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Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber

Gurus/Spiritual Masters
Ken Wilber
current suggested assesment
"Guru" or "Pandit"? Pandit (adapted term in this definition); despite devotion of his follwers, rejects guru role (admirable)
Tradition Originally Transpersonal Psychology, but since established his own tradition, the Integral Community, inspired by Developmental Psychology and Nonduality spirituality
Gurus/Teachers Previously Adi Da, now a number of Buddhist figures
Philosophy/Worldview Evolutionary/Integral/Nondual
Methodology Middle Mental intellectual universalism
Important Students Allan Combs, Stuart Davis, Mark Edwards, Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, Steve McIntosh, Brad Reynolds, Frank Visser (now a critic), many many others.
Assesment Important Integral Paradigm theorist who seems to derive his amazing enthusiasm and power from daimonic charisma. Generous to those who praise him, less so to those who criticise him

Author's note: Because his opinions are very forthright and not infrequently controversial, and his attempt at a grand synthesis of all human knowledge is so ambitious, Ken Wilber has been a very difficult person to write about. In this critique I have tried to strike balance between a too-worshipful and a too-critical stance.

It has been said that Ken Wilber stands in the tradition of external link William James as psychologist of the spiritual and "far and away the most cogent and penetrating voice in the recent emergence of uniquely American wisdom." [external link Tony Schwartz Foreword to Ken Wilber's Link to Amazon com A Brief History of Everything].  His first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness, was written in 1973 when he was only twenty three, and published in 1977, after being rejected by twenty publishers. It became an immediate best-seller, and Wilber's output has been prodigious and constant since. Although considered one of the founders of Transpersonal Psychology, he has since disassociated himself from the movement.

Wilber is credited with developing a unified theory of consciousness, synthesising all of the world's great psychological, philosophical, and spiritual traditions, and using as a starting point a laudable eclecticism and the Perennial Philosophy's Great Chain of Being and progressing ever further and broader with each successive iteration of his thought. Says one supporter

"Wilber's approach appears to have provided a coherent vision that seamlessly weaves together truth-claims from such fields as physics and biology; the eco-sciences; chaos theory and the systems sciences; medicine, neurophysiology, biochemistry; art, poetry, and aesthetics in general; developmental psychology and a spectrum of psychotherapeutic endeavors, from Freud to Jung to Kegan; the great spiritual theorists from Plato and Plotinus in the West to Shankara and Nagarjuna in the East; the modernists from Descartes and Locke to Kant; the Idealists from Schelling to Hegel; the postmodernists from Foucault and Derrida to Taylor and Habermas; the major hermeneutic tradition, Dilthey to Heidegger to Gadamer; the social systems theorists from Comte and Marx to Parsons and Luhmann; the contemplative and mystical schools of the great meditative traditions, East and West, in the world's major religious traditions."
Jack Crittenden - external link What is the Meaning of "Integral"?

An impressive claim. Wilber's critics may consider it a bit too impressive. But this is not to deny that Ken Wilber in some respects seems like a latter day Pico della Mirandola, unifying fields of knowledge that have for the most part been separate and isolated since the Renaissance at least (Pico was a Renaissance Neoplatonist who incorporated all fields of human knowledge into a single all-embracing philosophical-religious system). It is just a question of whether - giving the current exponential growth in human knowledge (in my mind a symptom of a coming technological singularity) such a synthesis is even possible, and if it is, how best to go about doing it? (and yes this is a subject that I myself am also concerned with)

In any case, despite his powerful intellect, huge sweep of knowledge, and tremendous sincerity, Wilber is not an original thinker in the style of, say, Plato, Hegel, Spinoza, external link Whitehead, or Sri Aurobindo, to name just a few.  Nor I am sure would he claim to be (even if some of his followers do!). And like most monolithic systematisers - like me, he is a Hedgehog, but he is far more extreme than I am - he does tend to put things in boxes, in fact, he does this with far more enthusiasm than I ever would.  Time and again, he takes widely divergent maps of consciousness and squeezes them into the same external link procrustean bed (for a good example of this, see the table of charts at the back of Amazon com Integral Psychology). Perhaps because he reads so widely he does not have time to absorb in depth the intricacies and details of each scientific field, and each spiritual teaching. Because of this he tends to misunderstand teachers like Sri Aurobindo who go beyond the simple Zen and Advaita-based monism of his own belief-system


