In this episode of The Ken Show we explore one of the oldest and, in many ways, most profound and consequential philosophical questions in history: what is the nature of “free will”, and is it ultimately just an illusion?
“Daemon” is a Greek word that, in classical mythology, refers to “a god within,” one’s inner deity or guiding spirit, also known as a genii or jinn, the tutelary deity or genius of a person; one’s daemon or genii is also said to be synonymous with one’s fate or fortune.
Jeff is joined by Cindy Wigglesworth and Corey deVos, and together they dive deeply into the rich mythology and mysticism of the Star Wars universe — sharing their personal connection to Star Wars, their integral appreciation of its central themes and principles, and their best guesses as to where the Force may be taking us next.
Does the film Dunkirk qualify as integral art? What the hell is “integral art”, anyway?
Part mystic, part alien, part genius, and part octopus, Q was the perfect person to talk to about subjects that seem out of place in a conversation about djing. He’s delightfully bizarre and I knew talking with him would make for some great conversation. For me, interviewing him was a form of deity practice (how do you talk to a God about being God?) and I am genuinely appreciative for him allowing me to see through his eyes for a minute.
Hiphop is largely studied from the outside in. We enjoy the music, the art and the dance. We judge, argue, evaluate and rank it, but not much attention is paid to what happens inside the artist. The 4th Spinning is an attempt to look at Hiphop from an Integral perspective, which simply means exploring the inside-and-outside of individuals (behavior, psychology and spirituality), and the inside-and-outside of groups (culture and society), to not only understand but to manifest Hiphop in all of its fullness.
Can food be transformative? In this first-of-its-kind integral review of Michelin 3-star restaurant Joel Robuchon, Robb Smith explores why the world’s best dining has always been at the center of his aesthetic Integral Life Practice, and what integrative metatheory brings to a night at one of the world’s best restaurants.
Sutras is an hour-long musical meditation that includes spoken word pieces by Alex Grey, Ken Wilber, Lama Surya Das, Sally Kempton, and Alan Watts. A synaesthetic journey through gross, subtle, causal, and nondual realms. Sonic tonic for your aching body, mind, and soul. Liberation upon hearing.
In this fascinating New York Times Op-Doc, noted photographer Phil Toledano takes us on precisely this 3-year journey within himself, confronting all the various ways he can grow old, disease, wither, and die. At first blush it seems like Mr. Toledano’s project was custom-designed to address only his deep fears and neuroses. But don’t blink, or you might miss the ways his project speaks to what is universal in each of us.
Art is often the leading edge of cultural and conscious evolution, and jazz today continues to lead the way. Listen as Greg Thomas takes us through the history of jazz — from its roots in the magic, mythic and traditional interiors of African Americans at the turn of the last century, through the modern and postmodern strains of the mid and late 20th Century, to the more wild wooly contemporary scene.
There are few experiences in life as satisfying as the poetry of Jalal ad-Din Rumi, which for many is the spiritual equivalent of enjoying a piece of rich delicious chocolate, listening to Bach, or perhaps sipping a glass of fine red wine. In this extraordinary performance you will hear Rumi as you never have before — through the resonant, whiskey-and-syrup voice of Coleman Barks, a preeminent poet, scholar, and interpreter of Rumi’s work, and the music of Grammy-winning artist David Darling.
Ken Wilber explains how we can connect with the creative spark at the core of every moment, and how we can harness that creativity to manifest our own unique vision and purpose in our lives.
The first track from Stuart’s album, Songbook of the Dead .
Steve Beckett is the founder and owner of Warp Records, located at the epicenter of the electronic music revolution for decades. Founded in 1989, Warp has worked with some of the most groundbreaking and influential artists in the world: Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Autechre, Squarepusher, LFO, Nightmares on Wax, Boards of Canada, Brian Eno, and dozens of other electronic pioneers, all of whom have stretched our minds (and our eardrums) in ways we never imagined possible. Steve also happens to be an accomplished integral coach and a longtime fan of Ken Wilber’s work, as he discusses with host Stuart Davis.
