Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber

Peter CollinsAs an economics’ student in Dublin in the late 1960’s, Peter Collins underwent a significant “scientific conversion”. Since then he has devoted considerable attention to the implications of a full spectrum developmental approach for radical new interpretations of mathematics and its related sciences. Though potentially of growing relevance for better understanding of our present problems, so far, he believes, these have been greatly overlooked by both the scientific and integral communities.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6
There are remarkable parallels as between the system of primary perspectives and Jungian personality types as given expression in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator based on this approach.

Revisiting Perspectives

Part 3: Primary Perspectives
and Jungian Personality Types

Peter Collins


I will start by recapping some essential features of the enlarged AQAL approach that I outlined in my previous article, which have an intimate bearing on the manner that one subsequently deals with perspectives.

All Quadrants

Firstly, I showed how the all quadrants approach needs to be extended to include circular as well as linear aspects of development. And whereas linear (asymmetrical) understanding is suited for the relative differentiation of distinct quadrants, circular (complementary) notions by contrast are required for their corresponding integration.

Then when both linear and circular aspects are combined in a coherent interactive manner, each quadrant can be given four relatively distinct interpretations (giving 16 quadrant designations in all).

And these 16 designations correspond exactly with the primordial or indigenous perspectives, which I simply refer to as the primary perspectives.

So, Ken Wilber's attempt to provide rigidly fixed designations for the quadrants, considerably misrepresents their true nature, as dynamic switching constantly takes place in experience as between opposite poles (in horizontal, vertical and diagonal terms). And I showed earlier in the first article of this series how four—rather than one—distinct interpretations of the quadrants of an interactive nature, can be given.

All Levels

I then indicated how likewise in terms of levels that two interacting methods are required. Insofar as the differentiated nature of stage development is concerned, the linear asymmetrical rationale is directly relevant. However with respect to the corresponding integration of stage structures, a circular complementary approach is necessary. This entails for example that a dynamic two-way relationship characterises “higher” and “lower” stages, with healthy integration requiring incorporation of both top-down directions from “higher” to “lower” and bottom-up from “lower” to “higher” stages respectively.

Again, there is a significant weakness with Wilber's holarchic emphasis on the ascent and his subsequent form of top-down integration. This leads to an unduly elitist notion of stages with a significant neglect of the descent and the corresponding need for considerable refinement of instinctive behaviour in later development.

I have also commented repeatedly on the unbalanced nature of Wilber's emphasis on states at the “higher” contemplative stages of development. And this lack is very significant, as the refined dynamic structures of the “higher” stages (especially cognitive) are required for an interpretation of development, which is properly integral.

Furthermore, there is a complete lack of emphasis on the radial stages—at least in explicit terms—in Wilber's work (where both integrated and differentiated understanding can dynamically interpenetrate in harmonious fashion with each other).

The immediate importance of this extended all-levels approach for perspectives is that it gives rise to several meta-perspectives, through which the various perspectives can be interpreted. So I have identified broadly two meta-perspectives in terms of their differentiated appreciation. The first of these basically attempts to reduce all perspectives to just one—typically 3rd person—as in the reduced scientific explanation of reality. The second more comprehensive approach adopted by Wilber recognises many distinct perspectives in proposing a multi-differentiated treatment of the various types involved (with their own unique validity).

However true integral appreciation is required to show how all these perspectives are then dynamically related to each other in a coherent manner.

And I would in turn identify two distinct types of such integration, which explicitly require the structures of the advanced contemplative stages. The first relates to a holistic integration that transcends any distinct notion of perspectives. The second relates additionally to the immanent grounding of these perspectives in the world of form, so that every distinct perspective can then be seen as a temporary reflection of what is ultimately spiritual and formless. In this way, we therefore have two meta-perspectives of an integral kind.

Then finally where both differentiated (dualistic) and integral (nondual) aspects harmoniously interpenetrate, the radial stages unfold, where I identify three further meta-perspectives of increasing refinement.

So when viewed in this more comprehensive context, Ken Wilber is attempting to offer a somewhat limited multi-differentiated treatment of perspectives, which does not adequately address either their integral or radial dimensions.

All Lines

I have likewise been somewhat critical of Wilber's all lines approach, as once again this solely recognises their differentiated appreciation (where modes of development are considered as relatively independent of each other). However an integral appreciation likewise requires that the interdependence of such modes is addressed, where for example cyclical features can be properly accommodated.

Therefore all modes need to be given both linear and circular interpretations.

It is also necessary to distinguish primary and secondary modes. Like the basic colours in printing, all secondary represent a composite mix of the primary modes, of which three—and perhaps more comprehensively four—can be distinguished.

And these primary modes in turn play an essential role regarding the correct interpretation of the primary perspectives.

So we have the affective (subjective) mode of feeling which is directly related to the two personal perspectives, commonly referred to as 1st person and 2nd person.

Then we have the cognitive (objective) mode of reason, which in turn is directly related to the two impersonal perspectives that likewise can be identified as 3rd person and 4th person respectively. And I explained at length in the first part how accepted pronoun language fails to properly recognise the 4th person perspective (misleadingly identifying it in 1st person terms).

Then each of these perspectives i.e. 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person and 4th person can in turn be distinguished with respect to four additional parameters.

Each perspective can be given both individual and collective expressions. So for example, 1st person has an individual meaning as “I” and collective meaning as “we”.

Likewise individual and collective can be given both specific and holistic expressions corresponding to their relatively independent and interdependent identities respectively. So, for example in referring to the 1st person notion, the collective “we” comprises in specific terms, a group of relatively independent subjective “I's” of a quantitative nature. However, the collective “we” relates in a holistic manner to the qualitative notion of a group with a shared intersubjective identity.

Both affective and cognitive modes thereby provide a differentiated appreciation of perspectives (where they can be separated from each other in a relative manner).

So in terms of the affective mode of emotion, we differentiate perspectives as 1st person and 2nd person, in a personal (subjective) manner.

Then with respect to the cognitive mode of reason, we differentiate perspectives as 3rd person and 4th person in an impersonal (objective) fashion. And these four perspectives can then be further differentiated with respect to each of the four parameters mentioned, giving sixteen (primary) perspectives in all.

However for integration, we need two additional modes that now relate directly to the central volitional capacity of the will.

Such volitional capacity is directly required so as to coherently relate opposite perspectives in a complementary manner. So we have exterior and interior aspects in both affective (personal) and cognitive (impersonal) terms. And these comprise the horizontal polarities. Likewise regarding affective and cognitive considered separately, we can identify individual and collective aspects in holistic terms. And these comprise the vertical polarities.

