Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion, SUNY 2003Frank Visser, graduated as a psychologist of culture and religion, founded IntegralWorld in 1997. He worked as production manager for various publishing houses and as service manager for various internet companies and lives in Amsterdam. Books: Ken Wilber: Thought as Passion (SUNY, 2003), and The Corona Conspiracy: Combatting Disinformation about the Coronavirus (Kindle, 2020).

Does Every Outside
Have an Inside?

Ken Wilber's Strained Relationship to Science

Frank Visser

Birds flocking, an example of self-organization in biology (Wikipedia)

Abraham Maslow said in 1966, "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." This has become known as "the Law of the instrument, otherwise known as the law of the hammer, Maslow's hammer (or gavel), or the golden hammer. It is a cognitive bias that involves an over-reliance on a familiar tool" (Wikipedia).

When integral students observe a phenomenon, they tend to place it in their familiar AQAL model, distinguishing outside from inside, and individual from collective. The AQAL model works very well when applied to us humans and our manifold activities. After all, we do have an outside and an inside (even though the ontological status of that inside is contested), and we are both individual and social beings. But does that generalize to the cosmos at large? Not so easily.


Even hallucinations have neurological correlates, but that doesn't make them reflections of something real.

When Corey de Vos contemplated the famous Hubble Deep Field picture taken from a tiny square of the remote universe, and used it in his recent Ken Show episode[1] on cosmic matters (ranging from UFOs to what is the chance of life elsewhere in the universe, and why don't we notice any visitors from outer space if they exist?), he commented, that this picture showed him "Spirit in the Third Person", the external part of some internal Cosmic Mind. Wilber followed up eagerly on that suggestion, skipping the material details of the cosmos, by talking at length about Big Mind, the cosmic consciousness that can be experienced in deep meditation, according to the spiritual path with that name (from Genpo Roshi).

A website related to the path of Big Mind puts up the following evocative phrase (and this is Spirit in the First Person mode):

“I am Big Mind. I have no borders, no boundaries, no limits. I am unborn and undying, without beginning or end. I am all things, and all things are manifestations of me. I make no distinctions between self and other, you and me. I am the mind of nirvana, absolute peace and freedom.”

Wilber explains further, that we can experience eternity and infinity right here and now, if we explore our own consciousness to its deepest levels. He emphasizes that we should be careful not to dismiss these experiences as neurological processes. If we see an apple, he argues, this triggers neurological processes in our brains, but do we therefore deny the existence of the apple? Likewise, we shouldn't dismiss the reality of Big Mind on the basis of being able to see only its neurological correlates (in advanced meditators).

This is, of course, an odd line of argumentation. Even hallucinations have neurological correlates, but that doesn't make them reflections of something real. That does not mean mystical experiences are hallucinations, but that their veridity can't be argued in this way. We should, in fact, be careful in the opposite direction and not draw any grand metaphysical conclusions from these rare experiences—even if we accept they exist—such as "I am all things, and all things are manifestations of me." Really?

Another cautioning question would be: why would the cosmos we contemplate at night have anything resembling a mind or conscious self? Do we have any evidence for this? Is the sun conscious? Or the moon? Rupert Sheldrake has an amusing anecdote about a lecture he once gave a about this very question: Is the sun conscious?[2] He argued there's a good possibility that that is the case. The sun shows all kinds of electric phenomena, like our brains, so why would it not be conscious as well, in some sense? This is, of course, a case of false analogy, typical for every pseudo-science. But when someone from the audience asked him about the moon and its possible consciousness, he decidedly denied this was the case: the moon was a dead planet. This led to indignant responses from the female part of his audience! They felt more affinity with the moon than the sun.

On a more serious note: Wilber's view on consciousness and its relationship to matter is known as "pan-interiorism", to distinguish it from the more widely known "panpsychism" or "panexperientialism". In Wilber's view, all holons, from atoms to human beings have interiority, all the way down to the tiniest particles. Their consciousness may not look like our own, but they definitely, and by definition (following the AQAL model), have some kind of interiority.

However, this does not mean that the cosmos at large exhibits some kind of (self)conscious mind. Even a modern-day idealistic philosopher like Bernardo Kastrup, who relates all of reality to a "mind-at-large", sees this universal mind as a rather primitive phenomenon—definitely not an all-knowing Supermind.[3] So, jumping from a picture of the cosmos to some cosmic Mind which can be experienced in meditation is loaded with mystical and metaphysical assumptions.

