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ADAM B. LEONARD
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS INT MASS COMMUNICATIONS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Adam B. Leonard
This thesis would not exist without the open minds of my committee members. Dr.
Lisa Duke-Cornell, Dr. Linda Hon, and Dr. Sheldon Isenberg allowed me the academic
freedom to pursue my ideas with passion. I am grateful for the creative space that they
made possible. Ken Wilber continues to inspire me both intellectually and personally.
Through Ken' s volumes of writing, our personal conversations, and my resulting
practices, I have learned much about the human experience and the simple feeling of
being. I feel honored to call such an extraordinary human being my teacher, colleague,
and friend. Finally, my mother and father have unflinchingly stood by me throughout the
adventurous meanderings of my learning journey. The love I feel for these two beautiful
souls goes beyond words.
Anyone tired of disciplinary fragmentation, sick of partisan bickering, and
exhausted by an endless eclecticism probably desires a more comprehensive framework,
a more integral vision. To integrate means "to bring together, to join, to link, to embrace.
Not in the sense of uniformity, and not in the sense of ironing out all the wonderful
differences, colors, zigs and zags of a rainbow-hued humanity, but in the sense of unity-
in-diversity, shared commonalties along with our wonderful differences" (Wilber, 2000,
p. 2). An integral vision would orient the cornucopia of theories and methods, would
inform purposeful action, would facilitate dialogue among academic disciplines, and
would offer insight into the very consciousness holding the vision. Articulating such a
vision is the integral project. Applying it to communication is integral communication.
Communication might be thought of as mutual understanding within a shared
intersubjective space. Or, perhaps communication is a transmission of information bits
from a source to a receiver. What theoretical map embraces them both? The inside of
communication could be studied qualitatively. Or, the outside of communication could
be studied quantitatively. What paradigm includes them both? The integral project
offers some clues to these enigmas. Attempts to answer these questions occupy the first
Chapter 1 expresses the need for theoretical integration within communication
studies. Rich theoretical traditions such as the rhetorical, semiotic, phenomenological,
systemic, sociopsychological, sociocultural, and critical abound in communication.
Many communication scholars call for a new way to orient the many theoretical
traditions, so they can develop together rather than in fragmented isolation. Integral
communication pioneers like Jurgen Habermas and Stephen Littlejohn already have taken
the first trailblazing steps.
Chapter 2 introduces the "All Quadrants, All Levels" (AQAL) integral model
created by the American philosopher Ken Wilber (2000b). The AQAL map has five
central elements: quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types. A human being can
experience any phenomenon from perspectives represented by at least these five
elements. Such awareness helps orient existing theories, reconstruct old ones, and create
Chapter 3 outlines the challenges of methodological integration. Paradigm wars
raged for many years among those who held up their method as the only legitimate way
to enact truth. Some reduced reality to exterior surfaces, and others reduced reality to
interior depth. Most researchers today admit that the two methods can be used together
within the same study, but fail to give a theoretical explanation as to why mixing methods
works. Integral methodological pluralism offers a philosophical justification for
The social sciences--including communication studies--face a crossroads in
finding the integral balance between the theories and methods of the humanities on the
left hand, and the theories and methods of the sciences on the right hand. Chapter 4
begins the transition into applying integral communication as a strategy, by drawing from
each hand. Social-science research points to a relationship among behaviors, attitudes,
values, and value systems. Furthermore, none of these communication traits remains
statically frozen. They develop.
Chapter 5 surveys the work of several researchers who study the evolution of value
systems. According to their findings, value systems develop in levels of increasing
embrace. The general trend moves from egocentric values to ethnocentric values to
worldcentric values. Within this growth tendency, four specific value systems stand out
in contemporary American culture.
Chapter 6 uses these four value systems within an integral communication strategy.
Target audiences can be vertically segmented using developmental psychographics. The
postmodern insights of hermeneutics, semiotics, and structuralism shed light on the
communicative dynamics among developmental segmentations. Translating a message
into the developmental value language of the intended audience increases the
effectiveness of the communication.
Chapter 7 presents an informal case study documenting integral communication in
action. David Johnston used integral communication to transform the building market in
Alameda County, California. The strategy fully identified the various stakeholders, and
helped them understand how sustainable building practices supported their personal value
sy stem s.
Finally, Chapter 8 focuses on the transformative applications of integral
communication. Multiple disciplines--from education to business to medicine to
politics--are already using integral communication to talk, learn, and grow with each
other. Furthermore, a transformation strategy and curriculum suggest the possibility of
using language to prompt developmental growth.
All this claims to be nothing more than a first stab at articulating an integral
communication. Many avenues will be left unexplored; much theoretical integration will
be left undone; numerous strategic applications will be left unsaid. I merely attempt to
give a general theoretical overview of integral communication as an orientation for future
work. I extend preemptive praise to those who will locate my inevitable missteps,
incorporate refinements, and continue the evolution of integral communication.
The writing style incorporates first-, second-, and third-person perspectives as
supported by integral philosophy. The tone may shift from casual and conversational, to
intellectual and technical, depending on the needs of the moment. Also, quotes and
citations intentionally appear in abundance. They allow the diverse voices of yesterday
to speak and create a space for an integral vision today. In the following presentation, I
aspire to express the integral communication proj ect with sincerity, truth, legitimacy, and
My most basic aim here is to open a dialogue that asks what a more integral
approach to communication might look like. The dialogue can be challenging.
Disagreements might arise. New perspectives may be painfully birthed. Yet these
challenges fuel the dialogue. Communication furthers the evolution of the integral
proj ect, just as the integral proj ect furthers the evolution of communication. Thus, in the
spirit of growth, challenges are welcomed here as honored guests, inviting everyone to
bask in the glorious discourse of ferment. Welcome to the conversation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENT S ............ ...... ._._ .............._ iii..
P RE FACE ........._.. ..... ._ .............._ iv....
LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. .................... xi
AB STRAC T ................ .............. xii
1 A CALL FOR THEORETICAL INTEGRATION................ ..............
The Zen of Ferment ........._ ........_. ...............1...
Seven Productive Fragments .............. ...............4.....
What Does "Integral" Mean? ........._._ ......._. ...............7...
Beyond Fusion and Eclecticism............... ...............
Two Noteworthy Pioneers ........._. ........_. ............... 10...
2 THE ARCHITECTURE OF INTEGRAL RECONSTRUCTION .........._................15
The M aster Architect ............ _. ..... ...............15...
Quadrants ............ _. .... ...............18....
Lines and Level s ............ ......_ ...............23...
States and Types .............. ... ...............26..
Building Integral Communication ............ ..... .__ ....__ ............2
3 WAR AND PEACE AMONG METHODS .............. ...............32....
Paradigm Battles ............ ......_ ...............32....
External Reductionism............... ..............3
Internal Reductionism............... ..............3
M ixing with Pragmatism .............. .. ...............41...
The Quans and Quals Meet the Quads .............. ...............44....
4 SOCIAL SCIENCE AT THE CROSSROADS............... ...............5
Communication Traits as Real............... ...............51..
Knowing Attitudes ............ ......_ ...............53....
Beyond the Lamppost ................. ...............55........... ....
Value Systems as Worldviews............... ...............6
Dynamics of the Spiral .............. ...............64....
5 WORLD VIEW EVOLUTION ........._._. ...._. ...............69...
Researching W orl dviews .........._.._ ......... ...............69.....
Traditional-Mythic (BLUE) ................. ...............75.................
Rati onal-Achi evi st (ORANGE) ................. ......... ...............79.....
Plurali sti c-Communitari an (GREEN) ................. ...............82........... ...
Integral-Exi stential (YELLOW) ................. ...............86........... ....
6 AN INTEGRAL COMMUNICATION STRATEGY ................. .......................91
Developmental Psychographics............... .............9
The Postmodern Toolbox .............. ...............96....
Semiotics of Spiral Dialectic .............. ...............100....
W orldview Translation ................ ...............103................
Flatland Assumptions .............. ...............108....
7 APPLICATION-SUSTAINABLE BUILDING .........._.._.. ......__. ........._...112
Sustainable Development in Alameda County ................. ................. ....__ 112
A Spiral W izard ............ __.. .......... ...............113...
All Quadrant Communication. ....._____ ..... ....... .....___ ...........15
All Level Communication .............. ...............120....
"It' s Working Like a Champ" ......................__ ...............126 ...
8 TRANSF ORMATION AND THE C OMMUNICATOR ................. ................ ... 129
Trans-Disciplinary Discourse ................ ...............129................
Language for Growth ................... .......... ...............13. 1....
Worldview Accommodation Strategy .............. ...............133....
Pedagogical Reconstruction................ ...........13
The Basic Communicative Intuition............... ...............14
A THE SPIRAL DYNAMICS INTEGRAL MODEL ................ .......................145
B THE EIGHT SPIRAL DYNAMICS LEVELS OF INDIVIDUAL,
ORGANIZATIONAL, AND CULTURAL WORLDVIEW DEVELOPMENT....146
C COMMON ATTITUDES OF FOUR VALUE SYSTEMS............... .................4
D WORLDVIEW TRANSLATION WITH SPIRAL DYNAMICS .........................154
LIST OF REFERENCES ................. ...............156................
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................. ...............170......... ......
LIST OF FIGURES
2-1 Communicative Validity Claims of the Quadrants ................. ........_.._........._19
2-2 The Four Quadrants Simplified as the Big Three .............. ....................2
2-3 Multiple Lines of Development ................. ...............24........... ...
6-1 A Developmental Psychograph ......___ .........___....._ ............9
A-1 Spiral Dynamics Integral Model .............. ...............145....
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in Mass Communication
Adam B. Leonard
Chair: Lisa Duke-Cornell
Major Department: Journalism and Mass Communications
Many scholars call for a more integrated approach to communication studies. Ken
Wilber' s All Quadrants, All Levels integral model attempts to satisfy this desire by its
ability to locate unity-in-diversity. The integral model finds relationships among the
various communication theories, research methods, and strategies so they can learn from
and work with each other instead of functioning as disconnected eclectic fragments.
Furthermore, the Spiral Dynamics integral model of value systems demonstrates how
including levels of psychological development can enhance the effectiveness of
communication strategies. Change-agents (such as David Johnston in Alameda County,
California) are already using integral communication strategies. Finally, integral
communication also has been shown to facilitate cross-disciplinary discourse, and has
special implications for curricular pedagogy.
A CALL FOR THEORETICAL INTEGRATION
The Zen of Ferment
The following Zen story is called "Trading Dialogue for Lodging."
Provided he makes and wins an argument about Buddhism with those who live
there, any wandering monk can remain in a Zen temple. If he is defeated, he has to
In a temple in the northern part of Japan, two brother monks were dwelling
together. The elder one was learned, but the younger one was stupid and had but
A wandering monk came and asked for lodging, properly challenging them to a
debate about the sublime teaching. The elder brother, tired that day from much
studying, told the younger one to take his place. "Go and request the dialogue in
silence," he cautioned.
So the young monk and the stranger went to the shrine and sat down.
Shortly afterward the traveler rose and went in to the elder brother and said: "Your
young brother is a wonderful fellow. He defeated me."
"Relate the dialogue to me," said the elder one.
"Well," explained the traveler, "first I held up one finger, representing Buddha, the
enlightened one. So he held up two fingers, signifying Buddha and his teaching. I
held up three fingers, representing Buddha, his teaching [Dharma], and his
followers living the harmonious life [Sangha]. Then he shook his clenched fist in
my face, indicating that all three come from one realization. Thus he won and so I
have no right to remain here." With this, the traveler left.
"Where is that fellow?" asked the younger one, running in to his elder brother.
"I understand you won the debate."
"Won nothing. I'm going to beat him up."
"Tell me the subj ect of the debate," asked the elder one.
"Why, the minute he saw me he held up one finger, insulting me by insinuating that
I have only one eye. Since he was a stranger I thought I would be polite to him, so
I held up two fingers, congratulating him that he has two eyes. Then the impolite
wretch held up three fingers, suggesting that between us we only have three eyes.
So I got mad and started to punch him, but he ran out and that ended it!"
(Anonymous quoted in Krippendorff, 1989, p. 73).
How does reflecting on communication help us understand what transpired in the
story? Apparently, mutual understanding failed to occur between the traveler and the
young monk. What theory best describes these dynamics?