Wilber draws eclectically from a large number of modern Western and traditional Eastern philosophers and writers, almost all of whom he gives his own interpretation on. These include evolutionary philosophers such as Hegel, Schelling, Nicolai Hartmann, psychoanalytical theories of personality and developmental psychologists like Piaget, postmodernists like Habermas, for the West, and Indian, Tibetan, and Sino-Japanese non-dualist schools of mysticism and metaphysics (Advaita Vedanta (especially Ramana Maharsha), Madyamika (Nargajuna), Mahamudra in Tibetan Buddhism, and Ch'an/Zen) for the East (along with western guru Da Free John / Adidam, who teaches the same thing basically); and a few others like Plotinus, Sri Aurobindo (but not Teilhard?), perennial traditionalists like Fritjof Schuon and Huston Smith, along with flirtations with modern science, especially physics.

Wilbers I through V

The great 20th century linguistic philosopher external link Wittgenstein's ideas are divided into two quite distinct phases, the Yonger or earlier Wittgenstein (Tractatus Logicus Philosophicus) and the the later Wittgenstein (Philosophical Investigations). Perhaps somewhat tongue in cheek, Ken has gone one better and divided the development of his ideas through four stages or phases [see e.g. Amazon com The Eye of Spirit, Amazon com One Taste One Taste Nov 16 entry, and Amazon com Integral Psychology p.255, n.15], which he terms Wilber I, Wilber II, Wilber III, and Wilber IV (more recently a Wilber V has been added). In keeping with his all-embracing syncretism, he says that the subsequent phases do not negate earlier phases, but transcend-and-include earlier phases, incorporating them into a deeper and more integrated whole. The only phase he rejects outright is Wilber-I

Phase 1 (1977-1979). Wilber refers to this as his "romantic-Jungian" or "recaptured goodness" model. Inspired by the Jungian interpretation of psychodevelopment, it sees consciousness as a single spectrum, and spiritual growth as a return to an original non-dualistic condition, a position that he since radically rejects, For this reason, Ken tells his students to begin at Wilber-II.

Phase 2 (1980-1982). This is a more specifically evolutionary or developmental, "growth to goodness" model, with an elaborate series of stages of psychodevelopment that reminds me a lot of Freud's Psycho-developmental Stages, but extending these further to the mystical attainment. During this period Wilber adopts a (pop-)Tibetan Buddhist-inspired cycle of involution-evolution (based on the Bardo Thodel), and integrates Western psychology and Eastern mysticism as the two halves of the same process. Arvan Harvat provides a powerful critique of this paradigm, and its attempt to weld two completely disparate systems of thought, as well as Wilber's misreading of Mahayana Buddhism.

Phase 3 (1983-1987), added developmental lines, so that development is no longer understood as a homogenous process in which the self passes through the stages described in phase 2, but as a complex process consisting of a number of distinct lines of development (cognitive, emotional, social, spiritual, etc) proceeding in an independent manner, and that the self somehow has to maintain a delicate balance between these lines.

The period from 1987 represents a period of deep personal crisis for Wilber, as his wife develops cancer and he nurses his through her illness, treatment, and conscious death in 1989. This period is chronicled in the book Link to Amazon com Grace and Grit in 1991.

Phase 4 (1995-2001), in which he adds a socio-cultural dimension to his model of individual development, and develops the four quadrants model, called AQAL (All Quadrants All Levels). By now the whole thing was starting to look on the one hand like a sort of neo-Renaissance synthesis, and on the other like the immensely elaborate cosmologies of Blavatsky (with who's work and Wilber's there are a number of parallels) and Steiner. This phase marks the beginning of Wilber's Modernism/Postmodernist phase, in which he develops a shrewd analysis of Western "Postmodern" state of mind. At this time he also acquired some harsh critics (in addition to devotee-like fans) when in Link to Amazon com Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality, considered by some as his greatest book, he came out as being against Ecological Spirituality. And although he has always been closely associated with and enthusiastic about Adi Da's teachings and revelation, the period from 1996 onwards marked his start of his criticism of the "World Teacher"'s activities and the movement itself.