Tom Murray warns against the "misplaced concreteness" of these metaphysical interpretations in his "Knowing and Unknowing Reality"[3a]:

Ken Wilber [1]: discusses "the path of Waking Up—which deals with ultimate Reality, with the Ground of all Being, with the divine Self and infinite Spirit...found in the great Traditions around the world " (in contrast to the also-important "path of Growing Up—which deals with the finite self, the ordinary, conventional, typical small self and its changes"). Waking up is concerned with connecting with "an ultimate unity, oneness, infinite harmony and interconnectedness with the entire universe—the discovery of our real Self, Big Mind, the groundless Ground of all Being, the Supreme Identity, the Great Liberation in infinite Spirit. (p. 6)
Wilber offers a framework for understanding how all objects in the cosmos (holons) develop or evolve—i.e. through the four interdependent primordial processes of Eros, Agape, Agency, and Communion (self-transcendence toward the higher, loving care of the lower/parts, self-preservation toward wholeness, and relationship toward emergence; Wilber, 2001). The cosmic "force" of Eros is common within other spiritual narratives as well. Again, such concepts are useful to differentiate vaguely perceived (subjective, un-measurable, unverifiable) properties or processes that seem ubiquitous throughout creation, and we can put them to good use while "minding the gap" of misplaced concreteness. (p. 67)
Wilber's quote includes: "an ultimate unity, oneness, infinite harmony and interconnectedness with the entire universe—the discovery of our real Self, Big Mind, the groundless Ground of all Being, the Supreme Identity, the Great Liberation in infinite Spirit." How does one (Wilber or any of the others quoted) move from an experience that can best be described as a feeling of infinity, or unity, or oneness, or complete emptiness—to a claim about the nature of reality and the cosmos? Under what authority, or using what action logic, is one authorized to make such totalizing proclamations? (p. 97)

He concludes:

"Concepts such as Spirit and Soul continue to be rich ideas for the metaphorical and metaphysical (and post-metaphysical) dimensions of human Being. We do not want to reject them, but rather find modes of belief-holding and dialogue that move flexibly between levels of interpretation, knowing the ideas are tools for mutual understanding and liberation, rather than realities we are subject to…. What we are suggesting in this text is that, in the modern and post-modern context, the quasiliteral language of absolutes and ultimates is no longer an appropriate metaphysics." (p. 104)


That is, in a nutshell, how the build-up of complexity is possible, even in a universe that is heading towards a stale and unproductive equilibrium.

How different would the response be of a science-educated observer of the night's sky! What it tells us above all else is the primacy of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which tells us that heat always flows from hot to cool objects, and never the other way around. In fact, we don't even need the Hubble telescope to come to this conclusion. Even Physics for Dummies tells us about this fundamental truth: "In physics, the second law of thermodynamics says that heat flows naturally from an object at a higher temperature to an object at a lower temperature, and heat doesn't flow in the opposite direction of its own accord."[4]

Every second, every single star we see, even with the naked eye, pours tons of hot energy (our sun has a surface temperature of 5,778 K) into the icy coldness of space (2.7 Kelvin, -270.45 Celsius, -454.81 Fahrenheit). Each of the hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone. Each star in the hundred billion galaxies we are aware of. Think about this. Day and night, this huge transfer of energy happens, unstoppable and unerringly, with lawlike certainty. This massive transfer of energy in the cosmos, from hot to cold areas, this is what is happening in the cosmos. This is what really is happening.

This massive transfer of energy in the cosmos, from very hot to very cold areas, this is what happens in the cosmos. This is what really happens.

And this is no minor issue. Sir Arthur Eddington wrote in The Nature of the Physical World (1915):

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations—then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation—well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

A different way to phrase the Second Law of Thermodynamics is that in an isolated system, disorder or entropy will always increase or stay the same (but will never decrease). In our example of the burning stars: gravity has produced these stars in the first place, but with unrelenting force they burn themselves down, until all their Hydrogen has been used up, and they explode in a final moment of increased visibility. Order (also known as negentropy or extropy) will therefore never last for eternity. In the end it will succumb to the Second Law.

However, and this is the good news, this energy flow can be captured, and put to work. Technically, a heat engine (such as an organism) can do work (build complexity) by degrading energy coming from a heat source (stars), going to a heat sink (cold space). That is, in a nutshell, how the build-up of complexity is possible, even in a universe that is heading towards a stale and unproductive equilibrium. Our earth is not a closed system, but an open system, continuously receiving life-energy form the sun. That is the crucial difference that makes a difference.

