Kosmos: An Integral Voyage

Ken Wilber Cognitive, Editor's Picks, Existential, Futurism, Perspectives, Science & Technology, Space-time, Spirituality, The Ken Show, Video, Worldviews 3 Comments

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Ken Wilber and Corey deVos ponder the evolutionary mysteries of the universe, speculating on how abundant life might be in the kosmos, why we haven’t met any of our galactic neighbors yet, and what might happen if a UFO landed on the White House lawn. It’s a fun conversation — and one that takes its subject matter more seriously than you might expect. Whether you are a true believer of UFO phenomena or an iron-clad skeptic, you don’t want to miss this fascinating and far-reaching exploration.


he universe — it’s big. No, that’s an understatement. It’s very big. It can be a bit much, really. There’s just a whole lot of it, and it’s got a whole lot of stuff in it. Way more nothing than stuff, truth be told, but still. It’s more stuff than you can shake a stick at.

It’s a pretty weird place too. Like how we can only see 5% of it. What’s up with the other 95%? Nobody knows. That’s weird.

And even the stuff we can see is weird. It grows, it shines, it twists and dances and undulates and sometimes makes other weird stuff like love and helicopters and neckties. And that’s just the stuff that we know about. Who knows how weird the other stuff is?

Fortunately, not too long ago, a bunch of weird talking monkeys started poking around in an otherwise unremarkable corner of the universe, and over the years those monkeys have come up with all sorts of weird explanations in order to to make sense of the whole ordeal.

We are here today with one of those talking monkeys, a particularly hairless hominid named Ken Wilber who has gathered all of those different explanations of the universe and combined them all into one really big explanation of the universe — something he calls “a theory of everything”. But if you remember from a few sentences back, the universe is a terribly big place. So let’s see just how much “everything” we can actually fit in there.

Written by Corey deVos
Music by Stuart Davis

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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”.

Corey deVos

About Corey deVos

Corey W. deVos is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of KenWilber.com. He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996. Corey is also a professional woodworker, and many of his artworks can be found in his VisionLogix art gallery.

Notable Replies

  1. I’m not so sure that ETs would never be interested in visiting us. It’s not that they’re not interested… nay, many might derive great entertainment from watching what is taking place in the zoo that is Planet Clown World. Rather, they cannot visit us, for practical reasons:

    1. The first reason is ROI (Return On Investment). The huge distances have implications within the context of physics, purpose and realizable profit. The nearest star to us is 4 lightyears away. Why would ET throw ET-dollars at expensive projects in order to harness opportunities that are lightyears away? The famous Arecibo narrowbeam transmission of 1974 was directed at NGC6205 25,000 lightyears away, so we can expect a return message in about 50,000 years (500 centuries). ROI (return on investment) of 50K years is NOT a smart investment. Most of our Arecibo investors will likely be dead by the year 51,974 AD.
      More generally, we can state it as axiomatic… no earth-bound investor can possibly derive any profit from any interstellar venture, be it mining, or technology or interstellar trade or warfare. It thus follows that if WE have not thrown money at expensive, impractical projects (Arecibo notwithstanding), then why should THEY?

    2. The second reason is it can kill you. Very fast spaceflight at even a fraction of light speed (say, 0.2c) can be deadly because of the kinetic energy of particle collisions:

    3. The third reason is technology. The physics of spaceflight is one thing (fuel, time of travel, hazards, etc). But what about communication? Existing communication technologies are impractical from the perspective of ROI (which relates to technology limitations, radio transmission range, etc). But what if there were an alternative technology possible that we have not discovered yet? Because we don’t have it, ET can’t reach us.

    BOTTOM LINE: There is NO Fermi paradox. At all. The universe looks to us exactly as it should look, assuming a living, thriving universe with all forms of life in any direction that we care to point our telescopes. Maybe the unreachable distances are Nature’s (or God’s) way of preventing dysfunctional cultures from infecting healthy ones… as it should be… Star Trek’s Prime Directive of non-interference imposed by natural law.

  2. The night before viewing this Kosmos episode of The Ken Show, I had watched the movie “At Eternity’s Gate,” about Van Gogh’s final years painting in Arles, France (which, as an aside, has such a lovely soundtrack composed by Tatiana Lisovskaya). At one point in the movie, as an overlaid narration, Van Gogh (played by Willem Dafoe) said that whenever he looked at a stretch of flat land, he always saw eternity. I related to that, as long lengths of land, whether of fields or a road that disappears into the horizon, put me in touch with the vastness of space, and subsequently, an experience of eternity, which, if we’ve all been paying attention, is a fully present moment of Now-ness.

    So I had the same experience viewing Hubble’s Deep Field of 3,000 galaxies during the Show.

    Great visuals, and an interesting conversation, and as a by-product, I went in search of education about Fermi’s Paradox. Totally fascinating.

    A very (somebody has to say it) far out show!

  3. Avatar for mui mui says:

    When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
    When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
    When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
    When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
    How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
    Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
    In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
    Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

    …this ultimate reality is neither X nor non X nor both or neither… anything you say about it really just off the mark…

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