A fi sau a nu fi...liber

Personal growth ,life-coaching,positive and transpersonal psychology , education for all,INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE. HAPPINESS, WELL-BEING,WISDOM, HARMONY, COMMITMENT TO LIFE MISSION AND VALUES

24/11/2006

Integral Approach...integrated, for an integral world

"Integral" means "inclusive, balanced, comprehensive." The Integral approach may be contrasted to other methods—mythic, rational-scientific, pluralistic—which, as they themselves announce, exclude other approaches as being inferior. They are thus, by definition, partial and incomplete. These latter methods, although widely accepted and dominant in the world's cultures, tend to generate partial analysis and incomplete solutions to problems. As such, they appear less efficient, less effective, and less balanced than the Integral approach.

Like any truly fundamental advance, the Integral approach initially seems complicated but eventually is understood to be quite simple and even straightforward. It's like using a word processor: at first it is hard to learn, but eventually it becomes incredibly simple to use.

The easiest way to understand the Integral approach is to remember that it was created by a cross-cultural comparison of most of the known forms of human inquiry. The result was a type of comprehensive map of human capacities. After this map was created (by looking at all the available research and evidence), it was discovered that this integral map had five major aspects to it. By learning to use these five major aspects, any thinker can fairly easily adopt a more comprehensive, effective, and integrally informed approach to specific problems and their solutions—from psychology to ecology, from business to politics, from medicine to education.

What are these five aspects? Technically they are referred to as "quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types." Of course, unless one has already learned the "word processing system," as it were, then these aspects won't make much sense. But they are indeed very simple and easy to use once one gets the hang of it.

There is an important point about these five aspects. Because the integral map that they were drawn from was created by an extensive cross-cultural comparison of human capacities, these five aspects appear to be potentials available to all human beings. (We will see examples of this in a moment). Thus, the integral approach does not ask a person to adopt anything that they do not already have available to them. This is not some "outside" philosophy that people are asked to believe, but a pointer to potentials that they already possess but perhaps are not fully utilizing or expressing.

For example, one of the five aspects—called quadrants —refers to the fact that all major human languages have first-, second-, and third-person pronouns (for example: I, you/we, and it). These three dimensions of reality (I, we, and it) often show up as art, morals, and science (or the aesthetic expression of "I," the morals of "we," and the objective "its" of science)—the Beautiful, the Good, and the True is another version of these dimensions.

If we realize that "it" can appear in plural, or "its," then we have the "four quadrants" or dimensions that are present in all major human languages: I, we, it, and its—or the intentional, cultural, behavioral, and social dimensions of all human beings.

Notice some of the major and extremely influential modes of inquiry that are based in each of the quadrants:
Upper Left: phenomenology, psychotherapy, meditation, emotional intelligence, personal transformation
Upper Right: empiricism, scientific analysis, quality control, behavioral modification
Lower Left: multiculturalism, postmodernism, worldviews, corporate culture, collective values
Lower Right: systems theory, social systems analysis, techno-economic modes, communication networks, systems analysis
Which of those approaches is right? All of them, according to Integral theory.

The Integral approach simply points out that these dimensions of reality are present in all cultures, and therefore any truly comprehensive or integral approach would want to touch bases with all of those important dimensions, because they are in fact operating in people in any event, and if we do not include them in our analysis, we will have a partial, fragmented, and broken approach to any proposed solution.

Likewise with the other major aspects (levels, lines, states, and types). Most natural organisms show a capacity for development—an acorn grows into an oak through various levels or stages of growth. Human beings likewise show various stages of growth, which can occur in many of their innate capacities or functions: humans can evidence cognitive development, moral development, psychosexual development, interpersonal development, and so on. In short, human beings seem to have many developmental lines (cognitive, moral, psychosexual, etc.) that unfold in various levels or stages of development—what we call levels and lines.

