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
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
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