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Integral Social Wellness

Last post 01-03-2007, 10:05 PM by rbateman. 6 replies.
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  •  12-19-2006, 8:09 PM 16869

    Integral Social Wellness

    Hello. This is my first time posting. I have been a member for about two weeks. I recently bought the ILP Starter Kit. I live on Vancouver Island off the west coast of Canada.

     

    I am interested in discussing the subject of how one applies the AQAL model to a practice of individual social wellness. To understand what I mean by social wellness, which  is not a branch of sociology or any other university curriculum, you will need to read on a bit.

     

    I have been studying Ken’s work for some years now but I am a newbie re AQAL. One can read a good deal of his earlier work without getting the AQAL message.  It was when I read “A Theory Of Everything” that I first really got it and decided to pursue it.

     

    It certainly blends with my work in the area of social wellness because I see social wellness as a component of ILP. What I am feeling very much a newbie about is how to apply the AQAL model to a practice of social wellness. So as I work that out, hopefully with some feedback from others, I will document that process here.

     

    Some disclosure here so you know who you are dealing with: I do not have a degree of any kind. I have however given myself a Ph.D. in the Arts & Sciences from the University Of Public Library. I am a published poet and a singer/songwriter and you can buy my CD from Amazon.com. I am also Vice President Of Operations and Human Resources at an Elearning company where I am responsible for about forty staff.

     

    After this post, and hopefully some responses, I will return to start working through the exercise of applying AQAL to the subject. I assume this will take months, partially because I am learning AQAL as I am doing this. By the way, I have found in my own work both personally and professionally, that ‘simple’ is usually most ‘effective’. So I will be working out an application of AQAL here that any regular person will be able to grasp. Like the ILP Starter Kit approach.

     

    Please note that the reference to “Social Circles Canada” below is the organizational model I decided to apply to the problem. I decided to use a proprietary model for reasons of control, not profit.

     

    What follows is copy of a free public talk I give on a monthly basis. It will give you a good overview of what I am on about and where I am coming from. It starts with a story…

     

    The Parable Of The Stranger

     

    There was a woman whose village was destroyed. Only she survived. She had become a stranger and now all the land was strange.

     

    She took her few belongings and went out seeking to find others, that she might start a new life, for she knew that alone she would perish.

     

    She came to the outskirts of a village but suddenly she was stricken with fear that she might not be welcomed, she might even driven away or worse. So she did not approach but carried on.

     

    In time she came to another place, and this time she was more care worn, so she approached closer. At the edge of the village she asked a woman she met where she might find the village elders, but the woman did not understand her. She tried many words and she gestured, but still the woman did not understand and soon turned away. She stood alone there at the edge of the village and realized, she would not find a new beginning here. She was not understood nor was she welcomed. So she left and carried on alone.

     

    Still yet she came to a village by the sea. As she approached the elders came out to meet her. They bid her welcome but straight away asked her of her faith. She told them she followed the faith of her fathers. They told her she must forsake her old faith and take up theirs if she wished to enter. So she left that place.

     

    At last she came to a small village, much like the one she had called home. As she approached, the villagers came out to meet her and extended a welcome to her. She found to her delight that they spoke a language much like her own and they understood her. They asked her to sit with them and offered her food and drink. They asked her to tell them how she had come to them. As she spoke they nodded in agreement, for in those days her story was not unusual, and indeed she found out that the whole tribe had only a few summers ago settled here. They welcomed her to stay and to make a new life with them if she wished.

     

    One day, after she had been living in the village for many years, as she stood up from her work she saw a woman alone approaching the village. Immediately she called to her family and friends and together they went out to welcome her.

    -------------------------

    The story is of course the experience of many, if not most people today. According to the US Census Bureau, currently 25% of Americans live alone. At some point we find the world we knew has vanished and we find ourselves without the connections and sense of belonging we once had. So we try this and we try that but the tragedy is that seldom do we ever find again what we are looking and hoping for. We have become, in the words of Vance Packard, “a nation of strangers”.

     

    Unfortunately, as if the feelings associated with this lack of social wellness were not enough, there are a number of detrimental health effects. Over the next few minutes we will look at some of them, explore the issues and finally I will put on the table what I think is a viable and realistic solution. First of all…

     

    What is Social Wellness?

     

    How many close friends do you have and how often do you spend time with them in person. That’s it. That’s my definition of Social Wellness. Yes, I say “MY” definition because unbelievably, despite the fact that there is plenty of research to prove that social wellness is essential to our physical and mental health, there is no common definition of it. 

