An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber

Integral World Forum

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Building a Model of Human Development
That Is Truly a ‘Theory of Everything’

Hugh & Kaye Martin

Is Ken Wilber’s AQAL the best foundation for an Integral Theory of human development?  This series of articles presents an alternative model that is more comprehensive, more differentiated, more balanced and more integrated.[1]  We call this model ADAPT – All Dimensions, All Processes, All Participants, Together.

Are Wilber’s Quadrants, Levels, Lines, and States an adequate summary of the ‘map’ that defines our life journey?  This series clarifies and refines Wilber’s four Dimensions – and adds several more that are equally important.

Are the nine Modules of Wilber’s Integral Life Practice an adequate program for personal growth?  This series outlines 35 Processes that are essential for becoming a complete human being.

Does Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute offer the broadest and deepest program for personal development at an Integral level?  This series shows how the offerings of Esalen Institute, the grande dame of the human potential movement, can be orchestrated into the most complete and effective program of personal growth currently available.

Do Ken Wilber’s Famous Tables from Integral Psychology adequately summarize his research on the many developmental systems that constitute his Great Nest?  This series demonstrates that those Tables would benefit from substantial clarification, refinement, and expansion.

Is Wilber’s AQAL an adequate representation of the system of human growth Wilber himself uses?  This series demonstrates that Wilber actually employs a much broader model of growth we call his Integral Operating System (IOS).  Furthermore, we discover that Wilber’s IOS is actually a very comprehensive (though incomplete) version of ADAPT!

This series of articles is an exploration of the many features and ramifications of the ADAPT Model of Human Development:


ADAPT Points the Way Toward a Major Revision of Ken Wilber’s Model of Human Development   

AQAL, the Next Generation? is our keystone article.  Here, we describe, explain, and illustrate all four Domains of the ADAPT Model – the eight Dimensions along which growth takes place, the seven Participants in the growth process, the 33 Processes [now 35] that implement our growth, the 12 modes of Guidance and Orchestration (‘Together-ness’) that integrate our experience.  In an extensive comparison between ADAPT and Ken Wilber, the authors find that many of Wilber’s positions on human growth need serious reconsideration, and perhaps revision.


What Ken Wilber Really Says About Human Growth (Integral Psychology edition)

The Fundamental Ken Wilber is a study of the entire spectrum of fundamental principles that constitute Ken Wilber’s Integral Operating System.  Organized using the parameters of ADAPT, this topical anthology places Wilber’s various pronouncements on each subject side-by-side, so they can be compared and evaluated.  This investigation reveals through extensive excerpts from Wilber’s own work at least 76 instances where Wilber’s Model needs substantial reexamination, and perhaps revision.  In the course of the analysis, this study demonstrates that Wilber himself employs a version of the ADAPT Model in his explorations of human development.


The Eight Dimensions of Personal Development  

 The Human Growth Continuum investigates in detail the eight Dimensions that define the landscape of our life journey.  Here we explore the Stages of development through which we grow, the Transitions that take us from Stage to Stage, the States of consciousness at the highest levels of our awareness, the Realms and Arenas where life experience takes place, the Quadrants and Vectors that define the perspectives and directions of our experience, the Impediments to the growth process (and their Resolutions), and the Coordination that weaves together the diverse strands of our growth journey.  We find that Wilber’s four Dimensions of Quadrants, Levels, Lines, and States must be significantly expanded and differentiated to adequately describe the topography of the ‘Growth Continuum.’


The 33 Fundamental Methods by which People Grow

The Processes of Human Development explores at length the 33 [now 35] techniques, programs, therapies, and activities that transport us on our lifelong journey of personal development.  Here, we investigate the seven key Process types: Foundational Processes that are fundamental to all subsequent growth, Physical World Processes that engage us with material reality, Socio-Cultural Processes that involve us with groups of people, Formal Investigation Processes that engage our thinking and reasoning powers, Self-Expression Processes that enable us to express our inward reality in outward form, Conscious Development Processes that are specifically designed to promote growth and resolve problems, and Comprehensive Processes that combine and integrate many other growth Processes.  We find that the nine Modules of Wilber’s Integral Life Practice must be substantially extended and articulated to provide a optimally-effective program for personal and professional growth.


Ken Wilber’s Tables of Correspondence  

Arrays of Light presents a redesigned version of Wilber’s famous Tables (from the Appendix of Integral Psychology) that is more informative, more accessible, more appealing, and more useful.  Wilber’s Tables are the fundamental underpinning of his work.  They are the platform he uses to summarize the evidence that supports and substantiates his theories.  If the Tables are not well-organized, understandable, accurate, representative, and complete, Wilber’s whole system stands on shaky ground.  This study endeavors to remedy the deficiencies in those Tables and to elevate recognition of their importance.


Using the World’s Greatest Growth Center To Build Your Own Integral Growth Program    

The Processes According to Esalen shows how the offerings of Esalen Institute, that fabled growth center on California’s Big Sur coast, can be used to build a highly effective program for personal and professional growth.  This study describes in detail the features, the ambience, and the offerings of Esalen – and traces Esalen’s intimate involvement with the development of the Human Potential Movement, and with Ken Wilber and Integral Theory in particular.  Esalen’s offerings for each of the 35 ADAPT Processes are evaluated and found generally superior to those of Wilber’s Integral Institute.  In a very personal reflection, Hugh Martin describes how Esalen helped him prevail in his battle against terminal cancer.


