The Wisdom Page 


Five books by Ken Wilber:


One characteristic of wisdom is the ability to see the big picture and make sense of it - the ability to see the collective patterns within the myriad specific details of existence, the ability to see the forest as well as the trees. And when it comes to putting the big picture into words, no one has done a more comprehensive job of it than Ken Wilber has in five interrelated books: SEX, ECOLOGY, SPIRITUALITY (1995), A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYTHING (1996), THE EYE OF SPIRIT (1997), and THE MARRIAGE OF SENSE AND SOUL (1998), and A THEORY OF EVERYTHING (2000).

SEX, ECOLOGY, SPIRITUALITY, subtitled The Spirit of Evolution is the primary text - 831 pages, with loads of notes and references. Larry Dossey calls this book "One of the most significant books ever published," and I agree. Wilber's deep personal grounding in non-dual spirituality combines with his wide-ranging scholarship that includes not only Eastern and Western "spiritual" philosophy, but also modernism, postmodernism, and scientific perspectives on evolution. All this, coming together in Wilber's head, has resulted in a massive and brilliant synthesis that lays new groundwork for ongoing work in many fields.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYTHING is a 342 page commentary on the first book in Q&A format - a popularization of the first, and a good place to start even if you end up getting and reading the larger, more scholarly book.

THE EYE OF SPIRIT is Ken Wilber's prescription for what he calls an "integral culture" - a culture which integrates the WE, the IT and the I; which integrates the Good, the True, and the Beautiful; and which honors and facilitates personal growth, from basic psychological development through realization of the non-dual nature of reality and identification with Spirit. The book's last chapter (12) deals with this final stage of growth, and is, itself, a magnificent addition to the world's spiritual literature.

THE MARRIAGE OF SENSE AND SOUL focuses on one additional much-needed integration: the integration of science and religion. Wilber's recipe for integration requires changes within both science and religion, but he feels that they are reasonable changes, and not too much to ask. Wilber asks science to open to a "broad empiricism" which includes the inner as well as the outer, and to abandon its reductionist agenda. He asks religion to embrace "falsifiability," and thus to "jettison its bogus claims," those rooted in a pre-scientific mythology. Wilber asks religion to focus instead on its great strength and benefit to humanity: contemplation which Wilber calls "a science of spiritual experience."

A THEORY OF EVERYTHING links Wilber's explanatory schemata to real-world problems and situations, and presents a convincing case that only an integral approach to personal and societal development will get humanity through the difficult times ahead. Click to see a detailed review of this book.

Wilber's publisher, Shambhala, maintains a Ken Wilber web site with excerpts from Wilber's books, reviews of them, interviews with him, and related materials.

Ken Wilber, SEX, ECOLOGY, SPIRITUALITY: The Spirit of Evolution, Boston: Shambhala, 1995, 831 pp., ISBN 1-57062-072-5.

Ken Wilber, A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYTHING, Boston: Shambhala, 1996, 342 pp., ISBN 1-57062-187-X.

Ken Wilber, EYE OF SPIRIT: An Integral Vision for a World Gone Slightly Mad, Boston: Shambhala, 1997, 414 pp., ISBN 1-57062-276-0.

Ken Wilber, THE MARRIAGE OF SENSE AND SOUL: Integrating Science and Religion, New York: Random House, 1998, ISBN 0-375-50054-5

Ken Wilber, A THEORY OF EVERYTHING: An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science, and Spirituality, Boston: Shambhala, 2000, 189 pp., ISBN 1-57062-724-X.