This may be dismissed as a "reductionistic" point of view, that ignores the "interior" dimensions of reality (and most probably that is the response of hard-core integralists to this presentation), but it magnificently captures the paradox that complexity can increase, in local spots such as our earth, in a global universe that decreases its order.

Even on the scale of our own solar system we can see this. The sun pours its heat and energy every single second, day and night, in the cold surroundings of cosmic space. It seems a terrible waste of energy. But on our wonderful planet earth a tiny part of this outpouring is captured by plants, which build up sugars to feed themselves and animals like us. As Wikipedia correctly explains:

"The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases over time. Such systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium, the state with maximum entropy. Non-isolated systems may lose entropy, provided their environment's entropy increases by at least that amount so that the total entropy increases."

Some researchers even say that these organisms don't work against the Second Law but help it to accomplish its cosmic task.[5] This is the specialist field of non-equilibrium thermodynamics (or NET), which is especially relevant for biological processes and works on far smaller scales. It is precisely because biological processes are not in equilibrium that interesting things such as chemical reactions or transport processes can be done. By the intake of food, these non-equilibrium gradients are sustained. Without food we would soon perish, as all life on earth would die out when the sun would stop shining.

Ken Wilber sees these things quite differently, as I have documented in many essays on this website.[6] He is fond of saying "the universe isn't winding down, it is winding up" (with emphasis). He postulates an intrinsic drive in matter towards complexity and consciousness. For him, life isn't powered by energy flows through matter, but by an immanent Spirit active in matter, resulting in self-organization. But that puts him in the awkward situation of ignoring or minimizing the importance or relevance of the Second Law, which is operative even at the level of biological organisms.

He really has strong opinions about this. In an online workshop on Conscious2 he exclaimed: "The whole notion that the universe is 'running down' is ridiculous!"[7] This is an irresponsible statement to make, considering the importance of the Second Law—and completely unnecessary given the option mentioned above that complexity can be built by capturing energy flows, which are produced by this very law. But Wilber doesn't make this connection (look at the word "supposed"):

...the evolution from strings to quarks to subatomic particles to atoms to small molecules to massively interconnected molecules to asexual cells and early organisms—just for starters—is an awful lot of evolution in a universe that is supposed to be "running down"... [8]

Wilber wants primarily to focus on the upward drive towards complexity, and turns that into a cosmic law of his own making: Eros. At most he wants to acknowledge that the Second Law has some subordinate relevance (to be sure: things do fall apart), but can in no way obscure the fact complexity in evolution seems to increase. These half-hearted gestures towards science are unconvincing.

Gratuit phrases like "the universe is winding up, as much as it is winding down", which De Vos uses later on in the sessions, are imprecise and misleading, and should therefore be abandoned. It is a logical contradiction: one and the same subject like the universe cannot at the same time wind up and wind down. It should be reformulated as: part of the universe (e.g. life on earth) winds up, even as the universe as a whole (or our solar system) winds down. This local/global distinction is absent from Wilber, as far as I can tell. This solves the paradox, that both winding up and winding down seem to happen at the same time, by taking two perspectives into account. After all, a paradox is only an apparent contradiction.


With this background, let's see what Ken Wilber has to say about these matters. Does he integrate entropy and evolution in any credible way? From the public interview, near the end of it:

‘Got it. Understood. Just fuck off!’
I do believe there's an Eros... and what that means, ... one of the most boring criticisms I have received over the years is that my theory doesn't fit the modern theory of evolution. And that's right! The modern theory of evolution is catastrophically incomplete!

And it was only a matter of time that orthodox scientists came along and said: hey wait a minute, this isn't working. And that has happened in the past, even five years. There is no reason to believe that something like self-organization isn't happening in evolution, because you can't explain it otherwise.

So someone like Stuart Kauffman would say: evolution happens through natural selection, and self-organization. And they are both important. Yes, absolutely! I mean: hello? And David Sloan Wilson, who is about the most respected evolutionary biologist you can get -- I did a long dialogue with him on this channel -- is very, very comfortable with this. So we do have that going on.

What that Eros in particular means is that as soon as the universe blew into being, from the very start, it was winding up. Now there's also something like... what goes up also goes down. We also have a process, particularly in lower holons, that haven't evolved into more complexity, sort of more self-organizing holons, in other words, the purely physical dimension... Not the biological, the physical.