So regarding integration, the first task is to coherently relate exterior and interior (and interior and exterior) entailing the horizontal polarities. The next task is then to likewise holistically integrate individual and collective (and collective and individual) regarding both affective (personal) and cognitive (impersonal) perspectives, taken separately, entailing the vertical polarities.

Then finally the most complex task remains of coherently integrating together personal with impersonal (and impersonal with personal) perspectives in a task that comprises the diagonal polarities.

When these three integral tasks have been completed, insofar as is humanly possible, one can thereby experience a purely formless (nondual) notion of perspectives, where all co-arise in a dynamic interactive manner approaching simultaneity.

One thereby moves from the initial fixed differentiated appreciation of perspectives, as separated in a dualistic manner, to their eventual integral appreciation, where in a nondual fashion, one experiences a formless reality without distinct perspectives.

However this only represents the first leg as it were of the integral journey in appreciation of the transcendent extreme with respect to spirit.

One must then equally attempt to ground this spiritual attainment in phenomenal reality, so that all perspectives can now perfectly express the divine in a spiritually transparent immanent manner.

And this task may require a prolonged return to the earlier stages of development, in what I term the spiritual descent, whereby one is gradually enabled to get to the roots of all the instinctive confusion and repression dating from this time.

In the transcendent ascent, the will operates under the refined control of reason. However in the corresponding descent, it now equally operates under the equally refined instinctive response of the senses.

So we have identified four primary modes. The differentiated expression of these modes relates to the separate experience of affective and cognitive aspects. The integral expression then relates directly to the attempt to harmonise these two aspects through the will (from two directions).

With the transcendent ascent, the will seeks harmony of perspectives through the refined operation of reason; however with the immanent descent, the will equally achieves this harmony through the additional refined operation of the instinctive senses.

Then with reason and emotion both suitably differentiated from and integrated with each other, through this double action of the will, the radial stages can properly unfold.

And this allows for the most dynamic interactive appreciation, where increasingly composite perspectives of rich diversity can now freely develop in experience.

All States

Regarding states, I emphasised in the previous part that they can best be viewed as the manner in which the qualitative experience of interdependence arises in development. However though directly spiritual, they are necessarily mediated through corresponding structures of form.

At the conventional level of intellectual discourse, structures of form are emphasised to the complete exclusion of corresponding states. And because the qualitative experience of interdependence cannot thereby be given any explicit emphasis, this entails that a merely reduced quantitative interpretation of reality (especially in science and mathematics) dominates accepted thinking.

At the more advanced contemplative levels, states correspond to an increasingly refined intuitive experience with a direct spiritual nature.

However as states and structures are intimately related with each other, the huge task—that has not been remotely addressed in the literature—is the requirement of filtering these states through appropriate dynamic structures of form (now understood in an increasingly refined interactive manner).

So I hope to deal in a later article briefly with this task of showing how appropriate structures can be used to properly integrate perspectives (corresponding to increasing degrees of qualitative interdependence) at the more advanced levels.

All Types

Finally with respect to types, I mentioned in the previous part how the perspectives can be closely linked to various typologies of personality. And in this regard I would see the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (with its profile of 16 personality types based on Jungian notions) as especially relevant in this regard.

I will later show in this article how each of the personality types in the MBTI can be given a corresponding interpretation (according to perspectives).

This serves to emphasise the point that each personality type in fact combines 1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person and 4th person perspectives in a unique manner.

This also serves as the essential factor bridging the task for each personality of moving from the differentiated to the integral appreciation of perspectives.

The 16 Primary Perspectives

A diagram depicting the
cognitive functions of each type

In Part 1 of this series, I showed how using a dynamic interactive treatment (comprising both linear and circular approaches), one can give four relatively distinct interpretations of the 4 quadrants. Again these comprise the personal (subjective) perspectives i.e. 1st person and 2nd person and the corresponding impersonal (objective) perspectives i.e. 3rd person and 4th person. Each of these 4 persons can then be additionally defined with respect to 4 parameters relating to individual and collective aspects in both a specific and holistic manner. In this context, specific would correspond to what Wilber identifies as subjective and objective respectively. Holistic then refers to intersubjective and interobjective. So combining each of the four persons with these corresponding four parameters gives rise to 16 primary perspectives.

However, the dynamic interactive approach enables one to seamlessly show how these perspectives can likewise be integrated (as relatively interdependent with each other) through establishing complementary relationships in horizontal, vertical and diagonal terms.

Therefore the specific perspectives can be given complementary interpretations regarding their interior and exterior (and exterior and interior) aspects in a horizontal manner.

Then the holistic perspectives can be given complementary interpretations regarding their individual and collective aspects in a vertical manner.

Finally, the most complete form of complementarity requires simultaneously combining horizontal and vertical aspects of the quadrants with respect to both personal and impersonal perspectives in a more complex form of diagonal integration.

However to illustrate these features in the clearest manner, it would be helpful to provide a slightly different representation of the quadrants from the one shown in the first part of the series.

So we will start firstly in specific terms with the personal (subjective) perspectives i.e. corresponding to 1st person and 2nd person respectively

A: Specific Perspectives - Personal (Subjective)

It is important to remember from the onset that in dynamic experiential terms, all perspectives necessarily interact in varying degrees with each other. However, within this dynamic context, it is possible to differentiate the specific perspectives involved, thereby giving then a relative independent validity.

The personal (subjective) perspectives are then directly identified with 1st and 2nd person, involving in emotional terms the affective mode of sense and feeling.1

Through this delineation, 1st person and 2nd person are understood as relatively separate from each other.

In this way, the “I” is experienced as separate from “you” (and “you” as separate from “I”). However even here, it is important to remember their ultimate shared nature in a complementary manner. So without the implicit recognition of “you”, there could be no recognition of a separate “I” identity. Likewise without the implicit notion of “I”, there could be no recognition of a corresponding “you” identity.

There is often an undue tendency to identify the self, which has access to all, predominantly with the “I” perspective. This then leads to a further form of imbalance whereby intentionality, directly relating to the central mode of will, and used essentially to achieve the overall integration of perspectives, is likewise directly identified with the “I” perspective.[2] However this is somewhat distorted with certain personality types (such as carers) identifying predominantly for example with the “you” perspective.

In fact this issue struck me forcibly recently when viewing a documentary film on Leonard Cohen.[3]

Cohen was a budding writer and poet whose interior “I” perspective dominated personality in a subjective manner. In the early 60's, he spent several years on the Greek island of Hydra, which was home to many fellow writers and artists.

Here he formed an important romantic relationship with a Norwegian woman Marianne Ihlen, who represented somewhat the opposite orientation where the subjective “you” perspective was in evidence.