Phase 5 (2001-present), in which he retains everything of the Phase 4 AQAL, but becomes increasingly postmodernist (rejection of metaphysics and absolute answers), shifting his focus from the metaphysical to a more Buddhistic "emptiness" (shunyata) teaching. He also adopts a more pragmatic attitude of teacher in the world (via multimedia), and works with the Spiral Dynamics model of human evolution. However, all the complexities of the original AQAL model are retained, as well as a few new elements like Rupert Sheldrake's "formative causation".

Throughout 1999, Shambhala Publishers released Wilber's multi-volume collected works. This is the first time an author has had their collected works published during their lifetime. Considering Wilber's prodigious output, this is one series of collected works that will have to be constantly revised and amended for some time to come!

In 2000 Wilber founded the external link Integral Institute, a think-tank for studying issues of science and society in an integral way. The term "Integral" refers to the Grand Synthesis approach of his more recent (Phase IV and onwards) philosophy. Wilber has since been involved in the development of an Integral psychology and Integral politics. This marks his movement away from a theorising-only approach, into the practical world as well; the difficult realm of "ahriman" as Rudolph Steiner would say, which one must master if one is to have any effect or make any serious change in the world.

See also external link The five phases (a concise summary of the five phases of the development of Wilber's ideas), and external link Overview of Ken Wilber's Theory of Integral Psychology by Don Salmon, PhD (a good overview of the first four phases, written before Wilber announced Phase V)

Wilber on Wilber

One thing I like about Wilber is that he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously (although at least blog post one blog post indicates he is defensive about criticism). The following two quotations from the Wikipedia link wikipedia page are worth repeating here, lest the reader think that with all his incessant theorising he is trying to create an absolute system of thought. These quotations are also good in that they reveal the way Wilber goes about explaining things.

"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."
"Foreword", in Link to Amazon com Frank Visser's Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion, 2001

Incidentally, this very Adi-Da-like statement reflects Wilber's adherence to the True Truths position of acosmic monism. He is telling his more enthusiastic disciples (and his critics as well for that matter) not to take him too literally, because ultimately only the Absolute is real

"I have one major rule: everybody is right. More specifically, everybody - including me - has some important pieces of the truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace."
"Introduction", Collected Works of Ken Wilber, vol. VIII, p. 49 and in A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality, 2000

Ultimately Wilber is a relativist. Everyone has something true to say. I can understand where he is coming from, and sympathise with it, but I find this position simplistic.

"Post-metaphysical" Developments

In researching this critique on Ken Wilber, I was most interested to read this small hagiographic document PDF Acrobat format Where's Wilber At? The Further Evolution of Ken Wilber's Integral Vision During the Dawn of the New Millennium, by Brad Reynolds. In spite of the author's over-enthusiastic style and language, I did get a genuine feel of Wilber as someone who has made a breakthrough to a higher state of spiritual attainment (this marking the latest (Phase V) stage of his development) [Afterword 17 Dec 06 - I now consider this assesment false, I was just tapping into an Intermediate Zone daimon). However, Michel Bauwens' negative experiences with Wilber seem to indicate no such thing, since surely what spiritual attainment comes down to is how one has become a better person, everything else regarding claims of worshipfulness is egotistic cultism and pop-guruism? In any case, Reynolds suggests that most critics of Wilber are criticising his early work, and that he has already taken their concerns on board, addressed their concerns and modified his views accordingly. Perhaps some of Wilber's future writings may address the important issues Arvan and I have raised here.

And in fact, one of his students has replied to one of them, or so it seems from the very informative entry on him in Wikipedia link Wikipedia. I quote:

Some (namely, the Croatian esoteric philosopher Arvan Harvat) have noted that attempting to integrate a thoroughly non-dual approach like Zen with an evolutionary view is ultimately impossible: if your model includes all possibility, how can it change? Wilber's response is that his theory is actually a 'rational reconstruction of a trans-rational state of consciousness'. In effect, Wilber concedes the ultimate futility - from a rational perspective - of his quest. His writings point beyond the rational to the mystical.