The answer is far from clear. A recent analysis of seven communication textbooks
identified 249 distinct "theories" (Anderson, 1996). Of these theories, 195 (88%)
appeared in only one of the seven textbooks. Moreover, only 18 of the 249 theories (7%)
surfaced in more than three books. In an article titled "Why Are There So Many
Communication Theories?" Robert Craig struggles with this lack of theoretical consensus
within communication studies (1993).
The term "ferment" denotes a state of agitation, turbulent change, or development
(American Heritage, 2000). The Journal of Communications first exposed a "Ferment in
the Field" in June 1983. At least since this issue, comments Klaus Bruhn Jensen, "there
has been a recognition within .. communication research that the diverse theoretical and
methodological sources of the field, in the social sciences and in the humanities, hold a
significant potential for consolidation through integration" (2002, p. 1). Karl Erik
Rosengren contributed to that June issue over 20 years ago, when he hoped "the ferment .
.. would be replaced by vigorous growth, stemming from both mutual confrontation and
mutual cooperation between the various schools and traditions of research" (1993, p. 8).
This ferment--made possible by a differentiation into multiple schools of thought--held
the potential to catapult the Hield into valuable academic territory that no one school could
reach on its own. Ferment created the possibility for integration.
That possibility has yet to manifest. Many communication scholars lament the
unfulfilled promise of integration. Barbara O'Keefe comments, "It is difficult to
represent the Hield well .. because we have failed as a community to organize our
contributions in a systematic fashion" (1993, p. 80). Craig agrees, seeing little proof of
communication theory as a Hield, because scholars "appear to be operating primarily in
separate domains. .. Communication theorists apparently neither agree nor disagree
about much of anything. .. There are no common goals that unite them, no contentious
issues that divide them. For the most part, they simply ignore each other" (1999, p. 119-
120). Karl Rosengren gives a virtually identical diagnosis: "Adherents of the various
quasi-paradigms have increasingly avoided both confrontation and cooperation,
preferring instead to isolate themselves in a number of self-contained enclaves .. The
Hield today is characterized more by fragmentation than fermentation" (1993, p. 8-9).
The work of many developmentalists suggests that healthy development moves
from fusion to differentiation to integration (Kegan, 1994; Cook-Greuter and Miller,
1994). In contrast, communication scholarship has taken a deviant path, deteriorating
from differentiation to disassociation. Communication historians Armand Matterlart and
Michele Matterlart write of the unresolved tensions that result from disassociation.
The history of theories of communication is a record of these tensions and of the
varied attempts to articulate--or avoid articulating--the terms of what all too often
have appeared as dichotomies and binary opposition rather than levels of analysis.
In diverse historical contexts and formulated in various ways, these tensions and
antagonisms have constantly manifested themselves, dividing the field into
different schools of thought, currents, and tendencies. (1998, p. 1-2)
During a state of disassociation, cooperative interaction slows, and theoretical
schools either ignore or attempt to conquer each other. Craig explains this breakdown
using the term "sterile eclecticism" for differentiation and "productive fragmentation" for
Each of the fragments of communication research has been productive within its
own domain, hence my term 'productive fragmentation.' As long as the research
discipline is thus fragmented, the textbooks will continue to be mired in sterile
eclecticism and there will continue to be more and more communication theories
but still no jield of communication theory. (1999, p. 123)
Healing the disassociation within communication studies requires integration.
First, however, the field' s maj or theoretical traditions must be clearly differentiated.
Seven Productive Fragments
One could differentiate the field of communication in many ways. The
presentation below, representing one possibility, divides communication theories into
seven broad traditions, adapted from Craig (1999) and Littlejohn (2002). Each tradition
enj oys a contemporary academic following, and a substantial body of research literature.
These seven traditions represent the biggest fragments or heaps currently active within
1. The Rhetorical Tradition: Originating with the ancient Greeks, the rhetorical
tradition views communication as a practical art of discourse. Communication, as a
practical discipline, can improve by learning and practicing a skill. Rhetorical
studies emphasize the power of words to artfully persuade audiences and the value
of informed judgment.
2. The Semiotic Tradition: Intersubjective mediation by signs characterizes the
semiotic perspective of communication. Misunderstandings occur because of gaps
among subj ective viewpoints that can be imperfectly bridged by using shared sign
systems such as language. Understanding requires that both parties speak the same
"language" and have shared referential experience.
3. The Phenomenological Tradition: The phenomenological tradition theorizes
communication as experience of self and other in dialogue. Direct and unmediated
contact with others is a real and necessary human experience. Phenomenologists
aim to cultivate communication practices that enable and sustain authentic human
relationships, such as seeking genuineness, supportiveness, openness, respecting
differences, and seeking common ground.
4. The Systems Tradition: Communication, according to the systems tradition, is
information processing. Systems theory, cybernetics, cognitive science, artificial
intelligence, functionalist social theory, and network analysis all fall under the
systems tradition. Systems theory describes the communication process
empirically with functionalist terms such as source, receiver, signal, noise, and
5. The Sociopsychological Tradition: Experimental social psychology accounts for
much of what is today called "communication science." This approach regards
communication as processes by which humans express, interact, and influence each
other. Psychological factors (e.g., attitudes, values, emotional states, personality
traits, unconscious conflicts, social cognitions) mediate the communication process.
6. The Sociocultural Tradition: This tradition studies communication as a symbolic
process that produces and reproduces shared sociocultural patterns. One the one
hand, everyday interactions with others depend on preexisting, shared cultural
meanings and social structures, and these interactions "reproduce" the existing
sociocultural order. On the other hand, social interaction allows creativity and
improvisation that "produces" the sociocultural order that makes interaction
possible in the first place.
7. The Critical Tradition: With roots in Plato's conception of Socratic dialectic,
critical communication theory aspires for mutual understanding through discursive
reflection. Material and ideological forces impede the emancipatory movement
towards authentic communication. Social injustices perpetuated by ideological
distortions can be rectified through communicative practices that enable critical
reflection, unmask the distortions, and facilitate political action.
When faced with such theoretical diversity, critics typically react in one of five
ways, each response plagued with shortcomings, based on the research of Wayne Booth
(1979) and Donald Levine (1986). First, the polemicist response encourages all
perspectives to fight it out and welcomes assaults on complacency and conformity.
Critique: it often generates wasteful and mean spirited exchanges and fosters
misinterpretation among intellectual opponents. Second, the semanticist response
believes that disagreements will disappear through intellectual antagonists clarifying their
terms and removing ambiguities. Critique: the differences among perspectives transcend
trivial semantic ambiguities and cannot be removed through linguistic clarification
epistemologicall differences for example). Third, the monist response deems one
contending position as correct and portrays all others as wrong, misleading, or
unimportant. Critique: this response can claim validity only from within its own
perspective and philosophically cannot justify universal invalidation of all other
positions. Fourth, the skeptic (or relativist or nihilist) response questions whether any
perspective can make statements containing truth value. Critique: this claim contains a
performative contradiction, namely the professed certainty about the impossibility of
attaining certainty. Fifth, the eclectic response accepts the validity claims of competing
theories and copes with the apparent incommensurability by chopping up works and
using the most helpful fragments. Critique: the contextual significance of each
perspective is lost when fragmented and spliced with other positions.
An alternative response does exist, which honors each approach as unique and
valuable. Each theory contains its own strengths and weaknesses. Each theory offers a
truth, but not the truth. Letting each theory tell its part of the story is essential; letting it
impose its piece as the whole is disastrous. Given these basic insights, a series of
questions arise: How can the partial truth of each perspective best be preserved? What
sort of theoretical space can allow each perspective to respect, value, and utilize the
others? What sort of map could organize the perspectives to accentuate their
relationships, patterns, and links? How is constructive dialogue and cooperation among
the perspectives best facilitated? Put simply, my response is integration.
The next section introduces integration in a general, conversational manner.
Playful language and colorful metaphors are intentionally used to introduce some rather
challenging concepts. Since an integral analysis can operate upon any discipline, the
following discussion could apply equally well to medicine, psychology, education, or
What Does "Integral" Mean?
Consider everything for a moment. .. Now reflect how much you remembered to
include. Did you remember atoms? What about political systems? Communication?
Dreams? The feminine? Dare I even mention consciousness? The question string could
continue for miles. (Did you remember sex? And ecology? Spirituality? .)
Most people Eind this thought experiment exceedingly difficult. But there is a trick:
spaces are easier to remember than particulars. For example, the space "kitchen" is
simpler to recall than every particular item in a kitchen. Once a person understands the
space "kitchen," she will know where the toaster belongs upon encountering it. The same
applies to everything. Create enough space and nothing is left out.
"Integral" simply means covering all the bases. To do this, an integral map creates
enough space to include all the bases in a balanced and comprehensive manner. But
integral embrace involves more than just recognizing multiple clumps or listing eclectic
jumbles. It joins, links, and fits together the individual bases by finding underlying
patterns and interconnections within a common worldspace, territory, or matrix.
Without an integral map, keeping everything straight proves challenging for
anyone. The information age launches a relentless barrage of meaning missiles. Some
inevitably penetrate our minds and set up residence. Bits and pieces drift aimlessly in a
chaotic bowl of mental soup. Information fragments bounce around the mind, blindly
bumping into each other--garbled, jumbled, muddled. Integral maps seek to coordinate
this eclectic pluralism, converting "heaps into wholes." For without coordination,
information loses much of its pragmatic value.
Some maps are more inclusive than others, and, in this case, value increases with
capacity for embrace. For instance, a map of the entire United States is more valuable
than a Florida map, namely because the USA map includes Florida plus more. An
integral approach endeavors to erect the largest map possible--an earnest model of
everything, or at least the spaces in which everything exists. Working with anything less
than a full map will necessarily entail certain limitations, confusions, and reductionisms.
With only a Florida map at hand, one might aim for Washington, D.C., yet only make it
to Tallahassee. Using an integral map, in contrast, drastically improves the possibility of
Theoretical integration means discovering the unity-in-diversity, the commonalty
amidst the difference. The integral proj ect within communication attempts to give a
comprehensive map of communicative phenomena by including all traditions and
perspectives. "The important point is the knowledge that all these views, when
integrated, provide an 'emergent factor' that adds value beyond the sum of the
perspectives" (Paulson, 2002, p. 110). Integral communication models the grand
cohesion of relationships and developments that creates the possibility space for
communication to occur.
Beyond Fusion and Eclecticism
A growing number of communication scholars possess the will to integrate but lack
the means. Unrest swells within the academic community to move beyond differentiation
(or disassociation) towards integration. Many communication professionals are tired of
disciplinary disassociation, eclecticism, or fusion. They want integration, they're just not
quite sure how best to do it.
A difference exists between the desire for integration and the regression from
differentiation back to orthodox fusion (Giddens, 1989, p. 53). Integration does not mean
fusion. No integrally oriented social scientist wants a dominating supertheory that
supersedes and discredits all other theories as null and void. Richard Shweder explains
that "it is not as if each of the several schools of thought is pressing for that notable
scientific achievement or crucial experiment in the wake of which the diversity will
disappear, a unifying paradigm will emerge, and real science will begin" (1986, p. 163).
Similarly, O'Keefe makes the case against coherence (fusion) and for cohesion
(integration) (1993, p. 76-80). She argues that "theoretical unification is neither desirable
nor attainable. .. Since we [communication scholars] have different viewpoints for good
reason, imposition of one common theoretical viewpoint would simply mean displacing
some important work from the field" (1993, p. 76). Craig follows in stating "the goal
should not be some chimerical, unified theory of communication just over the rainbow.
Such a unified theory will always be out of reach, and we probably should not want one if
it were attainable. .. The goal should not be a state in which we have nothing to argue
about, but one in which we better understand that we all have something very important
to argue about" (1999, p. 123-124). Under no circumstances does an integral approach to
communication mean an end to theoretical diversity.
Beyond monistic fusion and eclectic pluralism, integration offers a metanarrative,
field, matrix, or map where basic commonalties and relationships become more apparent
among the multiplicity of perspectives and traditions in communication studies. Many
communication scholars voice their desire for such an integral map. Craig calls for a
metatheoretical approach that "cuts across the various disciplinary traditions, substantive
specialties, methodologies, and schools of thought that presently divide us" (1999, p.