In this way, through providing the missing complementary dimension in personal terms, for many years she served as an important muse for Cohen (acting as a mirror that could reflect back his own feelings).

However, such relationships are by their nature somewhat unbalanced with each person displaying an excessive tendency towards just one perspective (“I” in the case of Cohen and “you” in the case of Ihlen respectively).

So, not surprisingly, the relationship, though remaining significant throughout his life, eventually began to flounder with Cohen returning to North America. Interestingly, Ihlen then played the same “you” role acting as a muse for other men and women of similar artistic temperament. She later went through a difficult period of disillusionment, realising that she had never really discovered her own true “I” identity.

So I will briefly run through the four personal perspectives (A) that arise in this specific context.

A 1: Individual Interior “I”(Subjective)

This relates to emotional feeling and sensibility. I remember in my own case going through an existential phase while at college, strongly identifying with the writings especially of Kierkegaard, Kafka, Camus, Sartre, Dostoyevsky and Tillich. An even more profound existential phase followed later, leading to an intimate felt resonance with the work of St. John of the Cross. So certain types of literature can at appropriate times be very helpful in directly assisting development of this perspective.

It can also naturally take place through the universal experience of grief, following the loss of those personal “you” relationships, which have most meaning for us. So the present Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to considerable restrictions in terms of external social relationships, would thereby help to foster this perspective.

A 2: Individual Exterior “you”(Subjective)

This is likewise discovered in direct terms through relationship with another person involving emotional feeling and sensibility. I would attach significant importance to the individual “you” perspective, which in some respects is not properly recognised.[4]

It is interesting how in an impersonal objective manner, we distinguish 3rd person (singular) in three ways i.e. “he”, “she” and “it”. Yet, when we switch to 2nd person (singular) no such distinctions are made with “you” applying in all cases. Clearly however “you” can apply in both masculine and feminine terms. Likewise, “you” applies to all “it” phenomena that are now given a personal identity.

I dealt with this at length in the first part in speaking of “a rock”. From one perspective, this can operate as the archetype of an impersonal object. However it equally can assume, as for example in a scenic context, a felt significance in an aesthetic manner. So when phenomena elicit an emotional response, they thereby assume a personal meaning, whereby we relate to them in subjective “you” terms.

When we consider it carefully, we would have to recognise that a wide range of personal attachments are directly related to what in a scientific context, we would refer to as inanimate objects, e.g. the house we live in, the car that we drive, the clothes that we wear, the smart phone that we use, the places we like to visit, and so on. In fact materialism is based on such personal attachments, where in effect we relate blindly to individual objects in a personal “you” manner, frequently becoming emotionally enslaved in the process.

Now again there are many methodologies of an artistic nature that can directly enhance this “you” perspective, with literature of various kinds frequently playing an important role. Kazuo Ishiguro, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2017, got directly to the nub of the issue in his prize winning address. “Stories are about one person saying to another. This is the way it feels to me. Can you understand what I am saying? Does it also feel this way for you?”[5]

However, there is an important distinction that can be made as between the interior and exterior expression of the personal. Typically in this regard, feeling tends to be primary for the introvert, with the “you” phenomena that subsequently arise externally in experience a direct response to such feeling. For the extrovert it works somewhat in reverse, with the exterior phenomena that arise through sensation, tending to directly stimulate subsequent inner feelings.

However, continual switching can take place in practical terms. Thus, the existential dimension of feeling for example can arise through strong identification with the inner experience of another person. Indeed the Irish novelist Edna O'Brien has proved very adept in exploring this dimension through her writings. So for example, her recent book “Girl” explores the terrifying inside world of a young person Maryam, who has been kidnapped by Boko Karam.

A 3: Collective Interior “we” (Subjective)

There are of course two notions of the collective, which need to be carefully distinguished. So we can have a qualitative shared meaning that is properly holistic in nature. However, equally we can have a more quantitative meaning of the collective as made up of a number of specific individuals (or groups of individuals). And this is the notion that is important in this context. So when the individual subjective experience of each member of a “we” group is valued, then this collective 1st person perspective is thereby enhanced.

An interesting though somewhat disturbing example of this arose recently in Ireland when the women survivors of mother and baby homes (where residents were often brutally treated) were invited to give personal testimony to a commission. In this way, the unique emotional experience of each survivor could thereby be acknowledged.

This notion of “we” as comprising independent individuals is generally given prominence in the liberal democratic societies of the West. It can thereby give rise to rich cultural diversity in many fields. One interesting artistic expression of such diversity relates to music, which can reflect in many ways important cultural changes in society. So hip hop and rapping, which originated in the economically depressed South Bronx region of New York in the late 70's, has given rise to a unique form of African American cultural self expression incorporating music, dance, socially informed commentary, graffiti etc. It has since been adopted in many other countries by minority groupings adding their own unique characteristics.

So the best methodologies for enhancing this perspective would come from diverse literary and artistic sources.

A 4: Collective Exterior “you” (Subjective)

This relates to the subjective notion of “you” as comprising a number of separate individuals. Again this would tend to be given considerable expression in liberal democratic societies. So “we” as members of one such society would tend to view “you” as members of another society as individuals, who should enjoy freedom regarding the conduct of your personal lives.

It can also have negative connotations. For example, immigration can raise fears that “you” as differing groups may wish to impose your own individual cultural expressions on our society. Thus there are tensions in countries such as the UK and France arising from resistance among locals for example to aspects of Islamic culture.

And with mass migrations set to become a bigger issue in future, society in general is likely to experience growing difficulties in accommodating different cultural traditions with respective groupings of “we” and “you” coming into conflict with each other.

The best methodology for dealing with this perspective is through direct personal communication between groups, who otherwise might be opposed to each other either through fear or ignorance.

In this regard, the subject of Irish unity has proved troublesome for many years with opposing communities in Northern Ireland strongly identifying with separate British and Irish identities respectively. While there has been considerable focus on the political implications of this problem, far less emphasis has been placed on the need for cultural interchange as between the two communities. And the lack of this latter dimension places limitations on the possibility of a workable long-term political solution.

We will next look at the four impersonal perspectives related to their specific manifestation.

B: Specific Perspectives - Impersonal (Objective)

So starting now with the exterior quadrant we can see that the UR relates to the impersonal “it” such as phenomena which conform to a scientific interpretation of reality. And this represents the individual aspect of 3rd person recognition. So empirical science that is conducted at a local rather than general level of investigation would conform well to this perspective. Likewise the inductive use of objective scientific criteria e.g. in a work related environment, would likewise relate to this perspective. Of course “he” and “she” also represent the individual aspect of 3rd person recognition. So, one can switch from the direct awareness of “you” in personal terms to a more indirect awareness in an objective impersonal manner. In this way, one can move from a direct encounter involving feeling to the more abstract recognition of a person in a rational manner. In a valid sense, though we still use the personal language of “he” and “she”, we can then view the person in an objective “it” manner.