If you take a chunk of the physical universe, and you cut it off and put it in a box, and watch it, it will wind down. And it will wind down, because you are not giving it room to do what it really wants to do. So for a century or so, scientists on this planet had cut things off, put it in a box and watched it wind down.

If you drop a drop of ink in a glass of water it will always disperse, it will never draw up. That's the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and there are a lot of materialist, reductionistic physicists who think that Law is everything. And it is not. Because if you take that stuff out of the physical box, and you come back a billion years, there will be a cell or a multicellular organism. Because that's what matter does!

That's why Prigogine, Nobelprizewinner in 1967 or so... the research he did demonstrated absolutely beyond a shadow of doubt, that even dead and insentient matter, if you push it far from equilibrium, it will escape its turmoil by jumping to a higher level of self-organization. Matter does that inherently! That is built in to it! You don't have to do something special, a funky thing to get it up and running.

And of course we would say, the four quadrants are there from the beginning, everything has an outside and an inside, and there's an individual and collective, and in particular you have these interiors and exteriors, and there's an Eros, it is driven upwards, that is active in basically any holon in existence. Including dead and insentient matter!

That's how it gets started. You don't need some special thing... to get living cells out of dead molecules. They are inherently winding up! Yes, they can wind down, if you take a living thing, cut it off and put it in a box, it will wind down.

Got it. Understood. Just fuck off! Anyway, so what we've got is this inherent drive. [43:00-47:00]

See the stark difference? Entropy has become a sideshow, a footnote, an afterthought, in favor of a progressive, internally and mysteriously driven worldview, instead of the Cosmic Law. Wilber shows no awareness of life on earth being a non-isolated system due to the energy influx of the sun, nor of the paradox that complexity can locally emerge as long as the total entropy of the solar system increases. He needs to invent a totally different cosmic dynamic of his own. “Matter in a box will wind down;matter out of the box will do what it really wants to do...” In reality, matter in non-isolated systems will be available for energy flows from outside.

But life doesn't really go against this Law, in the same way that flying birds and airplanes don't go against gravity—all it takes is a lot of energy. Another metaphor I have often used: we are paddling upstream, on a river that goes downstream, which takes a lot of energy. Wilber, however, wants the river to go upstream. That way, he misses both the dynamic of the universe and the energy needed to go "against the tide". It is energy flows through matter that rule this cosmic show.

Again, Wilber tries to play his Kauffman/Prigogine trick on his science-illiterate audience, and now claims to have an evolutionary biologist on board as well. That self-organization plays its role in evolution—especially in the emergence of life and subsequent chemical evolution—is uncontroversial. But Wilber's understanding of self-organization differs markedly from the scientific literature. It definitely happens on many levels, but not as an "intrinsic drive" in matter, let alone as Spirit-driven.

As I wrote in my review of Trump and a Post-Truth World:

Wilber's take on self-organization is rather questionable. For him, self-organization is a drive of cosmic proportions, which takes are of about every emergent phenomena we know of. What he systematically overlooks is that self-organization is often triggered by the influx of energy (and disappears instantly when this energy flow is withheld). We live as long as we eat, but when we stop doing that we die. How self-organization and natural selection compare in the biological world is hotly debated, see for example Stuart A. Kauffman, The Origins of Order: Self-organization and Selection in Evolution (1993). But strong caveats—contra Kauffman (and mutatis mutandis his fan Ken Wilber—are made by Brian Johnson & Sheung Kwan Lam in "Self-organization, Natural Selection, and Evolution: Cellular Hardware and Genetic Software", BioScience 60: 879-885, 2010: "The basic question we address is whether self-organizing mechanisms evolve by natural selection or are simply intrinsic properties of physics and chemistry. If self-organizing mechanisms are intrinsic properties, then the importance of natural selection to the evolutionary process would drastically be decreased. However, as we will argue, self-organizing mechanisms within biological systems are adaptations that evolve by natural selection." (Endnote 6)

The authors conclude:

Beginning with Turing (1952), and continuing with Nicolis and Prigogine (1977), Kauffman (1993), and many others, a similar change in perspective is currently under way. We now know that life is not only made up of the same substances as the inorganic world but also that life's processes are often the same as those we see in the natural world.[9]

And as one reviewer of Kauffman's The Origins of Order wrote, pointing to a missing energy-dimension in his highly mathematical speculations:

[This] biological order... does not simply self-organize, but, instead, is the result of an energy-driven dynamics... The importance of energy as a driving impetus for organization, as distinct from mere and also almost magical self-organization, is missed in Kauffman's exposition, in my opinion." [10]

Or take astrophysicist Eric Chaisson's opinion, who is a leading author in Big History:

Self-assembly, self-organization, and self-ordering do not exist in Nature. Dynamical processes in which “interacting bodies are autonomously driven into ordered structures” always involve energy.
—Eric Chaisson, “The Natural Science Underlying Big History”, 2014.

