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A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science & Spirituality

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Here is a concise, comprehensive overview of Wilber's revolutionary thought and its application in today's world. In A Theory of Everything, Wilber uses clear, nontechnical language to present complex, cutting-edge theories that integrate the realms of body, mind, soul, and spirit. He then demonstrates how these theories and models can be applied to real-world problems in Here is a concise, comprehensive overview of Wilber's revolutionary thought and its application in today's world. In A Theory of Everything, Wilber uses clear, nontechnical language to present complex, cutting-edge theories that integrate the realms of body, mind, soul, and spirit. He then demonstrates how these theories and models can be applied to real-world problems in areas such as politics, medicine, business, education, and the environment. Wilber also discusses daily practices that readers take up in order to apply this integrative vision to their own everyday lives.


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Here is a concise, comprehensive overview of Wilber's revolutionary thought and its application in today's world. In A Theory of Everything, Wilber uses clear, nontechnical language to present complex, cutting-edge theories that integrate the realms of body, mind, soul, and spirit. He then demonstrates how these theories and models can be applied to real-world problems in Here is a concise, comprehensive overview of Wilber's revolutionary thought and its application in today's world. In A Theory of Everything, Wilber uses clear, nontechnical language to present complex, cutting-edge theories that integrate the realms of body, mind, soul, and spirit. He then demonstrates how these theories and models can be applied to real-world problems in areas such as politics, medicine, business, education, and the environment. Wilber also discusses daily practices that readers take up in order to apply this integrative vision to their own everyday lives.

30 review for A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science & Spirituality

  1. 5 out of 5

    Adam Lauver

    As a philosophy, Integral Theory is both extremely promising and profoundly useful. Wilber's approach, which draws heavily from a field called Spiral Dynamics, offers a uniquely sensible framework in which to understand the seemingly disjointed myriad of systems of thought that have developed throughout history (the key word being "developed," considering Wilber's focus on the concept of evolution). More generally, Integral Theory itself represents a basic conceptual platform on which to formula As a philosophy, Integral Theory is both extremely promising and profoundly useful. Wilber's approach, which draws heavily from a field called Spiral Dynamics, offers a uniquely sensible framework in which to understand the seemingly disjointed myriad of systems of thought that have developed throughout history (the key word being "developed," considering Wilber's focus on the concept of evolution). More generally, Integral Theory itself represents a basic conceptual platform on which to formulate and propose other complex frameworks, or multidimensional maps, of human thought and behavior--and understood in this way, Wilber's proposed map is just one of potentially many. Hence the title: "A" Theory, not "The" Theory.  As an introduction to the basic platform of Integral Theory, "A Theory of Everything" is outstanding, having much to offer to anyone who actively and passionately seeks to understand the reality in which they live. Back when I first read it, it was my first real exposure to a lot of really important and powerful ideas, including (but not limited to):  1) Evolution as a process that permeates all areas of reality, not just biological;  2) The reintroduction of hierarchy (more specifically, holarchy, which resembles a Russian Doll more than a ladder) as a helpful way to organize reality;  3) Reality as being composed of four quadrants--Interior-Individual, Exterior-Individual, Interior-Collective, Exterior-Collective--where any particular phenomenon or mode in one quadrant has correlates in all the others;  4) The extreme dangers of reductionism (i.e., reducing reality to just one of the four quadrants and denying the significance, or even the existence, of the others);  5) That any given worldview or perspective is getting at some essential truth or part of reality, even if it's at the neglect of other parts, and that any serious attempt to understand the entirety of reality needs first to integrate all of these partial worldviews/truths;  6) That it is possible to understand human growth, both individual and collective, in the aforementioned terms of holarchy and quadrants;  7) The extremely important assertion that very "level" of human growth is essential to the overall "spiral"--and so our goal as integral thinkers should be to promote the health of the overall spiral, and help each other to be at healthy (as opposed to unhealthy) versions of the particular levels that we're at.  Clearly, I do feel that Wilber has a lot to offer to the nuanced, open-minded reader. My only qualms are that he's often too self-referential and not detailed enough in his assertions regarding existing experimentation and data--so often he merely says, "Read this other book I wrote," or, "This has been proven by extensive cross-cultural research." I understand that the intention was for A Theory of Everything to be a less technical introduction to the basic ideas of Wilber's integral vision, so it makes sense not to include too much detail--but his handling of that could have been a bit tighter and smoother, I think. Similarly, his shifts into New Age jargon (while something that I personally can tolerate and even appreciate) would clearly be jarring to a lot of readers (even, I would argue, a fair number on the cusp of integral thinking that simply aren't accustomed to many Eastern sentiments). Ultimately, I guess my main concern is how the book presents itself rhetorically--leaving itself open to unneeded mockery and criticism all because of these few simple issues of presentation.  But I guess that's part of the deeper issue of Integral Theory--that it's never going to be appealing or tenable to everyone... not even to a majority. Wilber got me thinking about two things (well, a lot of things, but two things in particular). For one, he got me thinking about how Integral Thinkers might possibly interface with the rest of the spiral in proactive, healthy, constructive ways--after all, we can't just give copies of A Theory of Everything to blues and greens and expect that to solve everything. But couldn't we theoretically (and this is going to sound insidious, but oh well) "plant" integral thinkers at any given level, their express goal being to present themselves as a blue or a green and interface with the inhabitants of that level in a vocabulary that they understand, encouraging them to live healthy (as opposed to unhealthy) versions of that level? Or is it as simple as finding people who are already proponents of healthy views at a particular level and helping them succeed in getting their message out there? I know it all sounds condescending (or at least it would to the people at those levels), but that's a huge part of the problem with Integral Theory: that it's really difficult to make it not seem like an affront to non-Integral thinkers (which is why rhetorical presentation is so important (might there be call for a "Rhetoric of Integral Theory" in the near future? hm), and why I can only bring myself to give A Theory of Everything 4 stars instead of 5.)  The other thing Wilber got me thinking about, of course, is my own personal development. And he himself emphasizes this at the end of the book--that the main thing that anyone should walk away from Integral Theory with is a slightly deeper ability to think integrally not only about the world, but about one's own life and personal growth. I personally am in a constant struggle to integrate and balance the various areas of my life and my self (I think many people are), so it's nice to be reminded of ways in which I can do that. Wilber ultimately suggests that not only is such integration possible and desirable, but that striving for it is absolutely essential. That kind of self-improvement angle might seem hackneyed, and it might not speak to every reader--but it does speak to me. And I'm willing to bet that it'll speak to a lot of other people too.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Blackledge

