Integral Theory

Ken Wilber, the originator of the Integral concept, explains that Integral Theory was “created by a cross-cultural comparison of most of the known forms of human inquiry”, resulting in a comprehensive map of human capacities. An integral approach does not require a person to adopt anything new, it merely offers a pointer to potential that they already possess but are possibly not fully utilising or expressing.

The quadrants of Integral Theory refer to the fact that all major human languages have first, second, and third-person pronouns (for example I, you/we and it). These three dimensions of reality (I, we and it) often show up as art, morals and science; the Beautiful, the Good and the True is another version of these dimensions. Including the plural of it, its, gives rise to the four quadrants.

integral theory

This diagram shows how some of the major and extremely influential modes of study are based in each of the quadrants. Which of these approaches is right? All of them, according to Integral Theory.

The Integral approach simply points out that these dimensions of reality are present in all cultures and therefore any truly comprehensive or integral approach would want to touch bases with all of those important dimensions, because they are in fact operating in people in any event, and if we do not include them in our analysis, we will have a partial, fragmented and broken approach to any proposed solution.