Friday, September 15, 2006

New Age Thunderstruck

Book Review

Title: The Great Turning, From Empire to Earth Community
Author: David C. Korten

A few days ago I picked up from the public library a book by David C. Korten.

I highly recommend Korten's book if you want to quaff down a heady draught of Dawning-of-the-Age-of-Aquarius political thinking, the kind that tends to grow up in the misty lands of the Puget Sound, which heavily gets discussed by blogliobibuli over steaming lattes at Starbucks. Now Korten bills himself, on the book cover, as "a co-founder and board chair of the Positive Futures Network" (which publishes YES! Magazine from Bainbridge Island, WA), the "founder and president of the People Centered Development Forum", "an associate of the International Forum on Globalization", and "a member of the Club of Rome".

Yes, those are impressive credentials. Club of Rome, no less! I am sure he gets to hobnob with the powerful and well-to-do … while nobodies like me get to live, in run-down single-wides in flyover country.

On the book's dedication page, Korten says:
Dedicated To … George W. Bush, whose administration exposed to full view the imperial shadow side of U.S. Democracy, stripped away the last of the illusions of my childhood innocence, and compelled me to write this book.
Beyond all doubt, Korten must have felt so violated as regards to his innocence. But at least he thanked Bush, because without him this magnificent book might never have been written. And considering that there's a whole chapter in the book that begins with the title "When God Was a Woman", it's easy to get a feel for the general direction the book will going: to wit, those aweful Bible clingers are the real cause for all the problems in world … you know, what with that awful patriarchal Hebrew God of theirs, and all that.

At the start of the book, there are four pages of "Praise for The Great Turning", which contains effusive encomia, written by 22 different people, extolling this book's greatness. For example, here's what Matthew Fox, the very spiritual theologian and educator, had to say:
Employing history, psychology, economics, spirituality, and common sense, Korten not only critiques the dilemma we are in as a species, he also shows us doable and workable ways out of our morass. He has created a tour de force — a call to compassion as much as a blueprint for survival. This book is a kind of Bible to the 21st Century, a revelation of where we might travel if we have the moral imagination and the courage to choose and act wisely.
Another person, Jan Roberts, said "THIS is the book we have been waiting for!" Still another, Bill Knuth, said "Brilliant. Challenging. Inspiring. Practical. Spiritual. Intelligent. Once again, David Korten challenges us with his keen analysis and elegant wisdom …" Even Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich weighs in with "David Korten has presented a clear blueprint for a powerful emerging majority."

As we can see, THIS is the book that momentarily left Bill Knuth so thunderstruck he was reduced to uttering one word sentences. And the rest of Korten's admirers are equally besides themselves with the marvelousness of his book.

But somehow I have the feeling I won't get treated too well by that "powerful emerging majority" Kucinich was alluding to.

Gosh, to have a command of so many diverse fields, to have such praise from so many of the world's cognoscenti, David C. Korten must be a prodigious polymath, and maybe even a Supreme Guru on his way to becoming an Ascended Master. Wow, if Matthew Fox thinks his book is the Bible for the 21st Century, I guess we can throw away our old ones; for David C. Korten must have come down from Mt. Sinai, amid the thick darkness and the lightnings and thunders, and the voice of a trumpet, with an entirely new revelation: Worship the Golden Calf.