Ken Wilber was born on January 31, 1949 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In 1967, he enrolled as a pre-med student at Duke University,. He became inspired, like many of his generation, by Eastern literature, particularly the Tao Te Ching. He left Duke and enrolled in the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, completing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology and a Master’s degree in biochemistry.
In 1973, Wilber completed his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness, in which he sought to integrate knowledge from disparate fields. After rejections by more than twenty publishers it was finally accepted in 1977 by Quest Books, and he spent a year giving lectures and workshops before going back to writing. He also helped to launch the journal ReVision in 1978.
In 1982, New Science Library published his anthology The Holographic Paradigm and other Paradoxes a collection of essays and interviews, including one by David Bohm. The essays, including one of his own, looked at how the model of Holography and the Holographic paradigm relate to the fields of consciousness, mysticism and science.
In 1983, Wilber married Terry (Treya) Killam who was shortly thereafter diagnosed with breast cancer. From the fall of 1984 until 1987, Wilber gave up most of his writing to care for her. Treya died in January 1989; their joint experience was recorded in the 1991 book Grace and Grit.
Subsequently, Wilber wrote Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (SES), (1995), the first volume of his Kosmos Trilogy. A Brief History of Everything (1996) was the popularised summary of SES in interview format. The Eye of Spirit (1997) was a compilation of articles he had written for the journalReVision on the relationship between science and religion. Throughout 1997, he had kept journals of his personal experiences, which were published in 1999 as One Taste, a term for unitary consciousness.
Over the next two years his publisher, Shambhala Publications, released eight re-edited volumes of his Collected Works. In 1999, he finished Integral Psychology and wrote A Theory of Everything (2000). In A Theory of Everything Wilber attempts to bridge business, politics, science and spirituality and show how they integrate with theories of developmental psychology, such as Spiral Dynamics.
His book, Boomeritis (2002), is a novel which attempts to expose what he perceives as the egotism of a generation born between 1945 and 1964, collectively known as the “Baby Boom Generation“, “Baby Boomers” or “Boomers” for the booming number of births that took place during those years.
From 1987, Wilber lived in Boulder, Colorado, where he worked on his Kosmos trilogy and oversaw the work of the Integral Institute. Wilber now lives in Denver, Colorado. Wilber has a debilitating illness called RNase Enzyme Deficiency Disease.