*Adapted from Wikipedia.
In addition to the five elements of integral theory, which comprise the basic foundation of the AQAL model, there is an another more advanced aspect that is important to mention. This aspect is less of a new element and more of a complexification of the first one (the quadrants). Each of the perspectives associated with the four quadrants can be studied through two major methodological families, namely from either the inside (i.e., a first-person perspective) or the outside (i.e., a third-person perspective). This results in eight distinct zones of human inquiry and research. These eight zones comprise what integral theory calls integral methodological pluralism (IMP), which includes such approaches as phenomenology (an exploration of first-person subjective realities), ethnomethodology (an exploration of second-person intersubjective realities), and empiricism (an exploration of third-person empirical realities). The above figure includes all eight zones and their respective labels.
Integral methodological pluralism operates according to three principles: inclusion (consult multiple perspectives and methods impartially), enfoldment (prioritize the importance of findings generated from these perspectives), and enactment (recognize that phenomenon are disclosed to subjects through their activity of knowing it). As a result of these commitments, integral theory emphasizes the dynamic quality of realities as being enacted through a subject using a particular method to study an object. That object can be a first-, second-, or third-person reality. For example, we can study first-person psychological realities as an object of investigation just as easily as we can study third-person biological realities.
- Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ph.D. (2009). AN OVERVIEW OF INTEGRAL THEORY: An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century. Integral Institute, Resource Paper No. 1, March 2009, pp.16-17.
“Integral theory is an all-inclusive framework that draws on the key insights of the world’s greatest knowledge traditions. The awareness gained from drawing on all truths and perspectives allows the Integral thinker to bring new depth, clarity and compassion to every level of human endeavor — from unlocking individual potential to finding new approaches to global-scale problems.” (From the Integral Institute Website)
Types are the variety of consistent styles that arise in various domains and occur irrespective of developmental levels. Types can overlap or be incongruous. As with the other elements, types have expressions in all four quadrants.
In the UL quadrant there are personality types. There are numerous systems that map the number of different personalities, including Keirsey (4 types), Enneagram (9 types), and Myers-Briggs (16 types). In this quadrant there are also the gender types of masculine and feminine. In general, individuals have access to both masculine and feminine qualities and thus tend to have a unique combination of traits associated with each type. In the UR quadrant there are blood types (A, B, AB, O) and William Sheldon’s well-known body types (ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph). In the LR quadrant there are ecological biome types (e.g., steppe, tundra, islands) and governmental regime types (e.g., communist, democracy, dictatorship, monarchy, republic). In the LL quadrant there are types of religious systems (e.g., monotheism, polytheism, pantheism) and different types of kinship systems (e.g., Eskimo, Hawaiian, Iroquois, Omaha, Sudanese).
- Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ph.D. (2009). AN OVERVIEW OF INTEGRAL THEORY: An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century. Integral Institute, Resource Paper No. 1, March 2009, pp.15.
In addition to levels and lines there are also various kinds of states associated with each quadrant. States are temporary occurrences of aspects of reality (lasting anywhere from a few seconds to days, and in some cases even months or years). They also tend to be incompatible with each other. For example, you cannot be drunk and sober at the same time, a town cannot experience a blizzard and a heat wave on the same day. Above are a few examples of the kinds of states associated with each quadrant.
- Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ph.D. (2009). AN OVERVIEW OF INTEGRAL THEORY: An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century. Integral Institute, Resource Paper No. 1, March 2009, pp.13.
Within each of the four quadrants there are levels of development. Within the interior, Left-Hand quadrants there are levels of depth and within the exterior, Right-Hand quadrants there are levels of complexity. The levels within each quadrant are best understood as probability waves that represent the dynamic nature of reality and the ways different realities show up under certain conditions.