    I’m ashamed to admit it. But I think this is a really useful theory. Or rather, meta-theory. This is a re-read for me. I read it in 2000 when it was released. At the time it revolutionized my world. Now, 20 years later. It still holds water. The new age language and thinking is embarrassing. But the important ideas of the book are sound. The all quadrant model is analogous to the bio-psycho-social-systemic model of assessment we use in psychotherapy. Completely valid and useful. And the lines and l I’m ashamed to admit it. But I think this is a really useful theory. Or rather, meta-theory. This is a re-read for me. I read it in 2000 when it was released. At the time it revolutionized my world. Now, 20 years later. It still holds water. The new age language and thinking is embarrassing. But the important ideas of the book are sound. The all quadrant model is analogous to the bio-psycho-social-systemic model of assessment we use in psychotherapy. Completely valid and useful. And the lines and levels model is also useful. The problems with ‘levels’ are obvious. Every architect of a hierarchical system puts their worldview on the top of the chart. But Wilber is honest and insightful about this issue. And his utilization of the levels model to deconstruct the culture war between pluralistic, multicultural college type coastal elites (green meme) and the conservative, religious and racially motivated populist, fly over state denizens (blue meme) is almost spooky in its prescience and timeliness. Some of the criticism in the negative reviews are that the text is too self referential. It’s a fucking summery of his work. How is it supposed to not be somewhat self referential. And the text is literally packed with references to other people’s work. • Jean Gebser • Don Beck • Abraham Maslow • Lawrence Kholberg • Carol Gilligan The list goes on and on. I just don’t get that critique. Some of the references are dated. Yes. It’s a 20 year old text. That happens. But the framework is fundamentally sound to me. A much more on point critique is that his application of the theory is always dorky for some reason. And many of his cohort are legitimate CREEPS: • Adi Da • Andrew Cohen • Genpo Roshi Yuck!!! That being said. After that pile goes in the trash. I’m still buying a lot of what KW’s serving. Great book. Why 4/5 stars ⭐️ ? As previously stated. The text is flawed, dorky and dated. Yes that rhymes. But don’t let the criticism stop you from reading the book if you’re so inclined. You may find something of enduring value in it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    mark

