The concept it’s claimed that a philosophical theory of everything would help us understand ourselves and our race to a greater extent than ever before, conflict resolution, creativity, desire, the causes and effects of such things would be permanently exposed, allowing humanity to move beyond our instinctive responses to create a more thoughtful Society.
There is a huge question mark over whether such a theory could exist though, considering the subjective nature of most human experiences, nevertheless psychologist Ken Wilber attempted it anyway, with his idea of integral theory. This framework attempts to pull together all human knowledge and experience and place it into a four-quadrant grid.
It begins with our consciousness, which Wilber describes as our sense of A.I.
Then there is our external self, which is our brain, and the physical body next up is a collective identity we formed of our culture and worldviews.
Finally, we have the collective exterior, it’s which involves our civilizations social systems and environment. Wilber looked at how humans grow in each of these lines of development, branching off towards a common path of progression, with both personal and collective human development categorized by the acquisition of certain traits.
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So what are these traits and how high is humanity on this scale?
When humans are born were selfish, we are simple-minded, we are basically in every sense of the word. As we get older our psychological sense of ourselves and our place in the world increases due to our interactions, and we gradually become less narcissistic.
Some people never develop in this way and remain selfishly egocentric their entire lives, whereas others try to push the boundaries of selflessness in an attempt to see themselves as part of a bigger picture.
“this is why I hate babies, they never think about me and my needs” — Ken Wilber categorizes these stages in his book, a theory of everything, an integral vision for business, politics, science, and spirituality.
His model begins with archaic and instinctive behaviors, which promote an individualistic identity before progressing towards conformist identities, which hold that humans should be part of a group to succeed.
These terms can be used to describe the progression of individual humans as well as that of the race itself, where cavemen learned to cooperate and, eventually, transforming into decent members of society.
A more conscientious look at the self with one’s actions determined by their inner sense of what is right and wrong, which itself is based on the culture in which you live. Next up is humanity’s current quagmire pluralistic relativism, this idea contends that there is no singular form of right and wrong and that there is a range of moralities which we all choose to buy into.
Wilberg criticizes this postmodern way of thinking as ethnocentric since your values were based on the culture and these are subject to clashes. Instead, he asserts we should all seek to adopt a world-centric approach, one which would take humans towards transpersonal worldviews. Wilber feels this would promote a quantum jump in human consciousness, taking our race towards a stage of next-level thinking.
This does not involve criticizing or mocking the previous stages, instead, a transpersonal worldview appreciates less developed minds as necessary parts of the human existence, allowing us to interact with people of that ilk without looking down on them.
To spend too much time in one mindset permanently alters a person, but too little means you’ll fail to understand those who are still within that frame of mind.
An experience of each state is vital to understand what it is to be human, according to Mr. Wilbur’s work.
Undoubtedly, contains more jargon than a post by an inter-sectional vegan feminist, but his conclusion bears thinking about it. is important that certain instincts are repressed for society to function, which is why we can’t go out murdering and groping anything we see just to appease our basic desires, but we mustn’t repress all instincts and nor must we always denigrate those who fail where we have succeeded.
The world is made of many people and many nations, each of whom is at their own stage of understanding themselves and their environment. If this act of exploitation was collective rather than individual, perhaps this is how we could achieve a true theory of everything.
If all of our goals are focused on making each other better humans, perhaps everything else will fall into place or will devolve into a hive mind and become a race of mindless drones.
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On our culture until now, most attempts to explain human behaviors and the composition of the mind have relied on evolutionary principles.
For example, if a guy is wearing Crocs in cargo shorts it’s because his genes are inferior, he must be marked out as such to prevent breeding.
Everything is based on the Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest, however, Wilbur applies the same rules to the sense of self as he does to the other three quadrants in his grid, and this shakes things up a little in terms of our physical selves and our behavior.
It describes organisms as progressing from atoms and molecules through different evolutionary stages, all the way to creatures with a complex neocortex like ourselves, he asserts once more that we are not at the end of our development in this regard, although he offers no idea as to where we’ll end up next.
Our culture and personal worldviews are so stacked with made-up words as to almost render itself entirely irrelevant. It kicks off with culture being based on physical activities before progressing exponentially towards culture, which integrates the mind and body and elevates consciousness.
Society’s social system:
Building in complexity from galaxies and planets, towards ecosystems, families, tribes, and nation-states, the end goal here is a planetary society. One without borders or flags, or disgusting national delicacies that nobody really likes.
Integral theories basic premise is that progression in one of these areas can be helped or, is sometimes depended on the other three areas of the human experience.
Proponents of Wilbur’s work have cited the approach by modern medicine as an example of the integral theory in action, whereas previously medical procedures treated the physical body.
Progress in mental health has also now taught us to seek solutions in the sense of self, as well as exploring possible problems which stem from a person’s interactions with society and culture.
The same framework can be used to find solutions, by exploring what people want, who they identify as, and to which social group they belong. And further answers can be found in the arts, politics, and even the sciences.
By considering each of our four integral quadrants, perhaps the idea that there is a theory of everything makes us assume something contrary to what it actually provides.
This is not an equation which allows us to predict the future, nor is it an answer to every problem ever. What integral Theory does provide us with is a context for our problems, and it shows us where we might progress to in the future.
If we all humans are able to consider the bigger picture interestingly, it seems Wilbur’s work has come as a reaction to the idea of post-modernism which he believes is outdated and needs to die.