What's your biggest disagreement with Integral theory?


Hello, Kernotto, I am with you on this. It seems to be a cognitive bias built into the psyche of Homo Sapiens that we tend to assume progress has peaked with us. Even though we now “know” (or think we know) that the physical universe has a 13.8 billion year track record of producing systems of ever greater complexity, most of us seem to assume that things can only go downhill from here.

I am thinking of an anecdote about one of the great physicists of a little over a century ago. (Maybe one of you reading this can supply the name and a more accurate story? Max Planck, perhaps? I’m relying on a vague memory here). This man is supposed to have advised an up-and-coming young scientist not to go into physics. All the important stuff had already been discovered. Go into biology instead, was his advice, where great discoveries were still to be make. All that was left to do in physics was a few peripheral unsolved problems – such as black-body radiation. Then along came the Curies, and Einstein, and quantum mechanics, and now here we are, wrestling with string theory and dark matter and dark energy and quantum gravity which posits eight dimensions for heaven’s sake.

As a historian by training I know so many instances in so many ages where people just assume that of course it’s all going to go downhill from here, without questioning how we got “here” in the first place. Maybe now with Integral and second tier and all that we can learn to question this assumption.

While I’m at it, and speaking of quantum gravity, what about the assumption that “of course” there are only three dimensions? 250 years ago no one had any idea that there was more to light than the visible spectrum. Now we know that the visible range is only a tiny part of the entire electro-magnetic spectrum. Why should we assume that there are only three dimensions, merely because that’s all we are personally aware of? Assuming just four or five dimensions leaves room for all sorts of experiential phenomena that are considered “paranormal” or “metaphysical.”

Of course it is entirely honest to say that one prefers to stick with stuff that one can verify with one’s own sensory or intellectual apparatus. The scientific method is one of the greatest achievements of humanity, IMHO. But let’s also leave the door open for all the stuff we don’t know yet, and don’t even know that we don’t know. And let’s be careful not to invalidate other peoples’ experiences in the left two quadrants.

That’s my two cents’ worth.


Thank you very very much for clarifying this, Robb. It helps a lot.


Thanks for your sacrifice @robb. Your effort is appreciated and say a big thanks to your Mrs for us. Blessings. #yes,and… #infinitelove


Dear @frank I really find this thread interesting and also a little perplexing. It seems to me that this argument has been going since the Renaissance and the birth of modern science. I’m very new to Ken’s work so I am responding based only on my limited understanding of IT . And I am an engineer with some little training in science. I do have a bias also as I am spiritual.

My interpretation of IT is that it doesn’t claim to offer a complete detailed answer to all questions and I guess the Theory of Everything nickname could be misleading for some.

While I am spiritual Believe me I have many times doubted the existence of a God. I admire you coolheaded scientific rationalism very much and that of science which has brought is so many amazing benefits.

Ken Wilber seems to clearly articulate that he is no expert of everything and seems quite comfortable and confident that his logic is generally sound and he bases much of his deductions on the sound work of other researchers and scientists. I’m OK with that.

Yes he does put a lot of emphasis on spirituality and I understand how annoying that could be for someone without a religious aptitude and who is steeped in the physical sciences.

However lets accept the maybe Wilburs lifestyle and background has given him this bias and perhaps he is somewhat blindsided by it. I think he is aiming to present a framework of understanding of our universe that allows a place for every bias, every reality now understood , theoretical , imagined or not even yet imagined @Kernotto .

I have a small chuckle inside when I see an advertisement for the latest laptop or mobile phone (while I write this on my phone) how this new device will revolutionise your life . This dumb thing with some buttons and a pretty screen. And we’d prefer to Facebook than go outside and look at the sky and ocean. I realise what we know about the universe is about how much my phone understands about my fingernail. Please don’t take this as a criticism of scientists, who make amazing breakthroughs everyday, but it is an acknowlegement of the vastness of the universe and acknowledging how much we have yet to discover. Someone has already made this point, but I think it bears repeating.

I am trying to be compassionate as I discuss professional rivalry and competitiveness. It is pervasive in the business world and many walks of professional life. One has to be cautious when being critical of others work. I really like the #yes,and… philosophy which pays respect for things one can agree to and also the things one may disagree to…AND…(as against BUT) here is what I can add to your work to expand on it or evolve it. There is so much in how things are expressed which gives it a positive flavour.

Am I making any sense here without being too direct?

I wish you all the best in your research and life endeavours. Blessings. #Yes,and… #infinitelove.