     

    Those two metrics – how many and how often - will tell a great deal about your mental and physical health. A third metric, how many new friends have you made in the past year, will indicate whether your social wellness is improving or on the decline.

     

    For optimum health the MINIMUM answers should be:

    How many close friends do you have? Four or more.

    How often do you spend time with them in person. At least once a month each (one per week).

    How many new friends have you made in the past year? More than one.

     

    The majority of North American’s lives do not meet these minimum requirements.

     

    Why is it important?

     

    Social, psychological and medical research has demonstrated conclusively that there is a direct correlation between the degree to which a person feels connected to others and their physical and mental health. Here are some of the most commonly known effects of NOT feeling a connection to others:

     

    • Generally decreased physical wellness i.e. lower energy, more frequent colds
    • More frequent bacterial infections and longer recovery times
    • Greater likelihood of chronic illness i.e. heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.
    • Shorter life spans (in some studies by as much as decades)
    • Increased likelihood of depression
    • Decreased level of happiness in general
    • Less likelihood of employment, career progress and material success

     

    Since social wellness effects every aspect of your life to such a dramatic degree, I would say its pretty important. And the older you get the more important it is particularly because these effects are insidious i.e. you don't realize you are becomming socialy isolated until you are.

     

    Why does this disconnection from others have such an impact?

     

    Clearly for these terrible symptoms to occur we must be engineered in such a way that our survival is dependent upon our connectedness -  we are only really a healthy organism when we feel we are a part of a group.

     

    In zoological terms, human beings, like whales, wolves and chimpanzees, are pack animals. The organism is not the ant, it is the ant-hill. It is not the bee, it is the hive. It is not the whale or the wolf or the man or woman, it is the pod, the pack and the tribe; that is the real organism. The individual health, happiness and prosperity of the members are dependent on the strength of the social connections in their respective groups.

     

    The key to understanding the pack/wellness relationship is that pack animals find food and defend themselves as a group. They cannot do it alone and they know it. So when they are socially isolated they feel stress. Chronic stress does devastating damage to the body. 25% of us are under this form of stress. This is a major health problem.

     

    Our way of life since we left the village, has steadily eroded our connections. We live now in a world of cubicles, apartments, ear buds, dark glasses, chat rooms and TV. We are cut off from one another. We are to busy multi-tasking to connect at a deep and personal level - the level that speaks to the part of us that says we are there for each other and we will care for one another. The level that tells us we are safe.

     

    Some individuals are more likely than others to neglect their social health

     

    In addition to the impact of technology, three levels of existence can contribute to an individual finding themselves with a diminished circle of friends – they are the biological, sociological and psychological.

     

    The biological level is your personal DNA. You were born with a certain nature and if you are a shy person you are naturally going to meet and connect to less people.

     

    The sociological level is your culture of origin. If you come from a culture where eye contact is not encouraged, or where “good girls” don’t talk to strangers, you will naturally find it much more difficult to connect socially.

     

    The psychological level is your personal conditioning, the behaviors you have learned over your lifetime. If you have conditioned yourself to spend the majority of your time in activities such as reading or watching TV, you will again naturally connect to fewer people.

     

    But the main reason we neglect our social health is that no one ever told us how important it is!

     

    Think of how many books and other resources there are available regarding dietary issues and exercise? Every medical professional on earth chants the mantra of diet and exercise. How many books and resources are there about mental health? How many doctors, societies, businesses, and government bodies are dedicated to these aspects of our health?

     

    You can go out and go directly to a resource to address you physical or mental health needs. You will be able to easily find a doctor, a book, or a club or a fitness center. But where are you going to go to improve your social health?

     

    Now lets look at the upside.

     

    What are the benefits of social wellness?

     

    Generally increased physical wellness

    Less frequent illness and shorter recovery times

    Less likelihood of chronic illness i.e. heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.

    Longer life spans

    Less likelihood of depression

    Increased level of happiness in general

    Increased likelihood of employment, career progress and material success

     

    Any person would want these benefits. How are we going to get them?

     

    Amazingly, its really quite simple. Developing social wellness is, like physical exercise, largely a matter of knowledge, effort and practice. Social science has shown that relationships are primarily the result of proximity. Certainly there are many other factors determining relationships but the most reliable predictor is proximity, the mere fact of being physically close to another person, of encountering that person on a regular basis.

     

    That is why when we are lonely we seek out a group of some kind to join. We instinctively know the two rules: we must get in close physical proximity to others and we must do so on a regular basis.

