Now that we have some grasp on these three parts to our tri-focal lenses (the “big three” or the four quadrants), let's move about the world with these in mind. We have seen that these four quadrants all have important information and now we will spend time to look firstly at what the information is, secondly at how it is organized, and thirdly a common pitfall of partial truths. If we look at the upper left quadrant of “I”, like many before us, we dive into the psyche.
Lines of Development:
Spanning less than a hundred and fifty years, starting in 1879, there has been a lot of work done in psychology. Work from researchers like Freud, Jung, Maslow, and Piaget, would promote theories that would sometimes be popularized, though the average person hadn't a good enough map to integrate this information until 1983.
In '83 Harvard Psychology professor Howard Gardner introduced the Theory of Multiple Intelligences to show that IQ alone is not the best measure of an individual's abilities but in fact there were different talents to be honed; as evidenced by the existing research from within the field. This idea brought into view many areas of skill to appreciate. Some of these skills or intelligences acknowledged were musical, visual-spatial, emotional, logical-mathematical, and bodily-kinesthetic for example. After gathering even more research in the field, psychologists have since added a couple dozen intelligences in all, of which the above, in addition to Moral intelligence, Aesthetic intelligence, Psycho-Sexual intelligence, Empathic intelligence, and Interpersonal intelligence, are some of the more recognizable.
Most of the intelligences like Kinesthetic, Needs, and Cognitive are able to be honed with relative independence. Though unlike the first two, cognitive intelligence is really a prerequisite for many other intelligences. Where cognition is one's ability to perceive what is arising in the world around, this becomes fundamental to one's ability to simply use the raw building blocks of data to build mental maps. Due to this importance, many other lines depend on cognitive development.
When looking at the different lines of development, each bar is really an area of research. The Cognitive line was researched by Piaget, the Psycho-Sexual line by Freud, the Needs line by Maslow. Despite having all these different lines in all these different areas of research, they all have the same general three-stage progression of development (Pre-Conventional → Conventional → Post-Conventional).
Let's take Kinesthetic Intelligence for example; the ability to understand and manipulate the body. A professional athlete would be the ideal person to showcase this bodily intelligence that is present in all people. We know it would not be a fair competition to put an average person against any top athlete in a physically demanding challenge of their field. We know their skill is better than a novice, or even an intermediate, that's why they are called professionals; their ability is better. This helps us to see an ordered path of development of ability from novice → competency → mastery or in other words from Pre-Conventional → Conventional → Post-Conventional. One clear mark of this level in martial arts is the separation of skill by belt colour.
Next, if we look at the needs line of development, most of us will have heard of this by another name. Abraham Maslow called this line of development his hierarchy of needs. The process, illustrated in a pyramid, had the order of increasing concern for needs starting from physiological needs and safety to belonging and self esteem then topping out at self actualization and self transcendence. What's important to see here is another ordered path of development. Although this has more steps, six, these steps are simply expressing the same general three-step improvement though doing so as it appears in this particular line of development (Six steps still following the same general order from Pre-Conventional → Conventional → Post-Conventional).
What is important to recognize is that each of the intelligences expresses unique skill not found in the other intelligences. Much like the information within each of the four Quadrants brings unique truth, each of the multiple intelligences brings unique opportunity to practice those quadrant truths within a specific Line of Development as well as for a particular Level of competency.
All of the Lines of Development have progressive Levels of Development. The Levels of Development tell us a truth about the proficiency in a particular Line of Development. Depending on the convention of the research within a particular Line of Development, as we have seen, there may be three stages, six stages, or more. It is dependent upon the field of study and how it's experts perceive the stage-defining data they collect.