Do you think that these authors will be delighted to hear Wilber's "explanation" that the origin of order is just a built-in process?

The Origins of Order

So these authors draw a conclusion from the same scientific material that is almost opposite to that of Wilber. Where Wilber says that even "dead, insentient" matter winds itself up under certain conditions, but by an inherent drive (thus aligning itself with the higher levels of emergence), these scientists come to the conclusion that much of the processes in living organisms just follow physical principles.

In his book The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (1993), Stuart Kauffman calls his approach "the physics of biology" (p. 367). And in At Home in the Universe (1995) he continues "I believe that life itself is an emergent phenomenon, but I mean nothing mystical by this." (p. 24) And, "The theory of life's origins is rooted in an unrepentant holism, born not out of mysticism, but of mathematical necessity." (p. 69) Hardly a transcendental programme! Obviously, then, we really need to study for ourselves, and not just rely on Wilber's reporting skills on science.

Wilber claims in this video that nothing special, or "funky" is needed to get dead matter wind itself up to higher complexity, because that is "what it really wants to do". But that is quite dishonest. In many of this writings he has connected this "drive" to spiritual realities—so how funky can you actually get? In The Religion of Tomorrow (2017) he sees cosmological and biological complexity explicitly as "yet more evidence of creative Eros or Spirit-in-action". Leaving that aside, science understands self-organization to happen under the proper conditions of energy flows and physical gradients, leaving much of Wilber's mystical superstructure obsolete.

Wilber considers this particular criticism "boring", but that would only be true if he opted for a scientifically sound view of self-organization (and what about evo-devo?). Since this is clearly not the case, I consider this discussion both necessary and quite exciting! But since Wilber never specifies what according to him Eros, self-organization or natural selection are actually able to accomplish, this discussion is virtually impossible. Which of the three, for example, creates adaptive complexity like the bird's wing?[11] Is modern evolutionary theory "catastrophically incomplete"? I think Wilber's expertise on that particularly wide field of science deserves that label.

It seems Wilber has completely missed the point of the criticism raised on Integral World regarding his view on evolution as "Spirit-in-action". The point is not that his view "doesn't fit the modern theory of evolution". To spell it out more clearly, this criticism holds that Ken Wilber:

  1. has consistently misrepresented the neo-Darwinian theory
  2. does not inform his readers of post-Darwinian developments[12]
  3. offers a spiritual Eros "theory" that explains nothing at all.
  4. erroneously claims support from the self-organization paradigm
  5. erroneously supports Intelligent Design/creationist authors
  6. has appropriated the term "evolution" to suit his ideology
  7. has been unwilling to engage with his critics over many decades

Pointing to self-organization as a valuable field of science and complementary to neo-Darwinism is, as I said, entirely uncontroversial and besides the point.

Very proud of his understanding of equilibrium thermodynamics ("matter in a box winds down"), Wilber rages against those who cast doubt on his expertise. But life is a case of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, as it exists in a state of energy flux. Wilber does not show any grasp of that field of science, beyond quoting the occasional Ilya Prigogine or other celebrities. So again, he misses the point of much of the criticism directed at his misunderstanding of science. Even "matter winds down" is a rather clumsy way to describe nature's tendence to tend towards equilibrium, when no energy flows are able to disturb it. The weather system is a good example: without the continuous influx of solar energy all wind patterns will "wind down" to a pervasive windstillness. But let the sun shine, and all wind and weather patterns are back again. Doesn't that give us a hint as to where to look for the real cause of complexity? Energy flows through matter is a largely unexplored territory.


This episode of the Ken Show proves, once again, that inside the Wilber universe their is no forum in place where a healthy intellectual debate about Wilber's theories and speculations can thrive. Instead, most if not all integral platforms past and present (Integral Naked, Integral Life, Integral Institute, Integral University) just present monologues from Wilber, where he can get away with anything and vent his frustration with his critics every decade or so by using foul language.[13] It is left to unofficial integral platforms (Integral World, Integral Review, Integral Stage) to do this.