The point however is that it doesn't have to be futile to at least attempt such an integration. But it is necessary to move beyond a strictly Advaitin and Mahayanist perspective if this is to be done. Not to reject it, not by any means, but simply to include it as part of a wider perspective.

Ken Wilber: Thought as PassionKen Wilber: Thought as Passion Frank Visser, provides a comprehensive overview of the development of Wilber's thought. This book has received a bad press as it is claimed that it "doesn't cover Wilber-5". The second edition will, but only when Wilber-5 has crystallised sufficiently - which is a bit difficult for a book that appeared in 2001 in Dutch.

Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber : A Historical Survey and Chapter-By-Chapter Review of Wilber's Major Works by Brad Reynolds - a Wilber primer and overall summary. In view of Wilber's rejection of Frank Visser's Thought as Passion (too Theosophical? Or not inclusive of Wilber's latest ideas?), Embracing Reality claims to be the only comprehensive coverage of Wilber's ideas, but this is debatable. Both Visser and Reynolds cover exactly the same ground, the only difference being that Brad has relabelled part of Wilber-4 as Wilber-5 (actually, for him, Wilber-5 starts with Integral Psychology, which seems very much Wilber-4). Where's Wilber At seems to be an extract from this book (or if not, it's still by the same author). So if you don't like the latter's style, best not to get the book. Perhaps some objectivity is needed?

My Take on Ken Wilber

I am separated from Ken Wilber by one Degree of Separation (see external link Six Degrees of Separation). In the early 1980s, my old teacher at La Trobe Uni, Moshe Kroy, travelled to America and met Ken, as he related it the two got on famously.

I read Wilber's books many years ago; the early ones like The Spectrum of Consciousness (Phase I) and Link to Amazon com The Atman Project (Phase II) when I was still developing my own ideas.  I quite enjoyed his work at the time, and was absolutely impressed by the great scholarship and huge list of references, and the way he integrated the stages of the various theories of psychological and spiritual development into a single unified paradigm. I was however disappointed with the follow-up to The Atman Project - called Amazon com Up From Eden (also Phase II) - in which he presented a very rigid and unbelievable view of the evolution of consciousness (rather in the mould of the clockwork cosmologies of Blavatsky, Leadbeater, Steiner, and Meher Baba.) I stopped reading him at that point, and have only recently looked at his more recent work (Phase IV and V) , basically through the Web and reviews, and more recently a few books themselves that I bought. (Amazon com A Brief History of Everything, Amazon com Integral Psychology. and Amazon com The Revised, Second Edition of Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. He is an excellent writer, clear and easy to understand, but passionate and enthusiastic as well. And there is no denying his ideas have developed tremendously; indeed with the more flexible and complex "Waves, Streams, States, and Lines" approach of his AQAL and "post-metaphysical AQAL" integral philosophy, he resolves many (but by no means all) of the limitations of his older books. Even so, there remains a certain rigidity, due to Wilber's inability to go beyond a reliance on Advaitin-Vajrayana-Daist metaphysics and bridge the divide between the (admittedly higher intuitive insights of the) dualistic rational mind and monistic higher consciousness. This is exacerbated by Wilber's tendency to retro-date his own interpretations so that they are made to seem part of the perennial philosophy or authors he is referencing, in that way he pretends he is not saying anything new but simply repeating what sages of old have said (this is actually a common practice in premodern wisdom cultures). For example, according to Wilber the Great Nest of Being has been described by Plotinus, Vedanta, Huston Smith, etc etc. But nowhere will you find anything about a holarchical nest of being in any of those teachings. An ontological gradation, sure, but not a "holarchy". If he had said "Plotinus (or whoever) describes a metaphysical hierarchy of being, which I have reinterpreeted as a non-metaphysical holarchy" I would have no objection.

Add to that a fixed and simplistic metaphysic (yes I know that Ken doesn't like metaphysics, but how else do you define his holons? :-) with a simplistic linear evolution and a simplistic putdown of ecophilosophy, and, reading A Brief History of Everything, I had the strange experience of passionately agreeing with half of what Wilber is saying,a nd equally passionately disagreeing with the other half!

