by Mariana Bozesan

Let’s say you want to travel from Munich to Beijing. Depending on your budget in terms of money, time, or levels of courage and exploration, you can travel by air, train, car, or boat, or you can even hitchhike. No matter what means of transportation you chose, you’d better have a good map, or you may never reach your destination.

You must be prepared to encounter various surprises arising from differences in the cultures, social and environmental infrastructures, and people you meet along the way. You’ll also need to be ready for anything, as the landscape and the people on the ground will all be changing very fast. But the map is not the territory. In fact, the territory is not the territory. Buildings are being torn down, new ones are being constructed, people pass away and are born, and change is the only constant.

So, what if it were possible to find a composite and far-reaching framework that would enable you to navigate the world on the outside and also empower you to better understand it on the inside, including traditions, cultures, and societies and how they have evolved throughout the centuries? What if this framework could help you better understand the evolution of life, including the development of human knowledge from science to mathematics, to developmental growth? What if there were a map that could help you gain a better perspective not only on yourself and your purpose and place in the world but also on humanity by helping you simplify your decisions and getting a broader perspective and greater insight into the future? 

This is what Integral Theory, AQAL, by Ken Wilber provides to us — a veritable theory of everything that condenses all major components of reality into five simple elements (Figure): quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types. 

Figure: Five key elements of Wilber’s Integral Framework 

These five elements give the integral framework its common name, the AQAL (pronounced ah-qwul): all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, and all types. They provide the foundation for making the Transformation toward a Sustainable Economy within Planetary Boundaries feasible. From an integral perspective, outer transformation can only occur through mindset transformation. Mindset transformation was, also, the purpose of the Integral Theory conference, that took place in May 2019 in Vienna and where I had the opportunity to share the Integral Investing model and how we have successfully applied it in our investments since 1995.