Integral theory

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As integral theory , also called "integral thinking" or "integral worldview" called, is called a school of worldviews which is a comprehensive view of the people and the world , often of the spiritual and the divine in general, hard. It is not about a uniform or precise theory in the narrower sense, but an attempt to unite eclectically different natural, human and humanistic views, as well as elements of premodern, modern and postmodern, Eastern and Western worldviews, and spiritual thoughts. In a narrower sense, the authors Aurobindo Ghose , Jean Gebser , Johannes Heinrichs and Ken Wilber and their students belong. They refer to the tradition of other, more or less eclectic authors such as Lessing , Hegel or Teilhard de Chardin ; a closely related theory is spiral dynamics . Rudolf Bahro describes himself as a representative of "integral theory", which is denied by other members of this school. Thinkers such as Hermann Lotze , Max Scheler and Nicolai Hartmann or Pitirim Sorokin are considered to be integral thinkers avant la lettre by today's representatives of integral theory .


The integral theory is a systematic model for a holistic , cosmic-evolutionary explanation of the world without materialistic reduction, but taking into account the peculiarity and effectiveness of the spiritual in the cosmos. It assumes that the areas of reality, which are strongly differentiated in modern science, of nature, man, economy, society and culture are interwoven in a variety of ways. For future-oriented or sustainable development, therefore, in addition to the individual or specialist sciences, the world as a whole needs new, modern, integrating approaches, researches and theories.

One of the most important current exponents of integral theory, Ken Wilber , is of the opinion that mystical and spiritual experiences can also convey knowledge about nature and must therefore be taken into account in a comprehensive world model as well as scientific knowledge. Using suitable practice methods such as meditation , it is even possible to check this intersubjectively . This is also justified with the spread of these spiritual experiences across many cultures and epochs as well as their fundamental accessibility through meditative practice. According to Ken Wilber, the job of an integral theorist is not to look at all the existing theories and decide which of them is "correct". Rather, he has to explain the context in which the entirety of these ideas can be "correct". Because all these theories in science , art and spirituality are actually practiced and one therefore has to ask about the structure of the cosmos, which allows the emergence of so many fundamentally different disciplines. So the question of the architecture of the universe itself should be asked .

Another important aspect of integral theory is to mediate between the different approaches to human subjectivity. On the one hand, it is assumed that the individual ego or ego does not represent the highest quality of human agency, but can merge into a more complex transpersonal self that also takes other beings into account in its own thinking, feeling and acting. On the other hand, however, the importance of the ego as a central instance of individual agency is emphasized and thus separated from spiritual approaches that want to dissolve the ego into universal unity.

Representative and reception

The scientific reception of this approach of overcoming the fragmentation of the disciplines and instead bringing them together has grown in recent years. a. from the field of management, organizational theory , psychotherapy and ecology .

In addition to Ken Wilber, Don Beck , Jean Gebser , Ervin László and Michael Murphy are considered to be newer representatives of such a worldview. Maik Hosang's cultural and socio-ecological approach is also referred to as integral. His habilitation thesis "The integral human being - Homo sapiens integralis" combined integral theories with the established sciences. In his science novel “Eve's World. Love in times of climate change ”, Hosang developed the vision of a broken split between rationality and feeling, which characterizes modern science, economy and society, in a world of consciously developed and lived love as a complex fulfillment of meaning and happiness. Other representatives were or are Aurobindo Ghose , Susanne Cook-Greuter , Stanislav Grof , Steve McIntosh and Johannes Heinrichs


In the German-speaking area, the Integrale Forum eV endeavors to make the Integral Theory better known, especially according to the approach of Ken Wilber. The association is also a superordinate association of various “integral salons” (in the tradition of literary salons ) in Germany, Austria and Luxembourg. In Switzerland, the Integral Forum Schweiz has similar goals.

In Germany, the Integralis Academy was founded in 2004 to put the theory into practice in modern personal development. It trains integral consultants across Germany and offers a network of practicing Integralis consultants. It was recommended by Ken Wilber in 2020 for the purpose of putting his theory into practice.

Under the name Integrale Politik Schweiz , there has been a small political party in Switzerland since 2011 that represents an image of the world and people based on integral theory.

Since 2012, the IntegralSchweiz cooperative (formerly: Verein für Integrales Leben ) has been offering a course program based on the integral theory according to Ken Wilber. The execution is based on the Integral Life Practice, which Wilber et al. 2006 was presented in the book of the same name. The spin-off public company IntegralWorks maintains a similar offer for organizations.

The Association for Integral Architecture and Living Space Design (VIAL), also in Switzerland, represents an integral architecture which, among other things, is based on Wilber's integral theory when carrying out building projects, and formulates it as an overarching goal, "through equal integration and Combining objective, subjective, cultural and systemic aspects in the planning and construction of buildings, bringing human needs and interests into harmony with the natural environment. "

Practical applications

The Integral Life Practice is a concept of personal development, based on the Integral Theory.

On the basis of the so-called AQAL model (for: all quadrants, all levels ), which in turn goes back to the quadrant model by Ken Wilber. aims to achieve a balanced development in as many areas of personal life and in social communities as possible, e.g. B. in the family and in the partnership, in professional life, in religious communities, the neighborhood, etc. For the application of Integral Life Practice, it is recommended to find at least one module for regular, preferably daily practice from each of the following areas. Thus the development in all four quadrants and in all lines is promoted - and with it both the growth through the structures of consciousness , as well as the training of the meditative states. Body, mind (Engl. Mind , shadow, and spirit) (Engl. Spirit )

The area of ​​body practice, also called "body module", includes all approaches and practices that are devoted to the body - both the gross and the subtle = subtle and the causal body, which in the spiritual context also as the "formless body" or the Body of deep sleep is called. Possible exercises in this module can come from the areas of yoga , strength training , nutrition , sleep, etc.