The content of these marvelous works ranges vastly from the kosmic to the micro, from tantric beloved to sacred civics, from expansions of consciousness to reconfigurations of our three bodies.
“Lets try an experiment. Feel into who You really are for a moment. Relax into You. Imagine we are holding a conversation and you are telling me all about You. You may start telling me about what you love, when you feel alive, or some of the rich life experiences you have had. You may end up telling me some of your story. As you speak, I am using every sensory faculty I can muster to feel into the fullness and freedom of who You really are. Im listening beyond the words you say. I’m stretching out to feel You. I’m also listening to God. Then, I feel you inside me as a cascade of colour and form: I sense the unique symphony of light and the quality of energy that is you and You alone.”
Empty Spaces is an 80-minute musical meditation, featuring Alex Grey, Ken Wilber, Sally Kempton, and Alan Watts. A soundtrack for Dark Nights. Liberation upon hearing.
“I used to do some research before creating an artwork, now I only “submerge” and begin working, knowing and trusting the magical force that operates this awesome universe. I make the analogy that I have never seen a bird taking a flying course, it comes with all the equipment and skills it needs to cross an ocean without fear of getting lost. I believe if we consider that our origin is beyond our human comprehension, then we need to trust our “heart’s compass”. At the end we are travelers passing by. As someone stated, “we are spiritual beings having a human experience”.
Alex Grey offers a riveting tour through some of his most significant works, offering unique insight into his creative process, his personal inspirations and influences, and his most profound psychedelic experiences.
For artist Michael Welch, the myth of being pierced by love’s arrow is an allegory of a shift in consciousness beyond one’s control, Desire taking hold and pointing one into Mystery. If we are too literal about the myth, he warns, the power of the arrow “loses its transformative power and becomes lethal.”
Diana Calvario’s art weaves stunning imagery of nature, culture, divine beings, dream states, macro and micro scales of order, into remarkable evocations of creative emergence. Within the Kosmic flows of nested holarchies, what might be the interactive, energetic, and meaningful interplays of these various elements? Calvario’s art shows us the ever emergent circuits of this dance, and does so with profound invention, beauty and grace. Hers is an art that has the unique power to rewire and enhance one’s integral soul—a great achievement and singular aesthetic gift.
I am struck by the energy of things… the pulse in the seed that signals germination, the whisper of spirit that guides leaves toward sunlight, the dynamic forces that twist wind into tornados, blast volcanic mountain tops skyward, devour stars and birth galaxies. It is from here that I begin to paint. It is by this energy that painting flows through me toward the creation of a charged, symbolic iconography. Visual Medicine.
Grab a snack, turn off your phone, and enjoy this groundbreaking exploration of the cinematic arts.
Alex Grey and Ken Wilber take us on a breathtaking journey through five of Alex’s paintings — Gaia, Net of Being, Cosmic Christ, Light Walker, and Theologue — offering an intimate glimpse into the creative process, the nature of reality, and the unique capacity art possesses to awaken the viewer with a single glance.
Click images to enlarge
This is a soundtrack for psychonauts, an adventure through shifting tones, textures, and soundscapes. Do not listen if you suffer from irrational fears of the future. Experiences of bliss, involuntary dancing, and spontaneous dropping of the bodymind are normal. If any of these symptoms persist, continue use and consult your metaphysician immediately.
We are very happy to present the following dialogue with a living legend of the jazz world: Pat Martino. Hosted by Greg Thomas, Pat shares some of the deepest depths of his inspiration, his vision, and his creative process, all of which has made him one of the most remarkable performers in the jazz scene.
Mark DeKay talks to Ken Wilber about his new book Integral Sustainable Design, exploring the world of architecture and design through the lens of the Four Quadrants. Listen as Mark and Ken explore the deepest and most profound potentials of Integral design and architecture.
In early May of 2011, Alex and Allyson Grey stopped by Ken’s loft for an afternoon of catch-up and conversation. This is a spontaneous iPad recording of the meeting, offering you a chance to sit in with some of the most important creative minds of our time.