    Ego centric, Ethnocentric, Worldcentric – are three progressive, evolutionary worldviews, behaviors, and modes of thought that each individual, couple, group, and nation move through and towards – says Ken Wilber in A Theory Of Everything. Wilber organizes the “Kosmos, which means the patterned Whole of all existence,” into four quadrants, each delineated by a particular realm: the individual (I); the cultural (We); the scientific (It); and the social collective (Its). He shows how each of these Ego centric, Ethnocentric, Worldcentric – are three progressive, evolutionary worldviews, behaviors, and modes of thought that each individual, couple, group, and nation move through and towards – says Ken Wilber in A Theory Of Everything. Wilber organizes the “Kosmos, which means the patterned Whole of all existence,” into four quadrants, each delineated by a particular realm: the individual (I); the cultural (We); the scientific (It); and the social collective (Its). He shows how each of these realms progress from a simple primitive state towards a potentially highly evolved, integrated, holistic state. Woven throughout is the premise that all quadrants and levels possess the material and spiritual elements of “body, mind, soul, and spirit.” Got it? Actually what is good about reading Wilber is that his writing style is conversational and thus his “theory of everything” is understandable. What becomes clear by the end of the book, unfortunately, is just how complex of a juggernaut the current “Jihad vs. McWorld” is, in that Wilber posits that the development towards a Worldcentric worldview, in other words, compassion and sensitivity to and of all people, and a shared responsibility to, of, and for … is a stage process which cannot be accelerated by imposition or coercion. Much the same as you cannot force a child to think like an adult. You simply (not) have to be patient and let him/her/it develop at his/her/its own pace. Wilber also points out what a dangerous predicament the world is now in – what with the readily available technologies, capability of mass destruction, accessible to almost anyone (one need not be highly evolved.) It is like leaving loaded guns around a house with young children living there. This is a great read for highly evolved serious thinkers. Winter 2002 PS Winter 2012 Ten years have passed, and we here in America are in the beginning stages of choosing a president to lead us for the next four years. How far have we come since Osama bin Laden attacked America? Has the individual, culture, science, and social quadrants evolved? Great question. I think some have and some haven’t. To apply Wilber’s theory is then to have to question its veracity. Does it account for an individual(s) moving, not toward integration as he defines it, but backwards towards more isolation and conservative thoughts, ideas, and behaviors?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marc Arlt

    This book is phenomenal. A short, easy, engaging read which has significantly shifted a paradigm for me. A brief intro to spiral dynamics but also much bigger and wider and more foundational to the development of people and culture. (It’s also a must read for every “deconstructionist” out there.)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Morenike

    I am pretty sure that I have never read any book quite like this one; I am still trying to decide if that is a good thing or not. The ideas described in the book are intriguing and often intuitive, so I enjoyed that and even intend to reflect on these more. For a book which claims to propose a theory of everything, thoughts/ scholarly work from philosophers, historians and statesmen are shockingly lacking from a few continents of the world - African & South American as well as South Asian.

  6. 5 out of 5

    McBryde

    Written against the backdrop of the post-Cold War, Blairite optimism of the early 21st century, this little book casts a beautiful vision of what an integrated political, economic, philosophical, and spiritual world could look like. Mapping stages of consciousness alongside stages of civilizational development, Wilbur’s integral theory goes a long way toward explaining the frictions that occur between people and societies at different stages of development. While Wilbur’s theory has often been u Written against the backdrop of the post-Cold War, Blairite optimism of the early 21st century, this little book casts a beautiful vision of what an integrated political, economic, philosophical, and spiritual world could look like. Mapping stages of consciousness alongside stages of civilizational development, Wilbur’s integral theory goes a long way toward explaining the frictions that occur between people and societies at different stages of development. While Wilbur’s theory has often been unfairly dismissed as too idealistic, a closer reading reveals just how well Wilbur was able to predict the social, economic, and political unraveling of the Twenty First century’s second decade. While arguing for a multicultural, integrated holistic vision for humanity, Wilbur saves most of his criticism for the hypocritically imperial instincts of the well-meaning, conscientious, neoliberal “green” level of development. He claims that this level fails to acknowledge the importance of the previous levels as critical stages of social development and seeks instead to enforce a world-conscience that has only emerged in highly integrated Western societies upon individuals and social structures in lower levels. His criticism seems to have been vindicated by the events of the last decade.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ivan Dogan

    3. 5 + Interesting ideas, Wilber is offering mediation between relativism and dogmatism, modernism and postmodernism, etc... - New age vocabulary, some conclusions are brought without clear explanation...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joel

