickly and that the two consciousnesses might someday merge (as in Kurzweil's Age of Spiritual Machines) -- of course there's an alternative, sinister possibility (as in Dan Simmons's Hyperion books) but neither of these possibilities is really explored (Wilber ultimately arrives at a new understanding of the flesh and silicon evolutionary processes). The real point of the book is a kind of exposition of Wilber's version of Don Beck's spiral dynamics theory of human development.
We get this fed to us through a series of lectures by a series of cardboard characters distinguished by superficial qualities (skin color, sexuality, eye color) but who all speak the same wooden dialogue. These monologues are punctuated by character Wilber's erotic imaginings which arrive with the mindless frequency and communicative vacancy of a series of obscene phone calls. In between the lectures, Wilber meets with his peers who exchange would-be witty put-downs and eat meals. There are hints of sub-sub-sub plots - this one doesn't get along with that one, that one is jealous for some reason of another one, but nothing that advances any action or seems to mean anything in the big picture of the book.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Nicq MacDonald on June 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What will realize god-consciousness first- Carbon or Silicon?
In Boomeritis, Ken Wilber's first novel, and probably his most avant-garde project yet (which is saying quite a bit), the philosopher-sage from Colorado jumps into the pop spirituality marketplace with a book that pokes fun at the New Age movement, takes a flamethrower to the sacred cows of what Spiral Dynamics refers to as the "mean green meme", and has enough raunchy sex fantasies to make Robert Anton Wilson blush. This ain't James Redfield or Deepak Chopra, not by a long shot.
"Boomeritis" is the "Great Postmodern Novel". It's about nothing but theory, filled with two-dimensional characters and silly, cruel dialogue, constantly self-references, interrupts all meaningful thoughts with lewdness, reduces all meaning to surface features and irony- and this is precisely what makes this novel so brilliant. In writing such a novel, Wilber shows his reader precisely what is wrong with "flatland" by subtly [pulling] the reader into his worldview, and then bludgeoning the reader with the realization that he's been had- that the shallowness of the novel and the endless gags are nothing but a ploy and a put on by a literary zen master in an attempt to beat the reader into awakening. It's a turnabout that will catch the reader unprepared, even if he thinks he's prepared for it. Wilber's deviousness and tongue-in-cheek humor, though evident in his scholarly works as well, are out in full force here.
But "Boomeritis" is more than just an extremely long koan. It's a musing on consiciousness, artificial intelligence, and meaning. It has a wonderful segment in which Wilber relates true stories from his friend, the musician Stuart Davis, who is featured as a prominent character in the story. Best of all, the ending is an absolute blast.
Pick up Boomeritis, for Wilber tells the truth, if in a somewhat roundabout way- this novel will set you free.
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