Ken Wilber’s Map of Everything: A Guide to the Brilliance & Span of Wilber’s Work from Philosophy to Psychology, Spirituality and Science

Brad Reynolds, author of Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber and Where’s Wilber At? Ken Wilber’s Integral Vision in the New Millennium, gives us a beautiful distillation of Ken Wilber’s work, starting from the beginning and spanning decades. Not only does Brad elegantly relate the major themes of Ken’s work, he also makes clear the value of Ken’s contributions—the way this knowledge can be understood and applied to literally expand our notion of reality and evolve our consciousness. Brad deftly leads us through the subjects that Ken has developed: the spectrum of consciousness, the integration of science and religion, transcending and including what has come before, the importance of the transpersonal, and much more. We learn why Ken’s teachings are timeless and also so relevant and important today.

Brad’s scholarship, his own spiritual practice and insight, his engaging, easygoing style, and the close working relationship he had with Ken for many years make this podcast a goldmine for learning the essence of Ken’s theories, for deepening our appreciation of the magnitude of Ken’s understanding, and above all, the topics covered here point the way for us to evolve as human beings. We come to understand that integral is much more than a theory: it’s a practice, a call to grow and transcend, to become more inclusive, more responsive—to live our true potential. Brad eloquently brings it home just how much we need integral thinkers and leaders right now, with regressive developmental trends on the rise. Especially pertinent in our polarized society, integral shows us how to take all that is valuable within ostensibly conflicting worldviews and integrate it for the benefit of all.

Topics & Timestamps: Part 1

  • Introducing author Brad Reynolds, who has synthesized Ken Wilber’s life work in his book Embracing Reality (01:01)
  • What led to getting involved with Ken Wilber? How Ken treated the subject of human evolution with extraordinary depth to include stages of development and the contributions of mystical traditions (03:16)
  • Ken’s teachings are timeless partly because he encourages people to take up spiritual practice—something that will always be very important (10:57)
  • What are Ken’s main contributions? Evolution and development of consciousness using a spectrum model (12:55)
  • Using psychedelics as an entheogen in the 70s: trying to understand the manifold secrets of spirituality (13:32)
  • Ken’s pre-trans fallacy is an excellent critique of scientific materialism, modernity & postmodernity, exploring the development of mysticism and having it transcend and include rational, magical & mythical thinking (17:57)
  • The beauty of using the spectrum model (21:56)
  • How our center of gravity influences us and the attractor aspect of higher levels of development that awaken us to new possibilities (23:28)
  • Ken’s Phase 1: The spectrum of consciousness, how different psychologies and contemplative traditions address different levels of the spectrum (25:01)
  • Ken’s Phase 2: The evolution revolution and Ken’s satori experience that the entire spectrum itself is grounded in divine consciousness (27:09)
  • How did Ken address the stages of development, or fulcrums, to new and higher worldviews? (31:48)
  • Ken subdivided even the transpersonal stages and identified their place on the developmental arc in a way no one had ever done before (34:46)
  • Ken not only outlined stage-specific pathologies but the therapies that would work best for each (35:58)
Topics & Timestamps: Part 2
  • How Phase 3 evolved: the importance of practice & the AQAL map (all quadrants, all stages, all lines, all states, all types) (00:49)
  • No boundary awareness: the limits of the mind and how the heart becomes the driving force (04:19)
  • Hierarchies and the great chain of being—the great nest of spirit—from matter to nature to body, mind, soul & spirit (08:33)
  • Rescuing the interior from scientific materialism and the development of the four quadrants: interior elements of reality are just as authentic as exteriors (10:31)
  • The importance of a stable ego and the current emphasis on growing up and showing up to avoid spiritual bypassing (13:16)
  • Finding our way in spiritual traditions, cults, and with gurus, and Ken’s map to distinguish spiritual teachers’ legitimacy, authenticity, and authority (17:16)
  • The timeless nature of Ken’s teachings and how they point to the evolution of humanity (26:48)
  • In a cult (and some religious traditions) we are looking for the leader to play our parent, submerging our autonomy (31:15)
  • We are largely at an adolescent stage of development; the difference between adolescent and mature stages of development (33:03)
  • Crucial distinctions between problematic spiritual groups and beneficial spiritual groups (35:49)
  • Roger’s summary of Ken’s 4 phases, with phase 5 still to come (37:35)
Topics & Timestamps: Part 3
  • Ken’s Phase 5: Ending the solitary period and establishing the Integral Institute to apply the AQAL model in the world (00:49)
  • Ken’s health issues multiplied in 2006 (05:19)
  • Brad’s favorite book of Ken’s: Integral Psychology (06:37)
  • Ken’s critique of postmodernism in his novel Boomeritis (09:05)
  • Ken’s new book would often address the flaws in his last book (13:28)
  • What Ken’s The Marriage of Sense and Soul intended to do: how to integrate value-free science with value-laden religion? (14:40)
  • And how do we mitigate the clash of civilizations, the war of worldviews? (19:01)
  • How psychology uses the scientific method to develop our interiors and help heal our fractured culture (20:52)
  • Ken’s theory is based upon the reality of his transpersonal awareness (22:04)
  • The need for integral leaders to permeate our institutions and establish global reconciliation—otherwise there will be a regression (23:39)
  • History is calling on us as a collective to address the pathologies we haven’t addressed or we will lose our democracy and regress down the spectrum of consciousness (25:16)
  • Integral is really about encouraging people to be their best selves, to be inclusive; it’s a way of securing the rights of liberty and justice (27:32)
  • Ken’s most recent publications, The Religion of Tomorrow, A Post-Truth World, and Revolutionary Social Transformation (29:33)
  • Every generation has the responsibility to allow for higher development of human consciousness (35:01)
  • The importance of BEING integral, not just thinking integral (36:02)
  • Roger’s thank you to Brad for synthesizing Ken’s work and the value of integral so beautifully (36:47)