    Loaned to me by a friend about three years ago, I'm re-reading it now (2020). I'd have given it three-and-a-half stars, if possible. I remember originally feeling there was a lot of interesting & good conceptualization in the book, but that the presentation was rather glib & formulaic. Loaned to me by a friend about three years ago, I'm re-reading it now (2020). I'd have given it three-and-a-half stars, if possible. I remember originally feeling there was a lot of interesting & good conceptualization in the book, but that the presentation was rather glib & formulaic.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Bennett

    I thought Wilber did at best an incomplete job of fulfilling the extraordinary aspirations of this title. Admittedly, his TOE could only be a philosophical (metaphysical) foundation rather than natural (scientific) one, but even in this context I was left with only glimmers of a truly compete theoretical structure. The assumption that Wilber builds his theory upon- a "Great Chain of Being and Knowing- from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit"- in his own terms, holarchy, is a good one, but I thought Wilber did at best an incomplete job of fulfilling the extraordinary aspirations of this title. Admittedly, his TOE could only be a philosophical (metaphysical) foundation rather than natural (scientific) one, but even in this context I was left with only glimmers of a truly compete theoretical structure. The assumption that Wilber builds his theory upon- a "Great Chain of Being and Knowing- from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit"- in his own terms, holarchy, is a good one, but I do not thing he ultimately connects the dots between these big-picture ideas and a true (testable) theory. At best, he is testing out some new conceptual frameworks upon others could build smaller, more testable theories. All that said, Wilber's does propose one pretty novel and useful heuristic/explanation in this book, and that is to divide up our entire society's memetic pool into a sort of 'evolutionary' pyramid, from first-order consciousness to second-order consciousness (although there are many sub-tiers). Wilber does a compelling job of constructing and diagramming a sort of 'expanded Maslow's hierarchy', one that goes beyond just creative actualization to even higher integral, systems-thinking oriented tiers, which sit on the second tier: "As examples Beck and Cowan mention items that include Teilhard de Chardin's noosphere, the growth of transpersonal psychology, chaos and complexity theories, cybernetics, integral-holistic systems thinking, Gandhi's and Mandela's pluralistic integration. However, second-tier thinking has to emerge in the face of much resistance from first-tier thinking In fact, a version of the postmodern meme, with its relativism and pluralism, has actively fought the emergence of more integrative and holistic thinking." I think this is a really interesting lens which explains a sort of revolution in scientific, cultural, educational, governmental institutions at the moment, and although it is not a 'TOE', it is with this explanation that Wilber comes closest to tying together all the threads in the title.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steve Payeur

    This was an interesting book that was a self-proclaimed introduction to a map of the stages through which people develop, important implications of it, concepts which inform the process, and where we are heading both from abstract approaches as well as up-close-and-personal ramifications. One of those concepts is that of a holon, which is a thing that is both made up of smaller holons, but also a component of large ones, progressing in complexity and ability. A brief example is a cell in our body This was an interesting book that was a self-proclaimed introduction to a map of the stages through which people develop, important implications of it, concepts which inform the process, and where we are heading both from abstract approaches as well as up-close-and-personal ramifications. One of those concepts is that of a holon, which is a thing that is both made up of smaller holons, but also a component of large ones, progressing in complexity and ability. A brief example is a cell in our body. Following a trail of component holons would be cell → amino acid → molecule → atom → proton →etc. Going up are organ, body, etc. Another two key concepts are that 1) development includes all of the preceding stages, which must be honored for progress and stability and 2) development of humans proceeds from the beginning through the more advanced stages. This also applies to our political leanings, from primitive through myth-making, to hierarchical, to accepting of others, to more-and-more integrative approaches, which is where the author says we are eventually headed, but doing so through a spiral motion which covers all areas of development. One of the big implications is that we have to respect each stage, because without it the further stages can’t be reached. If we don’t respect earlier stages, then we cut off the re-supply of our own stage. Being an introduction, the author mentions many of his own and other books which cover areas only touched on, as well as reviewing others’ works in enough detail to compare and contrast, stating that all of these are works-in-progress, inviting others to continue the work. I'd love to give the book more stars, because it presents important ideas, but it is not the seminal book, by design. It is an introduction which covers a lot of ground, presenting important topics, but doesn't go far enough. I'm guessing one has to include many of his books to get to the seminal-work stage. He is a scientist, covering bases, and that takes space.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jason Carter