120). "Perhaps ways can be found by which the various, apparently incompatible or
unrelated modes of communication theory that now exist can be brought into more
productive dialogue with one another .. perhaps communication science can be
understood as an integrated 'practical discipline' in which critical, interpretive, and
empirical research as well as philosophical reflection and applied work have deeply
related, essential functions to perform" (Craig, 1993; Craig, 1989). O'Keefe
acknowledges, "The great opportunity offered by integration is the possibility of making
a common cause. Rather than competing in separate units, the communication disciplines
can provide support for each other" (1993, p. 80).
Many of the theorists mentioned in this section have attempted integral schemes
that have failed in various ways. No matrix, metamodel, or framework has yet been
erected that effectively integrates the communication field. Many seem content with
creating elaborate categorical matrixes of eclecticism. "The time is ripe," concludes
Levine, "for articulating a self-conscious pluralist program in the social sciences in which
the point will be, not to scrap the demarcationist [differentiation] proj ect, but to
sophisticate it" (1986, p. 282). Craig's "dialogical-dialectical coherence matrix" serves
as a fine example of a sophisticated demarcation (1999, p. 133-134). Nevertheless,
eclectic pluralism of this sort cannot be called integral.
Two Noteworthy Pioneers
Acknowledged as one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century, Jurgen
Habermas stands among the most comprehensive and philosophically rigorous of all
communication scholars. His writings display encyclopedic knowledge across a
plenitude of academic disciplines. He sought to "synthesize [these disciplines] on an
encompassing scale as grand as that of Hegel or Marx" (Wuthnow, Hunter, Bergesen,
Kurzweil, 1984, p. 179). Indeed, Habermas's theoretical framework-featuring a
horizontal and vertical axis--makes invaluable contributions to the integral proj ect in
general, and to integral communication specifically.
Central to his thought is a "universal pragmatics," marked by a theory of
"communicative action" (Habermas, 1984; Habermas, 1979). Habermas cites Immanuel
Kant who differentiated what Max Weber later called the three "cultural value spheres"
(1996, p. 239). This primary differentiation allowed Habermas to articulate the
relationship of "speech acts" with the three most primary realities or worldspaces:
According to this model, language can be conceived as the medium of interrelating
three worlds; for every successful communicative action there exists a threefold
relation between the utterance and (a) "the external world" as the totality of
existing states of affairs, (b) "our social world" as the totality of all normatively
regulated interpersonal relations that count as legitimate in a given society, and (c)
"a particular inner world" (of the speaker) as the totality of his intentional
experiences. (Habermas, 1979, p. 67)
Returning full circle to the Zen story, recall that the traveler held up three fingers to
signify these same three realms. Indeed, the "Three Jewels" of Buddhism--Buddha,
Dharma, and Sangha--respectively signify the worldspaces of subj ective understanding,
obj ective truth, and intersubj ective meaning.
In any communicative action towards mutual understanding, "validity claims are
'always already' implicitly raised" (Habermas, 1979, p. 97). Each of these three realms,
insists Habermas, has its own specific validity claim. Validity claims of al ink,
truthfulness (or sincerity), and rightness (or legitimacy) correlate respectively to the
realms of the objective, the subjective, and the intersubjective. The next chapter covers
these domains in greater detail. For now, simply note that the three validity criteria are
domain specific. Habermas cautions that the validation method of one domain does not
validate the others.
The second maj or component to Habermas' s work is his developmental
investigations--the vertical axis. The task, for Habermas, is "to work out a unified
framework in which the different dimensions of human development are not only
analytically distinguished [differentiated] but in which their interconnections are also
systematically taken into account [integration]" (McCarthy, 1979, p. xx). This quote,
written almost 25 years ago, nicely articulates a key aspect of the integral project.
Habermas presents a rational reconstruction of "universal, 'species-wide,'
competencies and the demonstration that each of them is acquired in an irreversible series
of distinct and increasingly complex stages that can be hierarchically ordered in a
developmental logic" (McCarthy, 1979, p. xx). Development occurs within each of the
three worldspace domains (subjective, intersubjective, and objective). The outcome of
this multidimentional evolution determines the acquisition of communicative
competence. The key point to remember: the Big Three reality domains--subjective,
intersubj ective, and obj ective--evolve together.
A second, lesser known pioneer, Steven Littlejohn, has consistently supported
theoretical integration for the past 25 years since the first edition of his widely respected
textbook Theories ofHuman Communication. In the 1978 introduction, he expresses the
belief that "each theory looks at the [communication] process from a different angle, and
each theory provides insights of its own" (p. 21). He recognizes that "the biggest
problem of an eclectic approach is integrating parts into a coherent whole" (1978, p.
374). In his concluding chapter titled "A Multitheoretical Integration," he outlines an
approach by which "we are able to see patterns and generalizations not apparent from
narrower perspectives" (1978, p. 374-375).
In his attempt of a "multitheoretical integration," Littlej ohn also uses a horizontal
and vertical axis of analysis. For the horizontal, he employs two broad perspectives--
general systems theory and symbolic interactionalism--to represent the two primary
perspectives of communication (1978, p. 376). On the one hand, general systems theory
represents theories that focus on "out there activity" such as behavior, function, and
utility (Littlejohn, 1983, p. 10). On the other hand, symbolic interaction (including
semiotics) represents theories that deal with "in here activity" including meaning,
interpretation, and signs (Littlejohn, 1983, p. 10). The combination of these two general
perspectives produces a rough framework of the inside and outside of any communicative
For his vertical axis, Littlej ohn supports the use of hierarchies and levels of
analysis. He clearly states that communication, as a complex process, "can be analyzed
hierarchically" (1978, p. 376). He cites four contexts or levels within communication:
interpersonal, group, organizational, and mass, pointing out that "these levels are not
mutually exclusive. They should be viewed hierarchically with interpersonal
communication as the base of all other contexts" (Littlejohn, 1978, p. 378). This
statement suggests a system relationship in which each level exists both as a whole and as
a part of a greater whole. For example, group communication is a whole system itself
and simultaneously a part of the larger system of organizational communication. Finally,
he implies that the two horizontal dimensions (interior and exterior) operate at each of the
four vertical levels. Any future attempt at theoretical integration will surely want to
consult and include Littlej ohn' s pioneering efforts.
Perhaps more than any other contemporary American communication theorist,
Littlej ohn has exemplified a career commitment to healthy theoretical pluralism and the
call for theoretical integration. In the seventh and most recent addition of Theories of
Human Conanunication, he reaffirms this commitment by supporting Craig's search for
"a metamodel that opens up a conceptual space in which many different theoretical
models of communication can interact" (Littlejohn, 2002, p. 12; Craig, 1999, p. 126-127).
The term meta, explains Littlej ohn, means "above," and so a metamodel is a "model of
models" (2002, p. 12). But even Littlejohn does not believe he possesses the means to
carry a theoretical integration through to a satisfactory completion. Instead of presenting
his readers with a revised integral metamodel in his 2002 textbook, he gives this advice:
"As a student of communication theory .. if you can find a useful metamodel, you will
be able to make connections among theories .. and understand the value of multiple
perspectives in the field" (p. 12). The next chapter offers a viable means of integration
by introducing just such a "useful metamodel."
THE ARCHITECTURE OF INTEGRAL RECONSTRUCTION
The Master Architect
In Communication and' the Evohition ofSociety, Habermas says that
"I easus 1,111l mon, signifies taking a theory apart and putting it back together again in a new
form in order to attain more fully the goal it has set for itself. This is the normal way of
dealing with a theory that needs revision in many respects but whose potential for
stimulation has still not been exhausted" (1979, p. 95). Far from regression to modernist
thinking, the reconstructive impulse marks an evohition beyond not only modernity, but
beyond deconstructive postmodernity as well. One could call it reconstructive
postmodernism, post-postmodemism, or more simply integral. Robert Kegan writes,
"What I call 'reconstructive postmodemism' .. seeks not only a differentiation from the
forms of modemism but their reintegration into a new way of knowing that abjures the
absolutism of the forms, that does not take the forms as complete, distinct, or prior"
(1994, p. 329). Regarding communication, Robert Craig asserts, "Our task is not to
deconstruct communication theory. (What would be the point? It' s already a mess.)
Rather, we must reconstruct communication theory ." (1999, p. 129).
Respectable thinkers have labored over the reconstructive proj ect only to encounter
variable degrees of fruition. An easy way to judge the relative success of any given
integral map is to ask how much space it creates. Does it create enough space to include
the partial truth of all the theoretical traditions and methods? The present investigation
strives to assess whether the AQAL (pronounced ah-cpral) integral framework created by
the American philosopher Ken Wilber can credibly answer this question in the
Wilber has expanded and refined his work over the past 30 years, passing through
at least four distinct phases. The 19 books he has either written or edited have been
translated into more than 30 languages, making Wilber the most translated American
academic writer alive (Visser, 2003, p. 3). At 23-years-old, he authored his first book,
which sent ripples into elite academic circles that have yet to settle. "Virtually overnight
Wilber was acknowledged as a leading thinker in the fields of psychology and
philosophy, with serious reviews comparing him to Freud, Hegel, even Plato" (Visser,
2003, p. 25).
On an intellectual side, Wilber demonstrates an uncanny "capacity to absorb,
synthesize, categorize, and make sense of vast amounts of information from disparate
fields" (Schwartz, 1995, p. 342). On a personal side, he has been characterized as
"patient, generous, funny, insightful, and entertaining" (Schwartz, 1995, p. 341). Having
personally met with him several times at his Denver residence, I can only agree on both
accounts. Ken Wilber' s wisdom and compassion inform this entire project of integral
In 1995, Wilber first published the AQAL model in volume one of the Kosmos
trilogy. He relates how his reconstructive vision grew out of the smoky ruins of
One thing was very clear to me as I struggled with how best to proceed in an
intellectual climate dedicated to deconstructing anything that crossed its path: I
would have to back up and start at the beginning, and try to create a vocabulary for
a more constructive philosophy. Beyond pluralistic relativism is universal
integralism; I therefore sought to outline a philosophy of universal integralism. ..
an integral philosophy, one that would believably weave together the many
pluralistic contexts of science, morals, aesthetics, Eastern as well as Western
philosophy, and the world's great wisdom traditions (2000b, p. x).
"You cannot do that," Wilber insists, "as an eclecticism, or a smorgasbord of unrelated
observations. .. The integral orientation must be able to tie together an enormous
number of disciplines into a fairly complete, coherent, plausible, believable vision"
(Wilber in Visser, 2003, p. 35-36). The remainder of this chapter shows how he did it
and how it applies to communication.
Nothing is as practical as a good (meta)theory, but only if it is applied. With this in
mind, Wilber founded a non-profit organization-7hze IntegrallInstitute--to apply the
integral vision. The Integral Institute currently is committed the following four goals (I-I,
1. Integrate the largest amount of research from the largest number of disciplines.
2. Develop practical products and services from this research.
3. Apply this integrated knowledge and method of problem solving to critical and
4. Create the world's first Integral Learning Community.
Integral Institute recruits top academics and practitioners from around the world to
collaborate on the integral reconstruction proj ect. The global think tank is divided into
domains composed of "core teams" who work together to reconstruct their respective
disciplines with the AQAL model. Core teams include integral business, integral
ecology, integral art, integral psychology, integral medicine, and integral education to
name a few. Perhaps in the future integral communication will also be a domain.
AQAL stands for "all quadrants, all levels," but also implies lines, states, and types.
Together these five elements function as the essential theoretical tools of the integral
map. Remembering them will prove extremely helpful for the task ahead. Try this
pneumonic memory device to help: To learn start loving questions--To (types) Learn
(lines) Start (states) Loving (levels) Questions (quadrants).
The quadrants serve as AQAL's horizontal axis. They elegantly map the same
reality domains given by Habermas. Every communication relates to at least four
worldspaces, each with its own type of condition or validity claim that determines the
effectiveness of the communication. First, the external world refers to material obj ects in
nature. External phenomena can be empirically perceived, measured, and manipulated.
A communication act is effective in this domain to the degree that it accurately represents
the objective facts. The validity claim is nl inh a communication "counts as true for the
participants insofar as it represents something in the world" (Habermas, 1979, p. 28).