The Reason for Wilber's Success

Why has Wilber become so successful, when so many other innovative thinkers have fallen by the wayside or continued but with little acknowledgment? Personally I don't think he is any more profound than others. In fact, in many places he is less profound and original than many other recent grand synthesisers (look at Edward Haskell, Arthur M. Young, Erich Jantsch, Stan Gooch ...), while Alan Watts had already who incorporated East and West in the 1960s, and for that matter Blavatsky did in the late 19th century.

One explanation for his success might be that in the world of dry and meaningless postmodern academia, with its fragmented disciplines and surface-bound understanding, Wilber is a refreshing voice that points the way to deeper spiritual states. In the first few chapters of Amazon com The Eye of Spirit he speaks eloquently of spiritual awareness. There are inspirational paragraphs dotted through A Brief History of Everything, and so on. In a world where anyone who goes beyond or beneath surface consciousness and expouses mystic truths is considered a nutter, he has the courage of his convictions. And that is admirable.

Another reason for his appeal lies in his neo-"Renaissance" universalism. He provided a philosophy that was right for the time; in the spiritual supermarket full of disparate teachings in areas as diverse eastern philosophy, human potential movement, psychedelic drug experiences, the revival of ancient wisdom, transpersonal psychology, new age workshops, gurus and channellers, shamans and hippies, Wilber has woven it all together: Freud, Fechner, Chogyam Trungpa, Plotinus, Nagarjuna, quantum theory, evolution,... a unifying framework based on an all-inclusive paradigm that ties everything else together. It's the appeal of the "theory of everything". The last instance of this in the West was Hegel (who Wilber quotes approvingly). Wilber represents and carries on to this human yearning for grand visions of "everything" and thirst for complete certitude. It also helped that he lives in America, a polarised yet vibrant nation which is always looking for new gimmicks and ideas.

A third reason for Wilber's success is that because his presentation is very simple, even simplistic, generalization of philosophy (e.g. ecospiritualism is lumped with materialism, Aurobindo's Supermind is identified with the Vedantic Atman, etc). His appeal is to those who can no longer accommodate the limited perspectives of materialism or exoteric religion, not to serious esotericists. In this way he is like Rajneesh, except he's writing for academia and the intelligent layperson rather than spiritual (but with ego) "seeking" middle-management late baby boomers with lots of liquid assets. But this simplicity and overgeneralisation of opinions is actually a bonus, because he is able to reach more people that way (just as Rajneesh could). Not everyone has the patience to read Plotinus, Hegel, or Aurobindo!

The Bridge Builder

This last-mentioned fact, that Wilber is not writing for serious esotericists, but for those who are between materialism and gnosis, is why Wilber can be best understood as a bridge-builder rather than an esotericist. It seems that esotericists in general seem to take a dislike to him (apart from myself; even if I'm critical, I like the guy!), as do academics from the other side of the spectrum, who consider him New Age (there's just no pleasing some people!). In fact, "New Age" - at least in the common or limited definition - is what Wilber is not. His own adaptation of the Great Chain of Being that serves as the central metaphor for most esoteric philosophies and pre-modernist teachings, cultures and societies, completely rejects metaphysics, in an effort to appeal to modernism and postmodernism. Thus is quite materialistic, although it is certainly holomaterialism (emergent evolution) rather than reductionistic hylomaterialism.

But this rejection of metaphysics is necessary in building this bridge. Like Jung, who had to create a ridiculous "racial unconscious" to explain non-physical and timeless archetypes that are part of standard occult knowledge, Wilber has no alternative but to compromise the mystic vision. Perhaps he himself actually believes that there are no metaphysical realities. While there is no denying the genuine wisdom in his work, and the passion and the clarity with which he writes is like a breath of fresh air, Wilber's generalisations at times so forced, that it gets tedious. Nevertheless I have a lot of admiration for him and I do feel he is potentially a historically important figure (assuming the integral movement does continue to grow). One of the really good things about Wilber is that he makes the genuine esoteric traditions respectable, and this hopefully means he'll encourage at least a few people to read Plotinus and Aurobindo in the original (they'll then to discover to some surprise that what these sages said isn't quite what Ken says they said! ;-)