Additionally, each quadrant’s levels are correlated with levels in the other quadrants. For example, a goal-driven executive (UL) who has high blood pressure (UR) will most likely be found in a scientific-rational culture or subculture (LL), which usually occurs in industrial corporate organizations (LR). In this example, all of these aspects of the situation are occurring at the same level of complexity and depth within their respective quadrant and are therefore correlated at level five in figure above. The inclusion of levels is important because they allow us to appreciate and better interface with the realities associated with each quadrant. Each quadrant serves as a map of different terrains of reality. The levels within each quadrant represent the topographical contour-lines of that terrain. This helps us to identify the unique features of that particular landscape, which enables us to travel through it more successfully and enjoy the amazing vistas along the way.
Lines of development are another way to describe the distinct capacities that develop through levels in each aspect of reality as represented by the quadrants. So if levels are contour-lines on a hiking map for reality, then lines of development represent the various trails you can take to transverse the vast wilderness of human potential. For example, in the individual-interior quadrant of experience, the lines that develop include, but are not limited to, cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, and moral capacities. These capacities are often thought of as the multiple intelligences that each person has. The idea being that each of us is more developed in some areas than others. Integral theory uses a psychograph (below) to depict an individual’s unique assortment of development in various individual lines.
Similarly, a sociograph is used to represent the various lines of development within a family, group, culture, or society (Below).
The kinds of lines found in cultures include things like kinesthetic capacities, interpersonal maturity (e.g., absence of slaves, women’s rights, civil liberties), artistic expression (e.g., forms of music, government funding for the arts), cognitive or technological capacities, physical longevity (e.g., healthcare systems, diet), and polyphasic maturity. Polyphasic refers to a culture’s general access to different states of consciousness. For example, many indigenous cultures embrace access to and cultivation of different kinds of states of awareness while rational Western societies tend to emphasize rational waking consciousness at the exclusion of other modes of experiencing reality.
Here are some of the lines present in the four quadrants:
- Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ph.D. (2009). AN OVERVIEW OF INTEGRAL THEORY: An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century. Integral Institute, Resource Paper No. 1, March 2009, pp.7-11.
The four quadrants are: Self (subjective being); Culture (intersubjective being); world (objective being); and systems (interobjective being). Or I-WE-IT-ITS. Or Intentional, cultural, behavioral, social.
So individual and collective subjective and objective being co-evolves or tetra-evolves. No aspect of being is isolated and alone, all four aspects of being tetra-mesh, co-influences and co-evolving the other.
(Adapted From Integral Wiki)
a history of communal prehensions
and harmonic empathies
felt from within.
Excerpt C: The Ways We Are in This Together
Image: Grooves by KidSysco
In Integral Theory, Flatland is “…the attempt to reduce interiors to their exterior correlates (i.e., collapsing subjective and intersubjective realities into their objective aspects). This is often seen in systems approaches to the natural world, which represent consciousness through diagrams of feedback loops and in the process leave out the texture and felt-sense of first- and second-person experience.”
- Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ph.D. (2009). AN OVERVIEW OF INTEGRAL THEORY: An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century. Integral Institute, Resource Paper No. 1, March 2009, pp. 4.
As both of the Right-Hand quadrants (UR and LR) are characterized by objectivity, the four quadrants are also referred to as the three value spheres of subjectivity (UL), intersubjectivity (LL), and objectivity (UR and LR). These three domains of reality are discernable in all major languages through pronouns that represent first-, second-, and third-person perspectives and are referred to by Wilber as “the Big Three:” I, We, and It/s. These three spheres can also be characterized as aesthetics, morals, and science or consciousness, culture, and nature.
Integral theory insists that you cannot understand one of these realities (any of the quadrants or the Big Three) through the lens of any of the others. For example, viewing subjective psychological realities primarily through an objective empirical lens distorts much of what is valuable about those psychological dynamics. In fact, the irreducibility of these three spheres has been recognized throughout the history of Western philosophy, from Plato’s True, Good, and Beautiful to Immanuel Kant’s famous three critiques of pure reason, judgment, and practical reason to Jürgen Habermas’ validity claims of truth, rightness, and truthfulness.
- Sean Esbjörn-Hargens, Ph.D. (2009). AN OVERVIEW OF INTEGRAL THEORY: An All-Inclusive Framework for the 21st Century. Integral Institute, Resource Paper No. 1, March 2009, pp.3-4.