Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber's Integral Theory

Integral theory refers to the systematic holistic philosophy developed originally by Ken Wilber, and more recently incorporated with the Spiral Dynamics theory of Don Beck. It is an all-encompassing evolutionary theory that addresses all aspects of consciousness studies (as well as such diverse fields as ecology and politics.)

Integral theory builds upon the ideas of previous integral thinkers like James Mark Baldwin, Jürgen Habermas and Jean Gebser, but also contains many new elements. Wilber intends to break away from metaphysics to develop a theory of spiritual evolution that is acceptable to the modern secular world.


There's more to evolution than a little DNA.
Stuart Davis

"The mystics ask you to take nothing on mere belief. Rather, they give you a set of experiments to test in your own awareness and experience.
The laboratory is your own mind, the experiment is meditation."
Ken Wilber


Index
Streaming videos - Quadrants - States - Fulcrums - Spiral Dynamics
Stages/Levels - Lines - Types - Quotes - Links - Blogposts

The map is not the territory!


  • Streaming Videos
    Ken Wilber: Stops His Brain Waves with meditation
    Ken Wilber: Erogenous Zones of Life, Light, and Emptiness
    Ken Wilber: Anchoring I-Amness
    Ken Wilber: Love Until it Hurts
    Ken Wilber: How to Stage a 2nd-Tier Protest
    Ken Wilber: Spirituality and the 3 Strands of Deep Science
    Ken Wilber and the AQAL Model
    Ken Wilber: On seeking Enlightenment
    Ken Wilber: Increased Consciousness, Decreased Suffering
    Ken Wilber: What is integral politics?
    Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen: Aspects of Ego
    Ken Wilber: Descartes Reviving the West's Greatest Modern Vedantist
    Ken Wilber: Dattatreya Siva Baba about Ken's EEG video
    Ken Wilber & Brother Wayne Teasdale: The Supreme Identity
    Ken Wilber & Brother Wayne Teasdale: The Mystic Heart


  • Quadrants

    Upper-Left Quadrant (UL)
    "I"
    Interior-Individual
    Intentional
    Self & Consciousness
    (subjective)
    art
    e.g. S. Freud
    Upper-Right Quadrant (UR)
    "It"
    Exterior-Individual
    Behavioral
    Brain & Organism
    (objective)
    science
    e.g. B.F. Skinner
    Lower-Left Quadrant (LL)
    "We"
    Interior-Collective
    Cultural
    Worldview
    (intersubjective)
    morals
    e.g. H-G. Gadamer
    Lower-Right Quadrant (LR)
    "Its"
    Exterior-Collective
    Social
    Environment
    (interobjective)
    science
    e.g. K. Marx

    Work on yourself, your relationship with others and on global issues.


  • States

    The simplest categorization that Wilber uses contains four levels:
    Body Waking state Alpha & Beta Waves Gross Nature Mysticism Buddhist Nirmanakaya
    Mind Dream state Theta waves Subtle Diety Mysticism Buddhist Sambhogakaya
    Soul Deep Sleep state Delta waves Causal Void Mysticism Buddhist Jnanadharmakaya
    Spirit Peak state - Non-Dual Absolute Mysticism Buddhist Svabhavikakaya

    "Prana is implicate to matter but explicate to mind; mind is implicate to prana but explicate to soul;
    soul is implicate to mind but explicate to spirit; and the spirit is the source and suchness of the entire sequence."
    Ken Wilber

    Every mind has a body: there's a spectrum of consciousness, but also of matter.
    Which means you have a gross, suble, causal and non-dual body for each of those states.
    (eg. there is no gross body in dreamstate, every state has a body)

    Another scheme describes the ethical developmental line:
    Egocentric Carol Gilligan's 'Selfish' stage
    Ethnocentric/Sociocentric Gilligan's 'Care' stage
    Worldcentric Gilligan's 'Universal Care' stage
    Being/Cosmo-centric Gilligan's 'Integrated' stage

    Compared with the Chakras:

    stage 1 chakras 1, 2 & 3 food sex & power
    stage 2 chakras 4 & 5 relational heart & communication
    stage 3 chakras 6 & 7 psychic & spiritual

    (stage 4 is non-dual, so all-encompassing)

    note: States are free, Stages/Levels are earned.
    You have access to all states in whatever Stage/Level you are at, but not to all stages in each state.
    The Stages/Levels are explained next.


