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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Joe CorbettJoe Corbett has been living in Shanghai and Beijing since 2001. He has taught at American and Chinese universities using the AQAL model as an analytical tool in Western Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Communications. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and did his PhD work on modern and postmodern discourses of self-development, all at public universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at [email protected].


A Blueprint for a
Flying-Saucer Engine

Preface to a post-metaphysical metaphysics

Joe Corbett

In the beginning, let me be perfectly clear. The integral AQAL model provides us with an ontological framework for everything that exists because the four quadrants correspond in exact conformity to the four forces of the universe: gravity, the weak and strong nuclear forces, and electro-magnetism. Let me elaborate.

Gravity corresponds to the upper-right quadrant, a physical force of embodiment, singular form, objective weight, concrete empirical matter in the natural sciences, mother earth, and the body itself. It is also the domain in which space is extended beyond the singularity by the one-dimensional line into infinity.

The weak-force corresponds to the upper-left quadrant, an interior force of individual radiation and disintegration, lightness of being (air), subjective creativity and mutation in the arts. It is also the domain in which there is an expansion of the line into the width of consciousness, where the two-dimensional plane of the sky and the surface horizon of awareness is born.

The strong-nuclear force corresponds to the lower-left quadrant, also an interior, 'hidden' force, but now as a deep, intimate, and strong bond of matter in its collective unity facilitated by the binding properties of water, catalytic and not easily broken, where the inter-subjective relations of love and loyalty are nurtured and fused, the core substance (or volume) that makes life and the universe full and meaningful.

Finally, electro-magnetism corresponds to the lower-right quadrant, an exterior force not of embodied form but of shape, structure, and angular (or inter-objective) relations. It is a repulsive-attractive force of power (positional leverage) and energy (money) that gives shape to the myriad large-scale structures of the universe and human societies alike. The transformative quality of fire is its characteristic, and that is the fourth dimension of time, or the dynamic (changing) relations between things.





Line (space)



Volume (cube)





Everything that exists in this universe emerges from different intensities and combinations of these four inseparably entangled forces (quadrants, or quantum-fields). There is no-where where they are not. Every breath you take, every step you make, everything you see and hear and feel embody these four forces in some way. We cannot escape them because we cannot step outside the universe itself. Even the vacuum of space is bursting with the pure potentiality of the AQAL template (which I like to think of, in the spirit of David Bohm, as a giant integrated Hologram and its dialectical holomovements), where for the first time, we have simultaneous meditative access to all the corners and dimensions of the known universe to go where no man or woman has gone before.

This template begins with the four primordial forces, but it evolves into ever increasing complexity until we get (in advanced human forms, as crazy as it may sound) technology as an evolved form of gravity, Shakespeare as an evolved form of the weak-force, religion as an evolved form of the strong-force, and the political-economy of nations and the world as an evolved form of electro-magnetism. And there is no end-point to the dialectical evolution of the AQAL-Hologram. It is ever-evolving, with human choices and decisions very much at play in the shaping of its on-going forms and shapes, as it always has been in the form of information feedback from the very beginning of life and everything.

Indeed, the evolution of life itself comes from the biochemistry of the quantum fields represented by the four elements of carbon (earth), hydrogen (air), oxygen (water), and nitrogen (fire). Likewise, at a higher or more complex stage of biochemistry, the code of DNA is spelled out by the four nucleic acids of A, G, C, and T. At both levels of biochemical complexity, different dialectical combinations and intensities of quantum fields at different times and places spun a self-organizing web of individual and collective being and consciousness to create life and its myriad forms over billions of years. Eventually, advanced biological forms of the physical body and mind of organisms as well as their intimate collective and societal forms developed, all out of the basic building blocks of biochemistry woven into ever increasingly complex webs of self-organization.













Everything human beings are, have ever been, or will ever be in their individual and collective manifestations come from the dialectical entanglements of these quadrant-fields at different times and places as the universe has evolved from its very beginning into increasingly complex webs of self-organizing individual and collective being and consciousness. And we ourselves are this evolving conscious-being called the universe, the very person you see in the mirror, the tragedies and joys of everyday experience we witness personally and through the media, all are expressions of the universe itself in its ever-evolving forms of play.

By knowing what elements are at play in what dimensions at any given time and place, we can more easily determine what will emerge through the portal of manifestation, and therefore who we will become as individuals and as human beings. The AQAL-Hologram is an ignition switch to the individual and collective destiny of our being and consciousness to fulfill whatever forms and places we choose to go as a species', and as a representative of the universe aware of itself.

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