However just as the interior “I” in personal subjective terms has no strict meaning in the absence of the exterior “you”, likewise the exterior “it” in a corresponding impersonal objective manner has no strict meaning in the absence of the interior “I”.

And this is where the conventional use of language is so confusing. In exterior terms, we distinguish clearly the subjective “you” from the objective impersonal notion of “he, she and “it”. And we refer to these two meanings as 2nd person and 3rd person respectively.

However in corresponding interior terms, we do not make any such distinction as between the subjective “I” and the corresponding impersonal objective notion (which is also termed “I”).

For example, one could validly say “I experienced a profound sense of loss following the death of my friend”. Now clearly this represents the personal (subjective) notion of the individual “I” as 1st person.

However, one could equally say “I confirmed my credit card details when conducting an online purchase”.

However this second case represents the objective (impersonal) notion of the individual “I”, which confusingly in common language is likewise identified as 1st person.

However, just as we distinguish the subjective “you” and the objective “he, she and it” as 2nd person and 3rd person respectively, we should likewise distinguish the subjective “I” and the objective “I” as two distinct persons. And the simplest way of dealing with this is to continue to identify the subjective “I” as 1st person (singular) with the objective “I” now referred to as 4th person (singular).[6]

There are other helpful ways of appreciating the clear need to do this! For example, I might refer to a work colleague outside my immediate circle of friends in 3rd person terms as “he”. However through befriending him, bringing him inside this circle, I could then relate directly to him in 2nd person terms as “you”.

It is very similar in 4th person and 1st person terms. For example I might find it difficult initially to accept the loss of a loved one and strive to distance myself from the emotional pain through resuming work activity, where I can relate to myself in objective 4th person terms. However in eventually facing up to the loss, I would need to befriend the interior self, thereby moving to a more intimate feeling relationship in a 1st person manner.

So a considerable amount of confusion is created regarding perspectives through a failure to properly distinguish the subjective and objectives notions of “I” and “we” that properly relate to 1st person and 4th person respectively.

B 1: Individual Interior “I” (Objective)

We also saw earlier how emotional feeling that is initially directly identified with 1st person can arise in both an interior “I” and exterior “you” fashion.

Likewise the rational thought in the UL quadrant that is directly identified with 4th person, can arise with respect to both an exterior “it” and interior “I” fashion. So for example, phenomenology represents a 4th person objective attempt at understanding the interior subjective “I” (as 1st person).

However, the more obvious use of 4th person relates to the mental interpretation of all “it” phenomena. This is something that is not dealt with at all clearly by Ken Wilber. Because of a somewhat fragmented interpretation of quadrants, he tends to give “it” phenomena an objective validity in 3rd person terms (independent of the need for mental interpretation).

However just as 1st person and 2nd person are inextricably linked (so that neither has validity in the absence of the other), likewise 3rd person and 4th person are inextricably linked in the same manner. Therefore all 3rd person “it” phenomena (viewed as exterior) require a mental interpretation that is 4th person (viewed in an interior manner).

This in turn leads to the important distinction as between two types of science. In 4th person terms, the emphasis is on theoretical science in the formulation of rational hypotheses. These can then be used for the deductive interpretation of data (in 3rd person terms).

And the individual expression of 4th person relates to specific hypotheses of a localised nature.

The more extreme form would relate to pure mathematical theory within a specialised area of research.

Then in a less specialised manner, this 4th person (individual) perspective would relate to the local application of hypothetical criteria in any objective area of investigation.

So the study of mathematics, logic, theoretical science and certain types of philosophy (approached in an objective manner) would provide good methodologies for the development of this 4th person perspective.

B 2: Individual Exterior “it”(Objective)

Then in 3rd person terms corresponding to the UR quadrant, the emphasis is now, by contrast, on research and empirical science conducted at a localised level of investigation. And there is likewise an important link here with 4th person understanding in that data can be inductively used to help generate hypotheses that are fruitful in further research.

In our present society, there is perhaps excessive concentration on this 3rd person perspective with massive amounts of information readily available (in a wide range of fields) which can be collected and organised in various ways. So the accumulation and use of information of so many kinds, directly encourages the development of this perspective.

B 3: Collective Interior “we” (Objective)

The 4th person, as applied to the LL quadrant now relates strictly to the analytic notion of the collective as the quantitative sum of its individual parts. So in this context, it relates to an agreed collective interpretation of reality in objective terms.

Therefore, by definition there can be no true holistic dimension to analytic science, which operates on a quantitative notion of the whole (as the sum of its respective parts).

So when this 4th person perspective is applied to its counterpart 3rd person in collective terms, it relates to theoretical explanations of the general nature of systems.

An earlier physical example of this was the Newtonian framework. Perhaps the finest modern expressions have been the contributions of Einstein with the Special and General Theories of Relativity, which attempt to explain the behaviour of physical reality in universal terms.

Then in a less specialised manner, any generalised scientific type explanation e.g. systems theory, would represent this perspective very well.

B 4: Collective Exterior “its”(Objective)

The 3rd person collective in the LR quadrant applies to generalised empirical appreciation again along strictly analytic lines (where the whole is reduced to its constituent parts).

The modern theory of evolution would represent one important example of this reduced approach to understanding the whole.

Quantum theory could likewise be included, though in philosophical terms its findings run counter to many of the assumptions on which analytic notions of science are built.

Statistics can also be mentioned here in helping to derive more generalised patterns from a wide range of individual data.

The huge problem that remains is that one cannot seriously attempt to come to terms with the true holistic nature of reality, while using a scientific method of approach that lacks any genuine holistic dimension.

C: Holistic Perspectives - Personal (Subjective)

We now come to holistic appreciation of the various perspectives. Properly understood, this relates to integral as opposed to differentiated understanding, where the complementarity of opposite polarities in experience is explicitly recognised. And this directly involves the unconscious aspect of personality.

Unfortunately, in a culture which is heavily geared to dualistic notions, the holistic frequently becomes confused in various ways with the analytic aspect. Even when recognised as qualitatively distinct, no satisfactory means exists at the centaur level of consciousness for making this properly explicit. And as I have repeatedly stated, this is a major failing with Ken Wilber's overall approach to development, where the nature of integration is never properly distinguished in a coherent intellectual manner from corresponding differentiation.

