I just finished reading the book “Soulfully Gay” by Joe Perez. I had started it this summer but then didn’t touch it after school started. Now that the semester is done, I picked it up again. Perez has had an interesting journey. The subtitle of the book is “How Harvard, Sex, Drugs, and Integral Philosophy Drove Me Crazy and Brought Me Back to God.” The book was alternately fascinating and boring. And the ending of the book was just a weird fantasy based narrative type thing. I certainly didn’t get the point of it.
When Perez talks about his life in a straightforward way, I was interested. However, he too often veered off into discussions of Ken Wilber’s Integral Philosophy. It’s interesting on some level I guess, but Perez seems to think every problem in life is a result of the level of consciousness one is at. It got to be overkill. For example, at one point Perez addresses the question of why so many people base their worldview in opposition to homosexuality. He then spends a couple of pages giving an answer based on people not having evolved to a higher level of consciousness. There may be some truth to that, but it seems to be over-analyzing to me. I think there is a simpler answer – humans crave security and order and homosexuality threatens their view of how things should be. Thus, they live in opposition to it. Fear of otherness is also at the root of racism, nationalism, and probably a few other -ism’s. This may all be explainable in terms of level of consciousness, but doing so, I think, makes the problem too distant and doesn’t offer practical answers. What sounds more addressable – helping people overcome a fear of the other or helping people raise themselves to a higher level of consciousness? Maybe I’m just not advanced enough to “get it.” If I had to grade this book, I’d give it a C+.