Integral Psychology : Consciousness, Spirit, Psychology, Therapy Paperback
by Ken Wilber
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 224 pages, ill
- Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc
- Publication Date: 01/05/2000
- Category: Psychological theory & schools of thought
- ISBN: 9781570625541
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Review by kosmos21
Mr. Ken Wilber is simply a national treasure. Wilber's approach is to cast a compassionate yet perspicaciously critical eye on the entire history and practice of human's efforts to know, examine everything we know, and further, to understand and explain how we share this knowing. The kinds of knowing the mind & brain (all of them here explained) are carefully explicated in this clearly written powerhouse of a concentrated book. Though the title accurately cues us to its subject matter, those not familiar with Wilber's scholarship will be pleasantly surprised - thoroughly and gently challenged - by the breadth of the concern this book so carefully and compactly elucidates. Elucidates is what this books so clearly does. Many books attempt to bring light to the subject of psychology, however few so clearly and so broadly cast, as one reviewer says, "...conceptual order to psychology of the east and west." And all this in a friendly and clear prose which though simple, imparts heady ideas in an inviting, open style that makes the book a pleasure to read. Wilber teaches, but a didactic diction is as foreign as is superficial analysis in this and all of his work. If you are new to him you wonder why so many others are so positively bumbling in their grasp of ideas and in the delivery of their insights. I find it difficult to put down his books; they're surprisingly fun to read, given the subject matter of his prolific output - nothing less than, to borrow from the title of another work, A Theory of Everything.To give a taste of his work, I'll quote a passage from Integral Psychology that speaks to the positivistic predilection for eschewing all things non-quantifiable:"The bleakness of modern scientific proclamation is chilling. In that extraordinary journey from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, scientific materialism halted the journey at the very first stage, and proclaimed all subsequent developments to be nothing but arrangements of frisky dirt. Why this dirt would get up and eventually start writing poetry was not explained. Or rather, it was explained by dumb chance and dumb selection, as if two dumbs would make a Shakespeare. The sensorimotor realm was proclaimed the only real realm, and it soon came to pass that mental health would be defined as adaptation to that 'reality.' Any consciousness that saw anything other than matter was obviously hallucinating."Being a condensed 300 page version of a yet to be published two volume textbook on psychology, this immanently respectful contribution to the storehouse of knowledge on what we call "psychology" (there is polemic, but it only answers unfair or misconstrued erroneous criticisms of his work) not only elucidates its history & strengths, weaknesses & schools, but, anchored to the etymology of the word 'psychology,' plumbs the depths of what all quarters (east and west, ancient and modern) have brought to the question: what is consciousness? Collecting "sturdy conclusions" - as Wilber calls them - of the valid insights that various thinkers have had throughout history and within the conceptual constellations of their various schools of thought, Wilber tackles the idea of what therefore are Integral approaches to healing, to therapy; & true to his form, informs us of not only what the various schools positively contribute to this effort (& what we can do without) but what an Integral approach to psychology might entail and how to implement this approach.Reading this volume - heavily end-noted for those who want to pursue the spectrum of scholarship that Wilber has examined for this book - will definitely bolster anyone's novice, veteran or professional interest in the ideas of what knowing is, how knowing works and how we can cull the resources of the history of the effort to know knowing so as to further what we know (& expand our active repertoire of how we know), and how we can use this study of the psyche, of consciousness, to heal ourselves (& others); so that we can become better, if not more conceptually ordered, people - at least as regards the idea of what psychology is.Agree or disagree with Wilber - his method or his conclusions - he is not someone that you can ignore without peril to your own knowing. I can think of no one else who is as perceptively and unrelentingly, book by book, disclosing the nature of, again borrowing from what was his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness. No matter what your particular area of concern, or if your concern is the entire realm of the various areas & forms of knowing, Wilber has insights to impart that you will find merit your careful and considered attention. I suspect Integral Psychology is a volume you will read several times, and with much enthusiasm.