A Brief History of Everything: Revised Edition [NOOK Book]


Brief History of Everything

is an altogether friendly and accessible account of men and women's place in a universe of sex, soul, ...

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A Brief History of Everything: Revised Edition

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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
York Times
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.

An altogether friendly and accessible account of men and women's place in the universe of sex, soul and spirit, this vivid summary of the new and emerging American wisdom provides radical commentary on hot topics of the day, from political correctness to spiritual enlightenment.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834821026
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/15/2011
  • Series: Shambhala Publications
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 184,055
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Ken Wilber is the author of over twenty books. He is the founder of Integral Institute, a think-tank for studying integral theory and practice, with outreach through local and online communities such as Integral Education Network, Integral Training, and Integral Spiritual Center.

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Read an Excerpt

Pattern That Connects

So we'll start the story with the Big Bang itself, and then trace out the course of evolution from matter to life to mind. And then, with the emergence of mind, or human consciousness, we'll look at the five or six major epochs of human evolution itself. And all of this is set in the context of spirituality—of what spirituality means, of the various forms that it has historically taken, and the forms that it might take tomorrow. Sound right?

Yes, it's sort of a brief history of everything. This sounds altogether grandiose, but it's based on what I call "orienting generalizations," which simplifies the whole thing enormously.

An orienting generalization is what, exactly?

If we look at the various fields of human knowledge—from physics to biology to psychology, sociology, theology, and religion—certain broad, general themes emerge, about which there is actually very little disagreement.

For example, in the sphere of moral development, not everybody agrees with the details of Lawrence Kohlberg's moral stages, nor with the details of Carol
Gilligan's reworking of Kohlberg's scheme. But there is general and ample agreement that human moral development goes through at least
three broad stages.

The human at birth is not yet socialized into any sort of moral system—it is
"preconventional." The human then learns a general moral scheme that represents the basic values of the society it is raised in—it becomes
"conventional." And with even further growth, the individual may come to reflect on his or her society and thus gain some modest distance from it, gain a capacity to criticize it or reform it—the individual is to some degree

although the actual details and the precise meanings of that developmental sequence are still hotly debated, everybody pretty much agrees that something like those three broad stages do indeed occur, and occur universally. These are
orienting generalizations:

they show us, with a great deal of agreement, where the important forests are located, even if we can't agree on how many trees they contain.

My point is that if we take these types of largely-agreed-upon orienting generalizations from the various branches of knowledge—from physics to biology to psychology to theology—and if we string these orienting generalizations together, we will arrive at some astonishing and often profound conclusions,
conclusions that, as extraordinary as they might be, nonetheless embody nothing more than our already-agreed-upon knowledge. The beads of knowledge are already accepted: it is only necessary to string them together into a necklace.

And so in these discussions we will build toward some sort of necklace.

Yes, in a sense. In working with broad orienting generalizations, we can suggest a broad orienting map of the place of men and women in relation to
Universe, Life, and Spirit. The details of this map we can all fill in as we like, but its broad outlines really have an awful lot of supporting evidence,
culled from the orienting generalizations, simple but sturdy, from the various branches of human knowledge.

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Table of Contents

A Note to the Reader
1The Pattern That Connects17
The Kosmos18
Twenty Tenets: The Patterns That Connect19
Agency and Communion21
Transcendence and Dissolution22
Four Drives of All Holons23
Creative Emergence24
The Way of All Embrace30
2The Secret Impulse31
Higher and Lower32
Depth and Span33
Kosmic Consciousness38
The Spectrum of Consciousness40
3All Too Human44
4The Great Postmodern Revolution57
The Postmodern Watershed58
Two Paths in Postmodernity61
On the Edge of Tomorrow64
Transcendence and Repression66
5The Four Corners of the Kosmos69
The Four Quadrants71
Intentional and Behavioral75
Cultural and Social77
An Example80
The Shape of Things to Come82
6The Two Hands of God84
Mind and Brain85
The Left and Right Hand Paths87
The Monological Gaze: The Key to the Right Hand Paths88
Interpretation: The Key to the Left Hand Paths90
What Does That Dream Mean?91
Social Science versus Cultural Understanding95
All Interpretation Is Context-Bound98
Nonhuman Interpretation99
Spiritual Interpretation101
7Attuned to the Kosmos105
Propositional Truth106
Functional Fit114
Conclusion: The Four Faces of Spirit118
8The Good, the True, and the Beautiful120
The Big Three120
The Good News: Differentiation of the Big Three123
The Bad News: Dissociation of the Big Three126
The Task of Postmodernity: Integration of the Big Three130
The Spiritual Big Three131
9The Evolution of Consciousness137
Higher Stages of Development138
Ladder, Climber, View140
Basic Structures: The Ladder141
The Self: The Climber142
A Fulcrum143
New Worlds Emerge: Changing Views145
Stages of Spiritual Unfolding150
Flatland Religion152
Freud and Buddha154
10On the Way to Global: Part 1157
The Primary Matrix158
Birth Trauma160
The False Self160
Fulcrum-1: The Hatching of the Physical Self162
Fulcrum-2: The Birth of the Emotional Self163
Fulcrum-3: The Birth of the Conceptual Self168
Every Neurosis Is an Ecological Crisis169
Early Worldviews: Archaic, Magic, Mythic172
Fulcrum-4: The Birth of the Role Self174
Paradigm Shifts175
Satanic Abuse and UFOs177
11On the Way to Global: Part 2180
Evolution versus Egocentrism180
Fulcrum-4 (Continued): Life's Social Scripts182
Fulcrum-5: The Worldcentric or Mature Ego185
Diversity and Multiculturalism188
Fulcrum-6: The Bodymind Integration of the Centaur190
Aperspectival Madness192
On the Brink of the Transpersonal193
12Realms of the Superconscious: Part 1197
Where the Mind Leaves Off198
The Transpersonal Stages199
Fulcrum-7: The Psychic202
Deep Ecology and Ecofeminism204
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Customer Reviews

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( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I recommend the audio book WITH The Integral Vision by Ken Wilber

    This is a great introduction to Ken Wilber's philosophy.
    It does assume you are a bit familiar with his work, so I recommend also getting a little book with it that is an even more basic introduction. It is a small and very enlightening book called The Integral Vision. In it you will see the graphs he will refer to in the audio book and an explanation of his developmental chart.