    The good news is that I've suffered through this book on your behalf, and offered a review that will preclude, one hopes, you from having to do so, as well. The bad news is that my review is apparently not a worthwhile endeavor, because early in the text we're told that "nothing in this book will convince you that a T.O.E. (theory of everything) is possible, unless you already have a touch of turquoise coloring your cognitive palette (and then you will think, on many a page, 'I already knew that The good news is that I've suffered through this book on your behalf, and offered a review that will preclude, one hopes, you from having to do so, as well. The bad news is that my review is apparently not a worthwhile endeavor, because early in the text we're told that "nothing in this book will convince you that a T.O.E. (theory of everything) is possible, unless you already have a touch of turquoise coloring your cognitive palette (and then you will think, on many a page, 'I already knew that! I just didn't know how to articulate it')." In other words, I don't agree with Wilber's TOE simply because I haven't yet evolved to a sufficiently pastel-colored level of consciousness in order to understand it. I'm stuck in 'first-tier' thinking somewhere along the lines of blue (Truth Force) or perhaps orange (Strive Drive). There's still hope for me, though, if I understand Wilber correctly, because just as the human race is evolving through these waves of consciousness, so, too, does each individual, though some of you are doomed never to progress beyond the first tier. There were some useful observations and insights within but most of it was evolutionary psychobabble. Lots of waves and spirals and integral holarchies. Don't waste your time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I am ambivalent. There's no denying Wilber's prodigious intellect and ambitious vision. But there's also no denying his own egotism (despite his taking down of narcissistic boomers). Has anyone ever written the same book so many times? Has anyone ever cited himself so many times in the course of a short book? I like you, Ken, and will revisit No Boundary and Brief History of Everything. But those might, in the end, suffice. I am ambivalent. There's no denying Wilber's prodigious intellect and ambitious vision. But there's also no denying his own egotism (despite his taking down of narcissistic boomers). Has anyone ever written the same book so many times? Has anyone ever cited himself so many times in the course of a short book? I like you, Ken, and will revisit No Boundary and Brief History of Everything. But those might, in the end, suffice.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tim Nowotny

    What a bad book. Though I can find some wisdom in its initial hypothesis ( a bit like an extended pyramid of needs), it was just bad. This begins right at the first pages, in which the author goes into a lengthy discussion about the hotness of academia topics right now. In the second half of this book it looses its balance totally by discussing multiple representation options for systems and forgets the difference between map and country...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Murray Brown

    Excellent overview of Wilber's "Integral Theory" that synthesizes evolutionary psychology, spirituality, Western & Eastern philosophies, and various worldviews into a holistic (indeed, holonic!) framework for human development. It covers a broad territory referring to other works (most notably his own) for more substantive and detailed information; this is my one complaint. Excellent overview of Wilber's "Integral Theory" that synthesizes evolutionary psychology, spirituality, Western & Eastern philosophies, and various worldviews into a holistic (indeed, holonic!) framework for human development. It covers a broad territory referring to other works (most notably his own) for more substantive and detailed information; this is my one complaint.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe Rafter

    Deep post-modern leadership Be prepared to stop on each page to digest the density of Ken Wilber and Integral Thinking. This is very powerful stuff that will leave you a little lost at times. The concepts of spiral dynamics and 4 quadrant evolution is ground breaking and has changed my professional and personal life.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    What the hell was he thinking? Seriously. Not worth the time, and I would say not worth the effort, but it requires none to understand it...very simple.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Wilmington

