Ken Wilber

Who is Ken Wilber?

According to Jack Crittenden Ph.D., author of Beyond Individualism,the twenty-first century literally has three choices: Aristotle, Nietzsche, or Ken Wilber.”  If you haven’t already heard of him, Ken Wilber is one of the most important philosophers in the world today.  He is the most widely translated academic writer in America, with 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages.  Ken Wilber currently lives in Denver, Colorado, and is still active as a philosopher, author, and teacher, with all of his major publications still in print. 


Tony Schwartz, the president, founder, and CEO of The Energy Project, and the author of What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America, has referred to Wilber as “the most comprehensive philosophical thinker of our times.” 


Roger Walsh M.D., Ph.D., the well known professor of Psychiatry, Philosophy, and Anthropology at UCI’s College of Medicine, believes “Ken Wilber is one of the greatest philosophers of this century and arguably the greatest theoretical psychologist of all time.


And in commenting on the scope and impact of Ken Wilber’s philosophy Mitchell Kapor, founder of Lotus Development and the co-founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, mentions that “After reading Wilber, it is impossible to imagine looking at the world the same way again”.


What makes Ken Wilber especially relevant in today’s world is that he is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.  As Wilber himself puts it: “I'd like to think of it as one of the first believable world philosophies...” Incorporating cultural studies, anthropology, systems theory, developmental psychology, biology, and spirituality, it has been applied in fields as diverse as ecology, sustainability, psychotherapy, psychiatry, education, business, medicine, politics, sports, and art.


"If ordinary people don't perceive that our grand ideas are working in their lives then they can't develop the higher level of consciousness, to use a term that American philosopher Ken Wilber wrote a whole book about. He said, you know, the problem is the world needs to be more integrated, but it requires a consciousness that's way up here, and an ability to see beyond the differences among us."
-President Bill Clinton

Wilber explains the need for an Integral Approach in the following way: In our current post-modern world, we possess an abundance of methodologies and practices belonging to a multitude of fields and knowledge traditions. What is utterly lacking however, is a coherent organization, and coordination, of all these various practices, as well as their respective data-sets. What is needed is an approach that moves beyond this indiscriminate eclectic-pluralism, to an “Integral Methodological Pluralism”driving toward a genuine “theory of everything” that helps to enrich and deepen every field through an understanding of exactly how and where each one fits in relation to all the others. Through the Integral approach, we reveal the previously unseen possibilities for a better, more compassionate, and more sustainable future for all of us.


In short, the Integral Approach is the coherent organization, coordination, and  harmonization of all of the relevant practices, methodologies, and experiences, available to human beings.  Ken Wilber states “You can’t [realistically] honor various methods and fields, without showing how they fit together. That is how to make a genuine world philosophy”


Ken Wilber is also the founder of the Integral Institute which is the first organization fully dedicated to advancement and application of the Integral Approach in relation to contemporary global issues. It was formed in collaboration with over 200 scholars and experts, specializing in education, politics, business, medicine, psychology, spirituality, as well as, law and criminal justice. The Integral Institute is currently partnered with Fielding Graduate University.


In 2007 Wilber co-founded Integral Life, a social media-hub dedicated to sharing the integral vision with the world wide community, as well as documenting and catalyzing the progress of the integral movement. 


Books and Resources:

Virtually all of Wilber’s published works are available through and Shambhala Publications. Shambhala provides an Integral Theory Primer intended as series of recommendations for those who are new to Wilber’s work ( 


A variety of video and audio content featuring dialogues, interviews, and discussions of Integral Theory is available through the individual websites of Integral Life, Sounds True, and Core Integral.


Most recently, Ken Wilber and the Integral Life team, in collaboration with Shambhala Publications, have been putting together a compendium of some of the most important dialogues and interviews, featuring the exploration and application of Integral Theory. This compendium will soon be published in the form of a book based on the Integral Naked dialogues.


Integral Life is also producing an exhaustive video biography that seeks to celebrate Ken Wilber’s legacy as a philosopher, practitioner, and visionary, while also exploring the impact his work continues to have upon global culture.


With regards to his body of writing, Wilber states, “I have, for convenience, divided my overall work into four general phases” with the fourth phase being the first truly or “comprehensively integral.”  Some of the most exemplary books from this period are Sex, Ecology, Spirituality and The Eye of Spirit.  In addition, A Brief History of Everything and A Theory of Everything are both excellent condensed presentations to Wilber’s fourth, or “truly integrative”, phase. Both The Eye of Spirit, and A Theory of Everything include examples of pragmatic and field-specific applications of the Integral Approach.


By far the most accessible and recent introductory summary of Wilber’s Integral Approach is presented in The Integral Vision.  And Kosmic Consciousness by Sounds True is the most commonly referenced audio introduction to the Integral Approach, covering all of its essentials.    


Some critics have tentatively added a fifth and latest phase, referred to as the “Post-Metaphysical turn” in Wilber’s work, even though the origins of this turn are evident in Wilber’s earlier writings. The most notable book exemplifying Wilber’s Post-Metaphysics and the implementation of his Integral Methodological Pluralism is Integral Spirituality.