Ken Wilber's thought has paralleled my own intellectual explorations in some respects. For years I had been trying to develop my own universal system (the equivalent of Wilber's integral system) through correlating different esoteric systems of thought, and through attempting (always never satisfactorily) to incorporate esotericism and science. In 2004 I made another attempt with my essay Towards a Foundation of a Universal Esoteric Science. Having not read any of Wilber's work since Up From Eden, and coming now to look at his Integral Quadrant paradigm, I have been inspired to further develop these themes, and many others. This was one of the inspirations for my own Metaphysical Theory of Everything

Why the Criticisms?

Finally, the pro-Wilberian reader may ask, why the Ken Bashing on this site? (albeit only mild Ken bashing)

I agree that the mistakes that Wilber makes are no worse than those of other universalists (Ed Haskell's Unified Science for example is extremely rigid and simplistic in its classifications). In some ways, Wilber's "AQAL" theory is an even better approximation, as a single "map" of reality, to the presentations of Hegel, Blavatsky, Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, Haskell, etc.

But because Wilber's goal is so spectacular, no less then a complete classification of all human knowledge, a return to Rennaisance Universalism, a new "Integral" worldview, it would be a shame if so much promise were wasted or lost because of the unavoidable weaknesses that result from relying on any one personality alone. Constructive criticism is necessary, not to attack his work, but to further strengthen the positive contributions he has made.

Moreover, Wilber's promethean effort inspired me to launch my own universal metaphysical theory; hopefully avoiding his mistakes (and no doubt nmaking new mistakes of my own!). In a sense I build on the foundations he laid (although it is true I also rely and build much more on Sri Aurobindo's far sturdier foundations)

Finally, if any of Wilber's students are reading this, and feel I have gotten anything wrong in any of these pages, I ask you to please contact me so that such mistakes can be rectified forthwith.

Web links Links - Ken Wilber Web links

"Official" Sites

Web Site Ken Wilber On-line - his home page, sponsored by Shambhala publishers. Lists Wilber's books and has some on-line essays.  There was an on-line discussion group / message board but I can't find this from the main page.

Web Site Integral Institute

Web Site Integral Naked - funky spin-off from Integral Institute

Web Site Integral University - another bold project.

Web Site The Manifest - e-zine about, and for, the integral movement.

Non-official but supportive of Wilber

web pagelinks Ken Wilber - by Alex Burns - December 16, 2000 - good summary and huge list of links

web page Ken Wilber - bio etc

web page An introduction to the work of Ken Wilber - by Michel Bauwens 1998 - sympathetic review of several books and of Wilber's philosophy. Like so many others, Michel was later to become highly dissillusioned with Wilber

web page A Light in the Wilberness by Brian Van der Horst - written in 1997, this is a sympathetic overview of Wilber's teachings upto and including phase IV

web page Ken Wilber: Understanding and Applying His Work - by Daryl S. Paulson

web page another table - with Disorders & Treatments

web page Core concepts in the work of Ken Wilber - pretty good overview

web pageDrawing For Ken Wilber - an artist's spiritual friend - Alex Grey - a short page dedicated to Ken Wilber, with a visionary portrait

web page The Euro-report: around the world with Ken Wilber - by Brian Van der Horst - a detailed sympathetic review of the the influence of AQAL and Wilber's ideas in general in Europe.

