These days, discourse about intelligent robots—thinking machines—is as widespread as discourse about zombies. Both have been the subjects of recent bestsellers, which are the basis of two forthcoming films. Popular culture’s depiction of humankind under attack by either the undead or by the never alive (autonomous machines) suggests widespread anxiety about and fascination with technical developments that may generate a future out of human control (as if the future ever were under our control!). Two centuries ago Mary Shelley wrote the mother of all sci-fi novels, Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus (1818). In it, she anticipated today’s efforts to use scientific knowledge for the purpose of artificially creating intelligent beings. Victor Frankenstein never sought anyone’s permission to conduct his astonishing experiment, which went so badly wrong.
Did you know that Ken Wilber is not the only pioneer in his family? In fact, he can trace his heritage all the way back to Meriwether Lewis, who you may know as one half of Lewis & Clark. In this exclusive footage from the Ken Wilber Biography Project, the world's greatest map-maker talks about a tremendously meaningful encounter he had with his famous map-making ancestor.
We all know Ken Wilber is a visionary, but did you know that in his early years he actually made a significant discovery around the biological processes of vision itself? In this entertaining clip from the Ken Wilber Biography Project, Ken talks about one of the most interesting (and unnerving) experiments he's ever conducted, which curiously seems to include some of the very same seeds we find in his later work—that is, how the relationships between light (physical or spiritual) and various unfolding structures (biological or psychological) define what we can actually see in the world, and how we see it.
In this clip from Volume 1 of the Ken Wilber Life Footnotes collection, Ken offers a brief explanation of the pre/trans fallacy: the confusion of pre-rational and trans-rational, pre-personal and trans-personal, pre-conventional and post-conventional, etc.
In this excerpt from Volume I of the Ken Wilber Life Footnotes collection, Ken shares two of his earliest encounters with Zen Buddhism while on retreat with Roshi Philip Kapleau in Mexico. Here Ken learned some of his earliest lessons in nondual awareness: that one's mind and one's environment are not separate, that the journey to ultimate truth is staggeringly simple but rarely straight and narrow, and that enlightened consciousness can sometimes slam down on you from high above, squishing you and your preconceptions like a bug.
In this clip from Volume 1 of the Ken Wilber Life Footnotes collection, Ken offers an intimate look into his own creative process.
Looking at Ken’s creative output, it is clear that he has had a tremendously prolific career, releasing a new book almost every year since The Spectrum of Consciousness was published in 1977 (with the exception of a couple short periods in the late eighties and early nineties, which will be covered in a later volume of the Footnotes collection.) After he completes a manuscript, a new book idea usually comes to him almost immediately, dropping into his consciousness all at once and arriving as a single fully-formed vision in his mind. His primary task is then to unpack these ideas over the course of several months, a process that he has often described as being almost unbearably painful to his nervous system—just one of many reasons he has taken such good care of his health over the years!
But where do all the ideas come from? Even Ken is not altogether sure, though he does have lots to say about the practice it requires to communicate with the degree of clarity, elegance, and artistry that we have all come to know and love about his work. (He mentions Alan Watts as a particular influence on his own writing style, and would spend long periods of time painstakingly transcribing Watts’ work by hand as a way to develop and practice his own style.) Whatever the source of Ken’s apparent hypergraphia, we are all deeply grateful for his the seemingly endless eruption of creativity that has been so characteristic of his work over these many decades.
In this free discussion Ken talks to Terry about the paper he presented at the Integral Theory Conference, Enacting an Integral Revolution, which focuses on how we can have truly radical conversations and includes a short history of we-space practices in the integral community. The call begins with Ken offering a rich, insightful analysis of the nature of higher intersubjectivity and we-space practices, saying many things that we’ve never heard him say before... [+listen now]
The following deals with a topic I find essential: the nature of linguistic meaning—or semiotics—and how a truly Integral approach fundamentally changes how we understand this. One of the basic moves is to understand that the referent, or “real object,” being represented by any linguistic sign doesn’t exist “out there” in a single, pregiven, unchanging reality, but rather exists in a particular and specific worldspace—a particular quadrant, or level, or line, or state, or type—and can only be “seen” or “experienced” by yourself finding that particular worldspace and moving your consciousness to it. –Ken Wilber [+read now] [+download pdf]
Featuring over 4 hours of stunning high-definition video, this first volume of the Life Footnotes collection is your very best chance to get to know the life and work of Ken Wilber. Experience Ken like you never have before as he shares intimate details about his childhood, his college years, and his personal and spiritual life. He also describes the first major phases of his writing career, some of his most important contributions, and how his thinking has evolved over the decades.
In this short video, originally produced for the Ken Wilber Tribute earlier this month, we present some hard-cutting photographic evidence that once and for all dispels many of the rumors surrounding Ken Wilber's origin. Contrary to popular belief, he was not cultivated in a test tube or assembled in a top-secret cybernetics laboratory, nor did he arrive upon this world as a fully-formed bald ectomorph from the planet Uranus (though we cannot entirely rule out the Krypton hypothesis—Ken may or may not derive his powers from the light of our yellow sun, but has so far proven to be completely impervious to Kryptonite.) No, Ken's origins are quite ordinary indeed: he has a loving mother and father, he attended public school, he went to the prom, and he even enjoyed a short but glamorous modeling career before he could form his very first word (which we can only assume was "AQAL").