This then leads in turn to a multi-differentiated approach becoming misleadingly identified as integral. I will attempt in a later part to show how a proper integral appreciation of perspectives might unfold in development, eventually approaching the nondual holistic awareness of reality that is without distinct perspectives.

However for the moment, we will concentrate on the manner in which a more holistic appreciation can itself give rise to the differentiation of another relatively distinct set of perspectives.

C 1: Individual Interior “I” (Intersubjective)

We are dealing here with the holistic appreciation of the 1st person perspective relating to the interior of the individual “I”. This holistic appreciation arises directly from implicit recognition of the complementary relationship of “I” with “you”. In this sense, one is not just separate from another but likewise enjoys a shared intersubjective experience. It is then through this shared dimension that one comes to recognition of oneself as a social being. And this implicit recognition occurs directly in an unconscious manner, which however is then frequently projected on to relationships in conscious terms. This in fact is the basis of all possessive attachment, whereby the holistic unconscious is then misleadingly identified with specific conscious symbols.

One interesting expression of the more holistic approach relates to the stream of consciousness method used in literature by writers such as James Joyce, Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf. Likewise the impressionist art movement can be seen as an attempt to see inside apparent reality, as it were, in a more dynamic holistic appreciation of life. A deeper expression of such holistic experience relates to authentic meditative practice, where one can gradually erode the dualistic identification with conscious phenomena, thereby discovering how the feeling “I” is ultimately deeply interdependent with all reality in a personal manner.

C 2: Individual Exterior “you”(Intersubjective)

Of course interdependence works both ways. Therefore the very recognition of how the “you” is interdependent with “I”, gives rise to a corresponding recognition that the “I” is interdependent with “you”. So “you” can join with me as another “I”; however likewise “I” can join with “you” as another “you”. In this way, from one perspective, there is a movement from the individual “I” to the collective “we”; however equally from the other perspective, there is the movement from the individual “you” to the collective “you”.

Both of these aspects are at work in any healthy emotional relationship. Therefore, at one level, two people enter a relationship with separate identities of “I” and “you”. However insofar as intimate shared communication takes place, the separation of “you” from “I” is thereby eroded (where “you” now becomes interdependent with “I”). Likewise the separation of “I” from “you” is dissolved, with “I” now becoming interdependent with “you”.

Of course perfect balance is rarely achieved and it is common even in intimate relationships for one person to remain predominantly “I” and the other “you” centred respectively.

So, when one person is primarily “I” centred, it initially requires the other person to be focussed on “you” for the relationship to develop, though when successful, each person thereby learns to place more emphasis on the neglected aspect of personality.

The holistic “you” is also very much related to true aesthetic appreciation. For example, the enjoyment of a musical symphony requires the recognition of how each part finds its wholeness through its inter-relationship with the other parts.

Likewise this is so in the case of a painting and any work of art.

Indeed the appreciation of beauty in every context essentially relates to this intersubjective nature of wholeness, where a phenomenon attains a unique personal meaning through the quality of relationship that it shares with other phenomena.

C 3: Collective Interior “we” (Intersubjective)

We now move to the holistic appreciation of 1st person “we”. In general terms this arises through the shared intersubjective dynamics of any grouping. In this way, each member shares a quality in common with each other member of the same group.

This holistic appreciation arises in a wide number of contexts. For example in sex terms, women possess a shared emotional experience that is distinct from their male counterparts. Likewise with respect to race, as graphically illustrated through the Black Lives Matter movement, African Americans likewise share a cultural experience that is quite different from their white counterparts.

Also in a rapidly changing society, the experience of the young differs markedly from the older generations.

And there is an important shared cultural experience that is based on nationality. So for example, the recent Brexit movement leading to Britain's departure from the EU is based on a strong sense of British identity.

Unfortunately in society, the cultural experience, which certain groups enjoy, is frequently fostered in many ways through opposition to other groups. So for example the shared cultural identity of Brexit supporters is largely based on antipathy to the corresponding notion of a European cultural identity.

An important example of this sharp opposition with respect to culture can be experienced at the level of football supporters. Thus the identity of Rangers supporters in Scotland is very much in opposition to the corresponding identity of Celtic supporters with this having its roots on historic rivalries in both Scotland and Northern Ireland as between the religious traditions of Protestant and Catholic respectively.

C 4: Collective Exterior “you” (Intersubjective)

This now relates to the holistic notion of the exterior “you”.

As I have stated, this often arises in a very negative sense where one group feels a strong antagonism to the shared cultural experience of another group. And this is a major factor in discrimination against all minority groupings—and even sometimes majority groupings—on the basis for example of religion, sex, class, race, age, income and physical characteristics. So, unfortunately in society the solidarity that one group experiences is often through opposition to others not considered as part of the same grouping.

A more positive form of this holistic experience of “you” arises through the appreciation of the interdependence of reality (in its widest sense).

Nature mysticism is a very good expression of this perspective, where the personal experience of “you” attains its most universal holistic appreciation.

It can be likewise experienced through the quality of compassion leading to a feeling identification in a holistic manner with all sentient beings (now seen as the personal extension of one's own self).

D: Holistic Perspectives - Impersonal (Objective)

D1: Individual Interior “I” (Interobjective)

Here, we are concerned with the holistic expression of this impersonal perspective.

The UL quadrant is once again identified with the use of reason in a 4th person manner, where the objective interdependence of reality can be readily appreciated.

Though this quality of interdependent appreciation is often implicitly present with respect to scientific understanding, no satisfactory means exist within the current paradigm to give it adequate explicit expression.

In direct terms, such holistic appreciation requires spiritual intuition (operating at an unconscious level) which then gives the conscious employment of reason a much more creative quality.

However, once again in conventional scientific terms, even when its value is admitted, it is inevitably reduced in a dualistic conscious manner. So put simply, the huge problem with existing science and indeed more generally with accepted intellectual understanding is that the holistic qualitative aspect of reality, relating directly to unconscious recognition, is reduced in an analytic quantitative manner.

In particular, I became strongly aware at a very early age of how accepted mathematical understanding is based explicitly on mere quantitative notions (conforming to conscious recognition).

So, there is an extremely important holistic dimension to mathematics (encompassing all its symbols, operations and relationships) that remains completely undeveloped in our present culture.

Put simply, true recognition of the whole notion (in any context) is of a qualitative nature relating directly to the unconscious. Therefore when a merely conscious interpretation is explicitly recognised, the whole is inevitably reduced in a quantitative manner to its constituent parts.

I would see that this marked failure of appreciation with respect to the intrinsic nature of the whole as perhaps the greatest problem generally facing society at the present moment.

Though vision logic can indeed be multifaceted and creative (because of the implicit use of intuition), it is not yet capable of recognising in an explicit manner the true nature of qualitative as opposed to analytic type understanding of reality.