     

    The problem with the “find a group and join it” strategy is that the group has an agenda which you must accept in order to be accepted. Since many people find this unacceptable, either to begin with or after a while, this strategy often does not offer a long term solution. 

     

    How does Social Circles Canada help?

     

    Social Circles Canada and its members have the same agenda as you do, connecting to others. Its a new kind of health club, in this case instead of providing a gym full of equipment, we provide frequent and varied activities for our members. Members will meet each other on a regular basis. Friendships will develop naturally. It will develop its own culture which will garner its members a sense of belonging. People of similar age or interest will gravitate to each other and we will facilitate that process.

     

    All that is required is the initiating and facilitating of the regular activities. We will develop an educational program I already have outlined to help members connect more easily. I have worked in management and human resources for many years and I want Social Circles Canada to be an organization that values one thing above all – people and relationships.

     

    This point marks the end of my public talk. If you are still with me and want to see how I am living the practice you can visit my socialcircles.ca. website. I facilitate every event you see on the calendar. Also I have the inevitable blog linked from that site. In the blog is lots more information about the stress/isolation connection. My personal website is rbateman.com

     

    As I mentioned earlier in this post, I will return to begin working out how to apply AQAL to the practice of social wellness.


    Rick Bateman
    Founder
    Social Circles Canada - A New Kind Of Health Club
    socialcirlces.ca
    +48° 25' 43.45", -123° 20' 10.20" (hint: Google Maps)
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  •  12-19-2006, 9:41 PM 16873 in reply to 16869

    Re: Integral Social Wellness

    Hi Rick. Welcome to the forum and community!Party!!! [<:o)]

    I haven't read your entire post but I did kind of skim it and couldn't help but get a HUGE smile on my face! I can't wait to read the whole thing and then get back to you with more feedback/response. But, I think you're really onto something with Social Wellness, and indeed, part of and ILP.

    Again, huge smile! I feel socially better already!Big Smile [:D]

    Peace, Tim


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  12-24-2006, 7:31 PM 17142 in reply to 16869

    ‘Certified AQAL’ examples or a course?

    Ok. I have been doing my research using Ken’s books and ILPSK booklets. I have revisited the bits about quadrants, lines and levels and see that I have two tasks – I have to come up with the lines and levels.

     

    Now it strikes me that given what I have read so far, since this is a Theory of Everything, that the next logical thing for Ken to do would be to develop lines and levels for, well, everything! Rather daunting. So it makes sense to have entry level staff like me do the grunt work. And Ken claims to know nothing about organization!

     

    However it would be helpful and more productive (I am an Operations & HR manager after all), if we I-Wonks had a few more simple templates (maps). Now I realize Ken has given us something along these lines (business, medicine, and education, etc.) in some of his books in the form of explanatory text, but we are really in the ‘production’ stage of the work now and we need examples. I say ‘we’ because I have been reading the other “Integral By Topic” threads and it seems to be we are all struggling with the same challenge and to some degree reinventing the wheel in each thread. My CEO would kill me if I ran our company like this.

     

    So here is my question to you – does anyone know if there is somewhere where there are ‘Certified AQAL’ examples of the integral approach applied to a sampling of subjects? Say, for any of the three of those mentioned above? What I am looking for, taking the business subject for example, would be a list of the lines for business and each of the levels. Diagrams like the “Some Examples Of The Four Quadrants In Humans” would be perfect but of course each quadrant would need a few more lines if I am correct in my understanding of how this works.

     

    For several years I was a teacher of technical material to adults. After some instruction, handing out three completed examples to my students and then asking them to do a fourth one would be exactly the way I would teach them how to do this. So, anybody know where to get the hand outs for this course?

     

    If these do not exist, I suggest I-I could speed up the creation and proliferation of AQAL frameworks for all subjects by taking the same “simple as possible” approach as is taken in the ILPSK. Assume we are all brand new students (or employees) sitting there staring at you waiting for instructions. Provide three completed samples and an instructional document that walks the person, step by step, through the process used to create the samples. That's how you teach things - text books (we have those), instruction and workbooks or handouts. Its everything but the textbooks that we are missing. Do the latter in PDF or some other downloadable format so its cheap to produce and distribute.

     

    I imagine if this course was done right, you should be able to have a class of say fifteen totally different professionals or trades people as students and at the end of a six week, two nights a week, course they all go home with their Integral maps. I-I has professional teachers in its education division. Have them actually develop and deliver this course and film it.