For ease of study, individual topics from the above Esalen article are also available as separate excerpts:

1.      REPREIVE FROM DEATH: Hugh Martin’s Journey from Terminal Cancer to Personal Transformation

2.      THE MAGIC OF ESALEN: The Special Features that make Esalen Institute One of the Most Extraordinary Places on Earth

3.      ESALEN AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTEGRAL: The Key Role Played by Esalen Institute in the Development of Ken Wilber’s Integral Worldview

4.      THE HEALING POWER OF PSYCHIC TRANSFORMATION: How the Processes of Growth offered by Esalen Institute Aided Hugh Martin in His Battle Against Terminal Cancer

5.      THE ESALEN REPORT CARD: A Frank and Candid Evaluation of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Esalen Institute

6.      ESALEN VERSUS INTEGRAL INSTITUTE: How Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute Stacks Up Against Esalen Institute

7.      THE PHENOMENON OF GROWTH CENTERS: How Growth Centers and Holistic Growth Situations Can Support in Your Own Journey to Personal Transformation

8.      TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE IN SEVEN STEPS: How You Can Use the Offerings of Esalen Institute To Create a Life-Changing Program of Personal and Professional Growth


As time and personal resources permit, we will continue to flesh out the ADAPT Model with additional investigations and explorations.  Our drawing board is stacked with several near-completed manuscripts, including the following:

The ADAPT Quartet

{            Exploring the Growth Continuum: The Eight Dimensions of Personal Development – version 2.0.  An update and expansion of the Growth Continuum study above.

{            Ships to Exotic Ports of Call: The 35 Fundamental Processes by Which People Grow – version 2.0.  An update and expansion of our Processes study above.

{            Voyagers on the Sea of Time: The Seven Major Participants in the Human Growth Process.  A detailed study of the major aspects of Self that participate in the growth process.

{            Guides to the Great Beyond: The 12 Modes of Orchestration that Weave Together the Strands of Our Growth.  An extended investigation of the major modes of ‘Together-ness’ – the sources of Guidance and Orchestration that integrate and unify our growth experience.

Other articles in preparation

{            The Fundamental Ken Wilber: An Extended Topical Anthology.  A substantially expanded version of The Fundamental Ken Wilber study above – encompassing not just Integral Psychology, but many of Wilber’s other major works as well.

{            Voices from the Family Constellation: The Processes in Real Life.  A collection of very personal verses, lyrics, and other forms of creative expression that illustrate the 35 Processes as they occur in everyday family life.

Your feedback is vital to the implementation of this ambitious and ground-breaking project.  Please send us your detailed comments, including Amazon-style reviews of each article.

Thanks for your encouragement and support.

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HUGH MARTIN.  Hugh Martin is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.  He has appeared on numerous talk shows, led seminars at many colleges and corporations, and spoken at numerous professional conferences and colloquia.  Mr. Martin is president of the FINRA-registered securities brokerage firm, Hugh Martin Securities, and of the California-registered investment advisory firm, Hugh Martin & Co.  Hugh is also an experienced Life Counselor.

AMALIA KAYE MARTIN.  Amalia Kaye Martin (‘Kaye’) is a ‘clairvoyant’ Life Counselor, gifted natural medicine practitioner, and early education specialist.  Kaye is also a dedicated homemaker, full-time mother, instructor in natural medicine and nutrition at Bauman College, certified natural foods chef, and dynamic community organizer.

HUGH AND KAYE MARTIN.  Hugh and Kaye are primarily qualified as Integral theorists and practitioners because they have led Integral lives.  Both Hugh and Kaye have extensive experience in personal transformation, natural medicine and health, early and advanced education, societal change, natural and cultural environments, and high-level academics.

Hugh and Kaye have been married for over 30 years.  They have five highly-independent, multi-gifted children with strong family ties. 


WHOLE LIFE COUNSELING.  Hugh and Kaye Martin are the founders and co-directors of the life planning and counseling firm Whole Life Counseling.  Whole Life Counseling is a comprehensive program for personal and professional growth, which empowers clients to achieve success and fulfillment in 12 key arenas of life -- education, career, marriage, family, community, emotions, sexuality, finances, health, recreation, nature, and spirituality. 

For more information, please contact the authors at [email protected].


[1] Please note some important caveats and qualifications: 1) Refinement, not replacement.  Our purpose here is to reconsider, elucidate, refine, revise, expand, and update Wilber’s admirable work – not to challenge, contest, bash, denigrate, debunk, replace, or supersede it.  Wilber is a Titan on whose shoulders all our efforts stand.  2) Personal growth onlyADAPT is a model of personal growth, while AQAL is a much more general model of the structure of reality.  Our comparisons pertain only to Wilber’s application of the AQAL model to human growth.  3) Incomplete information.  Comparisons are tentative, subject to more detailed information, especially regarding the Processes offered through Integral Life Practice and Integral Institute.  4) Simplified and abbreviated.  For the sake of brevity and clarity, many points of comparison are simplified and schematized.  For more detailed treatments of various topics, please refer to our publications listed below.  5) Collaborative effort.  The ADAPT model presented here, along with the comparisons to the AQAL model, represent a working hypothesis intended to initiate dialog, not to proclaim a definitive conclusion.  Any valid revision of Wilber’s model will ultimately require the collaborative efforts of many authorities on the Integral worldview.