Fathers’ Rights

A Chicago Blog

Four Corners of The Kosmos: Ken Wilber

Posted by madcap on February 18, 2008

Along the path of my spiritual journey, I stopped and spent some time with the ideas of Ken Wilber. I personally feel that Ken has constructed the greatest model for understanding the many realms, and layers of existence. I will be posting more on Ken’s thoughts as time moves along. For now I have this interesting video with Ken and Father Thomas Keating. Interesting combo.

Ken with Father Thomas Keating talking faith

This is an outline of the four quadrants. It serves as a simple map of the four ways in which we exist. Not just ourselves, but literally everything that is; including the metaphysical realms of being.

Also see:

Holons and The Four Ways of Being: Integral Evolution


Quadrant (UL)
Quadrant (UR)
Quadrant (LL)
Quadrant (LR)
  1. Exterior individual – “We check to see if the proposition corresponds with or fits the facts, if the map accurately reflects the real [exterior] territory… if we cannot disprove it we may assume it is accurate enough. But the essential idea is that… my statement somehow refers to an objective state of affairs, and it fairly accurately somehow corresponds with those objects or processes or affairs. […] All of which is fair enough and important enough, and I in no way deny the general importance of empirical representation. It’s just not the whole story…”
  2. Interior individual – if we look at the actual interior of an individual [entity], then we have an entirely different type of validity claim. The question here is not, is it raining outside? The question here is, When I tell you it is raining outside, am I telling you the truth or am I lying? You see, here it is not so much a question of whether the map matches the objective territory, but whether the mapmaker can be trusted…. you can always check and see if it’s raining… Interior events are located in states of consciousness, not in objective states of affairs, and so you can’t empirically nail them down with simple consensus location. I might lie to you. I might lie to myself. I might misrepresent and not know it.”
  3. Interior collective – “The subjective world is situated in an intersubjective space, a cultural space… without this cultural background… I wouldn’t have the tools to interpret my own thoughts to myself. So here the validity claim is not so much objective propositional truth, or subjective truthfulness, but intersubjective fit. This cultural background provides the common context against which my own interior thoughts and beliefs will have some sort of meaning, and so the validity criteria here involves the “cultural fit” [of a statement] within this background… What is so remarkable about common understanding is not that I can take a simple word like “dog” and point to a real dog and say “I mean that.” What is so remarkable is that you know what I mean by that. [So it is] a matter of how we arrange collectively, our ethics, morals, laws, culture, group or collective identities, background contexts…”
  4. Exterior collective – “The main validity claim is functional fit, how entities fit together in a system… So in systems theory you will find nothing about ethical standards, values, morals, mutual understanding, truthfulness, sincerity, depth, integrity, aesthetics… It describes the system in purely objective exterior terms, from without. It doesn’t want to know how collective values are intersubjectively shared in mutual understanding. Rather, it looks at how their objective correlates functionally fit in the overall system.”


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