Chris Huang’s art celebrates animals in the wild. His paintings reveal these creatures not as mirrors of our own humanity, but as radiant Others, at home in their Kosmic habitats, mysterious living beings of Spirit who are to be encountered in reverential awe and wonder.
Kelli Bickman’s art is characterized by vivid shapes, dynamic patterning, minimal modeling, and luminous color, all of which generates a childlike style of directness and immediacy. This is an art that weaves together religious, natural, and popular imagery, written characters from various languages, archetypal figures, and diagrammatic signs into coherent communicative wholes. Diverse modes of symbolization are integrated into scintillating orders of revelatory meaning.
Coleman Barks and Stuart Davis explore the powerful cultural and spiritual legacy left by one of the world’s most famous and most beloved spiritual writers, as well as Coleman’s own creative process as he works with this fascinating material.
How should we go about finding meaning in art? Should we ask the artist herself, or is everything we need to understand a piece of art already contained in the artwork itself? Does meaning exist only in the observer, thereby varying from viewer to viewer? Or is the meaning of art determined by the circumstances surrounding the artist? Listen as Ken Wilber describes each of these major schools of interpretation, how they originated, and how they all fit together into a more cohesive vision of art and aesthetics.
“I open myself to all experience as a path to remembering divinity. In my desire to share my experiences along this path, I paint that which I find difficult to express in words. May you find yourself feeling invited into experience.”
De Es’s art de-familiarizes our taken for granted sense of what it means to be human. Please take your time to allow these subtle and profound images to crack your soul wide open to the sheer mystery and extraordinary gifts of being here now, just as you are.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the figure beautifully rendered and by pattern and decoration. In my new work, I focus on these two interests: my figure studies are given a context within the designs found in erotic Japanese “Shunga” prints, Persian miniatures and the pattern traditions of Eastern Art: realism and pattern/Eastern and Western aesthetics.”
Ken Wilber is the Olo’eyktan of the AQ’AL clan. He is the teller of many tales, all of which can be accessed at your local Tree of Souls. Here he offers a long-awaited review of James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster, Avatar! (Warning: spoilers…!)
“My art is a true expression of the creativity that lives inside of me. This creativity is a gift, and I am honored to have been chosen for it. My hope is that my art identifies with the creativity that lives within you, and that it somehow inspires you to seek your creative self.”
“An Artist romps around in the mystery like a child plays alone in his own backyard, imagining and making up his own rules and reality. An Artist romps around in the mystery like an animal roams the woods, curious and wide-eyed and alert. An Artist romps around in the mystery like an explorer traversing an unknown land, excited, careful and fully alive.”
Alain de Botton and Stuart Davis discuss the many ways architecture affects our moods, minds, and identities, shaping our experiences and bending our will according to the patterns of society. Together they help us recognize all the ways we are influenced by our surroundings, allowing us to deepen our relationship with history and more consciously engage our environment in the present moment.
Zach Lind from Jimmy Eat World offers a fascinating glimpse into some of the inspiration behind the band’s distinctive sound, as well as a personal tour through his own upbringing in a conservative Baptist household. He and Ken then discuss an Integral approach to understanding spirituality, religion, and fundamentalism, paving the way forward for Christianity in the 21st Century. Zach and Ken also talk about his experiences touring with bands like Green Day and Blink 182, expanding Jimmy Eat World’s already distinctive sound in the studio, and balancing his stardom with his life at home as a husband and a father.
Jim James and Ken Wilber discuss the spectacular rise of My Morning Jacket, examining the circumstances and intentions behind each of their albums, tracking the band’s career from their humble beginnings to their latest forays into rock stardom. They take a look at the personal side of Jim’s career, exploring some of the more difficult aspects of maintaining one’s relationships, sanity, and integrity amidst the mania of the rock and roll lifestyle, and reflect on the role that rock music often plays as the primary source of spiritual experience and connection for a great many people in the world.
