As you may know, I will soon be visiting Boulder, Colorado to attend the Success 3.0 Summit which is bringing together key thought leaders together to explore the impact that can be made by collaborating together and redefining success.
Among the folks who I am most looking forward to seeing is my friend Ken Wilber. Owing to his health, I’m not sure whether he will appear by video or in-person, but either way is good. His bio as it appears on the site:
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.
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”, aimed at enriching and deepening every field through an understanding of exactly how and where each one fits in relation to all the others.
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.
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, connecting both laypersons and practitioners, while also documenting and catalyzing the progress of the integral movement.
Ken Wilber is Ubiquity University’s inaugural chancellor.
Learn more about Success 3.0 Summit.
Why is Ken Wilber’s work so important to me? Perhaps more than anyone else alive, he cares deeply about reconciling spiritual wisdom with science, philosophy, psychology, sociology, literary criticism, education, and interdisciplinary studies. What’s more, he has proposed a novel intellectual framework — called ‘Integral Theory’ — to show how divergent truths and methodologies can be reconciled in a fruitful and compelling way. In the course of doing so, he shined a critical spotlight on the shortcomings of partial ways of seeing things of a wide range of thinkers and movements in premodernity, modernity, and postmodernity.
After deeply encountering Wilber’s work, it is a rare individual (some would say stubborn) who can go back to thinking about the world in precisely the same way. He is a thinker who doesn’t just change minds; he changes lives. He rescues the refugees from nihilism and narcissism of contemporary worldviews and gives hope (and sometimes guidance) to organizations seeking to forge a healthier, more integral culture. I think that’s a good enough reason to be a huge Ken Wilber fan.