Critical of Ken Wilber - and Criticism and Response

Web Site Integral World - Exploring Theories of Everything - Frank Visser's site dedicated to Ken Wilber, originally supportive, now mostly critical, hosts many articles about Integral Theory (Wilberian philosophy), critiques of Wilber etc, and serves as an essay-forum for both supporters and critics to discuss and critique all things Wilberian; Visser's blog blog Wilber Watch is rarely updated. Integral World site includes external link Critics on Ken Wilber; a list of papers critical of Wilber, and A Spectrum of Critics (Critics of Wilber arranged from "strong positive" (strongly pro-Wilber) to "strong negative" (strongly anti-Wilber)). Also A Suggestion for Reading the Criticisms of My Work, Wilber's reply to his critics, since rendered redundant by his antagonistic self-styled cowboy behaviour

web page Critiques of Wilber by Geoffrey Falk and others, also blog Geoffrey Falk's Blog. Falk speaks his mind and hence is much despised by Wilber's followers. I too originally thought he was a bit extreme, but Wilber's blog-attack on Visser made me reassess my opinion of him. See Falk's books external link Stripping the Gurus (chapter on Wilber) and external link Norman Einstein: The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber. Good if simplistic when it comes to abusive gurus, however his reductionist/skeptical tone in comments on spirituality and authentic gurus show he has no idea what he is talking about. But absolutely brilliant when he comes to exposing Wilber's bumbling as regards hard science. I have noticed that the Integral Community< /a>in general is good with psychology, modern philosophy, and Buddhism, but very weak on the science and maths front. A scientific incompetent like Wilber will attract people who like him have no understanding of Western science; anyone with real knowledge of scientific method and the material world will straight away be put off.

web pages David Lane's critiques/essays/reviews of Wilber

A tangle of lines and levels: a critique of Wilber's integral psychology - by John Heron. (see also Heron and Wilber)

blogosphere Let me set the record straight - Interesting insider blog post by Matthew Dallman on Integral-Institute / Integral University as merchandising. It fits with my own more superficial and "outsider" impressions too. I have noticed a certain uniquely American capitalist marketting approach on the desperation in the Integral Institute websites. Does it mean anything? Yepo, it's just the New Age and America trying to make a buck. Of course true spirituality is not about money at all, but I wouldn't begrudge the Wilberians the opportunity to sell their wares. On the otrher hand, Wilber's claim to Dallman's intellectual property is more reprehensible.

blogosphereNeuro-Linguistic manipulation. A rather strange blog post; perhaps all it means is that people who are into Wilber but now criticical are still susceptible to him. I think this refers more to a subconscious "vital interchange" that goes on all the time, than to anything sinister. Still, worth including, if only for curiosity value.

de Quincey and Wilber (and others)

web pages The Promise of Integralism - A Critical Appreciation of Ken Wilber's Integral Psychology essay by Christian de Quincey

web page Intersubjective Musings: A Response to Christian de Quincey's "The Promise of Integralism" - Sean Hargens' reply to Christian de Quincey

web pages Do Critics Misrepresent My Position? - A Test Case from a Recent Academic Journal - Ken Wilber's reply

web page Response to Ken Wilber - Robert McDermott's reply to Wilber.

web page Response to McDermott - Ken Wilber's reply to McDermott

web pages Critics Do. Critics Don't. - A Response to Ken Wilber de Quincey's counter-reply to Wilber

Heron and Wilber

web page A Way out for Wilberians - criticism by John Heron

web page Ken Wilber's response to John Heron - reply by Ken Wilber

web page Way out further - retort by John Heron

Unlike the deQuincy-Wilber brawl, this one external link ended well.


on-line document Integral Psychosynthesis, a comparison of Wilber and Assagioli by Kenneth Sørensen - This MA study demonstrates that Roberto Assagioli's original conception of Psychosynthesis is fully Integral with levels, lines, states, types and quadrants, and that Firman/Gila have developed a different version of psychosynthesis.

Other developments

Web Site Ken Wilber's AQAL Map and Beyond - website by Rolf Sattler, includes the online book of the same name. The first part of this book discusses some of the most fundamental limitations of Wilberís map, and in the second part presents a dynamic mandala that overcomes them.

Web Site Integral (Holistic) Mathematics - A sort of spin-off theory from Wilber's integral philosophy (heterodox rather than orthodox)

Biography and Ideas
Phase 1 - The Romantic Period
Phase 2 - The Pre-Trans Cycle
Phase 3 - Multiple Development - Holographic Mind
Phase 4 - All Quadrants All Levels
Phase 5: Post-Metaphysical

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 23 November 1998, last modified 7 Octovber 2009; merged with My Take on Ken Wilber page (6 August 2004 to 18 June 2006)