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The Spectrum of Consciousness

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  25 reviews
Wilber's groundbreaking synthesis of religion, philosophy, physics, and psychology started a revolution in transpersonal psychology. He was the first to suggest in a systematic way that the great psychological systems of the West could be integrated with the noble contemplative traditions of the East. Spectrum of Consciousness, first released by Quest in 1977, has been the ...more
Paperback, 385 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Quest Books (first published 1977)
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Arash Aghevli
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Have no idea where to begin when discussing this book. In the first few chapters, Wilbur summarizes everything I had ever read about psychology and philosophy. In the next section, he creates one of the most comprehensive frameworks for understanding how almost every school of philosophy, psychology and metaphysical understandings of the universe fit together. Finally, he lays out his vision of how all of these forms of understanding evolve outward from one end of the spectrum to another through ...more
Scott Blevins
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I first picked up this book (about 15 years ago) I didn't understand it. It just didn't click. Then about 4 years later I picked it up again from my bookshelf and it absolutely blew me away. This book, maybe more than any other, caused a paradigm shift in my mind while simultaneously articulating something I felt I already knew intuitively.

For me this book was a profound revelation and put a dent in my mental construct of the world.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The single most influential book of my life. It unites eastern and western traditions in an easy to understand, quote-filled journey through the most interesting and important spectrum of the universe ..if not the only one that exists.
Peggy Warren
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very worthwhile book, but not a casual read. Author goes into great depth about non-dualism from many angles. Background in eastern philosophies and/or psychology would probably be helpful. Getting through this book was a bit of a struggle for me, as I'm very unfamiliar with much of the vernacular. Thought provoking nonetheless, with some very illuminating viewpoints. ...more
Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)
Deep thorough look at all the different developmental stages, levels, and lines of many different systems and developmental programs... What are their common denominators and how do we use all this like a roadmap to the inner and outer development of our being... Ken Wilber is one of a kind...
May 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone looking for more than the daily grind in this life
Shelves: universal of my favorite books. This book changed my life. It answers a lot of questions about life's mysteries in this universe. It is truly fascinating, and encourages personal growth. Based in science, transpersonal psychology is a beautiful subject combining science, religions, and the metaphysical. ...more
"It is on the question of interpretation of internal experiences that Wilber's system falters. Wilber fails to defend the validity of his practice of interpreting these internal experiences as epistemologically sound means of gaining access to valid knowledge about the true nature of extra-pyschic reality. Similarly, he fails to provide convincing arguments to explain why his interpretation of those experiences should be considered more valid than the theist's quite different interpretations of ...more
Gabriel Eggers
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely transformational! A unification of our understanding of the landscape of consciousness bridging across modern psychological theories of all school, as well as the comtemplative traditions of the world and beyond. I still can't believe that this was written almost 5o years ago by a 26 year old man. Reading this book provoked a profound interest in developmental psychology in me and helped supply me with the tools to understand a whole range of experiences and phenomenon that I had prev ...more
Apr 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Oh boy, what a challenge to read Wilber, but it is so rich and full of various other resources I can also study. I will need to read this over and over again to get the most from it. He is a genius and makes me want to study all that he studied (except the mathematics--haha). Only by changing consciousness and always aiming towards union is this world going to improve. At least, that is how I perceive things now. If one is serious about growing into full human potential, this book can certainly ...more
Ender Yemenicioglu
Feb 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you have once experienced "It", the whole book makes sense, if not, you might think it is full of bs. I am a scientist and was a non-believer of everything which I cannot explain with a materialistic world view. I have started doing tai chi and meditation because of health aspects and relaxation. One day I experienced the "connection" during a meditation. It was absolutely terrifying for me, because I could not explain it with my existing knowledge, but it was as real as I am. My whole belief ...more
Domagoj Bodlaj
Since discussion on consciousness cannot be based purely on logical and scientific discourse, it must deploy vague language of analogies, imagery, "what it feels like" descriptions and sometimes poetic figures. Having this in mind, the book still didn't trigger my bs detector, which i feel is somewhat sensitive. It did tingle at the moments, but I ascribed that to the nature of the subject and the neccessary use of the previously mentioned instruments. Wilbers comprehensive theory on consciousne ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-shelf
I can't give this book enough praise. The ideas within it were life changing. I've read it three times. The wisdom within it is inexhaustible. There are many books combining Eastern and Western wisdom but Ken Wilber put it together in such a way as to make it 100% comprehensible. It can be tough at times for sure but if you like philosophy and therapy and you often wonder about the nature of this incredible cosmos and the consciousness within it, this book is for you. ...more
Todd Runyon
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Great synthesis

“Spectrum has intrinsically different characteristics—different needs, different symbols, different modes of awareness, different motivations, different compensations, and so on. When a particular level is rendered unconscious, so are the major features of the characteristics of that level. Thus, the unconscious is stratified, and for the very same reasons that the Spectrum itself is stratified.”
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Phew. What to say. Fascinating concepts, impressive synthesis. The first half of the book is a mess. A repetitive series of tautologies bookended by long quote after quote that are rarely explicated. It doesn't help that he uses phrases he coins himself like "centaur awareness." I nearly didn't make it through those weeds. But once I made it to "Involution" I found myself really appreciating it.

As a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, I appreciated the concepts.
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Simply enlightening. An evocative tale of the evolution of human consciousness from the initial thought to the neurosis caused by suppression and projection of our Shadow. A must-read for philosophy and psychology enthusiasts.
Edward White
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ex-list
"Primary Secondary Tertiary Shadow!" - The Centaur ...more
Ricardo Acuña
Es un libro que me pareció excelente, con muchos conceptos profundos de psicología y desarrollo de conciencia. Sin duda de mis favoritos. Presenta un análisis comparativo de las diferentes escuelas de oriente y occidente que concilia los modelos del desarrollo psicológico y de la conciencia. Y por si fuera poco, concilia también las diferentes escuelas psicológicas occidentales, poniendo muy claro el enfoque terapéutico de cada una en el modelo del espectro de la conciencia. En lo personal uno d ...more
Jul 29, 2008 rated it liked it
this is the book which put ken wilber at the forefront of the transpersonal movement. a book which lays the groundwork for his more specialized books which have been written since. wilber does not look at the universe through any specific lens but rather offers the first glimpse of his integral approach.
Giovanni Bianco
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-own
O Espectro da Consciência é um clássico do pensamento transpessoal. Apesar de Wilber, primeiramente, ter se desligado do carácter retrorromâtico da obra e, depois, desligado-se do próprio campo da transpessoal, o livro ainda é cheio de insights profundos e já demonstra o brilhantismo integrador do autor, manifestado desde muito jovem.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
Too academic/ information sparse for me
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The book that started it all. This is the Ken Wilber that predates the cultish figurehead that now exists. Bring your dictionary.
Ricche Khosasi
at first I was in very bad headache reading this book, but after some attempt and anguish, there comes some consciousness
Jim Carnicle
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is meant to be a meditation that is practiced and evolves.
Hope Gwilyams
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Let Ken Wilber, a noted Buddhist scholar, walk you through the many levels of human consciousness -- both those you already know and those you can aspire to.
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Ritske Rensma
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Jun 26, 2017
Jorge Matte
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Jul 12, 2012
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Kenneth Earl Wilber II is an American philosopher and writer on transpersonal psychology and his own integral theory, a systematic philosophy which suggests the synthesis of all human knowledge and experience.

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