Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

American Transpersonal Theorist, Author on Mysticism, Philosophy, Ecology, Stages of Faith, Centrism and Developmental Psychology

"Growth fundamentally means an enlarging and expanding of one's horizons, a growth of one's boundaries. When a person descends a level of the spectrum, he has in effect re-mapped his soul to enlarge its territory. Growth is re-apportionment; re-zoning; re-mapping; an acknowledgment, and then enrichment, of ever deeper and more encompassing levels of one's own self."

"To transcend mind in Spirit is not to lose mind or destroy mind but merely to include mind in the higher-order wholeness of the super-conscient."

"In fact, at this point in history, the most radical, pervasive, and earth-shaking transformation would occur simply if everybody truly evolved to a mature, rational, and responsible ego, capable of freely participating in the open exchange of mutual self-esteem. There is the "edge of history." There would be a real New Age."

"It is the integrative power of vision-logic, I believe, and not the indissociation of tribal magic or the imperialism of mythic involvement that is deperately needed on a global scale. "

"An integral approach is based on one basic idea: no human mind can be 100% wrong. Or, we might say, nobody is smart enough to be wrong all the time."

"The single greatest world transformation would simply be the embrace of global reasonableness and pluralistic tolerance — the global embrace of egoic-rationality (on the way to centauric vision-logic)."

"There is intersubjectivity woven into the very fabric of the Kosmos at all levels."

"Global consciousness is not an objective belief that can be taught to anybody and everybody, but a subjective transformation in the interior structures that can hold belief in the first place, which itself is the product of a long line of inner consciousness development."

"With science we touch the True, the "It" of Spirit. With morals we touch the Good, the "We" of Spirit. What, then, would an integral approach have to say about the Beautiful, the "I" of Spirit itself? What is the Beauty that is in the eye of the Beholder? When we are in the eye of Spirit, the I of Spirit, what do we finally see?"

"There is arguably no more important and pressing topic than the relation of science and religion in the modern world. Science is clearly one of the most profound methods that humans have yet devised for discovering truth, while religion remains the single greatest force for generating meaning. Truth and meaning, science and religion; but we still cannot figure out how to get the two of them together in a fashion that both find acceptable."

"'What's my philosophy? In a word, integral. And what on earth — or in heaven — do I mean by "integral"? The dictionary meaning is fairly simple: "comprehensive, balanced, inclusive, essential for completeness." Short definition, tall order."

"Gaia's main problems are not industrialization, ozone depletion, overpopulation, or resource depletion. Gaia's main problem is the lack of mutual understanding and mutual agreement in the noosphere about how to proceed with those problems. We cannot rein in industry if we cannot reach mutual understanding and mutual agreement based on a worldcentric moral perspective concerning the global commons. And we reach the worldcentric moral perspective through a difficult and laborious process of interior growth and transcendence."

"The Realization of the Nondual traditions is uncompromising: There is only Spirit, there is only God, there is only Emptiness in all its radiant wonder. All the good and all the evil, the very best and the very worst, the upright and the degenerate — each and all are radically perfect manifestations of Spirit precisely as they are. There is nothing but God, nothing but the Goddess, nothing but Spirit in all directions, and not a grain of sand, not a speck of dust, is more or less Spirit than any other."

"Spirit slumbers in nature, awakens in mind, and finally recognizes itself as Spirit in the transpersonal domains."

"Within the scientific skeleton of truth, religious meaning attempts to flourish, often by denying the scientific framework itself — rather like sawing off the branch where you cheerily perch. The disgust is mutual because modern science gleefully denies virtually all the basic tenets of religion in general. According to the typical view of modern science, religion is not much more than a holdover from the childhood of humanity, with about as much reality as, say, Santa Claus. Whether the religious claims are more literal (Moses parting the Red Sea) or more mystical (religion invovlves direct spiritual experience) modern science denies them all, simply because there is no credible empirical evidence for any of them."

"There are spiritual patterns at work in the universe, at least as far as we can tell, and these spiritual patterns announce themselves with impressive regularity wherever human hearts and minds attempt to attune themselves to the cosmos in all its radiant dimensions."

"We have, for the first time in history, easy access to all of the world's great religions. Examine the many great traditions — from Christianity to Buddhism, Islam to Taoism, Paganism to Neoplatonism — and you are struck by two items: there are an enormous number of differences between them, and a handful of striking similarities. When you find a few essential items that all, or virtually all, of the world's great religions agree on, you have probably found something incredibly important about the human condition, at least as important as, say, a few things that physicists can manage to agree on (which nowadays, by the way, ain't all that impressive)."

"Integral spirituality — as the very name "integral" implies — transcends and includes science, it does not exclude, repress, or deny science. To say that the spiritual currents of the cosmos cannot be captured by empirical science is not to say that they deny science, only that they show their face to other methods of seeking knowledge, of which the world has an abundance."