    Rick Bateman
    Founder
    Social Circles Canada - A New Kind Of Health Club
    socialcirlces.ca
    +48° 25' 43.45", -123° 20' 10.20" (hint: Google Maps)
    • Post Points: 5
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  •  12-28-2006, 5:15 PM 17305 in reply to 16869

    Draft of new AQAL Framework For Individual Social Wellness

    Below is a first draft a new AQAL Framework For Individual Social Wellness.

     

    I have kept it simple to begin with as simple is my ultimate goal so that the concept can be easily communicated to anyone. Therefore I have included only one line in each quadrant to begin with.

     

    I needed some kind of holonic metric in order to define representative stages of development along each of the four lines. I use common classifications of social relationships such as ‘alone’, ‘acquaintance’, ‘friend’, or 'crowd', 'community' etc. I suspect the colors of spiral dynamics can be applied to this framework.

     

    A particular holon does not need to change with every stage.

     

    It is important to be mindful that an AQAL Framework For Individual Social Wellness is not the same as mapping a persons expanding and increasingly inclusive sense of self as they mature from infancy through adulthood. The need for this framework often begins in adulthood, for some even late adulthood, therefore the FIRST level is the socially isolated adult.

     

    With my research into this subject over the past year, I am aware that “individual social wellness” is an emerging science. So I realize it will be awkward for you, as it has been for me, not only to grasp this idea but not to have it usurped or co-opted by existing mental structures. Therefore I have included the practices in this framework as a way to try to help us stay mindful of the focus. The key concept to keep in mind here is that the goal is the mental, physical and material well being of the individual.

     

    Please forgive the simplistic presentation of the practices. To present the practices properly requires a short book in itself. These bullets are meant simply to convey the idea of each practice.

     

    Your comments, input, etc would be very welcome. One of the things I am trying to do, by doing this “live” here in the forum, is to develop the first of a set of example templates which others can used like “course handouts” to help them develop their own frameworks. As if a course instructor (I was one for three years) handed out three examples and then said, “Here, now you try one.”


    AQAL Framework for Individual Social Wellness

    Level One (personal) Beige
    I
    : no connections
    We: alone
    It: unrecognized individual
    Its: crowd
    Practice: Proximity & Frequency
    - actively pursue physical proximity with the same group or groups of people of a regular basis
     
    Level Two (personal
    )  Purple
    I
    : casual connections
    We: acquaintances
    It: recognized individual
    Its: crowd
    Practice: Friendliness
    - make eye contact, smile and initiate conversations
    - think positively
    - refrain from unfriendly behavior
     
    Level Three (personal
    )  Red
    I
    : transactional connections
    We: associates
    It: member
    Its: community
    Practice: Relevance
    - listen to identify others strengths, interests, desires and needs
    - identify your own
    - seek and find ways to genuinely share those that are mutual or of benefit to others
     
    Level Four (personal
    )  Blue
    I:
    value connections
    We: alleys
    It: influential member
    Its: community
    Practice: Empathy
    - play close attention to the other, especially their nonverbal communications
    - accept their feelings
    - don’t interrupt, judge or attempt to fix
     

    Level Five (personal)  Orange
    I
    : trust connections
    We: friends
    It: established member
    Its: community
    Practice: Authenticity
    - walk your talk
    - admit to your mistakes and faults
    - base your behavior on character and beliefs as opposed to personality
     
    Level Six (civic
    )  Green
    I
    : belonging
    We: neighbors
    It: neighbor
    Its: society (multiple communities)
    Practice: Civic Participation
    - become actively involved in issues at local and other levels
    - volunteer, pitch in, help out
    - vote
     
    Level Seven (interpersonal
    )  Yellow
    I:
    meaning
    We: citizens
    It: citizen
    Its: human race
    Practice: One-On-One Giving
    - find individuals to whom you can help or give to on the personal level
    - it must be an exchange directly between the two of you
    - you must give your time
     
    Level Eight (spiritual
    )  Turquoise
    I
    : Big Heart
    We: Life
    It: Entity
    Its: Existence
    Practice: Spiritual Engagement
    - Big Mind meditation or voice dialogue
    - Tong Len
    - spiritual practices from a variety of belief systems

     


    Rick Bateman
    Founder
    Social Circles Canada - A New Kind Of Health Club
    socialcirlces.ca
    +48° 25' 43.45", -123° 20' 10.20" (hint: Google Maps)
    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  12-31-2006, 4:15 PM 17480 in reply to 16869

    Re: Integral Social Wellness

    Its complete! I have added the missing elements! I now have an entry for every level in every quadrant in the framework. Whether its right or not is another matter. Geeked [8-|]

     

    So there are two more initial steps required: Some feedback (hint, hint) regarding whether or not its holons are per the AQAL quadrant criteria is essential. Secondly, is there some detail missing? Sure. A whole book worth of detail. This is like, the table of contents.

