Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Integral vision with no physics in sight
on 10 June 2012
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.