Coda / January 2008

Susanne Cook-Greuter, Introduction to Ego Development…a series of videos on stages of adult development, IntegralNaked,

Integral Naked header

There are seven segments of this presentation at an Integral Institute workshop.

The opportunity to download these very well presented introductions to her highly important work on development and its applications is well worth the price of admission for a one month membership in Integral Naked.

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The Arbinger Institute, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box.

The Arbinger Institute, The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict.

How many self-help junkies are out there reading this material? Whether you are one or not, please pay attention to these two books. They fall into the self-help category in that they do provide perspectives and tools that each of us can use in gaining greater clarity about ourselves and our intentions, added awareness about the relationship between these and our behaviors, and how these impact our relationships with others. Now, how more integral can you get? As a matter of fact, I think the material from these two little books would fit very well into an integral life practice program.

leadership and self-decption the Arbinger InstituteBoth books are told in narrative style; each features Lou, the CEO of a company who has high risk problems with his company. InLeadership and Self-Deception he turns to Bud who explains the fundamentals about “being in the box” and getting out. We get into boxes because we deceive ourselves into thinking we see things clearly and completely when we do not and, even worse, we don’t know that we don’t know. We have these results when we see people as objects and not as people with all of the complexities we see in ourselves. Furthermore, in choosing not to relate to them as people, we end up in self-betrayal. This sends us into defensive and justifying self-talk, which further distorts how I see others, myself and the world. And then we blame others. This, in turn, leads us to choose not to engage with others in generative ways; we end up betraying ourselves. The result is that we go into “the box.”

We all have experiences of being in and out of the box. We can draw from those out of the box experiences to educate ourselves about how to get out of the box in our relationships with others. And it is those out of the box engagements with others that result in their following someone as a leader. At least, that is an essential ingredient in the leader-follower (collaborator, constituent) relationship being effective.

The Anatomy of Peace The Arbinger InstituteThe Anatomy of Peace is the second book in this series. In this one the narrative takes place in a two-day program with parents of kids who have gotten into trouble and have gone off on a sixty-day survival program in the hills of Arizona. Lou is still one of the primary characters; his son has been into drugs. In this presentation by Yusuf and Ari, a Palestinian and a Jew who have dealt with their own painful life experiences to build on the work related to boxes with a focus on families. However, throughout the book Lou focuses on his role as CEO and recent events at his company, as well. The additional lessons of this volume can be summarized by taking a look at the “peacemaking pyramid” reproduced here:

peacemaking pyramid

The message is that in order to correct what is dysfunctional in a relationship (and this is formulated with a focus on patent-child relationships) we need to start at the bottom and work our way up. We need to get out of the box, which equates with having a heart at peace—not be in self-deception or self-betrayal, building relationships, listening and learning about the other, using that foundation to teach and communicate with the hope that effective change will occur.

I like this comment near the end of the book:

“Our passions, beliefs, and needs do not divide but unite: it is by virtue of our own passions, beliefs, and needs that we can see and understand others’. If we have beliefs we cherish, then we know how important others’ beliefs must be to them. And if we have needs, then our own experience equips us to notice the needs of others.” And further, “Lasting solutions to the battles in our workplaces, homes, and battlefields will come only as we end the war in our souls.”

These ideas are presented in ways that can engage us when we are centered in Orange, Green or second tier. To communicate them and have them understood by us when we are at other first tier frameworks in our lives is more challenging. That is why framing this in the second of these two books in a program related to families and drug abuse makes it an attractor even to us when we are centered in red or blue. The authors have put together a cast of characters intended to suggest this possibility. And I go back to my earlier comment: I see enough power in this material to suggest that it be included in anyone’s integral life practice.

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Zachary Stein, Modeling the Demands of Interdisciplinarity: Toward a Framework for Evaluating Interdisciplinary Endeavors, Integral Review, 4, 2007, pp. 91-107.

Integral Review Header,ModelingtheDemandsofInterdisciplinarity4,2007.pdf

Simply put, Zachary Stein’s essay is brilliant. It is a clear and useful treatment of the subjects of interdisciplinarity and its cousins, including multi-disciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. Stein provides a very insightful and useful analysis of interdisciplinary approaches.

“We’ll see just what people think interdisciplinarity is. This will involve a brief historical overview and a discussion of three types of initiatives: interdisciplinary education, problem focused interdisciplinarity, and synoptic interdisciplinarity.

“Then we will go on look at several attempts to model the demands of interdisciplinarity. In light of these meta-disciplinary models we will see that there are at least two issues that are relevant when trying to detect the ‘symptoms of quality’ in interdisciplinary work.”

These issues deal with complexity and epistemology with variable methodological requirements.

Forgive me for not going into more detail. This article should be of primary interest to anyone interested in theory, different levels of theory, and how these can be engaged and addressed in meaning making. Here are a couple of paragraphs from Stein’s conclusion for you to consider:

Integral Methodological Pluralism is a meta-disciplinary framework that specifies a taxonomy of disciplines organized around eight primordial perspectives. It’s laid out against a backdrop in which cognitive development figures prominently, knowledge is verified procedurally, and reductionism is on the radar as a major concern. All this makes it very close to the account offered here. But more importantly, and to break slightly with the orthodoxy, I claim Integral Methodological Pluralism is less significant as a substantive view (e.g., exactly this many methodologiesonly this many levels, etc.) and more significant as a formal, normative perspective on how we ought to proceed when endeavoring to employ a variety of disciplines. This interpretation is not far from the one proposed by Crittenden (1997), where he suggests that the integral method trumps its substance, and that this method is best understood as a type ofcritical theory. That is, the “Integral Vision” does more than describe how various methods hang together; it offers a regulative epistemic ideal in light of which less than integral approaches can be criticized. Similarly, I see Integral Methodological Pluralism as anormative meta-disciplinary inquiry catalyst that can be unpacked at any level of competency to insure a healthy manifestation of interdisciplinary energies.

However, what has been laid out in this paper is not contingent upon this interpretation of Integral Methodological Pluralism. I mention it because meta-disciplinary languages of evaluation are in short supply. We should see what’s available. And I see it, like I see the work done here, as an attempt to bring clarity to confusion by outlining a meta-disciplinary framework with normative bite. Of course, we need more meta-disciplinary knowledge workers and concomitant institutional structures if any of this is to fly. It is clear to me that new types of inquiry-based future-oriented communication communities will emerge and that metadisciplinary models will be needed to orient their epistemic endeavors. The more we want and need to know, the more we’ll need to clarify to ourselves what we are up to. Quality control becomes paramount as interdisciplinary knowledge production proliferates.