Saul Williams talks to Ken Wilber about his album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust. Listen as they take an in-depth look at many of the songs on the album, while discussing Saul’s creative process and his experience of live performance.
Few bands in recent history have done more to express idealism and authenticity in music than Pearl Jam. In this far-reaching interview with guitarist Stone Gossard, we are offered an insider’s view of the gritty origins of grunge music, the iconic rise of the “most popular band of the 90’s,” and the struggles of maintaining one’s artistic ideals in the vertigo of sudden fame.
For two decades, Steve Whitmire has served as the performer behind the world’s beloved Kermit the Frog as well as other famous Muppets and Sesame Street characters. In this two-part dialogue, he discusses the impact the Integral vision has had upon his own life, career, and creativity, and opens the door to a possible future of explicitly Integral puppetry….
The co-creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender, one of the most entertaining — and enlightening — animated shows on television, shares the story behind Avatar and why working on Family Guy just wasn't enough.
The creator of some of the most transcendent art of our time explores why it is necessary to go beyond the faded postmodern milieu of today’s art world, how psychedelics can play a role in discovering and manifesting one’s deeper realms of being, and how the “two kinds of higher” can impact artists and their work.
Ken Wilber, Ed Kowalczyk, and Stuart Davis met at the Ken Wilber’s house in Boulder for a special meeting focusing on Integral Art and Transformative Practice. What followed was an afternoon of vibrant discussion and electrifying performances, centered on the themes: What is the relation of art and transformation? How can art be part of an integral transformative practice?
Rick Rubin, MTV’s “most important white boy in hip-hop,” has produced some of the most influential and creative albums of the past two decades with artists like The Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Slayer, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, System of a Down, Nine Inch Nails, Audioslave, Jay-Z, Saul Williams — and the list just keeps on going. Here Rick and Ken discuss why truly great music almost always transcends our concepts of genre, before waxing philosophic about rock, romance, and the potential perils of paternity….
Listen as Julia Ormond talks to Ken Wilber about her experiences as an actress, as well as the psychotherapeutic work and “ordeal by vulnerability” that is intrinsic to an art that derives its prima mater from the fertile ground of the actor him/herself….
The Matrix trilogy is the most successful cinematic venture of the past several decades — together, all three films have grossed over three billion dollars worldwide, an impressive accomplishment within any genre (let alone science fiction.) The attention of audiences worldwide has certainly been captured by the mind-bending storyline and phenomenal special effects, but the perennial question remains: What does it all mean?
Ed Kowalczyk, the lead singer and songwriter for the acclaimed rock band Live, talks with Stuart Davis about music, creativity, and performance as a powerful form of spiritual practice — a means to transcend self and contact Self.
Serj Tankian, lead singer of System of a Down, talks to Ken Wilber about the intersection between art and politics, discussing some of the most important aspects of his life that contribute to the “post-everything” bouquet of sound that is System of a Down.
Integral Life has, as one of its primary concerns, the resurrection of the avant garde—the idea, the movement, and the practice. In this far-reaching, sharp, and insightful dialogue, Billy Corgan and Ken discuss the nature and meaning of the avant garde, using Billy’s own career as a touchstone for the discussion.
When Ken and Saul first met, they talked nonstop for four hours, only interrupted because Saul had a gig. All Ken said about that meeting was, “That might be the most beautiful human being I’ve ever met.” This isn’t that conversation, but it’s still pretty awesome. Please join us in sitting with this extraordinary soul….
In this intimate discussion of the heart of a rock and roll (that actually has heart), Eddie talks about how the very essence of an authentic performance is awakening and sharing with the audience a glimpse into that oneness that is everybody’s natural condition. If you don’t think rock and roll can do this, you haven’t heard Live.
In this classic dialogue — so classic, in fact, it is the very first dialogue we ever published! — Stuart Davis discusses his music and creative process in intimate detail and offers an intimate performance of 8 of his songs, including a incredibly touching version of “Swim”, based on the death of Treya Killam Wilber.