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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

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