Ken Wilber


Who is Ken Wilber?

According to Jack Crittenden Ph.D., author of Beyond Individualism,the twenty-first century literally has three choices: Aristotle, Nietzsche, or Ken Wilber.”  If you haven’t already heard of him, Ken Wilber is one of the most important philosophers in the world today.  He is the most widely translated academic writer in America, with 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages.  Ken Wilber currently lives in Denver, Colorado, and is still active as a philosopher, author, and teacher, with all of his major publications still in print. 

 

Tony Schwartz, the president, founder, and CEO of The Energy Project, and the author of What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America, has referred to Wilber as “the most comprehensive philosophical thinker of our times.” 

 

Roger Walsh M.D., Ph.D., the well known professor of Psychiatry, Philosophy, and Anthropology at UCI’s College of Medicine, believes “Ken Wilber is one of the greatest philosophers of this century and arguably the greatest theoretical psychologist of all time.

 

And in commenting on the scope and impact of Ken Wilber’s philosophy Mitchell Kapor, founder of Lotus Development and the co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, mentions that “After reading Wilber, it is impossible to imagine looking at the world the same way again”.

 

What makes Ken Wilber especially relevant in today’s world is that he is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.  As Wilber himself puts it: “I'd like to think of it as one of the first believable world philosophies...” Incorporating cultural studies, anthropology, systems theory, developmental psychology, biology, and spirituality, it has been applied in fields as diverse as ecology, sustainability, psychotherapy, psychiatry, education, business, medicine, politics, sports, and art.

 

 
 
"If ordinary people don't perceive that our grand ideas are working in their lives then they can't develop the higher level of consciousness, to use a term that American philosopher Ken Wilber wrote a whole book about. He said, you know, the problem is the world needs to be more integrated, but it requires a consciousness that's way up here, and an ability to see beyond the differences among us."
-President Bill Clinton
 
 
 

Wilber explains the need for an Integral Approach in the following way: In our current post-modern world, we possess an abundance of methodologies and practices belonging to a multitude of fields and knowledge traditions. What is utterly lacking however, is a coherent organization, and coordination, of all these various practices, as well as their respective data-sets. What is needed is an approach that moves beyond this indiscriminate eclectic-pluralism, to an “Integral Methodological Pluralism”driving toward a genuine “theory of everything” that helps to enrich and deepen every field through an understanding of exactly how and where each one fits in relation to all the others. Through the Integral approach, we reveal the previously unseen possibilities for a better, more compassionate, and more sustainable future for all of us.

 

In short, the Integral Approach is the coherent organization, coordination, and  harmonization of all of the relevant practices, methodologies, and experiences, available to human beings.  Ken Wilber states “You can’t [realistically] honor various methods and fields, without showing how they fit together. That is how to make a genuine world philosophy”

 

Ken Wilber is also the founder of the Integral Institute which is the first organization fully dedicated to advancement and application of the Integral Approach in relation to contemporary global issues. It was formed in collaboration with over 200 scholars and experts, specializing in education, politics, business, medicine, psychology, spirituality, as well as, law and criminal justice. The Integral Institute is currently partnered with Fielding Graduate University.

 

In 2007 Wilber co-founded Integral Life, a social media-hub dedicated to sharing the integral vision with the world wide community, as well as documenting and catalyzing the progress of the integral movement. 

 

Books and Resources:

Virtually all of Wilber’s published works are available through Amazon.com and Shambhala Publications. Shambhala provides an Integral Theory Primer intended as series of recommendations for those who are new to Wilber’s work (http://www.shambhala.com/expert-picks/picks-integral.html). 

 

A variety of video and audio content featuring dialogues, interviews, and discussions of Integral Theory is available through the individual websites of Integral Life, Sounds True, and Core Integral.

 

Most recently, Ken Wilber and the Integral Life team, in collaboration with Shambhala Publications, have been putting together a compendium of some of the most important dialogues and interviews, featuring the exploration and application of Integral Theory. This compendium will soon be published in the form of a book based on the Integral Naked dialogues.

 

Integral Life is also producing an exhaustive video biography that seeks to celebrate Ken Wilber’s legacy as a philosopher, practitioner, and visionary, while also exploring the impact his work continues to have upon global culture.

 

With regards to his body of writing, Wilber states, “I have, for convenience, divided my overall work into four general phases” with the fourth phase being the first truly or “comprehensively integral.”  Some of the most exemplary books from this period are Sex, Ecology, Spirituality and The Eye of Spirit.  In addition, A Brief History of Everything and A Theory of Everything are both excellent condensed presentations to Wilber’s fourth, or “truly integrative”, phase. Both The Eye of Spirit, and A Theory of Everything include examples of pragmatic and field-specific applications of the Integral Approach.

 

By far the most accessible and recent introductory summary of Wilber’s Integral Approach is presented in The Integral Vision.  And Kosmic Consciousness by Sounds True is the most commonly referenced audio introduction to the Integral Approach, covering all of its essentials.    

 

Some critics have tentatively added a fifth and latest phase, referred to as the “Post-Metaphysical turn” in Wilber’s work, even though the origins of this turn are evident in Wilber’s earlier writings. The most notable book exemplifying Wilber’s Post-Metaphysics and the implementation of his Integral Methodological Pluralism is Integral Spirituality.

 

Detailed writings from this fifth phase can also be found in Wilber’s unpublished works; Excerpts A through G, available for free on kenwilber.com and wilber.shambhala.com. The excerpts, which house some of Wilber’s most important and recent thought, belong to what he refers to as Volume II of his Kosmos Trilogy, the first of which is his magnum opus Sex Ecology Spirituality. Furthermore, a complete archive of all end notes, sidebars, excerpts, and works in progress can also be found on these aforementioned websites.

