Coda: Brad Reynolds

October 2006 / Coda

CODA: Brad Reynolds, Where’s Wilber At?
Ken Wilber’s Integral Vision in the New Millenium
St. Paul, MN, USA: Paragon House, 2006.

Whether in conversations with individuals or in groups the question often arises as to whether there is one book that someone can read to get started understanding Ken Wilber’s work. I have heard people suggest Ken Wilber’s Theory of Everything: “It is a good summary of what Wilber is about.” Other’s have suggested Frank Vissar’s Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion: “He has organized Wilber’s work into understandable phases so you get to understand the evolution of Wilber’s ideas and integral theory and practice.”

An now we have Brad Reynold’s work, a Wilber-acceptable discussion of Wilber’s approach and integral theory, practice and where it is all headed. Reynolds presents a highly sympathetic discussion of Wilber’s work, grounded in a shared spiritual understanding.

Reynolds clarifies, contextualizes and interprets the implications of Wilber’s work. This includes the spiritual orientation, the integration of spirit and science, integral modeling (holons, holarchies, lines, stages, stages, types—AQAL). He lays out the developmental patterns of individuals. The metatheoretical and methodological pluralism, as Wilber says,

Integral Methodological Pluralism…means that we allow (and rely on) every major mode of acquiring experience—every major methodology, paradigm, injunction, exemplar technique, and so on, because each of them, without exception, is delivering some important piece of the overall puzzle….Integral methodological pluralism…includes the most amount of truth from the most number of sources based on the most amount of evidence in the most holistic fashion possible…and for [that] simple reason it honors and includes more truth than any of the alternatives.

Wilber’s pluralistic and integral exploration of the development of knowledge, understanding and effective developmental action is one of his most important contributions. It leads to many of the points that Reynolds presents regarding integral development, a developmental process from the individual to the world.

He describes the Integral Operating System, lays out the elements of Integral Life Practice and includes a discussion of Wilber’s clarification of the notion of paradigm that goes beyond simply theories and mental models to practice and action.

Wilber’s vision includes an integral world governance that is a “genuine World Federation.” This is not a domineering new world order, but “a tolerant ’celebration of diversity,’ one that leads to a genuine Unitas Multiplex of ‘unity in diversity.’” So here is the theme that runs through all of the levels and contexts of integral development: it is fundamentally about integrating the diversity within us and in the world. Read the book and enjoy the richness of presentation of a very complex set of ideas.