The Theory of Everything and the Kingdom of God

theory-of-everythingPhilosopher Ken Wilber, in his book “A Theory of Everything”, proposes a series of 8 levels of human development, which I’ll summarize here.

Self Culture System
instinctual archaic clan
superstitious animistic tribe
egocentric power gods (polytheistic) empire
mythic mythic (pantheistic) nation
achieving rational corporate state
sensitive pluralistic community
integral integral commons
holistic holonic meshwork

Wilber’s thinking is revealed, once you understand his terminology. Prehistoric clans gave way to tribal stone age cultures who believed in a world populated by spirits. These were in turn followed by the great empires of the ancient world, who were typically pantheistic, often having a cultural god like Yahweh/El, Odin, or Jove. Wilber calls them egocentric, but I would characterize them as culturally identitarian.

The fourth tier in his model is the modern nation state, which Wilber calls a mythic society. I would instead call this a pantheistic world view. Identification with cultural gods like Yahweh, the god of Israel, is replaced with identification with a mythic ideology like Christianity and with the nation. Early America is a good example of such a nation.

The fifth tier in Wilber’s model is the corporate state, which he characterizes as a rational society focused on individual achievement. This seems to adequately describe western nations of the late twentieth century.

His next step is a sensitive, pluralistic community. By sensitive, he seems to mean individuals who are empathetic toward others in the society. Presumably, he is thinking of superstates like the European Union. This has Wilber, in my book, holding socialism above capitalism.

His penultimate tier is the integral commons. A commons is a shared resource. Integrity implies the consistent application of ones ideology. This is the stated goal of ideologies like communism and the modern progressive movement, but also seems eerily like the simple sharing society of the early Christians, before it was taken over by churches organized in the pastoral model.

Wilber’s final level is the holistic, holonic meshwork. Holism goes beyond integrity. If you have integrity, you are consistent in your approach across all of your roles. If your mind is holistic, all parts of it are tightly interconnected, and no part is separable from the whole. Similarly, a holonic society would be one where the discrete parts function like the whole, and all functions are interconnected.

The holonic meshwork society of holistic minded individuals that Wilber dreams of could be a future society where all our needs are provided for, and people have time to live free from any roles and discover who they really are. Technology could provide the interconnected meshwork that allows every part of the society to behave in the same way as the whole.

Given the mess that attempts to create communist and utopian societies have made thus far, perhaps such a society is still along way off. As Jesus said, no man can know the time when the kingdom of heaven on earth will come. But Jesus also said that the kingdom is within all of us; we simply need to unlock it. Maybe all of the wars and politics that the world is currently embroiled in will be wiped away by technology that changes the fundamental way humans think. Otherwise, there may still be a long and dangerous road ahead.

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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