    I acquired the free sample on Kindle to learn more about spiral dynamics. That included most of the first two chapters (out of seven) and that was a very interesting summary of the concept. Unfortunately the rest of the book is just ramble, repetitions and hogwash, interspersed with the author trying to advertise his other books and boasting about the reviews he got for them. The main purpose of this book is to explain how to reach the 7th and 8th levels of the spiral dynamics, which Ken Wilber I acquired the free sample on Kindle to learn more about spiral dynamics. That included most of the first two chapters (out of seven) and that was a very interesting summary of the concept. Unfortunately the rest of the book is just ramble, repetitions and hogwash, interspersed with the author trying to advertise his other books and boasting about the reviews he got for them. The main purpose of this book is to explain how to reach the 7th and 8th levels of the spiral dynamics, which Ken Wilber claims has only been reached by 1.1% of the population (without specifying clearly if that is in the USA, in the developed world or globally). In chapter 3, his integral vision for the world at large starts by quoting data about the world population that is hopelessly outdated. Wilber quotes figures claiming that 70% of the world population cannot read (when it was only 14% in 2016) and 50% is suffering from malnutrition (actually 10.7% in 2016 according to World Hunger). Based his claim that Europeans make up 21% of the global population the data must date from around 1965. It's only around 10% now. Of course the book was published in 2001, but the situation then was still a far cry from that in 1965. I have since read other authors about spiral dynamics. It appears that I am at the yellow (integral) meme, after passing through an early scientific and philosophical education (orange meme), becoming an Atheist (doing away with the blue meme), then turning into an ecologist and egalitarian (green meme). I have superseded these levels to reach a more global understanding of human development. This may it all the disappointing when I read this book, as Ken Wilber claims to have reached the yellow or even turquoise memes, but his vision of life is strongly tinted by that of a Christian trying to salvage his beliefs as if some blue meme just wouldn't let go. He even goes to make up four new levels above turquoise, which he calls psychic, subtle, causal and nondual. Just the names are gibberish. But he does it so that he can accommodate religion, soul and spirit and profess that his new type of spirituality is a higher level of enlightenment to all other levels of development reached by others humans! He even compares his writings to those of the Indian guru Sri Aurobindo. Here is an example of what Wilber writes (p. 77): "If you look at figure 4-4, you will see that the individual levels of development stop at vision-logic and the centaur (yellow/turquoise). The reason figure 4-4 does not contain the higher, transpersonal, supramental waves of consciousness (such as soul and spirit) is that this figure simply represents average evolution up to the present, and thus it does not show the higher waves of superconscious unfolding (although individuals can develop into these higher waves on their own). The claim of the great wisdom traditions is that there are indeed higher stages of consciousness development, so that we have available to us not just matter and body and mind, but also soul and spirit." On page 79, Wilber refers to another book he wrote called "Sense and Soul": "The average believer, the critics said, would never give up the myths and stories that constitute perhaps 95 percent of most forms of spirituality. Not only did the professional critics hammer this point, so did most of my friends who tried giving the book to, say, their parents, only to have their parents shake their heads: “What, no resurrection of Jesus? No Moses and the covenant? No facing Mecca each day in prayer? This isn’t my religion.” And so on. Well, guilty. There is no doubt that I focused almost entirely on deep spiritual experiences (of the psychic, subtle, causal, and nondual realms), and ignored the much more common religious dimension of translative spirituality (or narrow religion)." In short, Ken Wilber hijacked the concept of spiral dynamics developed by Clare Graves, Don Beck and Chris Cowan in order to promote his own ludicrous religious confabulations. He was only one step short of starting his own religious sect. I wish I could ask for a refund!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sushil

    The super-ambitious title would have ordinarily put me off but I still bought the book as the word consciousness appeared frequently throughout the book and I was looking for something unusual on that topic. It was my first Ken Wilber book and as I learned later my still lingering inability to decide whether this is sheer brilliance or utter rubbish is a rather common malady that befalls his first-time readers. At its core, Ken posits existence of levels of consciousness at an individual level a The super-ambitious title would have ordinarily put me off but I still bought the book as the word consciousness appeared frequently throughout the book and I was looking for something unusual on that topic. It was my first Ken Wilber book and as I learned later my still lingering inability to decide whether this is sheer brilliance or utter rubbish is a rather common malady that befalls his first-time readers. At its core, Ken posits existence of levels of consciousness at an individual level and group level, both externally and internally (creating four quadrants in this process). For example, people tend to start as egocentric in their views, some of them move on to be ethnocentric and fewer of them still may rise up to become worldcenteric. He argues existence of such levels in each of the four quadrants (he calls them I, We, It and Its). Interesting but hierarchies of such type tend not to be too exciting. What makes this work is the next level of detail. - Individuals or societies do not move in levels quickly or easily. They cannot also jump levels. - A society consisting of individuals largely at a lower level of consciousness cannot effectively operate at a higher level of consciousness. - People tend to focus naturally on raising their consciousness in one or two of the four quadrants. That stunts growth and creates friction with people who are focusing on a different quadrant. While I still ponder on Ken's wider thesis, I've no qualms in admitting that his "all quadrant"/"all level" theory is an amazing framework to make sense of the political turmoil and polarization in the world today. How? An example is the right-left polarization that is threatening democracies in the western world. Ken claims that the right-leaning conservatives focus on the interior development of an individual (Quadrant left-top) while the left-leaning liberals focus on the exterior development of opportunities afforded to that individual (Quadrant right-top). These two groups cannot effectively communicate until they develop themselves further in the quadrant they've been neglecting. Only then these societies can resolve this polarization. But don't expect this to happen quickly as people and societies can raise their levels only one at a time.

