Human 101: The Psychology of the Future

Ken Wilber
November 4th, 2015
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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.


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Total running time: 1 hour 46 minutes

Originally recorded for the Psychology of the Future Summit.

From Ken Wilber:

I’ve been asked to speculate with you today on the Future of Psychology. Now, were psychology today already a fairly comprehensive, inclusive, and adequate formulation, I would simply discuss how I see its various areas changing and advancing in the coming future. But my opinion — and I’m not alone here — is that psychology today is still very limited and narrow in its range. The best thing that could happen to psychology today would be simply to expand the territory it addresses until it is covering all or at least most of the truly important areas that many think it should already be covering. I think there is, however, a strong drive for psychology to be, in fact, more inclusive, more comprehensive, more embracing — and thus my strong sense is that the psychology of tomorrow will be one that does indeed cover these areas that are so noticeably absent or just scantily addressed today. In other words, the psychology of the future will likely be simply what the psychology of today, were it adequate, would be. Having once included these lacunae or absences in today’s psychology, the psychology of tomorrow would then simply be the ongoing advances in each of these domains.

So that’s the topic I’d like to address — a more inclusive, comprehensive, integral psychology. For several years now I’ve been working with an integrative framework generally referred to as Integral Theory or Integral Meta‑Theory, also sometimes known by its specific name, AQAL, which is short for “all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types.” These are 5 elements or dimensions that, Integral Meta‑Theory maintains, all phenomena possess — and that includes phenomenon from individual atoms to entire disciplines such as biology or psychology. This Framework has actually been applied to upwards of some 60 different disciplines, each time with great success and results that definitely exceed the value of the discipline before being thus integrated.

So what I’d like to do here is apply this Framework to the discipline of psychology, aiming for an Integral Psychology that, among numerous other items, ends up integrating or weaving together the fundamentals of most of the major but otherwise isolated schools of psychology. The result is a more comprehensive, inclusive, and embracing view, one that is much more adequate in dealing with what most people take to be this thing called “psychology” — and thus, providing us with a framework for a genuine Psychology of the Future.

–Ken

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