Wilber’s 4 Quadrants, with circles representing levels and stages that include all quadrants in a “holon.”

All human life can be divided into Quadrants. The classification in Figure 1 was developed by Ken Wilber and outlined in his book A Theory of Everything and elsewhere. These quadrants are defined by individual, collective, internal, and external as indicated on the diagram. These quadrants refer to an individual mind and body (upper quadrants), and a social “mind” and “body,” where the social mind is reflected in cultural consciousness and the body in social institutions (lower quadrants).

Wilber has further developed these quadrants into “levels,” which might sometimes also be seen as “stages.” For example, a nation-state is a social level beyond a tribe, yet the stage of tribal development is a foundation for the creation of a nation-state. Each level is considered a “holon,” when the four quadrants are all included.

Ken Wilber refers to level of social consciousness as a “meme.” “Genes” and “memes” are often referred to as the coding that makes up individuals and collectives. A “gene” normally refers to the external biological coding of the body, whereas for Wilber a “meme” refers more to the level of internal developmentā€”consciousness. For some other theorists a “meme” is more related to the external structural coding of society.

In addition to quadrants, Anderson’s view includes spheres, which compose a z-axis on Wilber’s four quadrants.