 

Noteworthy works from earlier phases of Wilber’s writings include, A Sociable God, The Atman Project, Up From Eden, Eye to Eye, and Transformations of Consciousness. Wilber himself notes that the essential components of these works are all taken up in his later phases and that his works “form a fairly coherent sequence, each building on and incorporating its predecessor(s).

 

It ultimately does not matter where one begins, so long as one can resonate with the drive and impetus underlying Wilber’s integral vision. The body of his work can be summarized as, progressively more complex and more inclusive elucidations of how all the important knowledge traditions, practices, and experiences available to human beings fit together, into a fully comprehensive understanding of the world, that does not leave out any of the essentials. In his works, Wilber repeatedly demonstrates how different truth-claims, different verification methods, and different experiences are all actually reconcilable, mutually enriching, and already all present in a world spacious enough to house them all. 

    

Ken's Body of Work:

Integral Life Practice
Amazon

The Integral Vision
Amazon

Integral Spirituality
Amazon | iBooks

The Simple Feeling of Being
Amazon | iBooks

Boomeritis
Amazon | iBooks

Integral Psychology
Amazon | iBooks

A Theory of Everything
Amazon | iBooks

One Taste
Amazon | iBooks

The Essential Ken Wilber
Amazon | iBooks

The Marriage of Sense and Soul
Amazon | iBooks

The Eye of Spirit
Amazon | iBooks

A Brief History of Everything
Amazon | iBooks

Sex, Ecology, Spirituality
Amazon | iBooks

Grace and Grit
Amazon

Quantum Questions
Amazon | iBooks

Eye to Eye
Amazon | iBooks

Up From Eden
Amazon

No Boundary
Amazon | iBooks

The Spectrum of Consciousness
Amazon

The Atman Project
Amazon

 


Contributions

Thursday, July 14, 2016
Audio

Next to our love, the most precious thing we give to another is our labor. Now you can give both at the same time! Dr. Kegan and Ken discuss a new set of breakthrough approaches to work, career, and leadership that fully honors and accepts its people for who they are while also encouraging them to use the workplace as an ongoing source of personal growth, inner meaning, and self-improvement. All of this, Dr. Kegan explains, helps the organization reach its fullest possible potential, maximizing its impact in the world as well as in the hearts and minds of its employees.

Sunday, June 5, 2016
Audio

Ken Wilber talks with the Sports, Energy, and Consciousness team about how an integral approach to coaching can help lead athletes to that fascinating intersection between sports and spirituality — a place where peak performance, flow states, and adult development combine to bring athletes closer than ever before to their fullest potential, both inside and out.

Thursday, May 12, 2016
Audio

Is democracy too broken to handle the world's most wicked problems? If so, what's the alternative? Listen as Alan Watkins shares his own vision of the future of politics and governance — a vision that is as practical as it is inspiring, and one that might be exactly what we need to help us carry our 250-year old democratic experiment into the 21st century.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Audio

Climate change, wealth inequality, ideological polarization, terrorism, religious radicalization, etc. — these are some of the truly wicked problems of the world. And none of our most pressing global challenges can be navigated or overcome without a momentous leap of collective wisdom, as well as a commensurate increase in our ability to recognize and leverage that wisdom. But what exactly is this wisdom that so many of us are searching for? Where can we find it? How do we cultivate it in our own lives and make it available to more people?

Sunday, March 27, 2016
Audio

What is "enlightenment", and why should we care? What does "oneness with all form" and other mystical-sounding states of mind have to do with our ongoing search for happiness and fulfillment? Listen as Ken makes a stunning case for spiritual awakening, while clarifying the important differences between the integral approach to enlightenment and many of the classic definitions that have been handed down through the millennia.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Audio

How is it possible that you and I can come together, find resonance with each other, understand each other, even love each other, when we are each separate individuals that possess our own unique perspectives, our own diverse interpretations of reality, and our own unseen landscapes of interior consciousness? How on earth do you get in my mind, and I get in your mind, enough that we are in each other to the point that we both agree that we can each see what the other sees? However this happens, it is a miracle, an absolute, stunning, staggering miracle.

Monday, January 25, 2016
Audio

Based upon the timeless teachings of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Okay, I’m Dead offers a comprehensive 30-part guide to the many stages of the death and dying process. Within this program you will find a series of discussions and guided meditations to help you consciously prepare for your own death, relate gracefully to all that will happen to you physically and mentally as you die, and recognize the astounding spiritual opportunities that will arise for you during this time. You will also learn valuable suggestions to help others better navigate the dying and post-death experiences, allowing you to assist your loved ones as they make this precious transition as smoothly and painlessly as possible.

Friday, December 18, 2015
Audio

The brighter the light, the darker the shadow. The "Darth Vader move" is what happens when someone with an exceptionally high level of development uses the skills and capacities of that level for purposes generally deemed to be "wrong" -- often the result of a highly developed cognitive intelligence combined with a poorly developed moral intelligence (Nazi scientists being the classic example). What happens when our higher angels get hijacked by our lowest demons? What is the cause of the Darth Vader move, and how can we prevent ourselves from being seduced by the Dark Side of the Force?

Monday, November 16, 2015
Audio

What happens after death? Is there some part of us that endures? How can we begin to work through the countless fears, anxieties, and neuroses that spring from knowing that our time in this world will one day come to an end? Listen as Marilyn Schlitz and Ken Wilber explore these and other questions in this incredibly rich discussion.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Video

How can we formulate an approach to psychology that honors and embraces every legitimate aspect of human consciousness and pulls these multiple aspects together into a single coherent model of the human mind? Watch as Ken Wilber offers one of the finest and most complete summaries of an Integral approach to psychology he has ever recorded, while suggesting how a more comprehensive understanding of human consciousness can help shape a better, kinder, and more sustainable future.