The Integral map simply includes as many of these levels and lines as possible, because they seem to be operating in people in any event, and taking them into account would thus appear crucial in any truly comprehensive or integral approach to the world's problems.

Finally, we have "states" and "types." Types: there appear to be different types of awareness. For example, one of the most commonly discussed is that of masculine and feminine ways of knowing (where the masculine type appears to be more autonomous and analytic, and the feminine type more relational and embodied). The important point is: are we acknowledging and taking into account the fact that there might be different types or ways of looking at a problem, or are we trying to take one way and force it on others?

The same with "states": Not only do human beings appear to have various types of consciousness and various stages of consciousness, they also seem to have many different states of consciousness. Many of the major states are well-known—waking, dreaming, and sleeping, for example—and once again, these major states are clearly potentials that are present in all human beings.

Thus, to briefly summarize: the Integral approach looks at any problem—personal, social, ecological, international—and attempts to identify all of the important variables that are contributing to the problem in each of the five major domains (quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types). A truly Integral approach might draw equally on systems theory and meditation, technological innovations and emotional intelligence, corporate culture and behavioral modification—the full spectrum of potentials in all of the quadrants, all of the levels, all of the lines, all of the states, all of the types.

The Integral approach thus elicits solutions that acknowledge and incorporate all of these important factors, without excluding or denying any of them—because all of them are clearly affecting the present situation and the problems being generated, and anything less than a truly Integral approach might actually make matters worse, not better.

Combating Absolutisms for More Effective and Balanced Solutions

By contrast, the methods of the other major approaches now widely used—mythic-religious, rational-scientific, and pluralistic—appear to have major biases built into them, because they advance their truth as the only fundamentally correct approach while condemning the others as inferior or even dangerous.

An obvious example is the rational-scientific method in its exclusive form. It focuses problem analysis (and solution) on systems and processes, and for the most part excludes issues associated with individual meaning, aesthetics, and group culture. Even systems theory, which claims to be "comprehensive" and "all-inclusive," in fact privileges the "it" and "its" domains—and explicitly denies irreducible reality to all of the "I" and "thou" and "we" domains of aesthetics, morals, and culture. In other words, science and systems theory absolutize their own favorite quadrants (the "it" and "its" dimensions).

Likewise, postmodern pluralism often grants reality to the social or cultural dimension (we), but it tends to deny any sort of objective reality. Pluralism tends to absolutize the "we" dimension and deny reality to objective "it" and "its." All science is therefore looked upon as a mere interpretation, much like poetry. But clearly, a diamond will cut a piece of glass no matter what culture it appears in. In other words, there are important objective truths (or "its") that need to be honored if any enduring solutions to the world's problems are to be discovered.

Thus, the Integral approach accepts the partial truths of both science and pluralism—they are each correct when dealing with their own quadrant or dimension— but denies that they alone have the only truth. By combining all of their important contributions, the Integral approach is able to offer fresh, comprehensive, and exciting approaches to resolving some of the world's recalcitrant problems.

Specific Applications

The value of a more comprehensive or integral map lies in the fact that it can be fruitfully applied to virtually any human endeavor, thus significantly increasing the probability that specific issues and problems can more effectively and efficiently be addressed and resolved.

These include such pressing issues as:
Educational Problems and Solutions
Business and Organizational Leadership
Environmental and Ecological Problems
Health and Medical Issues
Political Problems and Solutions
International Political and Military Issues
Personal Transformation and Integral Spirituality

Change Initiatives in Organizations: An Example from Business

The Integral Approach has many practical applications. It suggests that every transformational change effort needs to address all five of the major aspects of human beings. To do less than that is to leave out crucial variables that will seriously hobble effectiveness—whether the change effort involves helping individuals, creating personal meaning, addressing ecological issues, or managing sound and effective government and business leadership.

