Virtual Reality: A Technology of Transformation

Kent Bye Audio, Cognitive, Conversations, Editor's Picks, Intrapersonal, Perspectives, Science & Technology 8 Comments


Kent Bye, host of the Voices of VR podcast, talks to Ken Wilber about the many ways virtual reality can bring Ken’s integral map of consciousness to life, exploring how VR’s unique capacity to elicit feelings of awe, empathy, and flow can help it become a uniquely powerful platform of transformation.

As you listen to this conversation, you can use the Notes app in the bottom-left corner of your screen to record any reflections that may come up for you.

In 2017, I summarized some of Wilber’s work in a keynote that I gave at the ITC Conference in Houston that was titled “Maps for Understanding VR & Reality.” Wilber saw my presentation and reached out to have a discussion about how virtual reality could serve as a transformational medium, and what kind of insights his Integral Theory could provide to experiential design frameworks for VR.

Integral Theory is something that is much more complicated and nuanced than what we could comprehensively cover in this 2+ hour conversation, but do manage to cover a lot ground ranging from his synthesis of maps of consciousness & human development, Eastern Philosophical metaphysics, the phenomenological science of Awakening, Enlightenment, Satori, & Moksha, the connection between esoteric mysticism and direct embodied experiences, the difference between dominator hierarchies and growth “holarchies,” understanding the current culture wars, the possibilities of unlocking latent human potentials, and brainstorming about how virtual reality technologies can help people Wake Up, Grow Up, Show Up, and Clean Up.

—Kent Bye

Kent Bye

About Kent Bye

Kent Bye, the host of the Voices of VR podcast, has traveled to the top VR gatherings around the world since May 2014 to bring you a diverse range of VR perspectives and insights from over 500 makers and seasoned academics. Kent is a VR developer himself, so his journalism is informed by both his technological expertise as well as a deeply embedded need to uncover best creative practices and social applications.

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”.

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  1. Avatar for MJLS MJLS says:

    & greetings from ‘Bris Vegas’ (, the Planets 2nd largest Hub for Gen_X Culture

    We are also working on VR & its application in assisting Human’s to ‘Wake UP!’[… the prerequisite to Growing Up]

    I’m interested to hear this discussion, not for what it includes in the teaser excerpt, but for what it Omitts.

    And that is the subject of,…

    AUGmented REALities

    As a Developer of new insights & patterns in the fields of Clean Language & NLP (both ‘Codes’), a Roshi [Zen Master], Sifu/Shihan of Oriental Martial comprehensions and so on,… . I perceive that the Future of Tek in accelerating the Evolution of Consciousness(not just Human Consciousness[…let’s not forget about That which is Conscious and iNvolutes iTself(involution)])

    … the Future is in streaming live into your Daydream Veiw, a Real_Time feed of what the person would see without the headgear… . Then, utilise VR Object “Over-lays” into the persons Perceptual Feild as they watch both the Outside World, &, a Virtual Overlay of whatever it is that the program is designed to do.

    The craze a few years ago of Pokemon had millions of people running around the streets trying to find Virtual(Subtle) imagined objects. If you organize Tek as described above, you can wear a VR Rig as you run around the streets without having to worry about running into people, or getting hit by traffic. Your Conscious Attention is fully engaged & EM.bodied in 2 Realities simultaneously.

    If you utilise it for Training using NeuroSOMAtic EN.coding Protocols, such as the type in NLP & Clean Language, the person can ‘RE.member’ the processes they’ve been taught WITHOUT the Tek.

    The feild of NLP contains in it the concept of ‘Submodalities’

    Humans remember things Psychoholographically
    That is, they Project Object Representations of things they are Thinking into their bodies & the physical space around them (objects of consciousness)… . Just like projecting a VR Overlay into a Real_Time video feed on a Daydream View VR Rig (not built yet, maybe next Gen)

    VR & Tek is like taking hallucinogenic & psychoactive substances to Evolve your Consciousness, the question is still the same, “Can you REplicate the State you generated with the Tek/Substance on Your Own without it?”


  2. Avatar for MJLS MJLS says:

    Yes, that’s correct. The acronym ‘NLP’ stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming.