     

    Regardless of all those missing details, it has to be understandable by ordinary working people. Remember these people are at beige in this regard. Also, if we want to get as many people as possible thinking Integrally, then we need to develop models and tools that will allow plumbers, ranchers and office managers to be able to understand the concept and develop and implement frameworks for themselves.

     

    So my question regarding this framework is this: Do you understand it? Do you see the path? Do you understand each of the levels? Do you understand the ideas or intents of the practices?

     

     


    Rick Bateman
    Founder
    Social Circles Canada - A New Kind Of Health Club
    socialcirlces.ca
    +48° 25' 43.45", -123° 20' 10.20" (hint: Google Maps)
    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  01-01-2007, 3:19 PM 17558 in reply to 17480

    Re: Integral Social Wellness

    Well actually maybe its complete in one way but its a long way from finished being tweaked. For example, I am getting some great input from the folks over on the Integral Relationships thread and I can see I will definately have to revisit the framework below to change the colors from Spriral Dynamics colors to AQAL colors per Ken's new "Altitude" model. After I wrap my head around this Altitude model that is.
    Rick Bateman
    Founder
    Social Circles Canada - A New Kind Of Health Club
    socialcirlces.ca
    +48° 25' 43.45", -123° 20' 10.20" (hint: Google Maps)
    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  01-03-2007, 10:05 PM 17674 in reply to 17558

    Re: Integral Social Wellness

    I have re-posted the framework below having changed the the Spiral Dynamic colors to the AQAL colors. The only other change I made was to switch the terms "established member" and "influential member" between levels Four and Five. I also have removed the non-AQAL, personal notations I was using in brackets.

    I am glad I had to do that color review because I come away more impressed than ever by the fact that I added the color labels only after I completed the framework. The building blocks of the framework, the holons, were the mostly social terms in the four qudrants. That the descriptions of the colors fit so well with my holonic scale is a big surprise to me.

    AQAL Framework for Individual Social Wellness

    Level One - Infrared
    I
    : no connections
    We: alone
    It: unrecognized individual
    Its: crowd
    Practice: Proximity & Frequency
    - actively pursue physical proximity with the same group or groups of people of a regular basis
     
    Level Two - Magenta
    I: casual connections
    We: acquaintances
    It: recognized individual
    Its: crowd
    Practice: Friendliness
    - make eye contact, smile and initiate conversations
    - think positively
    - refrain from unfriendly behavior
     
    Level Three - Red
    I: transactional connections
    We: associates
    It: member
    Its: community
    Practice: Relevance
    - listen to identify others strengths, interests, desires and needs
    - identify your own
    - seek and find ways to genuinely share those that are mutual or of benefit to others
     
    Level Four - Amber
    I: value connections
    We: allies
    It: established member
    Its: community
    Practice: Empathy
    - play close attention to the other, especially their nonverbal communications
    - accept their feelings
    - don’t interrupt, judge or attempt to fix

    Level Five -
      Orange
    I: trust connections
    We: friends
    It: influential member
    Its: community
    Practice: Authenticity
    - walk your talk
    - admit to your mistakes and faults
    - base your behavior on character and beliefs as opposed to personality
     
    Level Six - Green
    I
    : belonging
    We: neighbors
    It: neighbor
    Its: society (multiple communities)
    Practice: Civic Participation
    - become actively involved in issues at local and other levels
    - volunteer, pitch in, help out
    - vote
     
    Level Seven - Teal
    I:
    meaning
    We: citizens
    It: citizen
    Its: human race
    Practice: One-On-One Giving
    - find individuals to whom you can help or give to on the personal level
    - it must be an exchange directly between the two of you
    - you must give your time
     
    Level Eight - Turquoise
    I: Big Heart
    We: Life
    It: Entity
    Its: Existence
    Practice: Spiritual Engagement
    - Big Mind meditation or voice dialogue
    - Tong Len
    - spiritual practices from a variety of belief systems


    Rick Bateman
    Founder
    Social Circles Canada - A New Kind Of Health Club
    socialcirlces.ca
    +48° 25' 43.45", -123° 20' 10.20" (hint: Google Maps)
    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
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