These insights can be applied to peak organizational as well as individual issues. Installing a new systems or process initiative without assuring an integrated balance of all relevant functions is a recipe for underperformance and in some cases disaster. Yet most leadership practices (in business, government, ecology, education) leave out some major aspect of human reality—they focus on only one quadrant, or only one level, or only one line, and so on—thus severely limiting their overall effectiveness.

This dangerous inadequacy returns to haunt the proponents of these partial models, as their very partialness tends to hobble truly effective change. Let's give a few well-documented examples of how such partialness can cripple business management and leadership theories and practices.

We have seen that all human beings have access to at least four major quadrants or dimensions: "I" or intentionality, "we" or culture, "it" or individual behavior, and "its" or systems behavior. In practice we find that most change agents (whether working with individuals, groups, or organizations) tend to focus on one of those quadrants at the expense of the others.

For example, behavioral modification focuses exclusively on the Upper-Right quadrant by attempting to directly change personal behavior. (In business, this includes such approaches as Total Quality Management and Theory X). Although they possess an important part of the puzzle of effective change, such methods do not address Upper-Left quadrant issues relating to individual psychological development and values-based motivations. Nor do they perform their interventions in the context of a supporting culture (Lower-Left quadrant) or organizational systems (Lower-Right quadrant). In effect, they leave out three-fourths of the factors required for a successful intervention.

Emotional intelligence training is one example of the methods (such as "Theory Y") that point out that productivity is often a product of the emotional and subjective wellbeing of the people involved. In other words, it focuses on a particular line of individual development in the Upper-Left quadrant, which can be very helpful, but it leaves out crucial factors in the other three quadrants (which usually return to sabotage any real change).

Likewise, corporate and organizational culture consultants focus on the Lower-Left quadrant, pointing out that extensive research has shown that much of an organization's performance depends on cultural values in the organization itself—an important piece of the integral puzzle, but one that, by itself, leaves out vital factors in the other quadrants.

Systems theory experts and systems managers focus on the networks of dynamic flows of products and information in vast systems of interaction. Again, this is another important piece of the integral puzzle, but one that leaves out the important interior dimensions of the I and we domains (which usually return to sabotage the system). In other words, systems experts tend to work the Lower-Right quadrant, neglecting or even excluding the other three. And so on.

What makes the Integral Approach so innovative is that, by using a more comprehensive map employing all four quadrants, the important contributions of all of those methods can be incorporated into a truly effective approach that covers all the bases. Each of those methods is addressing an important dimension of human existence, and by seeing how each of them fits together into a larger picture, they can all be used synergistically to significantly enhance effectiveness.

Including All Quadrants, All Levels, All Lines

Let's give a specific example of this using one of the quadrants—that of interior individual development (the "I," or Upper-Left quadrant). Dr. Robert Kegan of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (and a founding member of Integral Institute) is one of the world's leading psychologists and a pioneer in applying developmental theory to adult life and work challenges. In his book In Over Our Heads, Kegan documents how modern culture places implicit developmental demands on the average citizen that extend beyond the developmental levels that most other theorists document in today's developmental literature.

Kegan identifies five developmental levels or "orders of consciousness" that define how a person knows the world or constructs reality. The first three levels are similar to those found in today's child and adolescent development texts: impulsive (ages 2-6 yrs), egocentric (6-teens), and socialized or conformist (teens and beyond). Most adults (>80%) in developed nations reach at least the conformist or 3rd order of consciousness, where a person is able to internalize a value system, understand and respect the needs of others, and think abstractly.

In addition to the three commonly accepted stages or orders of consciousness development, Kegan adds two others—autonomous and integral. At the autonomous or 4th order of consciousness, a person becomes "self-authoring"—that is, they become capable of constructing their own value systems as opposed to operating within the value systems given to them by their culture, family, or place of work. And at an integral or 5th order, they begin to bring together and synthesize many different value systems into coherent and meaningful wholes.

The massive shift in the last 30 years from command-and-control corporate cultures to decentralized organizations—where business units, managers, and individual employees are given greater and greater latitude to design their own work in response to rapidly changing market conditions—reflects an implicit demand for 4th order consciousness in the workplace.