    Spoken language has verbal stressing to convey ‘Meaning’ and ‘Mark’ certain key words and phrases so they Stand Out. This concept is called ‘Analogue-Marking’ in NLP. And its function is to ‘Mark Out’ certain concepts and Meaning embedded in verbal, non-verbal & in this case written communication.

    The capitalizations & odd punctuation are to link and emphasize certain concepts to aid in remembering. Similar to what Ken has done in his novel, ‘Boomeritis’.

    For example, the word/concept, “Reality”. The key source concept is, ‘Real’. I capitalise that within the concept REALity to make it unusual, thus it stands out as memorable. People have often commented in other writing that capitalizing parts of words to reflect their root has led to comprehending the proper meaning of words, often making clear a concept embedded in a word that doesn’t occur if you read it in standard script…

    Current written DiGiTaL communication is poor at conveying Emotional & Attitudinal Emphasis, thus Emojis. The standard lower case does not allow much room for personal expression of words, and CAPITALISING EVERYTHING is a way to voice displeasure & is considered rude.

    Modern communication is being emoji’ised & abbreviated, so there is a shift to conveying Meaning in multiple forms. Written analogue marking is a method to turn standard script into a Glyphic form. Making them memorable as Pictographs. A picture conveys more meaning than a single word.

    The word 'Neurosomatic" (…of the Mind & Body) is changed in this manner and conveyed as, NeuroSOMAtic… Neuro (Brain/nervous system). Soma (Body). … in the state of “I am-ness” Ken describes here, it is the Body that’s processes our sensory perception, thus is primary. Though in our culture writing it, Somaneuro doesn’t make sense. So the SOMA is primary, thus emphasized by capitalizing it inside the word to demonstrate this.

    These are consistent conventions in the way I write which have been refined & integrated over a number of years. And those who correspond regularly with me have picked it up in varying degrees to respond with… When introducing new concepts sometimes it pays to monkey with the way people see it so you don’t have the old unuseful connotations of the word attached.

    Anyhow, thanks for asking :v:

  3. Avatar for MJLS MJLS says:

    … here’s a further example that occurred to me whilst reading Ken & Alan Watkins book ‘Wicked & Wise’,…the concept/word “Coherence”.

    CO = together

    Here = the place you are now

    -ence = suffix

    1. forming nouns:
      2.denoting a quality or an instance of something


    Literally,… things happening together here & now (Cohere),… together, now.

    Written this way, the ‘here’ stands out as does the ‘Co’, relating the two sub-contexts of the word Visually & Distinctly.


    … ways to Add information in to the digital written form of language to shift or convey other than usual meanings.
    It is also a little artistic. A way to Personalise your digital written communication to convey personal style. You can do that with a pen. But not a keypad… . :v::blush:

  4. Avatar for Coda Coda says:

    Thank you for your explanations!

    I wonder if this “analogue-marking” technique has been studied with folks who have synesthesia or other forms of atypical neurology.

  5. Really interesting conversation between Kent Bye and Ken Wilber. Related: I’ve been thinking about the enormous potential Augmented Reality glasses e.g. Magic Leap have to assist Dream Yoga daytime practices in which you reflect on the illusory/dreamlike aspects of everyday life. VR also has a strong role to play. Here are some quotes from Andrew Holecek’s book on Dream Yoga about some practices that I think could be assisted by VR/AR technology:

    “Put up sticky notes around your house that remind you, ‘This is a dream’ or ‘You’re dreaming.’ Place them inside cabinets, drawers, or other places to help you flash on the illusory nature of things.”

    “Experiment with inexpensive prismatic, or reflective, lenses, the kind they often hand out at Christmas light shows. These lenses, especially when worn at night, create halos and rainbow-like images around objects that are very dreamlike.”

    “Go to magic shows…Look at surrealistic art…Almost any nonrepresentational artist can help you look at reality in new and illusory ways. I also find that optical illusion books are great at tricking the mind into surreal states.”

    “Say ‘This is a dream’ aloud, not just mentally. Saying it verbally strengthens it. Set your watch to beep every hour and use that signal as a reminder to say ‘This is a dream’.”

    “Watch dreamlike movies…a good movie will suck you into it just like a good non-lucid dream…movies and video games are wonderful modern analogies of illusion…Watch yourself get pulled into a movie, then step back and become lucid to what’s happening. Wake up.”

    ~ Andrew Holecek, Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep,

    [source of image:]

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