Put another way, it not yet capable of properly distinguishing in intellectual terms the nature of integration in experience from that of differentiation.

Therefore a coherent integral model of development in intellectual terms cannot be successfully built on vision-logic (as in Ken Wilber's approach).

This is why I have consistently argued that he is offering a comprehensive multi-differentiated interpretation rather than a proper integral model. It only appears integral according to vision-logic, precisely because integral and differentiated notions inevitably remain confused with each other at this level. And this issue, which is central with respect to the development of “Integral Theory”, has never been meaningfully addressed by Wilber or indeed any of his followers.

So the UL quadrant relates to the 4th person (individual) perspective in the holistic use of reason that is intuitively inspired. Once again it can be directed inwards through philosophical type appreciation of experience or outwardly through objective understanding of reality in a particular context.

More generally it would apply to all creative type localised initiatives to improve reality in an objective manner.

Again the essence of this approach is worth stating. When one applies analytical understanding to reality in an objective manner, one thereby interprets parts in quantitative terms as constituting the whole. However when one applies holistic appreciation, one is now directly aware of their overall interdependence, where each part now assumes a qualitative whole identity (through relationship to other parts). And once again current scientific interpretation—as well exemplified in the accepted theory of evolution—is incapable of conveying the essence of this latter type of appreciation.

D 2: Exterior Individual “he, she, it” (Interobjective)

We are now looking at 3rd person (individual) understanding in holistic terms. Again, whereas the 4th person directly entails the deductive use of intuitively inspired rational notions (where hypotheses are applied to facts), the 3rd person entails objective facts that then are inductively used in a creative manner to inspire theories, or more loosely to suggest in holistic terms, characteristic patterns of behaviour.

So 3rd person and 4th person are always inextricably involved in a complementary manner in understanding (with the balance shifting in relative manner between the two poles). And it is recognition of this interior-exterior (and exterior-interior) complementarity that provides the very means for their subsequent integration.

D 3: Interior Collective “we” (Interobjective)

We are now looking at 4th person (collective) understanding in holistic terms.

This entails intuitively inspired interpretation with respect to more generalised theories of reality.

Holistic Mathematics for example represents an intuitively inspired holistic appreciation of the nature of mathematics. Alternatively, it is directly geared to the qualitative rather than quantitative interpretation of all mathematical symbols. Remarkably, though potentially of great importance, it is effectively completely unrecognised as yet by the mathematical community.

And this only goes to show how interpretation of the explicit nature of holistic appreciation remains greatly undeveloped in our culture. This requires mastery of the more advanced contemplative stages of development (now interpreted with respect to structures of form in a novel modern context).

However in a less developed implicit manner, the holistic nature of 4th person (collective) relates to a general rational appreciation of reality that is intuitively inspired.

So both Newton's and Einstein's great physical contributions, though formally expressed in analytic terms, implicitly were of a strong holistic nature.

In more dramatic terms, this could likewise be said of the mathematician Ramanujan. Though his discoveries owed a great deal to a remarkable holistic intuition, subsequently they have been reduced to mere analytic interpretation by the mathematical community.

D 4: Exterior Collective “they, its” (Interobjective)

This relates to an overall fact based appreciation of reality that is holistic (where the interdependent nature of overall systems is recognised).

Now, clearly this is extremely important in terms of our current ecological crisis. However though there is growing appreciation of the interdependent nature of all aspects of nature, unfortunately our scientific training still predisposes us to dealing with reality in an analytic manner (where this interdependence is lost).

It is also true of the way national economies have been run for centuries. Therefore, though at one level it is apparent that time is running out in terms of properly tackling climate change, because of the short-tern considerations and rivalries on which so much domestic politics operate, the combined willingness to take the radical decisions necessary is still not present (as this requires a truly co-operative holistic way of viewing reality). Unfortunately therefore, I think that future decades are likely to become increasingly turbulent with even catastrophic events taking place before true conversion to an authentic holistic viewpoint begins to occur. If there can be so much confusion even in integral circles as to its nature, how much greater must be this confusion be with respect to the world at large?

So analytic scientific developments, though hugely beneficial, in some respects have unfortunately created a mentality that leaves us ill-equipped to deal with the nature of climate change, the present Covid pandemic, mass emigration, global economic issues such as poverty and inequality, the undue power of multinational companies, the fragile nature of the monetary system, ethical issues regarding tax, the social impact of the internet and so on. And without conversion to a more holistic view of reality, these issues will never be properly addressed.

Perspectives and the MBTI

I have mentioned before how there are remarkable parallels as between the system of primary perspectives (just outlined) and Jungian personality types as given expression in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator based on this approach.

Now in outlining perspectives, we have focussed on the relative differentiation of their 16 primary manifestations. These are defined in relation to each of the four persons (1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person and 4th person), which are then classified with respect to the parameters of individual and collective, where each have both a specific (conscious) and holistic (unconscious) meaning.

The 16 personality types in the MBTI are then defined through each of the four functions (sense, intuition, thinking and feeling) which are likewise classified with respect to four additional parameters extravert/introvert and perception/judgement respectively.

In the MBTI, each personality type is listed according to four key criteria which then have an equivalent expression in my system of perspectives.

So each personality type is defined as either I (introvert) or E (extravert). Likewise, each perspective has either an interior or exterior orientation. So 1st person and 4th person are relatively identified as interior and 2nd and 3rd as exterior respectively.

Then each personality type is defined according to either S (sense) or N (intuition), which represents one's basic unconscious orientation. So the S type is oriented to actuality and form (through sensation); the N type is oriented towards potentiality and formlessness (through intuition). These two definitions accord well with—what I refer to in the context of perspectives as—specific and holistic respectively. So specific perspectives are either subjective or objective; holistic are either intersubjective or interobjective.

Next, each personality type is defined according to feeling (F) or thinking (T), which represents one's corresponding conscious orientation. This then accords well with what I refer to as the personal and impersonal perspectives related to affective and cognitive modes.

Then finally each personality type is defined according to Perception (P) and Judgement (J) as ways of dealing with reality. The former is more spontaneous and open; the latter is more closed and general. This then equates with the individual and collective aspects of perspectives.

Therefore it is possible to map the 16 personality types and 16 primary perspectives in a manner where they correspond directly with each other.

Though each personality type is defined by the dominance of one particular function according to one of the 4 possible parameters considered, each of the other functions is also necessarily involved.

In the MBTI system, the first function is dominant; then the second, which is also strongly developed is referred to as the auxiliary that supports the dominant function. Then there is a tertiary function, which may be reasonably well developed though perhaps weaker than the first two. Finally, there is fourth function referred to as the inferior (the opposite of the dominant), which usually remains largely undeveloped, often entering consciousness in an involuntary manner.

