Intro to Integral Theory: A Cross-Cultural Comprehensive Map of Human Growth

What is Integral Theory?

Integral theory attempts to answer the question: How can we make sense of the mass of information in the world? “Today, not only are people geographically mobile, but we can study, and have studied, virtually every known culture on the planet. In the global village, all cultures are exposed to each other,” claims author and integral philosopher Ken Wilber. What this means, Wilber says, is that “for the first time, the sum total of human knowledge—premodern, modern, and postmodern—is available to us.”

Given that we have access to basically all human knowledge and culture, what should we do? Intending to solve this problem, Wilber has created a comprehensive cross-cultural map that includes the best elements of all human knowledge and culture. He claims such a map gives us “the critical essential keys to human growth,” and helps you “see yourself and the world in more comprehensive and effective ways.” Wilber calls the comprehensive map of human growth he’s been researching and developing for the last 40 years “integral theory,” or the “integral approach.”

According to Wilber, there are 5 key elements that span all models of human growth and frame his comprehensive map: quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types.

Quadrants—the 4 fundamental dimensions of the world. 

Levels—stages of psychological, cultural, physical, and social growth.

Lines—intelligences and capacities that develop through stages. 

States—states of consciousness. 

Types—styles of thinking, relating, and living. 

Some supporters of integral theory are Bill and Hillary Clinton, The Wachowski sisters (the creators of The Matrix), musician Alanis Morissette, Al Gore, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, and painter Alex Grey.

Want to learn more about integral theory? Check out the audio version of Ken Wilber’s life-changing book A Brief History of Everythingin which he provides an in-depth explanation of integral theory in a reader friendly way. It will surely change your world!

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