Second, the internal world signifies the realm of personal subj activity. This domain
includes the values, feelings, and intentions of the person communicating. Effective
communication occurs when the communicator expresses what she actually thought or
felt internally. Within this domain, truthfulness (or sincerity) determines the validity of a
speech act. A communication "counts as truthful insofar as it expresses something
intended by the speaker" (Habermas, 1979, p. 28).
A third reality domain, the cultural world, concerns the intersubj ective space of
mutual recognition. When a signing community interacts with mutual understanding it
shares pre-existing, collective contexts such as cultural norms, symbolic patterns, moral
expectations, and worldviews. The validity claim here deals with the rightness (or
legitimacy) of a communicative action in relation to cultural norms. A communication
"counts as right insofar as it conforms to socially recognized expectations" (Habermas,
1979, p. 28). Finally, communication takes place within the linguistic world.
Effectiveness depends on the linguistic medium in which a communication is framed. A
speech act must conform to the external properties of a language system. Grammatical,
semantic, and syntactical rules must be followed for a communication to reach
comprehensibility (or functional fit), the fourth validity claim.
These four communicative "worlds" are the four quadrants. The quadrant model
makes two basic distinctions: interior/exterior and individual/collective. This creates a
matrix with four worldspaces or quadrants: the upper-left or interior-individual, the
upper-right or exterior-individual, the lower-right or exterior-collective, and the lower-
left or interior-collective .
Figure 2-1. Communicative Validity Claims of the Quadrants
Notice that everything on the left side of the model refers to interiors and everything on
right side refers to exteriors. The term "exterior" describes physical forms, systems,
behaviors, functions, and so on. Exterior phenomena in communication include all
semiotic signifiers (spoken language, written words), behavioral responses to
communication stimuli, statistically tabulated survey data, brain neurology, satellites, the
First Amendment to the Constitution, media distribution systems, sociological
demographics, the Internet, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to name
a few. Exteriors have "simple location" and can be seen empirically, objectively, and
behaviorally (Wilber, 1996, p. 90). They are the material manifestation of every
"Interior" refers to phenomena such as consciousness, meaning, intention, feeling,
value, and interpretation. Unlike exteriors, interiors lack simple location. One cannot
empirically point to alienation, meaning, or mind, yet they exist. All psychological and
cultural "lenses" through which one engages the communicative process are interiors:
semiotic signifieds (mental perceptions), judgements of newsworthiness, cultural
contexts, affective relationships, psychological levels of development, hermeneutic
circles, value systems, and cognitive capacity for example.
"Left Hand" and "Right Hand" serve as abbreviations for interior and exterior
phenomena respectively. Recall that Littlejohn used systems theory to signify the Right
Hand and symbolic interactionalism to signify the Left Hand in his model. Philosophers
from Spinoza to Leibniz to Schopenhauer to Whitehead agree that every human process
includes a within and a without, a cognition and an extension, a depth and a surface, a
subj ective and an obj ective, an internal and an external, a Left Hand and a Right Hand
(Wilber, 2000b, p. 117). Communication, being a human process, is, therefore, no
The quadrants are so fundamental to the human experience that every maj or
language recognizes them in the form of first-person, second-person, and third-person
pronouns (I-I, 2003). First-person means "the person who is speaking," which includes
pronouns like I, me, mine (in the singular), and we, us, ours (in the plural). Second-
person means "the person who is spoken to," which includes pronouns like you and
yours. Third-person means "the person or thing being spoken about," such as he, him,
she, her, they, them, it, and its.
IflI am speaking to you about my new car, "I" am first person, "you" are second
person, and the new car (or "it") is third person. Now, if you and I are talking and
communicating, we will indicate this by using, for example, the word "we," as in,
"We understand each other." "We" is technically first-person plural, but if you and
I are communicating, then your second person and my first person are part of this
extraordinary "we." Thus second person is sometimes indicated as "you/we," or
"thou/we," or sometimes just "we." So we can therefore simplify first-, second-,
and third-person as "I," "we," and "it." (I-I, 2003)
Hence, the quadrants can be boiled down to I (interior-individual), We (interior-
collective), and It(s) (exterior-individual and exterior-collective) or, as Wilber calls them,
the "Big Three."
Many great thinkers have recognized the Big Three in their own theories: Plato's
the Beautiful (I), the Good (We), and the True (It); Max Weber' s art aesthetic (I),
religious morals (We), scientific empiricism (It); Sir Karl Popper's three worlds: the
subjective (I), the cultural (We), and the objective (It); Immanuel Kant's The Critique of
Critical Judgement (I), The Critique ofPractical Reason (We), and The Critique of Pure
Reason (It); and, as already seen, Buddhism's Buddha (I), Sangha (We), and Dharma (It)
(Wilber, 2000b, p. 149). The charts below show the same fundamental worldspaces in
two different ways. The chart on the right shows Plato' s formulation of the Big Three
and the chart on the left shows the languages of the quadrants:
I IT Beuug
Tr ut h
WE ITS Gon~
Figure 2-2. The Four Quadrants Simplified as the Big Three
The quadrant model integrates the Big Three while preserving the integrity, identity, and
languages (first-person, second-person, and third-person) of each. At their core the
quadrants represent "the four fundamental perspectives on any occasion, the four basic
ways of looking at anything" (I-I, 2003). Hence, communicative action necessarily
entails all four quadrant domains. In short, communication is always a quadratic affair,
involving the inside and the outside of the individual and the collective.
Theoretical integration requires figuring out how much of the quadratic affair each
communication theory includes. Some theories may cover only one quadrant. The
systems tradition, for instance, describes the lower-right quadrant of the communication
process. Other traditions overlap. The critical tradition draws from Marxist sociology
concerning the relationship of society's economic base (lower-right quadrant) to culture's
superstructure (lower-left quadrant). The phenomenological tradition better addresses an
agent' s conscious experience (upper-left) as she engages an "other" in relationship
(lower-left). The rhetorical tradition's emphasis on an individual's practical speaking
abilities points to the upper-right quadrant.
Every theory recognizes at least one of the quadrants. The point is to orient the
communication theories within the quadrants according to their worldspace focus. Once
properly oriented, each theory reveals which parts of the story it tells and which parts it
leaves out. With this knowledge, an integral theorist can then reconstruct a theory, in the
Habermasian sense, to include additional quadrants. Or, the theory can be combined with
others that address those quadrants that it leaves out. Either way, the goal is to form a
more comprehensive picture of any given communication process.
Lines and Levels
Everyone can agree that he or she is better at some things than others. Intelligence
comes in many forms. Howard Gardner' s theory of multiple intelligence outlines seven
including linguistic (sensitivity to the sounds, rhythms, and meanings of words and the
different functions of language), musical (ability to produce and appreciate pitch, rhythm,
and aesthetic-sounding tones), and interpersonal (ability to detect and respond
appropriately to the moods, temperaments, motivations, and intentions of others)
(Gardner, 1999). Other intelligence include cognitive (Piaget, 1952), values (Graves,
1974), emotional (Salovey and Mayer, 1990), psychosexual (Freud, 1989), moral
(Kohlberg, 1984), and even spiritual (Plotinus, 1991).
In the present context, these intelligence occur within the interior of an individual,
which places them in the upper-left quadrant. Incidentally, this chart was adapted from
the University of Notre Dame' s "Executive Integral Leadership Program" (Notre Dame,
2004). Notice that some arrows extend farther than others. The variance represents the
fact that we all have unique strengths and weaknesses. Someone's strength can be
another' s weakness. Assuming that intelligence are not fixed (as the research indicates),
then a developmental logic inevitably emerges (Gardner, 1999).
Figure 2-3. Multiple Lines of Development
Another word for multiple intelligence is developmental lines, since language
proficiency, morality, cognition, emotions, and so on all develop through a series of
qualitatively different stages or levels. The number of levels represented in any
developmental line does not matter as much as the general developmental pattern. For
example, the Fahrenheit and Centigrade scales divide temperature differently, but the
general trend from cold to hot applies to both (I-I, 2003).
Whether the division of levels be two or two hundred, the relationship among the
levels remains the same. According to the integral perspective, the conceptual key to this
relationship turns out to be the "holon," a term coined by Arthur Koestler. In his own
words, Koestler says a holon "designates these nodes on the hierarchic tree which behave
partly as wholes or wholly as parts, according to the way you look at them" (1967, p. 48).
In other words, a holon is a whole that simultaneously is a part of a greater whole. In the
linguistic realm, Koestler demonstrates "the impossibility of the task of chopping up
speech into elementary atoms or units, either on the phonetic or on the syntactic level.
Phonemes, words, phrases, are wholes in their own right, but parts of a larger unit" (1967,
p. 48). According to Koestler (and Wilber), neither "wholes" nor "parts" exist
anywhere--only whole/parts or "holons." A word is a whole, yet simultaneously part of
a greater whole: a sentence. A whole sentence is also part of a paragraph, which itself is
a larger whole/part or holon. Each level in an given developmental line is a holon--a
whole level, yet also part of an even more encompassing level that "transcends and
includes" it (Wilber, 2000b). In a holarchy, each senior holon transcends its juniors,
while also including them, a process that can be visually represented as a series of
Holarchies occur in every quadrant. Habermas deals with developmental
holarchies in all four (1979):
* Upper-left (interior-individual): cognition, morals, self-sense
* Upper-right (exterior-individual): biological evolution
* Lower-right (exterior-collective) : social systems, political economy
* Lower-left (interior-collective) : worldviews, normative structures
Perhaps most relevant and complex of all, for Habermas, concerns the development of
communicative competence, which involves developmental lines in each quadrant (i.e.,
the four validity claims). Such a conception would show the "fundamental system of
rules that adult subj ects master to the extent that they can fulfill the conditions for a
happy employment of sentences in utterances ." (1979, p. 26). To help put the three
elements together (quadrants, levels, lines), please see appendix A for a visual
representation of one particular AQAL model called "Spiral Dynamics integral."
An integral theoretical reconstruction might critically examine each tradition
concerning its incorporation of levels and lines. The integral communication theorist
must wrestle with how lines of development relate to each of the traditions. A
developmental reconstruction of the semiotic tradition, for example, is attempted in
States and Types
A state is "a condition or mode of being" (American Heritage, 2000). Everyone
experiences the three most obvious and natural states of consciousness: waking,
dreaming, and deep sleep. These general states contain structures, and those structures
contain phenomenal states or how one is in this moment (Wilber, 2003a). Phenomenal
states include any temporary modes of being such as emotions, alertness, and peak
experiences (Maslow, 1971; Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). States inevitably affect how
individuals both give and receive communications and the success of mutual
understanding. Communication dynamics will differ, for instance, depending on whether
the participants act from a phenomenal state of anger versus love.
States (like levels and lines) occur not only in the interior-individual quadrant, but
in all the quadrants. On the Right Hand, for example, the exterior-individual reacts with
a "fight or flight" adrenaline surge and the exterior-collective exhibits various
atmospheric and weather states. A threatened culture (internal-ccollective) may regress to
a lower state of needs, but not a lower level. During a state of war, a culture highly
developed along Abraham Maslow' s needs holarchy collectively regresses, for a time, to
a joint need for security. During this particular collective state, communications
emphasizing security needs often enj oy a warmer reception than during a state of peace.
States range from playing trivial to decisive roles in any given communicative exchange,
which is why no integral approach can afford to ignore them.
"Type" is the fifth element of the AQAL model. Types can be present at virtually
any state, level, line, or quadrant. They are often characterized as horizontal typologies
because they exist on the same level of depth. Examples in the upper-left quadrant
include gender (masculine and feminine), personality (nine types in the Enneagram), and
sexual orientation (heterosexual and homosexual). Within the line of moral
developmental, Carol Gilligan shows that both men and women develop through the
same moral levels, but "in a different voice," meaning women tend to emphasize care
while men focus more on justice (Gilligan, 1982). Gender, personality, and sexual
orientation types all influence the communication process.
The fields of cross-cultural and intercultural communication (lower-left quadrant)
address how communication differs based on a culture's type (Gudykunst, 2003;
Reynolds and Valentine, 2004). Edward Hall, often referred to as the founder of
intercultural communication, distinguished between two cultural types--high-context and
low-context-depending on the amount of meaning found in the context versus in the
coded message (Hall, 1976). American culture exemplifies a low-context type because
Americans give more emphasis to the language code, communicating in a more specific,
explicit, and detailed manner. High-context cultures, in contrast, communicate more
implicitly and meaning appears in contextual cues or internalized in the person. A high-
context communication may sound deliberately vague to a low-context listener and a
low-context message may sound too specific to a high-context listener.