  • Fulcrums

    1hatching of the physical self
    2birth of the emotional self
    3birth of the conceptual self
    4birth of the role self
    5the worldcentric or mature ego
    6Bodymind integration of the centaur - Realms of the superconscious
    7Psychic - Shamanistic - Animistic
    8Subtle - Saintly - Diety & Archetypes
    9Causal - Sagely - Non-Dual
    10Integrated Reality of all levels, states, conditions
    transcends all, includes all (not really seperate of 9)


  • Spiral Dynamics
    Spiral Dynamics is a theory of human development introduced in the 1996 book Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck and Chris Cowan.
    The book was based on the theory of psychology professor Clare W. Graves and Ken Wilber has popularized these ideas in a series of books.
    It will help you understand how and why the hell people are acting like they do.

  • Spiraldynamics.org overview
  • Spiraldynamics.net overview
  • Spiraldynamics.info overview (dutch)
  • Spiral Dynamics wiki
  • Clare W. Graves.com
  • Explained simply
  • wiki

    here's one overview, you need to read several links to do the theory justice though
    I'll make my own table soon


  • Stages/Levels

    Archaic -> Magic -> Mythic (traditional) -> Rational (modern) -> Pluralistic (post-modern) -> Integral

    examples:
  • Mythic (traditional) = eg. Christians, if they enter an altered state they will most likely interpret it in Christian symbolism, and will also feel that if people don't conform to their religion that they cannot be saved.
  • Rational (modern) = eg. Philosopher Bertrand Russel

    "The single greatest world transformation would simply be the embrace of global reasonableness and pluralistic tolerance - the global embrace of egoic-rationality (on the way to centauric vision-logic)."
    Ken Wilber

  • Lines of Development

    - Cognitive - Kinesthetic - Spiritual - Aesthetic - Musical - Karmic - Interpersonal - Moral - Worldview -
    - Psychodynamics - Needs - Psychosexual - Values - Affective - Logical-Mathematical - Self-identity - ...

    The Lines of development are several areas of intelligence to increase so one evolves towards higher consciousness. Over two dozen have been observed.
    You don't have to excell in all of the lines, however research has shown some crosstraining accelerates development.
    So to say "I don't have time to develop several" isn't correct, actually you should say "I don't have time to NOT develop several."
    eg. people observed who just did vipassana meditation, did not accelerate as quickly as people who did vipassana combined with bodybuilding.

    One can be highly developed cognitively (cerebrally smart) without being highly morally developed (as in the case of Nazi doctors). However, Wilber acknowledges, you cannot be highly morally developed without the pre-requisite cognitive development. So not all of the developmental lines are ontologically equivalent.

    These lines are developped at levels pre-conventional (egocentric), conventional (ethnocentric), post-conventional (worldcentric), integrated (cosmocentric)

  • Recommendations by Wilber
    Cognitive: Different points of view, philosophy, etc
    Spiritual: Meditation eg. Vipassana
    Psychodynamics: Unconscious shadow issues
    eg. Psychotherapy, Rebirthing technique, Sedona Method
    Kinesthetic: Body Training: eg. Yoga, Bodybuilding, Pilates, Tai Chi
    research has proven that a trained body sets back the Aging markers,
    not only that but too much running increases the Disease markers of the body
    so keep in shape but don't push it.

  • Some clarification on some Lines (bear with me, I'll hopefully be able to clarify this more with later updates)
    Aestethic: self-expression, beauty, art, felt meaning
    Cognitive: awareness of what is
    Emotional/affective: full spectrum emotions
    Interpersonal: how i socially relate to others
    Moral: awareness of what should be
    Needs: Maslow's needs hierarchy
    Psychosexual: eros (gross to subtle to causal)
    Self-identity: who am i, loevinger's ego development
    Spiritual: spirit as unfolding, not just as ground or highest stage
    Values: what's most important, clare graves & spiral dynamics

  • Types

    These are valid distinctions that are not covered under Wilber’s other categorizations. Masculine/feminine (see table), the nine Enneagram categories, and Jung's archetypes and typologies, among innumerable others, are all valid types in Wilber's schema. Wilber makes types part of his model in order to point out that these distinctions are different from, and in addition to the already mentioned distinctions: quadrants, states, levels/stages and lines.

