What Are the Four Quadrants?

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Quadrants3The universe, we are told, is winding down. Nothing escapes the remorseless grasp of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics—and with each passing moment, our world, our solar system, indeed our entire galaxy slowly approaches its inevitable heat-death. However, this is not the full story, for while the universe is winding down, it is also winding up, bringing forth new forms from old, adding new layers of complexity where there was once only an empty vacuum—from atoms to molecules, to living cells, to multi-cellular organisms, and all the way up to the complex triune brain enjoyed by human beings. But it is not just physical matter that is evolving! Alongside the increasing complexification of the material world, evolution brings forth novelty in at least three other dimensions, particularly evident within human evolution: we see the evolution of systems, the evolution of cultural worldviews, and the evolution of consciousness itself.

Taken together, we notice a rich mosaic of evolutionary emergence, in at least four important dimensions: subjective and objective development in both individuals and collectives. This gives rise to Wilber’s famous “Four Quadrant” map, one of a handful of basic components that comprise the Integral model. The Integral approach helps to reveal some of the deepest patterns running through all human knowledge, showing the relationships that exist between physical evolution, systemic evolution, cultural evolution, and conscious evolution.

From The Ken Wilber Biography Series

Ken Wilber

About Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber is a preeminent scholar of the Integral stage of human development. He is an internationally acknowledged leader, founder of Integral Institute, and co-founder of Integral Life. Ken is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative world philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.