Florence Kluckhohn also discovered a classic cultural typology between "doing"
and "being" cultures, which loosely correlates to masculine and feminine types
respectively (Kluchhohn, 1956). Doing-oriented cultures place a premium on actions,
measurable results, and progress. Conversely, family background, social identity, and
relationships carry more weight in being-oriented cultures. Whereas a doing culture
associates words with actions, a being culture links words with social relationships. The
rich literature of communication types deserves a place within any integral model of
Building Integral Communication
AQAL is an architecture for integral reconstruction. The integral building stands
on a radically inclusive framework that embraces all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all
states, and all types. The quadrants show how any communicative phenomenon can be
seen from at least four different perspectives: first-person (I), second-person (WE), third-
person singular (IT), and third-person plural (ITS). Lines show that many different
intelligence or areas of development exist within each quadrant. These areas each
evolve through distinct levels of widening embrace, forming holarchies. States,
particularly phenomenal states, investigate all the ephemeral conditions of the moment
that influence communication. Finally, tyipes remind us of the different horizontal, same-
depth voices that communicate in distinct ways. Any communicative phenomenon, no
matter how small, necessarily involves the Hyve elements of AQAL. Integral
communication embodies this realization.
Many applications arise from viewing communication from an integral perspective.
My overall aim is to give a philosophical foundation to help these applications be
actualized in the future. First, the AQAL model could facilitate the process of theoretical
integration among the communication traditions. Chapter 1 suggested this application by
documenting numerous communication scholars calling for a way to integrate the
multiple communication traditions. Littlejohn gives an early version of an AQAL
integration by using symbolic interactionalism to represent the Left Hand quadrants and
systems theory to represent the Right Hand quadrants. He also gives a communication
holarchy--from interpersonal to group to organizational to mass communication--that
applies to both Hands. Future theorists of integral communication will expand on such
early models, using the AQAL map to fill in the gaps. Theoretical integration occurs
through orienting the traditions on the AQAL map by recognizing the unity-in-diversity
inherent among them all.
Second, the integral framework lends much insight into building new
communication theories. The five elements of AQAL must be taken into account when
investigating and theorizing about any communication phenomenon. If a communication
theory fails to consider quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types, it risks ignoring
important perspectives. For example, since AQAL models the exterior and interior
worldspace domains in which every human process occurs, and communication is a
human process, then any communication theory that hopes to be non-reductionistic and
integral must recognize and include both interiors and exteriors without reducing or
deriving one from the other.
A third application concerns methodological integration. AQAL gives a
philosophical justification for mixing research methods. Researchers use two or more
methods to examine the same phenomenon all the time, but no cogent explanation exists
to warrant the practical union of two seemingly contradictory epistemologies. I attempt
to build the case for methodological integration and the dangers of reductionism in
Chapter 3. This critical assessment does not view specialization in one research method
as being negative. On the contrary, an integral methodological pluralism acknowledges
the perspectival truth in all approaches. It endorses studying a communicative event from
all relevant angles by including the expertise of numerous research specialists.
Fourth, integral communication can be used as a strategy of communicative action.
An integral awareness can facilitate communication effectiveness by translating messages
into a language easier for the receiver to digest. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 lay the theoretical
groundwork for such a strategy, and Chapter 7 documents the strategy successfully
applied. An alternative strategy uses an integral understanding to facilitate
developmental growth in the receiver. Chapter 8 touches upon this strategy of
A fifth way integral communication might be applied is by helping the various
academic disciplines talk and learn from each other more effectively. Chapter 8 explains
how integral communication describes a trans-disciplinary language that facilitates cross-
disciplinary discourse. Since the same AQAL map applies to all disciplines--from
business to politics to education to art to ecology--it gives each discipline a common
language to talk with one another. As the Integral Institute puts it, "All of the various
human activities, previously separated by incommensurate languages and terminologies,
can in fact begin to effectively communicate with each other. .. We are able to facilitate
and dramatically accelerate cross-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary knowledge, thus
creating the worlds' first truly integral learning community" (I-I, 2003).
To sum up, integral communication could be applied as a meta-model, a meta-
method, a strategy, or a cross-disciplinary discourse. Building integral communication
begins with a few bricks as attempted here. Though they may be uneven at first, I can
only hope that others will help straighten them so a future edifice might stand.
WAR AND PEACE AMONG METHODS
In the late 1930s, two prominent communication theorists joined forces to study the
cultural effects of radio music programs. On the Right Hand, Paul Lazarsfeld is ranked
among the "four fathers" of mass communications research according to the history of
functionalism (along with Harold Lasswell, Kurt Lewin, and Carl Hovland) (Mattelart
and Mattelart, 1998, p. 30-31). He specialized in empirical, quantitative methods, which
he called "administrative research." On the Left Hand, Theodor Adorno participated in
the Frankfurt School of critical theory and favored more interpretative, qualitative
research methods. Lazarsfeld believed his research partnership with Adorno would result
in "a convergence between European theory and American empiricism" (Lazarsfeld
quoted in Mattelart and Mattelart, 1998, p. 59). Instead, the partnership quickly soured
and the j oint proj ect ended in 1939 to the frustration of both men.
Failing to reconcile their epistemological differences, Lazarsfeld and Adorno
agreed on the incompatibility of their respective research approaches. Adorno
complained that Lazarsfeld' s administrative research questions deliberately ignored the
"who," the "how," and the "why." Shortly after the ordeal, Adorno recalled, "When I
was confronted with the demand to 'measure culture,' I reflected that culture might be
precisely that condition that excludes a mentality capable of measuring it" (1969). Later
in 1972, Lazarsfeld openly expressed his fears concerning "that strange coalition of
macro-sociological Marxists and ethnomethodologists who want to explore the 'real'
existential meaning underlying measurement techniques" (Lazarsfeld quoted in Mattelart
and Mattelart, 1998, p. 112). Methodological wars like this played out on academic
battlefields across the continents.
The relatively brief history of communication research may be read as a rather
continuous epistemological clash between two methodological titans. Lazarsfeld's
position represents exterior approaches such as positivism, functionalism, empiricism,
systems science, and cybernetics (Right Hand quadrants). Adorno, in contrast,
symbolizes interior approaches such as constructivism, hermeneutics, phenomenology,
critical analysis, and semiotics (Left Hand quadrants). A number of dichotomies arise
out of this simple external/internal split:
obj ective versus subjective, seen versus unseen, outer versus inner, public versus
private, controlled versus free, systematic versus unsystematic, automatic
(mechanical) versus willed (purposive), prediction versus understanding,
expl ained-by-reference-to-causal -law versus understood-by-reference-to-intenti ons,
general versus constructed, value-free versus value-saturated, formal versus
informal, materialist versus idealist, one versus many, instrumental versus
symbolic, motion versus action, the natural sciences versus the humanities
(Shweder, 1986, p. 177)
Jensen summarizes all these dichotomies by saying, "Communication studies have tended
to take either an external perspective on information as a technical, neutral carrier, or an
internal perspective on meaning as an always interpreted and interested construct" (2002,
p. 256). Quantitative methods study the outside of communication and qualitative
methods study the inside of communication.
Exterior approaches deal with obj ective surfaces and interior approaches deal with
subjective depth. As Wilber points out, "surfaces can be seen, depth must be interpreted"
(1996, p. 91). Thus, descriptive, experimental, functional, and behavioral analyses
abound in the exterior approach, all of which could be characterized as quantitative and
monologicall." The core research question of external, quantitative methods asks, "What
does it do?" (Wilber, 2000b, p. 132). Quantitative methods in communication research
include surveys, descriptive content analyses, controlled experiments, and statistical data
analyses (Gunter, 2002, p. 209; Stacks, 2002). Systems theory exemplifies such a model
that details the external structure and function of the communication process, but remains
silent on the internal dynamics of meaning creation.
In contrast, the basic research question of internal, qualitative methods asks, "What
does it mean?" Meaning cannot be studied through a monological gaze, only through
dialogical interaction. Researchers investigate interior phenomena with a wide array of
qualitative methods such as ethnography, interpretive content analysis, interview, case
study, discourse analysis, focus group, and phenomenological investigation (Thomas,
2003; Daymon and Holloway, 2002). Hermeneutics (the study of interpretation based on
grasping the entire network of meaning) and semiotics (the study of signs in their
intersubj ective settings) are examples of traditions that uncover interior (subj ective and
intersubj ective) meaning creation processes.
According to the purists of two decades ago, "these positions do not seem to be
compatible given our present state of thinking" (Smith, 1983, p. 12). During the war of
methods, many scholars supported the "incompatibility thesis" and even suggested
"shutting down" the seemingly incommensurable dialogue between the two camps
(Smith and Heshusius, 1986). Participants were called "warriors" and "sumo wrestlers
trying to push each other out of the ring" (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 1998, 6; Datta, 1994,
p. 53). Littlejohn, a strong advocate of methodological pluralism, remarked, "What is
particularly unfortunate .. is the methodological defensiveness that often arises among
theorists in communication. It is a healthy sign when researchers and theorists possess a
degree of self-respect and confidence in their approaches. But when this confidence turns
into parochialism of inquiry, then the state of the art is less than healthy" (1978, p. 21).
Specializing in a particular research method is fine. Claiming that that method uncovers
the whole truth is not.
Failure to include findings from both internal and external methods when
formulating a new theory results in a limited and reductionistic theory--limited because it
leaves out at least half the story and reductionistic because it attempts to cover the gap by
artificially reducing reality to its favored domain. Both methodological approaches,
internal and external, succumb to reductionism by ignoring the other approach and
unsuccessfully stretching its own capacities. External reductionism reached its zenith
during modernity's "reflection" or "representational" paradigm, which held that "the
sensorimotor world is simply given to us in direct experience and that science carefully
and systematically reports what it there finds" (Wilber, 2000b, p. 208).
The "myth of the given" lies at the heart of modernity's reflection paradigm.
According to this myth, reality is simply given to sensing subjects. Researchers who hold
this myth of the given deny existence to everything lacking simple location, in other
words, everything interior. Descriptive behavior and function trump constructed values
and meaning for the external researcher. Supporters of external reductionism have a
difficult time accounting for communication among subj ective moral agents within an
intersubjective cultural space. Many terms describe the consequences of external
reductionism: the disenchantment of nature, the disqualified universe, monological
nature, and flatland. All of these terms point to a lack of depth, a denial of interiority.
Michel Foucault describes such theoretical extremism as a dehumanization process where
men and women became "obj ects of information, never subj ects in communication"
(Foucault in Wilber, 1996, p. 269). Language becomes a tool that merely points to and
represents an a priori or pregiven obj ective reality. Like a mirror of nature, language
transparently and neutrally reflects the world.
We realize that meaning resides not in messages but in people, but we seem to have
continuing difficulty accommodating this fact in our models and theories of the human
communication process. The notion that words or statements 'refer to' something in the
'real' world is the most naive and primitive concept of human communication there is,
yet in some quarters it is still the guiding paradigm. (Thayer, 1972, p. 102)
The reflection paradigm flattens the meaning creation process inherent in subj ect to
subject communicative exchange into one-dimensional cybernetic information transfers.
Communication from the Right Hand perspective might appear as "flatland digital bits of
zeros and ones slammed from one mechanical device to another" (Wilber, 2003a).
Exterior communication models sacrifice depth for surface, meaning for observation,
subj ective for obj ective, interior for exterior.
Systems theory exemplifies a communication tradition that often gives the
illusionary impression of being comprehensive and integral, yet suffers from massive
external reductionism. "Today a system approach," remarks Littlejohn, "is often
assumed in communication theory. It is often taken for granted in much of the work of
the field without being labeled as such" (1999, p. 58). The aim of general systems
theory--founded by the biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy--is to understand the totality
of interactions among elements rather than linear causal sequences and to grasp the
complexity of systems as dynamic wholes made up of many changing relationships
(Bertalanffy, 1968; Mattelart and Mattelart, 1998, p. 47).