    Man Woman
    awareness/witnessing radiance/shining
    see the whole picture sees the details
    individualism relationships & emotional intelligence
    holistic-detached relational/tactile
    wants to look wants to touch/to be seen
    consciousness light
    power-autonomously power-socially
    my way or the highway this way or I won't talk to you


  • Quotes

    "The integral approach is committed to the full spectrum of consciousness as it manifests in all its extraordinary diversity. This allows the integral approach to recognize and honor the Great Holarchy of Being first elucidated by the perennial philosophy and the great wisdom traditions in general...
    The integral vision embodies an attempt to take the best of both worlds, ancient and modern. But that demands a critical stance willing
    to reject unflinchingly the worst of both as well."

    "In fact, at this point in history, the most radical, pervasive, and earth-shaking transformation would occur simply
    if everybody truly evolved to a mature, rational, and responsible ego, capable of freely participating in the open
    exchange of mutual self-esteem. There is the 'edge of history.' There would be a real New Age."

    "In other words, the real problem is not exterior. The real problem is interior. The real problem is how to get people to internally transform, from egocentric to sociocentric to worldcentric consciousness, which is the only stance that can grasp the global dimensions of the problem in the first place, and thus the only stance that can freely, even eagerly, embrace global solutions."

    "Global consciousness is not an objective belief that can be taught to anybody and everybody, but a subjective transformation in the interior structures that can hold belief in the first place, which itself is the product of a long line of inner consciousness development."

    "The more we emphasize teaching a merely Right-Hand map of systems theory or a Gaia Web of Life, instead of equally emphasizing the importance of interior development from egocentric to sociocentric to worldcentric, then the more we are contributing to Gaia's demise."

    "Saving the biosphere depends first and foremost on human beings reaching mutual understanding and unforced agreement as to common ends. And that intersubjective accord occurs only in the noosphere. Anything short of that noospheric accord will continue to destroy the biosphere."

    "In other words, all of my books are lies. They are simply maps of a territory, shadows of a reality, gray symbols dragging their bellies across the dead page, suffocated signs full of muffled sound and faded glory, signifying absolutely nothing. And it is the nothing, the Mystery, the Emptiness alone that needs to be realized: not known but felt, not thought but breathed, not an object but an atmosphere, not a lesson but a life."

    "We move from part to whole and back again, and in that dance of comprehension, in that amazing circle of understanding, we come alive to meaning, to value, and to vision: the very circle of understanding guides our way, weaving together the pieces, healing the fractures, mending the torn and tortured fragments, lighting the way ahead - this extraordinary movement from part to whole and back again, with healing the hallmark of each and every step, and grace the tender reward."

    "There is arguably no more important and pressing topic than the relation of science and religion in the modern world. Science is clearly one of the most profound methods that humans have yet devised for discovering truth, while religion remains the single greatest force for generating meaning. Truth and meaning, science and religion; but we still cannot figure out how to get the two of them together in a fashion that both find acceptable."

    "The Realization of the Nondual traditions is uncompromising: There is only Spirit, there is only God, there is only Emptiness in all its radiant wonder. All the good and all the evil, the very best and the very worst, the upright and the degenerate— each and all are radically perfect manifestations of Spirit precisely as they are. There is nothing but God, nothing but the Goddess, nothing but Spirit in all directions, and not a grain of sand, not a speck of dust, is more or less Spirit than any other."

    "Prana is implicate to matter but explicate to mind; mind is implicate to prana but explicate to soul;
    soul is implicate to mind but explicate to spirit; and the spirit is the source and suchness of the entire sequence."

    "The single greatest world transformation would simply be the embrace of global reasonableness and
    pluralistic tolerance - the global embrace of egoic-rationality (on the way to centauric vision-logic)."


    Links:
    Ken Wilber official site - Integral Naked - Wilber disinfo.com - Wilber Shambhala - Integral Institute
    Integral Wiki - Ken Wilber - AQAL - Integral Theory - Integral Humor

    I personally recommend the Audiobook by Sounds True called "Ken Wilber - Kosmic Consciousness"
    And the Integral Operating System, not software but a course and video (I only saw the video)