Hierarchies and the Birth of AQAL
Wilber makes reference to the birth of AQAL (All Quadrants, All Levels) in his work The Marriage of Sense and Soul – Integrating Science and Religion (pg. 63):
“It is fascinating that both premodern religion and modern science have a defining hierarchy, and both of them are composed of enveloping nests of increasing embrace (development that is envelopment). And yet, these two major and extremely influential hierarchies never quite agree with each other. Tantalizingly, they seem to talk about the same thing (a graded series of realities), yet their major terms never really match up. Clearly, if we could find some way that these two hierarchies were genuinely related to each other, we would have taken an important step toward the hoped-for integration of premodern and modern.
In researching this problem, I did an extensive data search of several hundred hierarchies, taken from systems theory, ecological science, Kaalah, developmental psychology, Yogachar Buddhism, moral development, biological evolution, Vendanta Hinduism, Neo-Confucianism, cosmic and stellar evolution, Hwa Yen, the Neoplatonic corpus – an entire specturm of premodern, modern, and postmodern nests. After I had collected several hundred hierarchies, I tried grouping them in various ways, and I eventually noticed that, without exception, they all fell into one of four major types. These (are the) four types of hierarchies – which I call the four quadrants…“