Detailed writings from this fifth phase can also be found in Wilber’s unpublished works; Excerpts A through G, available for free on and The excerpts, which house some of Wilber’s most important and recent thought, belong to what he refers to as Volume II of his Kosmos Trilogy, the first of which is his magnum opus Sex Ecology Spirituality. Furthermore, a complete archive of all end notes, sidebars, excerpts, and works in progress can also be found on these aforementioned websites.


Noteworthy works from earlier phases of Wilber’s writings include, A Sociable God, The Atman Project, Up From Eden, Eye to Eye, and Transformations of Consciousness. Wilber himself notes that the essential components of these works are all taken up in his later phases and that his works “form a fairly coherent sequence, each building on and incorporating its predecessor(s).


It ultimately does not matter where one begins, so long as one can resonate with the drive and impetus underlying Wilber’s integral vision. The body of his work can be summarized as, progressively more complex and more inclusive elucidations of how all the important knowledge traditions, practices, and experiences available to human beings fit together, into a fully comprehensive understanding of the world, that does not leave out any of the essentials. In his works, Wilber repeatedly demonstrates how different truth-claims, different verification methods, and different experiences are all actually reconcilable, mutually enriching, and already all present in a world spacious enough to house them all. 


Ken's Body of Work:

Integral Life Practice

The Integral Vision

Integral Spirituality
Amazon | iBooks

The Simple Feeling of Being
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Amazon | iBooks

Integral Psychology
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A Theory of Everything
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One Taste
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The Essential Ken Wilber
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The Marriage of Sense and Soul
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The Eye of Spirit
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A Brief History of Everything
Amazon | iBooks

Sex, Ecology, Spirituality
Amazon | iBooks

Grace and Grit

Quantum Questions
Amazon | iBooks

Eye to Eye
Amazon | iBooks

Up From Eden

No Boundary
Amazon | iBooks

The Spectrum of Consciousness

The Atman Project



Thu, 04/10/2014

Miriam Mason Martineau talks to Ken Wilber about her exquisite web-course, Parenting as a Spiritual Practice — An Integral Evolutionary Approach to Parenting.

Tue, 03/25/2014

Transformation: all religions are grounded in it, and today all religions need it the most. Considering how entrenched and calcified our religious institutions tend to be, it's likely to come largely from the community itself—which is why we are so excited that our friend Tom Thresher is bringing one of the few methodologies known to facilitate genuine transformation to precisely these communities. Listen as Tom talks to Ken Wilber about his Transformational Inquiry program, applying Robert Kegan's "Immunity to Change" work to faith communities around the world.

Mon, 03/24/2014

Ken's newest eBook, The Fourth Turning: Imagining the Future of an Integral Buddhism, is now available to purchase. This eBook is a summarized version of a larger book that will be published by Shambhala in 2015, and is available right now on Shambhala's website as well as other major eBook vendors.

Mon, 03/17/2014
The Loft Series

From the lowest depths to the highest peaks, there is no place our shadow will not follow us, even into the heart of nonduality itself. In this exclusive sneak peek of his upcoming book, The Fourth Turning: Imagining the Evolution of an Integral Buddhism (due to be published in 2015), Ken Wilber offers a guided tour through the major states of consciousness described by all the world’s spiritual traditions, while pointing out the many ways that our shadows can impede or even sabotage our efforts to contact and stabilize these states.

Mon, 03/10/2014

Pay what you want for four extraordinary dialogues, featuring Ken Wilber, Chris Grosso, Rick Rubin, and Saul Williams.

Sun, 03/09/2014

From a recovering addict, musician, and tattooed indie culturist: Indie Spiritualist is a guidebook for today’s generation of spiritual misfits who crave a dogma-free path. Drawing on his punk rock roots and question-everything mindset, Grosso offers a collection of stories and musings about his meandering journey of self-inquiry, recovery, and acceptance. Listen as Chris and Ken offer their own "no bullshit" exploration of this remarkable book.

Tue, 02/25/2014
Integral Post

Ken Wilber's foreword to Frederic Laloux's book, Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness.

Mon, 02/10/2014

In this extraordinary 5-hour discussion, Frederic Laloux and Ken Wilber take an extensive tour through Frederic’s groundbreaking new book, Reinventing Organizations, which offers an in-depth look at many integrally-structured organizations that are beginning to emerge all across the planet, while outlining three major breakthroughs shared by these organizations: self-management, striving for wholeness, and listening to evolutionary purpose.

Mon, 02/03/2014

Ken Wilber discusses the idea of "Basic Moral Intuition" (BMI) with the Integral Without Borders team—the idea that everyone has a general intuition of morality, but each person has to actually bring it into practice and make it relevant in one's own unique context. "The intuition is given; the unpacking is our moral dilemma, always," says Ken Wilber. How can this understanding help us make better choices for ourselves and for the world? Listen to find out!

Sun, 01/19/2014

Tibetan Buddhism is unique among religious traditions for its “turnings,” the recognition of its own evolutionary unfolding. Whereas most of the world’s religious institutions are purposely designed to preserve tradition and withstand the pressures of an ever-changing world, Buddhism is often praised for its ability to evolve as new knowledge and wisdom comes to light. Is Buddhism now ripe for yet another turning of the wheel?