The reader can't have helped noticing the emotional and agressive mood surrounding the discussion of the topics of evolution and entropy in this video. "Just fuck off" is a strange way to abort a discussion, especially when you are considered to be a world famous philosopher—but for Wilber it is just typical. This marks the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of Ken Wilber, when it comes to challenges to his system. Over a decade ago, in his famous Wyatt Earp blog (2006), he told his critics to "simply suck my dick". This is usually condoned by followers because he supposedly has to deal with so much unfounded and invalid criticism. I leave it up to the reader to decide in which category my work belongs.

Well, let me state this clearly: whoever introduces the notion of an intrinsic drive towards complexity and consciousness in matter, should clarify how that drive got there in the first place and consider alternative explanations for these phenomena. Wilber doesn't care to do this. Wilber prefers to keep his students' understanding to the Kindergarten-level, full of miraculous happenings that "cry out for a spiritual explanation". Science works differently. Quanta, nucleons, atomic nuclei, atoms, molecules, etc. combine through well-understood principles of physics, not because they have an "internal drive" to do so.[14]


[1] Ken Wilber and Corey De Vos, "Kosmos: An Integral Voyage",, July 16, 2019. The first 50 minutes are publically available, the subsequent parts about the Drake Equation, the Fermi Paradox and the Nimitz Encounter are only for members of Integral Life.

[2] Rupert Sheldrake, "Is the Sun Conscious?",, July 7th, 2018.

[3] Bernardo Kastrup, Analytical Idealism: A Consciousness-Only Ontology, Dissertation, Radboud University Nijmegen (2019). A good introduction is offered by John Horgan's interview with the author, at Youtube: "Universal Consciousness | John Horgan & Bernardo Kastrup [Mind-Body Problems]", July 12th, 2019.

[3a] Murray, T. (2019). Knowing and Unknowing Reality: A Beginner's and Expert's Developmental Guide to Post-Metaphysical Thinking. Integral Review, January 2019, Vol. 15, No. 1, p. 128-249.

[4] Steven Holzner, "Flowing from Hot to Cold: The Second Law of Thermodynamics",

[5] Dorion Sagan & Eric Schneider, Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life, University of Chicago Press, 2005.

[6] See for example: Frank Visser, "Is the Universe Really Winding Up?", "Equilibrium is Death", Energy, Entropy, Evolution and the Paradox of Life's Complexity", and "The Dissipative Universe and the Paradox of Complexity, A Review of David Christian's "Origin Story"",

[7] Quoted in: Frank Visser, "Integral Overstretch, Some reflections on "Integral in Action with Ken Wilber"",

[8] Ken Wilber, The Religion of Tomorrow, 2017, p. 498.

[9] Brian R. Johnson, Sheung Kwan Lam, "Self-organization, Natural Selection, and Evolution: Cellular Hardware and Genetic Software", BioScience, Volume 60, Issue 11, December 2010, Pages 879–885.

[10] Ronald F. Fox, "Review of The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution", Biophysical Journal, Volume 65, December 1993, 2698-2699.

[11] Indeed, when pressed Wilber admits even Kauffman doesn't subscribe to his particular spiritual views of self-organization. This is contested, not that self-organization is somehow important in the evolutionary picture as a whole.

See: Ken Wilber, "Take the Visser Site as Alternatives to KW, But Never as the Views of KW",, June 27, 2006. From which:

Do I think Mayr or Dawkins or Lewontin or Kauffman believe in telos or Eros that is Spiritual in any way? Absolutely not. Virtually all mainstream theorists embrace scientific materialism.

[12] For an overview of "the continuous expansion of evolutionary theory", see Massimo Pigliucci, "An Extended Synthesis for Evolutionary Biology", The Year in Evolutionary Biology 2009: Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1168: 218–228 (2009). (MS = Modern Synthesis, ES = Extended Synthesis). Complexity theory is mentioned, but so are a host of other schools of evolutionary thought Wilber still has to come to terms with. Asserting that our problems are solved by simply adding self-organization/complexity theory (even if understood correctly) to the picture is a gross over-simplification:

The extended evolutionary synthesis

And even this picture leaves things out. See: Gert Korthoff, "Evolution, The Extended Synthesis: A Short Comment", 14 Jun 2014,

[13] Frank Visser, "The Wild West Wilber Report: Looking Back on the Wyatt Earp Episode",, July 2006.

[14] Frank Visser, "Looking For the Grand Sequence, An Integrally-Informed Review of Tyler Volk's "Quarks to Culture"",, February 2018.

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