"If humanity is ever to cease its swarming hostilities and be united in one family, without squashing the significant and important differences among us, then something like an integral approach seems the only way. Until that time, religions will continue to brutally divide humanity, as they have throughout history, and not unite, as they must if they are to be a help, not a hindrance, to tomorrow's existence."

"Spirit, although existing "out there," is found "in here," or revealed within to the open heart and mind."

"Attunement could occur through any of the great religions, but would be tied exclusively to none of them. A person could be attuned to an "integral spirituality" while still be a practicing Christian, Buddhist, New-Age advocate, or Neopagan. This would be something added to one's religion, not subtracted from it. The only thing it would subtract (and there's no way around this) is the belief that one's own path is the only true path to salvation."

"Most of us don't realize this Spirit within, however, because we are living in a world of sin, separation, or duality — that is, we are living in a fallen, illusory, or fragmented state."

"Put bluntly, there is an archaic God, a magic God, a mythic God, a mental God, and an integral God. Which God do you believe in? An archaic God sees divinity in any strong instinctual force. A magic God locates divine power in the human ego and its magical capacity to change the animistic world with rituals and spells. A mythic God is located not on this earth but in a heavenly paradise not of this world, entrance to which is gained by living according to the covenants and rules given by this God to his peoples. A mental God is a rational God, a demythologized Ground of Being that underlies all forms of existence. And an integral God is one that embraces all of the above. Which of those Gods is the most important? According to an integral view, all of them, because each "higher" stage actually builds upon and includes the lower, so the lower stages are more fundamental and the higher stages are more significant, but leave out any one of them and you're in trouble. You are, that is, less than integral, less than comprehensive, less than inclusive in your understanding of God."

"Human beings undergo psychological development. At each level or stage of development, they will see the world in a different way. Hence, each level of development has, as it were, a different religious belief or worldview. This does not make God or Spirit the result of human development; it does, however, make the ways in which humans conceive of God or Spirit the result of development. And this is where it gets really interesting."

""Throughout history, religion has been the single greatest source of human-caused wars, suffering, and misery. In the name of God, more suffering has been inflicted than by any other manmade cause." I was, of course, using the word "religion" in its sociological meaning, as any belief invested with "ultimate concern," in which case not only Islam, Christianity, and Shintoism are religions, but Marxism, Nazism, and Eco-terrorism are all versions of religions or religiously held beliefs. Seen as such, the opening sentence is obviously true."

"I have one major rule: Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody — including me — has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace."

"An integral approach acknowledges that all views have a degree of truth, but some views are more true than others, more evolved, more developed, more adequate. And so let's get that part out of the way right now: homophobia in any form, as far as I can tell, stems from a lower level of human development — but it is a level, it exists, and one has to make room in one's awareness for those lower levels as well, just as one has to include third grade in any school curriculum. "

"At every single moment, there is a spontaneous awareness of whatever happens to be present and that simple, spontaneous, effortless awareness is ever-present Spirit itself. Even if you think you don't see it, that very awareness is it. And thus, the ultimate state of consciousness -- intrinsic Spirit itself -- is not hard to reach but impossible to avoid."

"So the call of all Nondual traditions is: Abide as Emptiness, embrace all Form. The liberation is in the Emptiness, never in the Form, but Emptiness embraces all forms as a mirror all its objects...You and the universe are One Taste."

"Flatland accepts no interior domain whatsoever, and reintroducing Spirit is the least of our worries. 'Thus our task is not specifically to reintroduce spirituality and somehow attempt to show that modern science is becoming compatible with God. That approach, which is taken by most of the integrative attempts, does not go nearly deep enough in diagnosing the disease, and thus, in my opinion, never really addresses the crucial issues. 'Rather, it is the rehabilitation of the interior in general that opens the possibility of reconciling science and religion.' "

"Evolution does not isolate us from the rest of the Kosmos, it unites us with the rest of the Kosmos: the same currents that produced birds from dust and poetry from rocks produce egos from ids and sages from egos."

"Reality is composed neither of things nor processes, neither wholes nor parts, but whole/parts, or holons."

"Each thing is a perspective before it is anything else. And this means that in the manifest world, there are no perceptions, only perspectives…As far as we know or can know, the manifest world is made of sentient beings with perspectives, not things with properties, nor subjects with perceptions, nor vacuum potentials, nor dharmas, nor strings, nor holograms, nor biofields, etc. Those are all perspectives relative to some sentient being."

"Whenever we moderns pause for a moment, and enter the silence, and listen very carefully, the glimmer of our deepest nature begins to shine forth, and we are introduced to the mysteries of the deep, the call of the within, the infinite radiance of a splendor that time and space forgot - we are introduced to the all-pervading Spiritual domain that the growing tip of our honored ancestors were the first to discover. And they were good enough to leave us a general map to that infinite domain, a map called the Great Nest of Being, a map of our own interiors, an archeology of our own Spirit."

