Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber is one of the world's leading philosophers and in this Note we'll explore some of my favorite Big Ideas on his "Integral Philosophy" —including the REALLY Big Idea of holding multiple perspectives and seeing the partial truths in any situation (rather than always seeing things as "either/or") plus the importance of turning enlightened state experiences into a way of being (hint: you only get there by doing the work).

“In the heart of Emptiness there is a mysterious impulse, mysterious because there is actually nothing in the heart of Emptiness (for there is nothing in Emptiness, period). Yet, there it is, this mysterious impulse, the impulse to … create. To sing, to shine, to radiate; to send forth, reach out, and celebrate; to sing and shout and walk about; to effervesce and bubble over, this mysterious exuberance in the heart of Emptiness.”

~ Ken Wilber from One Taste: July 31

Ken Wilber. The Integral Philosopher (& Mystic). The guy with the intimidating and penetrating stare on the cover of those books of his.

I don’t know about you, but for a couple years I actually avoided his book, A Brief History of Everything, as it stared at me from my bookshelf. A brief history of what?!? And quit looking at me like that, dood!! (If you know the book cover, you know what I’m talking about. :)

My introduction to Ken’s work came with his brilliant interview series with Tami Simon of Sounds True. I remember being blown away by the scope of his vision, his (ridiculous!) ability to communicate complex ideas, and his sense of humor. At one point Tami asked him something along the lines of whether he was enlightened (that wasn’t it but close enough) and his reply was, in effect, that he was still a jerk on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That cracked me up and won me over.

I actually didn’t read my first book of Ken’s until AFTER I’d already spent 8 days in his workshops (I-WET and ILP—highly recommend both) and after I’d spent a couple hours chatting with him in person in Denver. (I was just getting started with Zaadz and we had an awesome chat about all things Integral/community/Internet.)

Although not an Integral-wonk, my worldview has fundamentally shifted thanks to Ken and his awesome team at the Integral Institute. I owe a huge debt to them for what I’ve learned and how I’ve transformed—intellectually and in my day-to-day life.

In this Note, I’m not going to go into any level of detail on the theory (for those in the know: I’m not even going to talk about AQAL (gasp!))—the new Integral Vision book is an awesome intro to all that stuff. Instead, I’m going to fill up these few pages with some of my favorite Big Ideas that we can apply to our lives today.

In the process, if you’re new to Ken’s work, I hope to inspire you to get into it and if you’re already an Integral wonk, I hope to inspire you to find even more ways to LIVE the Integral ideas and ideals that have captured our attention.

Enough of my soliloquy. Let’s get to work.

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About the authors


Ken Wilber

Author, Philosopher, Thinker, Teacher

Brian Johnson

Founder + CEO of Heroic