Integral theory

"The word integral means comprehensive, inclusive, non-marginalizing, embracing. Integral approaches to any field attempt to be exactly that: to include as many perspectives, styles, and methodologies as possible within a coherent view of the topic. In a certain sense, integral approaches are “meta-paradigms,” or ways to draw together an already existing number of separate paradigms into an interrelated network of approaches that are mutually enriching."  – Ken Wilber  

Ken Wilber, the founder of integral theory, has also published 25 books over the past 30 years and is continually evolving the integral model that emerged from his work. Integral theory weaves together the significant insights from all the major human disciplines of knowledge, including cultural anthropology, philosophy, sociology of religion, physics, healthcare, environmental studies, science and religion, and postmodernism.  

Integral is based on common sense simplicity and reveals that most languages in the world share the pronouns ‘I’, ‘we’, ‘it’, and ‘its’. So, there are at least four essential ways in which we can look at any challenge or opportunity. 
Integral theory provides a way of linking, leveraging, and aligning the irreducible aspects of reality so that these perspectives can help us with the problems and prospects we are facing.

For example: When at a wedding ceremony, which perspective is correct?

Of course, your ‘I’ perspective of emotions and beliefs is correct. But, so is the shared perspective of the ‘We’, the cultural and religious significance of such an event. Also correct would be the ‘It’ perspective which sees the behavioral and physiological dimension as viewed from the outside. And finally, the ‘Its’ perspective is also correct since it allows for the inclusion of the social and systemic aspects of such an event. All correct, all partial, an integral view provides the map of that reality so that nothing is overlooked and no one perspective excludes others.

And, it is good to note that no one perspective can include the entire picture and that no one perspective can fully understand another. To be fully present to an event, the view must include an integral perspective. All four views are correct, but individually no one of them offers the complete picture of any reality. 

According to integral theory, at least four irreducible perspectives must be consulted when attempting to fully understand any aspect of reality, any problem or opportunity presented to us. Since these four perspectives or dimensions of reality arise simultaneously, this means we will be leaving out or missing some key information that may enrich our experience and potential if we neglect any of the four perspectives.
Wilber calls these the 4 Quadrants. And notice, too, that a 4 quadrant view allows us to view any situation from two fundamental distinctions: 1) an inside and an outside perspective and 2) from a singular and plural perspective.

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