    I also would like to mention that a lot of what he is talking about in these books was new to me so I benefited greatly from the fact that I could put the track on repeat until I got it and then go on when I was ready. Or take a group of tracks such as a chapter and put them in a play-list on the computer and mp3 player.

    Together the two books are a perfect set and you really do need the little blue book, The Integral Vision by Ken Wilber unless you are already very familiar with his terminology and cosmology.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    You have got to be kidding me.


    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This Will Shift Your Consciousness Forever

    How does a Seeker of knowledge download 2,000 plus years of human history in a few days of reading? Easy. Read or listen to Ken Wilber's brilliant synopsis neatly packaged into an elegant model of everything. The "Integral Model" will change the way you view your own life challenges and the world's enormous geopolitical problems forever. I highly recommend this book and think every politician and college student in America should have this book in their collection.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2012

    What a wierdo

    /Don't bother, find some other way to waste your time, something thats more fun

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2009

    Ken Wilber you can understand

    If you have tried to read Ken Wilber and been confused, this book may help. The question and answer format is very helpful in understanding the complex theories he presents.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2005

    Good but out of date

    The `Èinstein of the New Age`holds forth in his unique and brilliant style on the history of world views and how to put spirit back in our life. If you have the patience to learn his jargon and read slowly there is alot of serious brainfood here. I read this and his Sex, Ecology and Spirituality(1995)with Hofstadter´s famous Godel, Escher, Bach(GEB) written in 1980(both of which I have reviewed here). Wilber´s work has many parallels with GEB, both of them massive works attempting to tie together disparate fields and different views of life. Unlike Hofstadter, who was mainly interested in the nature of intelligence, Wilber does not treat math, music or DNA, and he concentrates on world views that have a spiritual relevance. He spent a vast amount of time working out the relationships between ideas and how they relate to individual and society, spirit and science. Though he cites GEB(and almost every book of relevance in last 100 years!) he does not specifically use the GEB concepts of recursiveness, incompleteness, and tangled hierarchies. However, Wilber´s holons nested in holons, criticism of incomplete ideas that either lack sense(eg, science) or soul(eg, spirit) and his diagrams and descriptions of the hierarchical nature of all holons are much in the spirit of GEB. Hofstadter spent little time on spirit(though Zen pops up now and then) and had little to say about the meaning of it all and has written little on the subject since. This is a much shorter and more accessible version of his famous SES(see my review). Unlike the former book which has hundreds of pages of notes and hundreds of references, there is not even an index here(though there is a 2001 edition which may remedy this). If you don´t have the time or patience for the whole book, read Superconsciousness Parts 1 and 2 which are an xlnt summary. His shortest book, `The Marriage of Self and Soul`(see my review) is a much easier read that gives you a good idea of his style and purpose. He details alot of intellectual history(philosophy, psychology, religion, ecology, feminism, sociology, etc) and shows where nearly everyone went too far in the direction of Ascent(to the spirit) or Descent(to science,materialism, reductionism or Flatland). He trys to show how to heal the rifts by combining sense and soul(spiritual and material life, science and religion, internal and external, individual and social). Everything is related to everything else(holons in holarchies). The Age of Enlightenment denied the the spirit, the individual and the interior life but developed art, morals and science and led to democracy, feminism, equality and ecology, but this reductionism compressed the intellect and the spirit into the Flatland of science, rationality and materialism. He sees the loss of the spiritual point of view with the Age of Enlightenment as the major factor responsible for the malaise of modern times, but real spirituality or `intelligent religion`(ie., the quest for enlightenment) as opposed to `primitive religion`(everything else-see my review of Boyer´s `Religion Explained) was always rare. It is intelligent religion he sees as the panacea, but it is primitive religion that the masses understand, and it too has only materialistic goals. In this book, he never makes it clear that Jesus was a mystic in the same sense as Buddha etc, but what was to become the Catholic church largely destroyed his mystical aspects(personal search for enlightenment, no mind etc) in favor of primitive religion, priests, tithes and a structure seemingly modeled on the Roman army(but see his SES p 363). But for the early Christian church, the cognitive templates(see Boyer) were servants of the genes and enlightenment was not on the menu. Jesus was not a Christian, he had no bible and he did not believe in a god any more than did Buddha. We have Christianity without the real intelligence of Jesus and th

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2003

    Just Excellent

    Ken Wilber shows us that although we all take different roads in life, we share a common direction in our development and evolution. He brings together a vast number of theories and observations and organizes them into one theory. It is quite amazing! Wilber has written many books on this subject but this is the one I would recommend people to read first. If you'd like a shorter, more simplified but extremely well-organized / well-articulated book that covers this material, I strongly suggest 'The Ever-transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato. It also discusses practical implications of these ideas that make you feel like you could have saved a lot of hassle and confusion if you read it earlier in your life. Both Wilber and Sato are clearly two of the most advanced thinkers of our time.

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    Posted December 5, 2008

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted January 7, 2009

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    Posted February 2, 2015

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    Posted March 16, 2010

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    Posted April 7, 2009

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    Posted October 30, 2011

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