  • Ken Wilber: Integral Spirituality . Kösel, 2007, ISBN 978-3-466-34509-0 .
  • Ken Wilber: Act holistically - an integral vision for business, politics, science and spirituality . Arbor Verlag, Freiamt 2001, ISBN 3-924195-79-X .
  • Ken Wilber , Terry Patten, Adam Leonhard: Integral Life Practice: Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, Spiritual Awakening. - An exercise book . 5th edition. Kösel-Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-466-34545-8 .
  • Don Edward Beck, Christopher C. Cowan: Spiral Dynamics. Leadership, values ​​and change. A map for business and society in the 21st century . 2nd Edition. Kamphausen, 2008, ISBN 978-3-89901-107-4 .
  • Steve McIntosh: Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution: How the Integral Worldview Transforms Politics, Culture, and Spirituality. Phenomenon Verlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-933321-75-6 .
  • Maik Hosang: The integral human. Hinder + Deelmann Verlag, Gladenbach 2000, ISBN 3-87348-168-5 .
  • Maik Hosang et al .: The Emotional Matrix. Foundations for social change and sustainable innovation. oekom Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 978-3-86581-007-6 .
  • Jean Gebser: Origin and Present. 3 volumes. DTV Verlag, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-423-05921-4 .
  • Sri Aurobindo: The Integral Yoga. (= Rowohlt's classic. 24). 1957.
  • Inga Fitzner: Integral consciousness - a search for traces. LIT Verlag, Berlin / Münster 2012, ISBN 978-3-643-11696-3 .
  • Wolfgang Aurose: The soul of the nations. Evolution and healing. Europa Verlag Berlin, 2014, ISBN 978-3-944305-42-4 .
  • Johannes Heinrichs: Integral Philosophy: How life learns to think: lived and express reflection. Academia-Verlag, Sankt Augustin, 2014. ISBN 978-3-89665-641-4 .
  • Johannes Heinrichs: Eco-Logic: Spiritual ways out of the climate and environmental disaster. Steno-Verlag, 2007. ISBN 978-954-449-308-0 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Johannes Heinrichs. Retrieved January 23, 2018 .
  2. ^ Andreas Mascha: The integral management . Verlag Andreas Mascha, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-924404-50-5 , p. 30 .
  3. Frederic Laloux: Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Designing Meaningful Forms of Cooperation . Vahlen, Leipzig 2015, ISBN 978-3-8006-4913-6 , pp. 356 .
  4. ^ Wulf Mirko Weinreich: Integral Psychotherapy. A comprehensive therapy model based on Ken Wilber's integral philosophy . Arak-Verlag, Leipzig 2005, ISBN 3-936149-53-4 , p. 402 .
  5. Sean Esbjörn-Hargens: Integral Ecology. The union of different perspectives on the natural world. Phenomenon-Verlag, 2012, ISBN 978-3-943194-55-5 , p. 542 .
  6. Homo sapiens integralis. (PDF) Retrieved May 17, 2017 .
  7. Maik Hosang: Eve's world. Love in times of climate change . Phenomenon Verlag, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-933321-72-5 , p. 330 .
  8. Susanne R. Cook-Greuter: Self-Development. Nine levels of increasing coverage. In: Integral Informiert No. 14, Sep./Oct. 2008
  9. Retrieved October 18, 2017 .
  10. Retrieved October 18, 2017 .
  11. Retrieved October 18, 2017 .
  13. sda / olsm: New member in the Swiss party landscape . In: Tagesschau . Retrieved October 7, 2012 .
  14. Wake up, Clean up and Grow up! Retrieved September 3, 2018 .
  15. Wilber, Ken .: Integral life practice: a 21st century blueprint for physical health, emotional balance, mental clarity, and spiritual awakening . 1st ed. Integral Books, Boston 2008, ISBN 978-1-59030-467-9 .
  16. IntegralWorks AG - Solutions on a Higher Level. Retrieved September 3, 2018 .
  18. Andrea Hope: Position Paper Integral Architecture. (PDF) VIAL, October 11, 2015, accessed on October 6, 2017 .
  19. Wilber, Ken., Patten, Terry., Leonard, Adam., Morelli, Marco., Petersen, Karin ,: Integral life practice: physical health, emotional balance, mental clarity, spiritual awakening; an exercise book . Kösel, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-466-34545-8 .
  20. AQAL: All quadrants, levels, lines, states and types . In: Integrales Forum eV ( [accessed November 30, 2018]).
  21. In the German-language literature of integral authors, this is mostly written in this form to distinguish 'mind' from 'spriti'.
  22. Wilber, Ken., Patten, Terry., Leonard, Adam., Morelli, Marco., Petersen, Karin ,: Integral life practice: physical health, emotional balance, mental clarity, spiritual awakening; an exercise book . Kösel, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3-466-34545-8 .
  23. Wilber, Ken: Integral Spirituality. Spiritual intelligence saves the world . Kösel, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-466-34691-2 .
  24. Silas Hörler: Integral body work . ISBN 978-1-985644-62-5 .