Transcending the Flatland

Some years ago I started to study the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber. I was introduced to the world of Wilber by the Master’s thesis of my former student, JP Jakonen. As a natural born materialist scientist, I was quite shocked to read Wilber. But after having gone through A Brief History of Everything and especially Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, I was impressed by his vision of history, present and the future. The evolutionary dynamics of both natural and cultural entities was something I was familiar with already from the the late 1990’s, but had not quite figured out what cultural evolution would amount to. The theory of holons (part/whole structures) that would cover not only natural entities but also cultural and psychological entities, provides tools of thought for the systematization of evolutionary dynamics. Thinking in terms of wholes and parts as well as evolutionary processes will facilitate both basic and applied research. One of Wilber’s central concepts is Flatland, meaning one-sided and distorted view of reality. Originally introduced by the science fiction writer Abbott, it captures nicely the ways in which our thinking is dependent on foundational frameworks. Some parts in the integral theory are quite alien to me, but some perspectives by Wilber are refreshing: they offer frameworks for organizing thoughts. Take a look at the special issue of Approaching Religion: Systems Thinking, Spirituality and Wisdom – Perspectives on Ken Wilber at the Donner Institute website.

 

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