The Many Ways We Grow

Ken Wilber Integral Basics, Integrative Metatheory, Perspectives, Psychology, The Ken Show, Video Leave a Comment

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n the previous episode of The Ken Show, we offered a guided tour through the major levels of development, using film clips as a way to illustrate some of the views, values, and leadership styles associated with each of those stages. In this episode, we explore some of the different intelligences and capacities that actually develop through these stages.

The idea is fairly simple. Human development is uneven, which means that we are better at some things than we are at others. Some skills come more naturally to us, and others are more difficult to acquire. These strengths and weaknesses are determined by a number of “developmental lines” or “multiple intelligences” that each evolve through multiple stages of increasing complexity and competency. They are, in essence, a series of adaptive intelligences that have naturally evolved in order to answer the core questions faced by human beings. For example:

  • What am I aware of? (The cognitive line of development.)
  • What do I need? (The needs line)
  • Who am I? (Self-identity)
  • What is important to me? (Values)
  • What is the good thing to do? (Ethics)
  • What is the right thing to do? (Morals)
  • How do I feel about this? (Emotional intelligence)
  • How should we interact? (Interpersonal)
  • How should I introspect? (Intrapersonal)
  • How should I physically do this? (Kinesthetic)
  • What is of ultimate concern to me? (Spirituality)
  • What is it that I am attracted to? (Aesthetics)
  • What can I do? (Volitional)

There is a fairly easy way to represent these intelligences or multiple lines. For example, in the graphic below, we have drawn a simple graph showing the major stages (or levels of development), arranged according to the colors of the rainbow. And we have selected six of the most researched intelligences (or lines of development). Through the major stages or levels of development, the various lines unfold. These levels or stages can apply to any developmental line — sexual, cognitive, spiritual, emotional, moral, and so on.

Next, in the figure below, we use a simple 3-stage model (e.g. prepersonal, personal, transpersonal) and a handful of lines to represent somebody who excels in cognitive development and is good at interpersonal development, but does poorly in moral intelligence and really poorly in emotional intelligence. Other individuals would, of course, have a different “psychograph.”


The psychograph helps to spot where your greatest potentials are. You very likely already know what you excel in and what you don’t. But part of the Integral Approach is learning to refine considerably this knowledge of your own contours, so that you can more confidently deal with both your own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of others.

The psychograph also helps us spot the ways that virtually all of us are unevenly developed, and thus helps prevent us from thinking that just because we are terrific in one area we must be terrific in all the others. In fact, usually the opposite. More than one leader, spiritual teacher, or politician has spectacularly crashed through lack of an understanding of these simple realities.

Watch as Ken and Corey explore each of these developmental capacities in detail, offering a powerful summary of human potentials, talents, and intelligences — a comprehensive map of the territory of “you” that will help guide your own ongoing growth and development.

Music by Stuart Davis

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Full Spectrum Mindfulness is a groundbreaking new web course that combines Western approaches to Growing Up with Eastern methods of Waking Up, taught by one of the world’s greatest living philosophers of the mind, Ken Wilber.

Full Spectrum Mindfulness combines hard-hitting mindfulness practice with leading-edge discoveries in neuroscience and developmental psychology, giving you what you need to dramatically deepen your awareness and skill by awakening the eight major levels of evolution alive in you right now.

Learn how Full Spectrum Mindfulness can help you grow up

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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 the proverbial "man behind the curtain". He is Editor-in-Chief of Integral Life, as well as Managing Editor of He has worked for Integral Institute/Integal Life since Spring of 2003, and has been a student of integral theory and practice since 1996.

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