And we can define each of the 16 personality types with respect to the relative importance of these 4 functions (defined in terms of one of the 4 parameters).

Equally, we can therefore define these personality types with respect to the relative importance of the four key perspectives (precisely defined in each case according to one of the four key parameters that I have identified).

I rank the perspectives on a scale of 1 to 4. So the perspective listed as 1 is the most dominant in experience; the perspective listed as 4 is the least developed, often entering experience in an involuntary manner.

This represents I believe an exciting new departure. Therefore, from a certain standpoint it enables one to interpret the 16 personality types of the MBTI in a very interesting new manner that directly involves the primary perspectives.

Then equally from another standpoint it shows how dominance of any one perspective (1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person or 4th person) in experience—defined with respect to one of the four parameters—is necessarily associated in varying degrees with the three other perspectives, conforming to a particular personality type.

So, I will now outline the 16 personality types, linking each with a dominant primary perspective type that I have just outlined in the article, showing in each case how the four functions and four perspectives—defined in accordance with one of four additional parameters—are configured.

If we examine the last personality type listed here, it is the ESFJ i.e. an extraverted sensing type, where feeling (rather than thinking) is dominant. Here the world is approached in a somewhat structured manner (as indicated by J), which would indeed fit the profile of the caregiver, well organised to respond emotionally to the needs of others.

Then in corresponding terms, we see that the key perspective here is 2nd person “you” with a collective meaning, with the complementary 1st person perspective next in prominence. And the fact that this 1st person perspective is subjective (rather than intersubjective) implies that this personality type is better adapted to dealing with actual (rather than potential) reality. Likewise the more quantitative notion of the collective applies, where one can relate to a number of individuals in a personal manner. And this is precisely what one would expect of a good carer.

Then the latter two perspectives are of the more impersonal objective variety, in which carers could perhaps be somewhat deficient. This would especially true regarding the final function and perspective listed.

Thus introverted thinking represents the opposite of extraverted feeling. Likewise the 4th person perspective, which is of an interior objective nature, represents the opposite of the 2nd person perspective that is exterior and subjective. Whereas the former relates to the collective expression of the subjective, the latter now relates to the individual expression of the objective. So each personality type does indeed employ all perspectives (with each defined according to one distinct parameter).

However, though all four persons (1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person and 4th person) and all four parameters individual, collective, specific (subjective/objective) and holistic intersubjective/interobjective) are employed, they are usually configured in a manner that can be somewhat unbalanced.

In terms of perspectives, 1st and 2nd (as personal) form a natural complementary pairing, which switch between each other, with the relative balance depending on whether one adopts a more introverted (1st as primary) or extraverted (2nd as primary) stance.

Likewise 3rd and 4th (as impersonal) again form a natural complementary pairing, which again switch between each other, with the relative balance depending on whether one again adopts a more introverted (4th as primary) or extraverted (3rd as primary) stance.

This thereby entails that one's personality will tend to favour one pairing (of either the personal or impersonal perspectives) over the other. For a more appropriate balance as between personal and impersonal to be maintained, it is important therefore that a further perspective be also properly developed. So, where the personal perspectives tend to dominate (1st person and 2nd person), this tertiary perspective will be impersonal in nature (either 3rd person or 4th person). And where the impersonal perspectives tend to dominate (3rd person and 4th person) the tertiary will be personal (either 1st person or 2nd person).

However very frequently in personality, the successful development of the tertiary is at the expense of the most weakly developed function, which correlates with one's weakest perspective. So a major task with respect to true integration is sustained recognition of this lack in development of the weakest function (perspective) which then serves as the very means for its gradual recovery (from the unconscious).

Now, looking again at just one of the above personality types at random—say the ISTJ (an introverted, sense orientated, thinking and judgemental type)—we see that the dominant perspective is 4th person (objective). This implies the objective use of reason in a systematic ordered fashion (where the collective aspect is emphasised).

So, 4th person thinking is applied to the general interpretation of external data i.e. “its” viewed as 3rd person. And of course a good inspector would make considerable use of these two impersonal perspectives.

However, the limitations of this personality type would relate to the final two personal perspectives. The development of interior feeling with the tertiary perspective as 1st person (individual) could indeed help to bring a more endearing human quality to behaviour. However considerable difficulty is likely to remain regarding the final perspective. So from the Jungian standpoint, this personality type would find it especially difficult to bring creative imagination to bear on a shared personal relationship (which requires intuition).

This would equally imply a weakness with respect to the 2nd person “you” (intersubjective) perspective. Therefore though very reliable in objective terms, this personality type can remain —where the two weaker functions (perspective) are insufficiently developed—too rigid and inflexible.

One can perhaps appreciate from the above delineations (functions and perspectives), that switching the first letter (i.e. from I to E, and from E to I) with regard to personality types, requires simply a switch between dominant and auxiliary and also between tertiary and inferior functions. A corresponding switch then takes place as between 1 and 2 and then 3 and 4, respectively, regarding perspectives.

A corresponding switch regarding the second letters (from S to N and N to S) requires simply replacing Sense with Intuition and Intuition with Sense (in the four functions). Then in corresponding terms with the four perspectives, one switches between subjective (or objective) and intersubjective (or interobjective) respectively.

The switching between the final two letters F, T and P, J respectively requires a more complex double arrangement. This also suggests that the proper integration of Feeling and Thinking on the one hand and Perception and Judgement on the other, remains a difficult developmental task. This equally suggests that the proper integration of Personal and Impersonal (in individual and collective terms) regarding perspectives is an equally difficult task.

I will now take the first of this latter group (INTP and D 1) to illustrate its key features with respect to functions and perspectives. I have found this type to be very instructive, when coming to better understand what I have long seen as clear flaws in the Wilberian approach.

There are necessarily shortcomings in any approach, as we all tend to see reality through a lens, where some perspectives are given more dominance than others. However this is precisely my point, that in recognising any attempt at understanding reality as limited in this manner, one can remain more open to properly assessing both the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches, according to the manner in which the different perspectives are combined.

Though no single personality type can do justice to the unique nature of each personality, it is however true I believe that the general features, which characterise certain approaches, can indeed be largely representative of one type.

So the dominant function with the INTP is introverted thinking, which is fitting for one such as Wilber intent on building a comprehensive intellectual system of reality. And it is clear, as for example in his autobiographical account of his relationship with Treya in “Grace and Grit” that Wilber would characterise himself primarily as a thinker. In perspective terms, this properly relates to the 4th person, where the “I” seeks to interpret reality in objective terms. However Wilber, though distinguishing as between internal and external expressions with respect to the “I”, still characterises such objective understanding in 1st person terms.