At its core, systems theory deals with "wholeness" and "relationships" unlike
previous scientific methods that "tried to explain observable phenomena by reducing
them to an interplay of elementary units investigatable independently of each other"
(Bertalanffy, 1968, p. 36-37). Likewise, Erwin Laszlo says "instead of looking at one
thing at a time, and noting its behavior when exposed to one other thing, the [system]
sciences now look at a number of different and interacting things and note their behavior
as a whole under diverse influences" (1996, p. 4). Most system theorists point to the
realization that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" or holismm" as the guiding
insight of systems thinking. Fritj of Capra charts the so-called transition from "the
mechanistic to the ecological paradigm" in The Web ofLife:
The basic tension is one between the parts and the whole. The emphasis on the
parts has been called mechanistic, reductionist, or atomistic; the emphasis on the
whole holistic, organismic, or ecological. In twentieth-century science the holistic
perspective has become known as 'systemic' and the way of thinking it implies as
'systems thinking.' (1996, p. 17)
Although the differentiation between "atomistic: (exterior-individual quadrant) and
"holistic" (exterior-collective quadrant) proves essential in any integral theory, it remains
radically partial. Systems theory masterfully articulates one-third of the story--the
lower-right quadrant, while virtually ignoring the other three-fourths of reality.
Systems theory, like any purely external approach, features a limited set of
quantitative methods: behavioral, functional, organizational, structural, instrumental,
empirical, descriptive. Brent Reuben reasons that "general systems is a science of
organizing and organization," and "since communication is the means through which
human organizing and organization occur, it occupies a central role in general system
thinking" (1972, p. 95). Reuben goes on to make many helpful theoretical distinctions,
yet all within the same external framework. For instance, he cites the central research
question of information systems as "How does it work?" a functional question and the
primary research question of communication systems as "How are people using it?" a
behavioral and instrumental question (1972, p. 110). The questions asked by system
theorists consistently fail to escape the external frame.
Ron Pearson encounters severe theoretical difficulties when he asks internal
questions of meaning and morality within a systems theory framework (1990, p. 219).
Pearson argues that systems theory contains both a strategic, external dimension and an
ethical, internal dimension. Yet no where in the article does Pearson demonstrate how
values and morality follow from the actual systems model itself. At best, he makes the
unfounded assertion that "system interdependence and interconnectedness have profound
ethical implications" (1990, p. 224). While this might be true for some, the fact remains
that the system model, being external, objective, and descriptive, carries no intrinsic
moral imperatives. Any ethical implications and values generated from system theory's
behavioral descriptions occur within an individual's subj activity, which only exists
within a particular intersubj ective cultural context. Saddam Hussein, Pat Robertson,
Donald Trump, and Ralph Nader could each read about systems theory and each carry
away different "ethical implications." Pearson extracted a specific meaning from systems
theory, a meaning that others may or may not find. The point is that the meaning arose
within Pearson himself, and it is precisely this internal meaning-making process that
systems theory does not address. Meaning does not simply sit in a theory waiting for
someone to find it as the reflection paradigm would have it. Put bluntly, systems theory
has no intrinsic "ethical face." Ethical implications come only from the moral agents
who engage the theory.
While external reductionism studies obj ective reality with quantitative
methodologies, internal reductionism focuses exclusively on subjective reality and
qualitative methodologies. Consider the assumptions of the "Cultural Topoi" model
(Leichty and Wamner, 2001, p. 61-65):
* "Meaning and interpretation are the central processes of all communication
* "Organizational environments are dynamic cultural processes constituted by
symbols, beliefs, rituals, and cultural norms."
* "Communications is conditioned by cultural discourse and contributes to the same
* "Cultural topoi--systemic lines of assumptions and arguments that reinforce a
preferred pattern of social relationships--drive message production and message
* "The credibility of a message depends on how closely it matches with the
receiver' s cultural bias, the set of shared values and beliefs about human society
and the natural world."
* "Publics are an ongoing process of agreement upon an interpretation, having their
own goals, processes, and dynamics that are internally generated."
Notice that systems theory shares none of these assumptions. The model places
total importance on the interior dynamics of communication. As such, qualitative
methods become the only acceptable research options.
Approaches that admit interiors exist become reductionistic when carried to the
extreme assertion that interiors alone exist. Internal reductionists claim that nothing
exists aside from subjective interpretations--no obj ective truth, only interpretations, and
all interpretations are socially constructed (Wilber, 2000a, p. 185).
Largely from the concern of some humanists with human communication--there is
the tradition of assuming the central issue to be one of 'understanding' or of
'meaning.' From this point of view, the end of all human communication is
understanding. The study of human communication has more than once in man's
intellectual history been reduced to the study of meaning. This approach is equally
misleading. The meaning of 'Crime doesn't pay' depends upon whether one is a
criminal or not. (Thayer, 1972, p. 102)
Post-structuralism, deconstructive postmodernism, or deconstructionism generally name
the extreme view that reduces reality to subj activity alone. Deconstructionists attack both
science and traditional philosophy's attempts to make statements about the obj ective
world (Spretnak, 1991). The attack consists of "deconstructing" an objective statement
by finding contexts that render the statement self-contradictory or absurd (Derrida, 1996).
Since meaning is context-bound and contexts are limitless, the deconstructionists can
always find a further interconnected context that alters the present meaning, thus
disregarding all supposedly objective declarations (Wilber, 2000a).
Communication scholar Thomas Mickey draws on postmodern theory to offer
additional avenues where interiority and communication meet. Rejecting the reflection
paradigm, he assumes that "language is the key creator of the social worlds people
experience, not a tool for describing an objective reality" (1997, p. 274). Mickey goes on
to cite the work of Jean Baudrillard, one of the most blatant perpetrators of internal
reductionism. Baudrillard refers to our present time as the order of simulation (1993).
For him, contemporary society is organized around "simulation and the play of images
and signs, denoting a situation in which codes, models, and signs are the organizing
principles of a new social order where simulation rules" (Kellner, 1994, p. 8).
Communication, economics, politics, social life, fashion, and death are all governed by
the logic of simulation (Baudrillard, 1993). Objective reality becomes lost in self-
As simulations proliferate, they come to refer only to themselves: a carnival of
mirrors reflecting images proj ected from other mirrors onto the omnipresent
television screen and the screen of consciousness, which in turn refers the images
to its previous storehouse of images also produced by simulatory mirrors. (Kellner,
1994, p. 10)
For Baudrillard, obj ective truth has a fleeting status if any at all. Ever-present simulation
becomes the hyperreal, an experience that appears "more real than real" for the subj ect
(Kellner, 1994, p. 8). That is to say representation can now operate without ever having
to land on the solid ground of facts, reality, or history (Ward, 1997, p. 62). The more
people "flee from the 'desert of the real' for the ecstasies of hyperreality," the more the
originally true real loses its ontological presence.
From Baudrillard's philosophy, Mickey concludes that the activities of
communications are simulations "substituting the signs of the real for reality itself. ..
[Mass communications] is involved with something called an image that has no reality
behind it. We create an image and the public, frequently through the media, centers on
that sign, not on what they might think is a reality behind it. Because, as Baudrillard
says, there is no reality behind the sign" (1997, p. 81). Internal reductionism flourishes in
this approach because it denies ontological reality to the external and attempts to stretch
internal phenomena beyond its categorical capacity.
Mixing with Pragmatism
Aside from some anachronistic rebels, the war of methods has cooled.
Contemporary communication researchers--despite their personal biases and
professional specializations-generally admit that both qualitative and quantitative
methods have something important to offer. Indeed, most scholars today see these two
methodologies as "complementary rather than antagonistic" (Thomas, 2003, p. 6). A
senior researcher at the World Bank says, "it is now widely acknowledged that there are
considerable benefits to be gained from combining quantitative and qualitative methods"
(Bamberger, 2000, p. 16). A research team comments, "Neither quantitative nor
qualitative research is superior to the other. .. The best [research] often combines
features of each" (King, Koehane, and Verba, 1994, p. 7). When asked the rhetorical
question, "Can quantitative and qualitative data collection methods and forms be used in
the same study?" another social scientist resoundingly answers, "Absolutely yes, we do it
all the time and the integration greatly enriches our studies" (emphasis added) (Hedrick,
1994, p. 49). Today, the "war" has cooled to an eclectic peace keeping mission, but can
the current state-of-affairs accurately be labeled "integration?"
Terms such as "mixing," "blending," and triangulatingg" better describe recent
attempts to utilize multiple methodologies in the same research project. Although these
techniques cannot be called "integral," they contain certain advantages over monomethod
approaches. After reviewing 57 mixed method studies, a team of scholars list five central
advantages to "mixing methods" (Greene, J., V. Caracelli, and W. Graham, 1989):
1. triangulation, or seeking convergence of results
2. complementarity, or examining overlapping and different facets of a phenomenon
3. initiation, or discovering paradoxes, contradictions, and fresh perspectives
4. development, or using the methods sequentially, such that results from the first
method inform the use of the second method
5. expansion, or mixed methods adding breadth and scope to a proj ect
Take triangulation, for example, which arose from the work of Campbell and Fiske
(1959), later refined by Webb, Campbell, Schwartz, and Sechrest (1966), and then
applied to wider areas by Denzin (1978). Put simply, methodological triangulation
involves studying the same phenomenon from at least two different perspectives, often
internal (using qualitative methods and data) and external (using quantitative methods
and data). Researchers who use triangulation find that they come to know a phenomenon
better when they study it from more than one perspective.
The paradigm war cooled because researchers came to realize that mixing methods
works. The practice continues to grow in popularity, despite its philosophical impotence.
No mixed-methodology researcher has offered a coherent framework that extinguishes
the epistemological frictions that originally fueled the war. Instead, they turn to
pragmatism, a philosophy that essentially says, "Do what works." In his book Blending
Oualitative and Ouantitative Research M~ethods, Thomas writes,
The perspective I espouse throughout this book is in keeping with the rationale
offered by .. authors who often adopt the philosopher' s label pragmatism to
identify a mixed-methodology perspective. Consequently, the significant issue is
not whether one method is overall superior to another, but rather, whether the
method a researcher employs can yield convincing answers to the questions that the
investigation is intended to settle. .. I am convinced that each research method is
suited to answering certain types of questions but not appropriate to answering
other types. (2003, p. 7)
Similarly, in M\~ixed M~ethodology, Tashakkori and Teddie assert, "We accept the
assumptions implicit within paradigm relativism and assume that the paradigm wars are
over, having been superseded by the pragmatist orientation." (1998, p. 5). The
pragmatism justification appears not only in academia, but also in practice. Mahesh
Patel, the UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) regional monitoring and evaluation
officer for Eastern and Southern Africa, comments, "We start with the programmatic
decisions that need to be made, determine what information is needed to make those
decisions, and then work out the best way to obtain that information. Different methods
are used for different purposes. Sometimes, several different methods may be used
together .. including qualitative and quantitative methods" (2000, p. 135).
Pragmatism may offer a philosophy for methodological mixing, but not
methodological integration. For pragmatists, truth is merely what works. It asks final
questions and ignores primary questions. It endorses methodological pluralism
instrumentally, based on its utility alone as opposed to a philosophy of integral embrace.
By itself, pragmatism avoids the deep questions necessary for an integral methodological
pluralism to occur. Pragmatism says, "Do it because it works." Integralism says, "Here's
why it works--so do it!"
Some researchers see that pragmatism cleverly circumvents fundamental
methodological conflicts rather than solves them. Datta refers to what she calls "mixed-
up models," that come from the "lack of a worldview, paradigm, or theory for mixed-
model studies," concluding that "such a theory has yet to be fully articulated" (1994, p.
59). Bamberger states that "despite increasing eclecticism in the combination of data
collection methods, there is much less integration at the level of the conceptual
framework and the overall research approach" (2000, p. 16). Finally, Egon Guba-who
once stated that one paradigm precludes the other "just as surely as the belief in a round
world precludes belief in a flat one"-now admits that "a resolution of paradigm
differences can occur only when a new paradigm emerges that is more informed and
sophisticated than any existing one" (Guba, 1987, p. 23; Guba and Lincoln, 1994, p.
116). The next section takes on Guba's challenge and introduces the (meta)methodology
of integral studies.
