97 of 103 people found the following review helpful
I expected more from Wilber at this stage, but still a good read.
, December 31, 2006
This review is from: Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World (Hardcover)
Integral Spirituality lays out a worldview that tries to encompass and take whatever is of value from as many worldviews as possible. It assumes that no particular position is completely wrong and looks for patterns of meaning across the world's wisdom traditions. Anyone familiar with Wilber will already know this, but for those new to him this point may be useful to mention.
There are many reviews that criticize this book for repeating material that is repeated in other books. I agree with these criticisms and I think there is a bit too much of a commercial focus on the website as well. I was expecting less repetition and more editorial discipline, but I still think the book justifies a 4 star rating based on its other merits. Hopefully, Ken will get away from doing this in future publications.
What I enjoyed specifically about this book was the material on Integral Methodological Pluralism (although this appears in other places) and the somewhat different focus on an Integral Post-Metaphysics. The material on the shadow and disowned self was also interesting and I'm also glad he included a chapter on an Integral Life Practice. Integral Life practices involve engaging every level of being such as body, emotion, mind, soul and spirit to bring about transformation of consciousness.
While this book does indeed contain a lot of recycled material, it is worth purchasing for the new material and some of the new ways that old ideas are presented. Going forward, however, I hope Ken Wilber works more closely with his editors, gets clear on the audience for a particular book and avoids unnecessary repetition and rambling.
Ken is certainly a very important philosopher with a useful point of view. As other reviewers have pointed out, I believe he has blindspots, but he is one voice among many. At times, his attitude can be irritating and arrogant, but I try not to let this get in the way of the underlying value in his message. I think he is worthy of considerable respect for what he has done in this area. I also appreciate how entertaining he can be much of the time, while simultaneously making important points.
In many of Wilber's works the repitition didn't bother me because it was a good review. I suspect this will be the case for new readers of Ken Wilber, but a problem for others more familiar with his work. Another good introductory book on Ken's writings is A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYTHING which is organized like an interview. This is a fairly easy read and lays out his most important ideas in a highly digestible and engaging format.
I also think it would be useful for Ken to run his ideas by more people that disagree with him. This book was a long time in coming out and other reviewers have legitimately pointed out that certain points of view such as Christianity were treated in what seems like an arbitrarily narrow manner. I believe this criticism applies to some other areas of thought as well and would have benefited from more scholarly review from third parties.
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