  19. 4 out of 5

    ExVatic .

    This was the first Ken Wilber book I discovered on a book shelf in the Melbourne city library, it was wedged between my reading of Jung and Joseph Campbell and seemed to be exactly what I was searching for at the period. Wilber seemed to answer some dragging but simple problems I was understanding between the nature of certain spiritual and psychological studies of self with developments in brain science etc. Wilber mostly lacks literary style with his writing, it instead reads like an enlighten This was the first Ken Wilber book I discovered on a book shelf in the Melbourne city library, it was wedged between my reading of Jung and Joseph Campbell and seemed to be exactly what I was searching for at the period. Wilber seemed to answer some dragging but simple problems I was understanding between the nature of certain spiritual and psychological studies of self with developments in brain science etc. Wilber mostly lacks literary style with his writing, it instead reads like an enlightened shopping list, I found that there was an odd phenomena that there were few people I could communicate the importance of this book to, most were underwhelmed by the depth of the language, and others saw no necessity in the work he was doing at all, finding no interest in spiritual 'mumbo-jumbo'. After taking a break from reading his works for some years I am not quite sure why I was so thankful to have found this book and I too have a difficult time articulating why it was so important to me, though I could reduce it to an analogy something along the lines of losing oneself in an odd side-note of life and needing such odd, side-note books to redeem you from them. Wilber seemed to want to embody the figure of the post-post-modern super hero, yet in the same way he seemed to criticise so many of the post-modern intellectuals, he was unable to lead the movement he had created and I'm sure is perhaps surprised that the momentum which he seemed to be gathering during the years of my interest, the establishment of the integral institute/university etc. it was not able to develop into any lasting or meaningful social force... as of this time...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ruben Gorseman-Mes

    Mindboggling and sweeping in range, Ken Wilbur stacks knowledge condensced into a ridiculously small package. I find the insights in spiral dynamics inspiring and compelling but my understanding in his suggestions for an integral "all-level, all-quadrant" approach remained too abstract for me, to truly regurgitate it like I usually do with books. I'm particularly intruiged by Boomeritis (all perspectives are equally true and relevant, so "nobody tells me what to do!") and how it (roughly speaking) Mindboggling and sweeping in range, Ken Wilbur stacks knowledge condensced into a ridiculously small package. I find the insights in spiral dynamics inspiring and compelling but my understanding in his suggestions for an integral "all-level, all-quadrant" approach remained too abstract for me, to truly regurgitate it like I usually do with books. I'm particularly intruiged by Boomeritis (all perspectives are equally true and relevant, so "nobody tells me what to do!") and how it (roughly speaking) limits us from moving to the next stage of consciousness. I thirst for more. More theories, models, and integral practices. This is certainly not a book to just visit and leave. You will want to read several books on the topic if you truly want to grasp it. I was greatly inspired at some points and at others was left rather uncompelled, simply because it did not cover the depth that I craved for. But seeing as I read this as a necessary part of the curriculum for my work, I am mighty pleased I could read this and expand my mind along the way. This book is brilliant and too dense by far! If you want an introduction to integral theory, go ahead, but know that you'll end on the trailhead of many more books that will be required for a real grasp of the matter. Good luck and see you in Yellow!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    Did I like this book? Not sure. It was assigned reading. And many brain cells went into overdrive to read it and synthesize my thoughts. The language is self referential and mentions various theories that it is assumed the reader already knows. This being said, Wilber says, "Ego centric, Ethnocentric, Worldcentric – are three progressive, evolutionary worldviews, behaviors, and modes of thought that each individual, couple, group, and nation move through and towards. Wilber organizes the “Kosmos Did I like this book? Not sure. It was assigned reading. And many brain cells went into overdrive to read it and synthesize my thoughts. The language is self referential and mentions various theories that it is assumed the reader already knows. This being said, Wilber says, "Ego centric, Ethnocentric, Worldcentric – are three progressive, evolutionary worldviews, behaviors, and modes of thought that each individual, couple, group, and nation move through and towards. Wilber organizes the “Kosmos, which means the patterned Whole of all existence,” into four quadrants, each delineated by a particular realm: the individual (I); the cultural (We); the scientific (It); and the social collective (Its). He shows how each of these realms progress from a simple primitive state towards a potentially highly evolved, integrated, holistic state. Woven throughout is the premise that all quadrants and levels possess the material and spiritual elements of “body, mind, soul, and spirit.” Still pondering Wilbers Theory of Holons. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holon_(...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Zigelbaum

