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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Ken Wilber is an American transpersonal psychologist and philosopher, and has been labelled one of the most important thinkers of out time. He is the author of many books including A Brief History of Everything, The Marriage of Sense and Soul and Grace and Grit.
A Theory of Everything sets out Wilbers' groundbreaking theory and shows how it can apply to the real world of struggle, suffering, frustration and joy. Wilber stresses the importance of the term 'integral', which he sees as essential if 'inner and outer' are to be honoured and to be allowed to work together. His complex cutting-edge theories and models integrate the realms of body, mind, soul and spirit and are presented in a clear and readable way. Wilber looks at the historical development of human thought and behaviour, as expressed through spirituality and science. He illustrates that we can heal the split between spirituality and science by recognising that each is essential to its different territory, and believes that 'spirit' is the causal factor from which all states arise.
The book is divided into three main sections:
 Firstly, Wilber sets out his complex models and theory
 Secondly, he applies these to real world problems in such fields as politics, medicine, business, education and the environment
 Finally, Wilber discusses daily practices that readers can use to apply this integrative vision to their own lives
This is a compelling read, and has the potential to impact forcefully on all walks of life, for those who take it on board and are prepared to work at it. It also, usefully, offers an alternative mindset for those of us who have perhaps passed judgement on how 'spiritual' the worlds of business, politics, medicine or education are.
I cannot claim to understand fully, this exciting and inspiring book (I have not yet studied the 40 odd pages of explanatory notes) but I sense its importance and relevance to me, and my developing beliefs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Theory of Everything: An integral vision for business, politics, science and spirituality, by Ken Wilber, Gateway (Gill & Macmillan), Dublin, 2001, 204 ff

Ken Wilber says in his Preface that he is attempting a task `that is beyond any one human mind', a task `that is inherently undoable' because `knowledge expands faster than ways to categorize it'. Essentially the book is a rebellion against `scientific materialism, fragmented pluralism and deconstructive postmodernism' with an attempt to forge `a more integral, more embracing, more inclusive path to travel.'

Wilber's initial training was in science but he has since written much in philosophy and transpersonal psychology, and especially in social philosophy by laying out the way he thinks society and its individuals need to develop. He picks up on Clare Graves' theory of Spiral Dynamics as a model for the evolution of consciousness. This is a more sophisticated development of Hegel's theory of Geist - that the spirit of human society develops ever outward through a succession of changes, each one building (and sometimes contradicting) those that have gone before it. He uses Richard Dawkins' concept of the `meme' to illustrate these ideas.

As a scientist I started reading this book enthusiastically; but I would have to say that I think Wilber makes things unnecessarily complicated and confusing by introducing new terminology for every idea. Chapter 3, An Integral Vision, is a key chapter with Wilber's hierarchies of the four quadrants, with its colour terminology for the self and consciousness in one quadrant. How does all of this clarify anything? We then come to a `holarchy of development' within the quadrants. I found Arthur Koestler's discussion of holons much more accessible and informative.

Wilber then goes on to discuss Stephen Jay Gould's idea of `non-overlapping magisteria' that draw a line between science and religion. In this discussion he accepts that `religions caused more wars than any other force in history'. I particularly liked the Worldviews that Wilber presented in Chapter 6 giving Maps of the Kosmos, bringing together disparate ideas of where we are and where we are (or where we should be) going. There are also some useful ideas I thought near the end of the book when Wilber describes Integral Transformative Practice. There are 40 pages of Notes at the end for further exploration of his ideas and a useful Index.

Ghost in the Machine (Picador Books)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ken Wilber is a deep thinker and has good things to say. In a book on a theory of everything, a physicist naturally hopes for insight into how new physics is changing the way we see the world. But the hope is dashed: this is a book of easily digestible thought bites for a popular audience. That said, the thought bites are well worth deep thought. The integral vision, in which mind, soul, and spirit, both of the individual and of everyone else, get star billings alongside the objective science of self and world, is good. Much contemporary commentary in economics and politics is radically defective when seen with integral vision. Score a big one for Wilber.

Apart from what is now known as the Wilber diagram, with four quadrants and a set of nested levels to anchor the integral vision in a handy meme that anyone can sketch on a flip chart to liven up a meeting, the main theoretical device in the book is a meme for juggling worldviews called spiral dynamics. Wilber did not invent this meme, but it has great currency among pop theologists as a way of juggling simple concepts of gods or God. The idea comes with a color coding running from beige to turquoise, where the most interesting levels are red, blue, orange, and green. Roughly, red gods are tribal and aggressive, blue gods are mythic and legalistic, orange gods are rational and individualistic, and green gods are relativist and multicultural. With thought aids at this level, the reader should not expect too much insight into science, but it all makes for good reading.

Wilber has built up a great reputation among modern meditators and introspective philosophers, and this book shows why. Despite its simple tools and modest ambition, it displays an impressively strong and balanced grasp of the main issues and pushes on to ideas as deep as any in our culture. Wilber truly has an integral vision, and it is one we would all do well to pursue. Physicists will be happy to cut him some slack.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2001
Ken Wilber introduces his ideas on all-quadrant, all level integral development in a readily accessible manner. Wilber is inspirational as ever, and this book is an ideal primer and introduction to his other works.
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on 19 May 2011
Having read one taste, grace and grit and watched a few of wilbers videos online I bought this book, thinking that it would be a step up in terms of understanding wilbers work. However, there wasn't much new in it that I hadn't understood already. I had hoped to get a chapter or at least a few pages on the business part but this was not so. He writes of the very brief work that had been done at the time, of the theory's application within business. Nevertheless this book brings the theory together in a very simple manner.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 March 2001
I was quite bowled over by this book, which seems to me to open up a quite new way of looking at the political scene. It gives a lot of references to other useful work.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 27 June 2001
This is my first Wilber experience, and I would highly recommend this book to everyone. Anyone who believes that things need to change in an inclusive and fundamental way, should read this. Don't waste any more time!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 June 2008
The all quadrant, all levels approach.....rarely has anyone impressed me more with the quality of thinking that KW brings to bear.
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on 10 July 2014
Very interesting to read!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2015
What a load of old nonsense.
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