Ken Wilber



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Fast Facts
ken_wilber.jpg
Other Names and Nicknames: 
Kenneth Earl Wilber II, The Integral Philosopher
Function: 
Spiritual Thinker
Traditions: 
Integral Theory
Main Countries of Activity: 
USA
Date of Birth: 
January 31, 1949
Place of Birth: 
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA
In His/Her Body ("alive"): 
Yes

Biography

Wilber was born in 1949 in Oklahoma City. In 1967 he enrolled as a pre-med student at Duke University. He became inspired, like many of his generation, by Eastern literature, particularly the Tao Te Ching. He left Duke and enrolled in the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, completing a bachelor's degree in chemistry and biology and a master's degree in biochemistry.

In 1973 Wilber completed his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness, in which he sought to integrate knowledge from disparate fields. After rejections by more than twenty publishers it was finally accepted in 1977 by Quest Books, and he spent a year giving lectures and workshops before going back to writing. He also helped to launch the journal ReVision in 1978.

In 1982 New Science Library published his anthology The Holographic Paradigm and other Paradoxes a collection of essays and interviews, including one by David Bohm. The essays, including one of his own, looked at how holography and the holographic paradigm relate to the fields of consciousness, mysticism and science.

In 1983 Wilber married Terry "Treya" Killam who was shortly thereafter diagnosed with breast cancer. From 1984 until 1987, Wilber gave up most of his writing to care for her. Treya died in January 1989; their joint experience was recorded in the 1991 book Grace and Grit.

Subsequently, Wilber wrote Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (SES) (1995), the first volume of his Kosmos Trilogy. A Brief History of Everything (1996) was the popularised summary of SES in interview format. The Eye of Spirit (1997) was a compilation of articles he had written for the journal ReVision on the relationship between science and religion. Throughout 1997, he had kept journals of his personal experiences, which were published in 1999 as One Taste, a term for unitary consciousness. Over the next two years his publisher, Shambhala Publications, released eight re-edited volumes of his Collected Works. In 1999, he finished Integral Psychology and wrote A Theory of Everything (2000). In A Theory of Everything Wilber attempts to bridge business, politics, science and spirituality and show how they integrate with theories of developmental psychology, such as Spiral Dynamics. His novel, Boomeritis (2002), attempts to expose what he perceives as the egotism of the Baby Boom Generation.

In 1987 Wilber moved to Boulder, Colorado, where he worked on his Kosmos trilogy and oversaw the work of the Integral Institute. Wilber now lives in Denver, Colorado and works with Marc Gafni at the Center for World Spirituality, which he co-founded. Wilber has stated that he has a debilitating illness called RNase Enzyme Deficiency Disease.

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Books & Media

Recommended Books: 
Cover image

A Brief History of Everything

by Ken Wilber

(Paperback)

A Brief History of Everything is an altogether friendly and accessible account of men and women's place in a universe of sex, soul, and spirit, written by an author of whom New York Times reporter Tony Schwartz says: "No one has described the path to wisdom better than Ken Wilber."

Wilber examines the course of evolution as the unfolding manifestation of Spirit, from matter to life to mind, including the higher stages of spiritual development where Spirit becomes conscious of itself. In each of these domains, there are recurring patterns, and by looking closely at them, we can learn much about the predicament of our world—and the direction we must take if "global transformation" is to become a reality.

Wilber offers a series of striking and original views on many topics of current interest and controversy, including the gender wars, modern liberation movements, multiculturalism, ecology and environmental ethics, and the conflict between this-worldly and otherworldly approaches to spirituality. The result is an extraordinary and exhilarating ride through the Kosmos in the company of one of the great thinkers of our time.