Ken Wilber and Healthy Thinking

Healthy thinking includes healing thinking and healing thinking involves healthy thinking. Often healthy thinking is equated with positive thinking. However, healthy thinking is not necessarily positive thinking, but most of all balanced thinking since health entails balance according to Chinese medicine.

Ken Wilber’s thinking and his integral vision appear healthy and healing to a great extent. His
holarchical thinking includes and transcends and thus unites what has been torn apart by unhealthy fragmenting thinking that seems so widespread. In our culture and society we tend to think in terms of either/or that often creates wounds, antagonisms, conflict, and war.

Healthy thinking recognizes “
both/and” in addition to “either/or”. And healthy thinking acknowledges even “neither/nor” (neti neti) and thus points to the silence and mystery beyond thinking, writing, and speaking.

Ken Wilber’s AQAL map includes body, mind, and spirit in self, culture, and nature, or in art, morals, and science. Integrating all of these aspects and balancing them seems healthy and healing. A more widespread recognition of this integration could beneficially transform individuals, society, and the whole world (see, for example, my book manuscript Healing Thinking and Being. Chapter 7: AQAL Map by Ken Wilber Integrates the Unnamable and Namable).

Ken Wilber also recognizes that different ways of thinking, different models, and different visions complement one another. He underlines that “the world of manifestation is the world of perspectives” (Ken Wilber. 2006. Integral Spirituality. Boston & London: Integral Books. Shambhala, p. 288). But he maintains that his AQAL map “is the most comprehensive map we possess at this time” (Ken Wilber. 2007. The Integral Vision. Boston & London: Shambhala, p. 213) and that “it is the only genuinely integral view that we are aware of at this time” (ibid., p. 179). Such claims appear unfounded and have led to intense controversy and unhealthy accusations (see
Ken Wilber critique).
Daryl Paulson wrote: "First, for Wilber there is nothing beyond Wilber. As one studies Wilber's writings it becomes apparent that Wilber believes everyone is partially right, but he is more right. Although he incorporates others' works, they are always reduced to a component in his system, not the other way around" (Paulsen, D. 2007. Wilber's integral philosophy: A summary and critique. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 48 (3), p. 381).
Such an attitude is not well balanced and therefore appears somewhat unhealthy.

In my book
Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond, I pointed out that Ken Wilber insists that the Kosmos is basically holarchical, which means that “the Kosmos is a series of nests within nests within nests indefinitely” (Ken Wilber. 2001. A Theory of Everything. Boston: Shambhala, p. 40). Although it appears useful to view the Kosmos in a such a holarchical way, other non-holarchical ways present other aspects of the Kosmos. Thus, one can see the Kosmos in terms of undivided wholeness, as a continuum, a network, and yet other ways as I have pointed out in Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond. To avoid misunderstandings, I have to emphasize that Ken Wilber also recognizes these other views, but not with regard to the most basic structure of the Kosmos, that is, manifest reality. Including these other views with regard to the most basic structure of manifest reality could lead to greater balance and health.

Ken Wilber also insists that “the only way you get a holism is via a holarchy” (Ken Wilber. 2000. A Brief History of Everything. 2
nd revised edition. Boston & London: Shambhala, p. 25). Again, other ways of getting a holism are known (see Chapter 1: Hierarchy and Beyond in Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond).

Selecting one view, claiming that it is the only right one, and ignoring or denigrating other complementary views that enrich our understanding of reality appears unhealthy, especially if we consider that health is related to balance and wholeness. It appears healthier to acknowledge
complementary views in a spirit of tolerance (see also Ken Wilber's AQAL map and Korzybski, Chapter 6 on Complementarity in my book Wilber’s AQAL Map and Beyond, and the website on Healthy Thinking Skills).


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