The idea of "levels and lines"—the notion that a person can be highly developed in some lines, medium in others, and poor in yet others—becomes crucially important, for example, when it comes to business leadership. Is the individual leader an "integral leader," well developed in many important lines? Or does he or she excel in one line (such as cognitive brilliance) and yet lag in others (such as interpersonal skills), so that the advances made in some areas are all but wiped out by the damage caused in others? An integral coach or trainer could help this person spot which areas need development in order to become an even more effective and successful leader.

Perhaps the foregoing examples are enough to suggest that an Integral Approach to leadership (in business, politics, ecology, education) would include a comprehensive perspective covering all the major bases. Are all the quadrants being included in the assessment and suggested interventions? Are all the developmental stages and levels being included? Are all the important developmental lines and capacities being engaged? (As well as all states and types of consciousness?)

Applying the Integral Method to Organizational Change Initiatives

The Integral approach is sometimes called AQAL (pronounced ah-qwal), short for "all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states, all types." It is also called an Integral Operating System (IOS), using a computer analogy, because once IOS is installed, you can run any applications software on it that you want (i.e., applications to organizational issues; leadership development; political, health, and environmental problems; personal psychological and spiritual transformation, and so on.)

The IOS simply checks to make sure that you are including all of the major dimensions of human existence in order to insure that whatever program you are running is as comprehensive, effective, and productive as it can possibly be—not because this is an "outside" philosophy, but because it is one that engages the potentials already present in each and every human being in the most positive fashion.

IOS can therefore serve as an invaluable tool to practitioners in their assessment and creation of a change initiative in virtually any area. The Integral Approach does not herald the development of yet another set of models and techniques that claim to solve all business problems. Instead, the Integral Approach contextualizes and shows the interrelationships between existing and future assessment and change management tools, helping practitioners call on those best for the situation at hand, leading to more effective, balanced, and sustainable change interventions. The Integral Approach to leadership in any area implies that there is no "one right way" of approaching change, but that all tools need to be carefully brought to bear on crucial issues. It is the change practitioner, in particular, that is the vital link translating theory into effective action.

An Integral Approach takes all of those factors into account, especially when researching—and then designing solutions for—recalcitrant problems such as world hunger, political turmoil, cultural clashes, educational and medical deficiencies. The Integral approach does not advocate one particular value system over another, but simply helps leaders assemble the most comprehensive overview available, so that they can more adequately and sanely address the pressing issues now facing all of us.

Likewise with issues ranging from ecological sustainability to education for a global tomorrow, from personal transformation to integral spirituality, from integral law to integral transformative practice: by becoming an integrally informed individual in any of those areas, one can leave the world just a little bit more whole than one found it.

This is published on the website: www.integralinstitute.org, led by Ken Wilber and any interested person can contribute as a researcher to the worldwide issues.
Nothing can be let out being integrated, each model , in each field brings an added value to other field.

All structures and infrastructures depend on TIME, SPACE ( as geography), Cultures, Spiritualities, all those being a dynamic spiral, in permanent change, usssually cyclic visible changes , as a result of human evolutionary continuous process.

In health, personal, collective , mankind health the subject is of so high interest, because, LIFE is everything we LIVE and BUILT for, so, on human beings, the reflection of all the other firlds is felt, helping or affecting.

All systems exists through 3 major synergic processes: creation, distruction and settlement.
We tend to focus on one or two, but there are always three...

For integrated health model and my work, research and practice on it, I'll continue on other messages.
Anyway, the idea is that integrated health means: mind-body-consciousness-spiritual-cultural integration of value system, of a person and the group(family, job, friends, community, society, mankind). It involves politics, administration, environment, education, culture, religion, psychology, medicine, personal growth and development.
In other words, integrated , subtle and pragmnatic karma ! We are what we work to be...

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