The Quans and Quals Meet the Quads
Misunderstanding has surrounded the word "paradigm" since Thomas Kuhn first
introduced the concept (1996). Kuhn's notion of "paradigm" means a practical
injunction, a methodology, an actual practice. A paradigm refers to a specific set of
techniques taken as an exemplar for generating data (Wilber, 1999b, p. 192). Put another
way, a paradigm designates the methodologies that enact, bring forth, or illuminate a
specific phenomenological worldspace or way ofbeing-in-the-world (Wilber, 2002a).
Theories and paradigms, therefore, are not the same thing. Wilber explains the
difference, "A theory is a map of a territory, while a paradigm is a practice that brings
forth a territory in the first place" (Wilber, 2002a).
Integral communication endorses a united multiplicity of paradigms or a meta-
paradigm called "integral methodological pluralism."
'Integral,' in that the pluralism is not a mere eclecticism or grab bag of unrelated
paradigms, but a meta-paradigm that weaves together its many threads into an
integral tapestry, a unity-in-diversity that slights neither the unity nor the diversity.
'Methodological,' in that this is a real paradigm or set of actual practices and
behavioral injunctions to bring forth an integral territory, not merely a new holistic
theory or maps without any territory. And 'pluralism' in that there is no one
overriding or privileged injunction (other than to be radically all-inclusive).
Integral methodological pluralism first involves compiling the primary paradigms or
methodologies used by the accepted communication traditions. This first step--
characteristic of any methodological pluralism--collects the maj or methods within a
discipline without judgement, assuming that if researchers use a time-tested method, it
must contain some degree of heuristic truth value.
The second meta-paradigmatic step separates integral methodological pluralism
from mere eclecticism. Integrating paradigms means relating the various paradigmatic
strands to each other with an integral model such as AQAL (even though a meta-
paradigm precedes a meta-model). Wilber expresses paradigmatic integration in more
A meta-paradigmatic practice enacts a new domain upon the individually-enacted
paradigmatic domains, such that their individually-enacted phenomena overlap,
their brought-forth horizons merge to some degree, and there is enacted upon the
enacted phenomena--and accordingly there is brought forth, illumined, and most
fundamentally disclosed--a new territory or domain of integral relationships. In
other words, this is a paradigms of paradigms, which means .. a practice of
practices and not a theory of theories. (2002a)
The integral approach explains philosophically what is already being done pragmatically.
The primary injunction or essence of the integral proj ect assumes that "everybody is
right." No paradigm practiced by earnest researchers can be 100 percent wrong.
AQAL-a meta-model generated from an integral methodological pluralism--
incorporates and honors all paradigms premodernn, modern, and postmodern) as
legitimate. From this general premise that "everyone is right" comes three heuristic
principles of integral methodological pluralism.
The first principle of"nonexclusion" states that a paradigm can tell its truth but
cannot exclude the truth of other legitimately enacted paradigms. A method can only
claim legitimacy within the worldspace that it enacts. An integral meta-model "frees a
paradigm by limiting it," meaning that "with any integral orientation, the already existing
boundaries of a particular paradigm become more obvious, and thus when operating
within those bounds, the pronouncements of a particular paradigm become even more
believable while pronouncements outside its bounds become even less so" (Wilber,
2002a). In this way, all paradigms can exist together within the AQAL framework with
none being reduced to or derived from the others.
"Unfoldment," the second principle, points out that all paradigms are "true but
partial." Every paradigm offers a partial truth when addressing the phenomena enacted
by that particular paradigm. The important question does not ask which paradigms are
right and which are wrong, but rather what type of integral framework can find a place
for the partial truth of them all? Furthermore, within the same worldspace line, some
paradigms can be more encompassing than others. What level is a paradigm enacting?
Paradigms unfold or develop in holonic ("transcend and include") fashion. This is why
Kuhn, for example, "maintained both that science is progressive and cumulative and that
it also shows certain breaks or discontinuities (new injunctions bring forth new data)"
(Wilber, 1999b, p. 192). The unfoldment principle shows that "everybody can be right
because some views are more right than others" (Wilber, 2002a).
Finally, the "enactment" principle recognizes the myth of the given by asserting
that subjects do not perceive phenomena but enact them (Wilber, 2002a). Human
subj activity and intersubj activity play an undeniable role in bringing forth a
phenomenological world in the activity of knowing that world. As Chapter 5
demonstrates, different levels of psychological development experience different (yet
equally legitimate) worlds. Paradigms never compete for dominance in one preexisting
world. Instead, multiple paradigms bring forth multiple worlds. These three heuristic
principles-nonexclusion, unfoldment, and enactment--buttress an integral
methodological pluralism where everybody is right.
Consider that each communicative act is a holon. Generally speaking, qualitative
paradigms enact the interior of a holon and quantitative methods enact the exterior of a
holon. More specifically, each communication holon, or, as Habermas maintains, each
speech act, relates to at least four worlds. Every communication always already exists in
relation to an individual's consciousness, an intersubj ective relationship, a syntax or
social structure, and a behavioral extension. Specialized methods are already being used
to enact and investigate each of these four worldspaces. Using both quantitative and
qualitative methods to investigate the same communicative act "works" because it enacts
the four worldspaces, the four ontological faces, the four angles of manifestation of every
communication holon. Integral methodological pluralism begins by introducing the
QUANs and the QUALs to the QUADs.
Those paradigm purists who would like to continue the war, such as Guba and
Lincoln, cite disharmonies that have not existed since logical positivism was discredited
in the mid-twentieth century (Guba and Lincoln, 1985; Tashakkori and Teddlie, 1998).
For example, both qualitative and quantitative paradigms agree on the unfoldment
principle's insight that truth is always partial (Reichardt and Rallis, 1994, p. 87). Both
Karl Popper (1959) and Thomas Kuhn (1996), for instance, loathe the notion of a final
static truth. Also, both paradigms acknowledge the Left Hand (upper-left and lower-left
quadrants) in admitting the "value-ladenness of inquiry" and the "theory-ladenness of
facts" (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 1998, p. 8; Reichardt and Rallis, 1994, p. 86-88). Few
researchers today would refute that, to at least some degree, their theories and values help
direct their inquiry and decide what is important. The causes of the paradigm wars are
those paradigm purists, those internal and external reductionists, who violate the
nonexclusion principle and pass off their partial truth as the whole truth.
Two seemingly intractable problems for paradigm purists involve epistemological
(the relationship of the knower to the known) and ontological (the nature of reality)
incommensurability among methods. Regarding epistemology, quantitative researchers
tend to have a more subj ect to object relationship orientation and qualitative researches
often favor a subject to subject relationship. The integral framework clearly recognizes
and includes both the obj ective (Right Hand) and subj ective (Left Hand) epistemological
orientations. While the knower and known do exist together, and the subj ect must be
included in an inquiry experience, a subject-object relationship is still possible. With an
integral methodological pluralism, a researcher has the freedom to enact an internal
worldspace by interacting subj ectively and other times to enact an external worldspace by
viewing a communicative event more obj ectively.
Paradigm reductionists cite the one world versus many worlds ontological debate as
further evidence for paradigmatic incommensurability. External reductionists believe
that one obj ective world exists and deny subj activity's ability to construct interpretations.
Internal reductionists believe that multiple worlds are subj ectively constructed and deny
an objective world. Again, an integral methodological pluralism can easily integrate both
of these perspectives. Left Hand practices enact multiple worlds. One's levels, lines,
states, and types will influence the interpretation he places on phenomenological
experience. If he engages a practice that transforms his current level of development, he
will experience a new interpretative world. As Wilber says, "Change your practice and
you will see a different world" (Wilber, 2002a). However, just because a subject always
interprets, does not mean that one physical world does not exist. The entire Right Hand
of the quadrants models the objective and interobjective worldspaces. External referents
surely exist. An external researcher cannot deny interpretation any more than an interior
researcher can "construct" a world where apples fall up. The integral resolution, in short,
says that although the one obj ective world cannot contain many worlds, human
When an inquiring consciousness understands that every communication event
occurs seamlessly within AQAL space, a lush territory of integral relationships emerges
from a diversity of enactment methods. Charges of incommensurability no longer make
sense. Paradigmatic integration can happen only by focusing on the enactment practices
themselves, not the phenomena brought forth by the practices. Phenomena that appear to
conflict, instead become merely "different (and fully compatible) experiences brought
forth by different practices" (Wilber 2002a). Littlejohn recognized the beginnings of
integral methodological pluralism in 1978 when he advocated four methods of inquiry:
"experience" and "art" (Left Hand") and "science" and "scholarship" (Right Hand). He
said, "it is important to realize that each of the ways of di scovery is valuable in its own
right. Certain kinds of knowledge are best obtained through one or the other of them, and
a complete approach to truth must include a blend of all four methods" (p. 5).
SOCIAL SCIENCE AT THE CROSSROADS
Communication Traits as Real
In positing an integral meta-model and meta-paradigm, a new type of critical theory
presents itself. Integral critical theory scrutinizes present conditions through a lens of
radical inclusion, inherently critical of areas that are, by comparison, partial, narrow,
shallow, less encompassing, less integrative (Wilber, 2000c, p. 2). The above
investigations into external and internal reductionism exemplify an integral critical theory
at work. This same critical lens now turns to social science. Robert Kegan, a professor
of adult learning and professional development at the Harvard Graduate School of
Education and a founding member of the Integral Institute, challenges the social sciences
to "grow up" as it faces a difficult crossroads on the way to a more integral orientation:
The social sciences in contemporary culture are at a crossroads. Will they continue
to be essentially a puny force, founded on no civilization of their own, borrowing
from, and buffeted by the powerful civilizations of science [Right Hand] and the
humanities [Left Hand]? Will the social sciences continue to be reminiscent of
Freud's hapless infantile ego, appearing to be a player in personality but in reality
swamped by the contending forces of conscience and desire? Or will the social
sciences grow up and, like the mature conception of the ego, become capable of
integrating the contending powers and thereby creating a third original force that
can really be a player in human personality or contemporary culture? (1994, p. 9)
Reconstructing and cultivating this "third original force," particularly within the
sociopsychological tradition, will be a first step towards an integral strategy for effective
When attempting to study internal communicative phenomena, positivistic social
scientists use a theoretical tool called a "communication trait," which could represent
anything from instincts to cognition to values. These flatland theorists define a
communication trait as
a hypothetical construct which accounts for certain kinds of communicative
behaviors. A hypothetical construct is a concept which is thought to represent
reality, to structure reality and to give it meaning. Researchers invent hypothetical
constructs for a purpose--to explain communicative events. (Infante, Rancer,
Womack, 1993, p. 140)
The external reductionism inherent in much social science research reveals itself in the
above description. The implicit ontological assumption states that something counts as
real only if one can touch, taste, hear, see, or smell it. A research example: "We do not
subscribe to the notion of values as 'real'. in our approach the concept of values is a
hypothetical construct used as a heuristic device by us, as researchers" (Deth and
Scarbrough, 1995, p. 40-41). Positivistic researchers working within a flatland
epistemology would regard love as nothing more than a "hypothetical construct" that
could never really be proven. Such assumptions classically illustrate external
reducti oni sm.
Recall that external phenomena possess "simple location" and can be directly
witnessed by the material senses. For instance, I can easily observe someone's
communicative behavior and measure it with quantitative rigor. For external phenomena,
the basic research questions are "What does it look like?" or "What does it do?"
However, the instant researchers begin probing beneath exterior services--asking
qualitative questions like "Why?" or "What does it mean?" or "What does it feel like?"--
they are pointing to internal phenomena, which lack simple location and cannot be
directly observed. The feeling of love is an internal phenomenon that cannot be
empirically seen, but obviously exists.
An integral methodological pluralism would quickly spot the limitations inherent to
a positivistic research program. Studying internal phenomena through an external,
monological paradigm violates the nonexclusion principle of integral methodological
pluralism. A flatland paradigm can measure the exterior correlates of an internal
phenomenon but can never enact or bring forth the interior phenomenon itself. Instead of
declaring interior events to be illusionary constructs, an integral methodological
pluralism would engage the qualitative practices that illuminate them, realizing that
different worldspaces have different, yet equally legitimate, enactment methods.