"That all-pervading Beauty is not an exercise in creative imagination. It is the actual structure of the universe. That all-pervading Beauty is in truth the very nature of the Kosmos right now. It is not something you have to imagine, because it is the actual structure of perception in all domains. If you remain in the eye of Spirit, every object is an object of radiant Beauty. If the doors of perception are cleansed, the entire Kosmos is your lost and found Beloved, the Original Face of primordial Beauty, forever,and forever, and endlessly forever."

"There is more spirituality in reason's denial of God than there is in myth's affirmation of God, precisely because there is more depth... even an "atheist" acting from rational-universal compassion is more spiritual than a fundamentalist acting to convert the universe in the name of a mythic-membership god."

"The aim of a complete course of development is to divest the basic structures of any sense of exclusive self, and thus free the basic needs from their contamination by the needs of the separate self sense. When the basic structures are freed from the immortality projects of the separate self, they are free to return to their natural functional relationships... hungry, we eat; when tired, we sleep. The self has been returned to the Self, all self-needs have been met and discarded; and the basic needs alone remain."

"The great and secret message of the experiential mystics the world over is that, with the eye of contemplation, Spirit can be seen. With the eye of contemplation, the great Within radiantly unfolds. And in all cases, the eye with which you see God is the same eye with which God sees you: the eye of contemplation."

"Ecological wisdom does not consist in understanding how to live in accord with nature; it consists in understanding how to get humans to agree on how to live in accord with nature."

"Transcendence restores humor. Spirit restores humor. Suddenly, smiling returns. Too many representatives of too many movements - even many very good movements, such as feminism, environmentalism, meditation, spiritual studies - seem to lack humor altogether. In other words, they lack lightness, they lack a distance from themselves, a distance from the ego and its grim game of forcing others to conform to its contours."

"For authentic transformation is not a matter of belief but of the death of the believer; not a matter of translating the world but of transforming the world; not a matter of finding solace but of finding infinity on the other side of death. The self is not made content; the self is made toast."

"Great art suspends the reverted eye, the lamented past, the anticipated future; we enter it with the timeless present; we are with God today, perfect in our manner and mode, open to the riches and the glories of a realm that time forgot, but that great art reminds us of: not by it's content, but by what it does in us: suspends the desire to be elsewhere."

"The Good, the True, and the Beautiful, then, are simply the faces of Spirit as it shines in this world. Spirit seen subjectively is Beauty, and I of Spirit. Spirit seen intersubjectively is the Good, the We of Spirit. And Spirit seen objectively is the True, the It of Spirit... And whenever we pause, and enter the quiet, and rest in the utter stillness, we can hear that whispering voice calling to us still: never forgot the Good, and never forgot the True, and never forget the Beautiful, for these are the faces of your own deepest Self, freely shown to you."

"Maybe the evolutionary sequence really is from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, each transcending and including, each with a greater depth and greater consciousness and wider embrace. And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual's consciousness does indeed touch infinity - a total embrace of the entire Kosmos - a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature. It is at least plausible. And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?"

"Likewise, looking deep within the mind, in the very most interior part of the self, when the mind becomes very, very quite, and one listens very carefully, in that infinite silence, the soul begins to whisper, and its feather-soft voice takes one far beyond what the mind could ever imagine, beyond anything rationality could possibly tolerate, beyond anything logic can endure. In its gentle whisperings, there are the faintest hints of infinite love, glimmers of a life that time forgot, flashes of a bliss that must not be mentioned, an infinite intersection where the mysteries of eternity breathe life into mortal time, where suffering and pain have forgotten how to pronounce their own names, this secret quiet intersection of time and the very timeless, an intersection called the soul. "

"All of those for whom authentic transformation has deeply unseated their souls must, I believe, wrestle with the profound moral obligation to shout form the heart—perhaps quietly and gently, with tears of reluctance; perhaps with fierce fire and angry wisdom; perhaps with slow and careful analysis; perhaps by unshakable public example—but authentically always and absolutely carries a a demand and duty: you must speak out, to the best of your ability, and shake the spiritual tree, and shine your headlights into the eyes of the complacent. You must let that radical realization rumble through your veins and rattle those around you. Alas, if you fail to do so, you are betraying your own authenticity. You are hiding your true estate. You don’t want to upset others because you don’t want to upset your self. You are acting in bad faith, the taste of a bad infinity. "

"Evolution goes beyond what went before, but because it must embrace what went before, then its very nature is to transcend and include and thus it has an inherent directionality, a secret impulse, toward increasing depth, increasing intrinsic value, increasing consciousness. In order for evolution to move at all, it must move in those directions—there’s no place else for it to go!"

"The truth will not necessarily set you free, but truthfulness will."

"Prana is implicate to matter but explicate to mind; mind is implicate to prana but explicate to soul; soul is implicate to mind but explicate to spirit; and the spirit is the source and suchness of the entire sequence."

"The single greatest world transformation would simply be the embrace of global reasonableness and pluralistic tolerance - the global embrace of egoic-rationality (on the way to centauric vision-logic)."