This is then backed up with extraverted intuition, in a 3rd person manner. Here, Wilber has been remarkably effective, operating with superb intellectual clarity in making creative general linkages with respect to data in a wide range of fields. So he essentially uses a holistic inductive approach (as in his derivation of the four quadrants) where overall findings are intuitively derived from the detailed cognitive appreciation of individual data. And in perspective terms, this thereby incorporates the 3rd person empirical approach.

However, again, though he would make a distinction as between 2nd person subjective and 3rd person objective understanding in an exterior manner, he identifies both objective and subjective interior understanding with 1st person. So in Jungian terms, Wilber would describe both his dominant function (interior thinking) and tertiary function (interior feeling) in 1st person “I” terms. In corresponding perspective terms, this means that he classifies both 4th person and 1st person in 1st person terms. Not surprisingly, this then leads to an overemphasis in his treatment of perspectives on the 1st person.

Wilber then greatly underemphasises the importance of 2nd person “you”. In Jungian terms the inferior function with respect to the INTP is exterior feeling and in corresponding perspective terms this relates to 2nd person (collective).

In fact, Wilber scarcely recognises this collective “you” perspective at all! Whereas he bundles in a very unconvincing manner “you” (singular) with “I” to form a common 1st person “we”, in effect he allows no distinct role for “you” (plural).

This is highly relevant in turn to the manner in which Wilber attempts to deal with criticism. Here, he has always placed an undue emphasis on the “I” perspective, which he expects to be discussed on his terms. However he has displayed little interest in the distinctive “you” perspectives of opposing critics. He seems to operate from the clear underlying assumption that his own integral approach is superior to everyone else's, thereby rendering consideration of alternative perspectives somewhat superfluous. And we have seen the logical conclusion of this position on Integral World with his refusal now for many years to engage with anyone that is not already part of his recognised “we” group.

In other words, for Wilber, the “yous” outside his own integral circle, who seriously question his views, no longer—if they ever really did—count.

And in this respect the shadow side of his personality has been given free rein, which is both sad and unhealthy. So despite an enormous contribution, his integral movement has now become something of a cult, undeserving of recognition from the wider intellectual community.


1. Though it might appear justifiable to consider “I” as interior and “you” as exterior, this is only true in a relative sense. So, for example, one can associate feeling directly with the interior subjective “I”. Therefore an introvert might be expected to approach the outside personal world of the “you” from the standpoint of established feeling, with the phenomenal sensations arising dictated by such feelings. Then an extravert by contrast might be expected to naturally relate to the outside “you” world through registering sensations, which then would indirectly evoke interior feelings.

However, these can also work in reverse and indeed when interactions as between the “I” and “you” (and “you” and “I”) become more dynamically balanced, increasingly this will be the case.

So, one can primarily relate to the outside “you” through feeling and likewise one can relate to the inside subjective world of the “I” through the senses. Therefore when properly understood, the “I” and “you” perspectives become completely interchangeable leading to nondual spiritual experience that in dualistic terms can be referred to as both “you” and “I” (as completely interdependent with each other) or alternatively neither “you” nor “I” (as considered in a separate manner).

2. Intentionality primarily relates to the central volitional capacity of the self, which in the most general manner enables both personal and impersonal perspectives to be related to each other with respect to their exterior and interior aspects. It is a mistake therefore to identify intentionality exclusively with the UL quadrant (relating to the subjective “I” perspective).

As I have argued, Wilber confusingly refers to both the subjective and objective manifestations of the “I” as 1st person and then gives his 1st person perspective (which really combines two distinct perspectives) an undue emphasis. And apart from failing to clearly distinguish the affective and cognitive nature of perspectives, he then likewise fails to distinguish the volitional from either the affective or cognitive aspect.

3. Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love; 2019; Director Nick Broomfield.

4. Ken Wilber to my mind significantly reduces the importance of the 2nd person “you” perspective both in individual and collective terms.

Because he operates with a somewhat rigid definition of the four quadrants, he is constrained to defining his Left Hand quadrants in 1st person subjective terms (“I” and “we”) and his Right Hand quadrants in a corresponding 3rd person objective fashion (“it” and “its”).

However this then leaves no direct recognition of 2nd person “you”. So, Wilber in a most unconvincing manner tries to convince us that 2nd person “you” (singular) is included in 1st person “we” (plural). However equally, 1st person “I” (singular) could be argued to be included in 2nd person “you” plural.

So from Wilber's perspective “you” can join with “I” to form a common “we”. However it never seems to strike him that “I” can also join with “you” to form a common “you” (plural). So what actually happens is that from one perspective, insofar as one can recognise “you” as another “I”, then in this respect a common intersubjective “we” arises (i.e. “you” as part of my group). Equally however, insofar as one can recognise “I” as another “you” then a common intersubjective “you” (plural) arises (i.e. “I” as part of your group). So it is quite inaccurate therefore to infer that 2nd person “you” can solely be included in 1st person “we”.

And as I state in the article, this is highly instructive with respect to the manner that Wilber deals with criticism. Whereas he recognises the “you” that is ready to join with his “I” in an integral “we” circle, he does not recognise the “yous” that seriously oppose his “I” on integral matters (who Wilber clearly does not want to join in discussion). So interaction for Wilber is decidedly one-way and now completely confined to his inside group of “we” believers, who are then expected to download without question the latest updates to his views. Therefore his whole integral movement has led to an unhealthy cult of personality that is a total turn-off for anyone who still values discussion in an open acceptable manner.

5. Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature the year previously in 2016. Interestingly, Ishiguro had ambitions to join a rock band and earlier in his career had travelled to California in the vain attempt to achieve recognition in this regard.

6. I have suggested before, distinguishing the 4th person from 1st person by maintaining “I” for 1st person (singular) and using the variant form “mi” for 4th person (singular). Then we would maintain “we” for 1st person (plural) and use “wi” for 4th person (plural). Though 1st and 4th persons could be clearly distinguished in this manner, it would perhaps seem somewhat artificial to use such manufactured words, which have no established resonance.


Ken Wilber: Grace and Grit: Spirituality and Healing in the Life of Treya Killam Wilber; Gill Books new edition (1st July, 2008)

Ken Wilber; Excerpt C: The Ways We are in This Together;, 2006

Ken Wilber: A Suggestion for Reading Criticisms of my Work on Frank Visser's Site”; Integral World (March 2004)

Edna O'Brien: Girl; Faber and Faber, Main edition (18th June, 2020)

An Overview of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator;

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