    This is a review of the audiobook. A quick review that must be split into two parts: 1) the content, and 2) the presentation of the content. The content is 5 stars. Wilber’s work is nothing short of extraordinary. This is the 4th book of his I’ve read (and many articles by and about) and my least favorite. It felt too all over the place. “A brief history of everything” is a much better concise overview of integral theory though this has some nice new perspectives. The presentation was terrible. Wil This is a review of the audiobook. A quick review that must be split into two parts: 1) the content, and 2) the presentation of the content. The content is 5 stars. Wilber’s work is nothing short of extraordinary. This is the 4th book of his I’ve read (and many articles by and about) and my least favorite. It felt too all over the place. “A brief history of everything” is a much better concise overview of integral theory though this has some nice new perspectives. The presentation was terrible. Wilber is constantly defending himself, trying to prove to us his value, and spends a ton of time mired in criticism of other works. Also the audiobook narrator was terrible too. But worth reading! Though definitely not in your first few of his books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mathieu Mal

    Quote: "What good is it to continue to focus on the exterior technological wonders before us - from indefinite life extension to computer / mind interlinks to unlimited zero-point energy to worm-hole intergalactic space travel - if all we carry with us is an egocentric or ethnocentric consciousness? Do we really want to colonize space with red-meme Nazis and the KKK? Do we really want Jack the Ripper living 400 years, zipping around the country in his hypercar, unleashing misogynistic nanorobots Quote: "What good is it to continue to focus on the exterior technological wonders before us - from indefinite life extension to computer / mind interlinks to unlimited zero-point energy to worm-hole intergalactic space travel - if all we carry with us is an egocentric or ethnocentric consciousness? Do we really want to colonize space with red-meme Nazis and the KKK? Do we really want Jack the Ripper living 400 years, zipping around the country in his hypercar, unleashing misogynistic nanorobots? Exterior developments are clearly a concern; how much more so are interior developments - or lack there of..."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gror Healing

    We all follow patterns of development: 'turtles all the way up, turtles all the way down'. A concise, approachable introduction to a very complex subject Wilber's use of spiral dynamics and quadrants of experience are highly adaptable and effective models for understanding who we are and how we operate. Deeply rooted in the systems and quirks of reality, Wilber brings his lighthearted humour and discerning insight to important questions of our time, and all time. We all follow patterns of development: 'turtles all the way up, turtles all the way down'. A concise, approachable introduction to a very complex subject Wilber's use of spiral dynamics and quadrants of experience are highly adaptable and effective models for understanding who we are and how we operate. Deeply rooted in the systems and quirks of reality, Wilber brings his lighthearted humour and discerning insight to important questions of our time, and all time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Roni Matar

    As chaotic as it gets, TOE is an insightful book that gives a global view on the different views of the development of our values and our consciousness. Only dig deeper if you have a good knowledge of the Clare Graves Values levels.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pedro Freire

    A brilliant, very complete holistic view of man and mankind. If we all shared a similar view of who we are, we'd make this world a true paradise. All of that in a clear, well explained, easy to read book. A brilliant, very complete holistic view of man and mankind. If we all shared a similar view of who we are, we'd make this world a true paradise. All of that in a clear, well explained, easy to read book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrecrabtree

    Ken Wilber has written 24 books! I've read 4 of them now and I actually think he's written 24 revisions of the same book. I'll read a few more from this list: https://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/20... But if I don't start seeing something new... Ken Wilber has written 24 books! I've read 4 of them now and I actually think he's written 24 revisions of the same book. I'll read a few more from this list: https://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/20... But if I don't start seeing something new...

  28. 4 out of 5

    HobbitFromPA

    I thought this would be interesting, but the way it was presented did not make it that way. There are definitely interesting ideas brought up, but this feels like just reading a whole bunch of varying data that is just thrown into a spreadsheet.

  29. 5 out of 5

    culley

    My third Wilber book in 3 years, this one is a brief overview of his ideas and probably the best entry point into these systems of thought.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Not my cup of tea si'l vous plaît. Not my cup of tea si'l vous plaît.

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