The Order Within the Lines of Development – Holarchy and Natural Levels
Now that we have defined the four quadrants and we have seen that quadrants contain information in lines of development, we can start to look at the information within the lines themselves to see if broad generalizing tendencies emerge. Ken Wilber borrows Aurther Koestler's term Holarchy to define natural hierarchical organization as opposed to a dominator hierarchy. A holon is defined as something that is simultaneously a whole self and yet part of a bigger whole. To be clear, we need to make three assumptions about holons. The first is that everything is made of holons. The second is that they emerge and third, that they emerge holarchically. (Again, not crazy assumptions)
Let's understand holons by looking in the right side objective space. An atom, for example is a whole atom, though it may simultaneously be part of a molecule. A molecule, in turn, is a whole molecule and may simultaneously be part of a cell. A cell is whole and may be part of an organism, which itself is whole and may be part of a human body. This pattern of whole parts or holons is not only found in the right side. Let's look at the subjective, non-physical side. “WE” in our culture and in our self, “I”, use the non-physical entity of language which also is holarchically structured. Just like the atom to molecule to cell to organism holarchy, we have a single letter to a word to a sentence to a paragraph. Paragraphs convey more information than a simple sentence, which has more information than a word, which in turn has more information than a letter. Each includes the lower though not the higher. A paragraph contains sentences, though not vice versa and because of this “not vice versa” relationship, we can see a direction towards greater information. Or that is to say that each progressive stage of the holon there is more than what existed before hand in a holarchic structure.
A holarchy emerges when parts are gathered together to create something more than their sum. For example, a smart phone's parts can be analyzed, a processor, ram, screen, code, etc, though not any one single part will allow you to access the internet. Together they produce something greater, something that goes beyond what went before, a transcending and including action. This is the nesting process of creating holarchically structured holons. (Nested Spheres – Transcend and Include)
Based on these structures from the subjective and objective realms this structured order seems to be the case; that is to say that everything is made of holons, that they do tend to emerge, and that they do so holarchically. This is perfectly describing the Levels of Development (from Pre-Conventional → Conventional → Post-Conventional) within each Personal Line of Development.
In all of the four quadrants, we can see the same general organization and order of holons. Transcending and including what has gone before to reach previously unknown depths. In the graphic above, the innermost levels get transcended and included within the next most inclusive level. This graphic also tries to show the tetra-arising nature of all four quadrants.
To be clear, these levels of greater build on top of the more basic skills that existed beforehand. Much like the parts of a phone together bring more, so too can we build on subjective skills by transcending and including what came before to bring about new depths of understanding; increasing our internal skills towards subjective black-belts sort of speak.
The Pitfall of Quadrant Absolutism
One thing to be aware of is that the four quadrants are four different aspects of the same singular event or object, they are not different things. They cause and are caused by the other quadrants so therefore have aspects or correlates reverberating through each quadrant. Let's continue to understand what it looks like when someone only focuses on one of the quadrants, not all of them. This view is a pitfall without balance and focuses on partial truth as absolute truth.
If someone orients themselves in the objective world of Nature, that perspective is Scientific Materialism. It will de-emphasize anything that is not definable by measurement. If someone orients from the cultural quadrant, they will be Morally focused (Postmodernism), and Artistic focused (Subjective Idealism) when orients from the self quadrant. In other words, people tend to fall into the trap of attachment to partial data and as a result believe that things are either only of Personal Construction, only of Social Construction, or only of Natural Construction when in fact all three bring truth (“The Big Three”).
As a final summary before moving on it is important to keep in mind that these four quadrants provide unique and important information. It is also important to note they are tetra-arising, there is never one without the others; they cause and are caused by the others. Furthermore, it is important to remember that everything is holarchically ordered and thus has a transcend and include order of greater. This then shows the directionality and valued natural order to progress “up” or “deeper into” a particular line of development.
So we now know there are lines of development and each line has its own field of researchers marking steps of proficiency into greater depth of understanding and skill. The depth of each line is created holarchically and is what we also call Levels. So, Lines, Levels, and Quadrants. These are enough to practice with for now. To use this in life, remember that the real truth that you hold dear, may be just as partial as other people’s truth. This allows us to open ourselves more to the other true information around.
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