The maj ority of social scientists today grant existence to both internal and external
phenomena. Richard Perloff assures that most contemporary communication scholars
deem it a mistake to "assume that .. [internal phenomena] are 'not real' or are 'mere
mental constructs' (1993, p. 27). The current consensus in social science, Perloff reports,
believes that "people have thoughts, cognitive structures, and a variety of emotions, none
of which can be reduced to behavioral units. Moreover, they argue that an entity that is
mental or emotional is no less 'real' than a physical behavior" (1993, p. 27). "The bulk
of current communication scientists," concludes Charles Pavitt, "presume the reality and
causal power of the mentalistic concepts their theories employ" (1999, p. 184). Jensen
sums up the position by saying, "Experiences, events, and mechanisms are all real"
(2002, p. 269). The remainder of this chapter examines three "real" internal mechanisms
that affect communication and that will be used later in an integral strategy of effective
Attitudes have been called "the most prominent .. construct in the history of the
social sciences" and "the most distinctive and indispensable [concept] in contemporary
American social psychology" (Infante, Rancer, Womack, 1993, p. 141; Allport, 1954).
Virtually any decent textbook on communication theory contains an ample section on
attitudes (Bryant and Zillman, 2002; Littlejohn, 2002; Severin and Tankard, 2001).
Definitions vary, but they all suggest that an attitude describes a predisposition or an
evaluation of something (Severin and Tankard, 2001, p. 151). Most scholars would agree
to the general definition of an attitude as "a learned, enduring, and affective evaluation of
an obj ect (a person, entity, or idea) that exerts a directive on social behavior" (Perloff,
1993, p. 27). Simple evaluations such as "good-bad, harmful-beneficial, pleasant-
unpleasant, and likable-dislikable" represent attitudes (Ajzen, 2001).
Attitudes have achieved such prominence in the social sciences due to the widely
held assumption that a person's attitudes affect that person's behaviors (Petty, Priester,
Brinol, 2002, p. 158). Although the relationship between attitudes and behaviors requires
more study, social scientists generally admit that knowing a person's attitudes helps to
predict her behavior. Most attitudes reveal themselves explicitly within one's direct
awareness: "I like strawberries, and I dislike lima beans." Disregarding additional factors
in this simple example, one would expect the subj ect to engage in strawberry eating
behavior before lima bean eating behavior. This link with behavioral prediction gives
attitudinal research importance in the eyes of social scientists.
Daniel Katz theorizes a second relevant relationship, this time between attitudes
and opinions (1960, p. 168). Simply put, attitudes are internal phenomena and opinions
are external phenomena. The instant an attitude (internal, private) is expressed, it
becomes an opinion (external, public). Given this distinction, surveys--the most utilized
method in attitudinal research--actually capture opinions, not attitudes. In a section
titled "Measuring What You Cannot See," Stacks points to the Likert-type scale and the
semantic differential-type scale as two primary survey techniques that purport to measure
attitudes (2002, p. 134). Along with many others, he claims that since survey data can be
quantified in a statistically meaningful way, surveys fall under the quantitative approach
(Neuman, 1994; Gunter, 2002; Stacks, 2002). Respondents transfer their internal or
private attitudes onto an external or public scale. Surveys attempt to quantify a
An integral methodological pluralism demonstrates the philosophical difficulties
surrounding "measuring what you cannot see" or enacting internal phenomena with
external methods. Since opinions are publicly expressed attitudes, surveys technically
measure opinions--the Right Hand correlate of a Left Hand event. Despite complex
statistical computing, the fact remains that publicly expressing a private experience
requires interpretation. Nevertheless, the interpretive factor in attitudinal surveys is
slight. Making an attitude public by means of an opinion survey requires little (but still
some) interpretation. The inner experience of simple attitudes (like/dislike, good/bad,
pleasant-unpleasant) can readily be expressed in a survey due to their transparency and
accessibility to conscious awareness. In short, people complete opinion surveys with
little difficulty because they immediately know their explicit attitudes. Hence, some
exterior correlates of internal phenomena are easier to measure than others, and opinions
are one of the easiest. Perhaps this explains, in part, why the social sciences put such an
incredible amount of time, energy, and money in attitude/opinion research.
Beyond the Lamppost
Consider the story of the man who walks home at dusk through a forest path.
Finally, he approaches his house. A lamppost lights the area directly surrounding the
residence. The man approaches the door, fumbles in his pocket, and realizes his keys
were lost along the way. For hours, he unsuccessfully scrutinizes the illuminated area
directly around his house, searching in vain for his keys. Eventually the man's wife
arrives at the house and he tells her the dilemma. When she questions why he didn't try
searching the rest of the path, the man quickly answers, "Because the light is brightest
Integral methodological pluralism challenges social science to venture beyond the
lamppost. Max Horkheimer once said, "The need to limit oneself to absolutely certain
data, the tendency to discredit any research on the essence of phenomena as
'metaphysics,' may force empirical social research to restrict itself to the non-essential in
the name of that which cannot be a source of controversy" (1972). Just because a
research method is "brightly lit" in the empirical sense and easy to quantify with little
interpretive distortion, does not mean it is the most relevant or contains the most
explanatory depth. Often, the "easiest" approaches tend to be the most shallow and
Most attitude researchers would generally admit that altering attitudes through
communication is difficult (Petty, Priester, Brinol, 2002, p. 188; Severin and Tankard
2001, p. 179). Perhaps a key to effective communication lies a bit further up the path. If
attitudes generally precede behaviors, then what generally precedes attitudes? Although
this question may require us to venture beyond an area deemed brightly lit by social
science, the possibility of finding a key makes the risk acceptable, even welcomed.
The first key along the path appears to be values, the mother of attitudes. In basic
terms, values tell what someone considers to be most important. Values guide the
meaning-making process that creates specific attitudes. Milton Rokeach, among the most
prominent value researchers in the social sciences, agrees that a value "has a
transcendental quality to it, guiding actions, attitudes, judgements, and comparisons
across specific obj ects and situations beyond immediate goals to more ultimate goals"
(1973, p. 18). Rokeach is far from alone in asserting such a relationship between values
* "Attitudes will be based on underlying values" (Kilby, 1993, p. 38).
* "One's attitude toward a specific obj ect or condition in a specific situation seems to
be a function of the way one conceives that obj ect from the standpoint of its effects
on one's most cherished values" (Woodruff and Divesta, 1948, p. 657).
* "Values are more global and general than attitudes. a terminal value may
underlie a number of quite specific attitudes" (Perloff, 1993, p. 29).
* "Attitudes are focused on some specified obj ect or situation, while values transcend
them. Since values are also considered standards, applying to all kinds of
situations, they are believed to occupy a more central position than attitudes within
one's personality makeup and cognitive system" (Werder, 2002, p. 44).
* Values are "the most important and central elements in a person's system of
attitudes and beliefs" (Oskamp, 1977).
* Values shape "our likes, dislikes, preferences, prejudices, and social attitudes ..
[and make] it possible for us to say what is good and what is bad" (Mandler, 1993,
* "Values are more general than attitudes. This approach allows us to conceptualize
values not as stimuli but, rather, as underlying orientations, which are relevant for,
or inform the process of, arriving at attitudes" (Deth and Scarbrough, 1995, p. 32).
* "A value is an organized set of related attitudes" (Thompson, 1975, p. 221).
* "When specific attitudes are organized into a hierarchical structure, they comprise
vahtes systems" (Katz, 1960, p. 168).
Articulated in different ways, these researchers view values as structures that influence
specific attitudes. Many researchers go on to make the logical claim that values help
predict behavior through their role in attitudinal formation (Deth and Scarbrough, 1995,
p. 33; Petty, Wegener, Fabrigar, 1997, p. 609; McLeod, Sotirovic, Holbert, 1998, p. 453).
Despite the numerous other factors that contribute to attitudes and behaviors (cognitive
processing for example), the basic conclusion can be made that values play a crucial role
that deserves wider recognition within communication studies.
Despite the significance of values, communication social scientists have largely
marginalized them from their standard research agenda.
A review of the literature produced during the relatively brief history of mass
communication research will not reveal many direct references to values. Despite
several encouraging developments over the past 30 years, leading to research that is
more holistic, sociological, processual, and critical than the bulk of the earlier
positivistic work, there are still few systematic, disciplined studies that attempt to
spell out the value implications of the structures and processes investigated.
(Halloran, 2000, p. 13)
Such a perplexing omission could perhaps be attributed to the complex nature of values
research. Unlike attitudinal research, a simple survey often cannot capture the necessary
value data. Values lurk further beneath one's conscious awareness than do attitudes.
Kilby reports that values "vary from clear representation, through degrees of generalness
and vagueness, to not being consciously-articulated at all" (1993, p. 36). Indeed, many
people exhibit difficulties realizing and articulating their personal value orientation--
"sometimes people may not know what their values really are; hence their answers to
probes about values may be unreliable" (Hechter, 1993, p. 11; Converse, 1964).
Applying Kegan' s "subject-obj ect" cognitive theory to value structures could help
explain these challenges (1994). Perhaps a subject cannot fully understand her current
value structure until she moves to a new value structure, only after which she can reflect
on her previous one. The original subject becomes the object of the new subject. More
simply, Ray and Anderson say, "A worldview is to humans as water is to fish. It's the
water we swim it. But only when something, or many things, disrupt our worldview does
it become visible" (Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 93).
Social scientists cannot avoid these research obstacles by assuming values from
observed behaviors. An internal phenomenon can never be validly inferred from an
external phenomenon. Put another way, one cannot derive a "why" from a "what" or an
"ought" from an "is," the definition of a logical fallacy first articulated by David Hume
(1957). The value reasoning behind a behavior is the relevant key, not the behavior itself.
Radically different value orientations could produce the exact same behavior. Likewise,
knowing one's attitude about a particular topic does not necessarily predict the person's
values. For example, two people could possess identical attitudes concerning the 2003
war in Iraq using completely different value reasoning (Wilber, 2003b). Hence, values
do not necessarily predict attitudes and behavior over the short run. However, the
predictive power of values does increase over the long run.
None of the above challenges strikes a fatal blow to values research. However,
when approached exclusively from an external, quantitative research perspective they are
disastrous. Behavioral observation and opinion surveys are simply not enough. Perhaps
this explains why many quantitatively oriented social scientists shy away from values
inquiry. A research volume produced by the European Science Foundation and Oxford
University reached similar conclusions, admitting the "widely held assumption in the
social sciences that values are at the root of behaviour, [yet] "despite that, in comparison
with the attitude-behaviour axis, the influence of values on political behaviour is
relatively poorly researched--perhaps due to the behavioral orientations of political
science" (Depth and Scarbrough, 1995, p. 21).
The most powerful and enlightening form of values research requires an integral
methodological pluralism that includes quantitative surveys and experiments in addition
to qualitative interviews, focus groups, discourse analysis, ethnography,
phenomenological analysis and so forth. Some scholars appear to recognize the
importance of triangulated values research, but fail to follow through. For example, after
rightly emphasizing the "intersubj ective nature of values" as "elements in moral
discourse," one research team gives this aside:
Of course, ideally we would want to examine qualitative data which captures the
elements of moral discourse in different domains. However, in the comparative
and national surveys used in this research project, quantitative attitudinal data are
the best measures available to use. (Deth and Scarbrough, 1995, p. 37).
An integral methodological pluralism recommends using approaches epistemologically
appropriate to the specific worldspace under investigation. In the case of value research,
dialogical methods must be included.
Regardless of the methodology, a researcher must always define the obj ect under
investigation. The semantic ambiguity underlying values research often reflects the
"quarrels about definition that have been one of the hallmarks of the social science
enterprise" (Mandler, 1993, p. 233). One scholar discovered 180 different definitions of
"value" after examining 4,000 publications (Deth and Scarbrough, 1995, p. 37). Below
are three examples from social science:
* "A value is a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an individual or
characteristic of a group, of the desirable which influences the selection from
available modes, means, and ends of action." In short, "conceptions of the
desirable" (Kluckhohn, 1954, p. 395).
* "A value is an enduring belief that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of
existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of
conduct or end-state of existence" (Rokeach, 1973, p. 5).
*"Values are non-empirical--that i s, not directly ob servable-conceptions of the
desirable, used in moral discourse, with a particular relevance for behaviour" (Deth
and Scarbrough, 1995, p. 22).
These definitions each touch upon important aspects of values. The next section takes a
step beyond isolated, individual values. At a certain point along the path, one begins to
reflect not only on the individual value trees, but also on the overarching patterns that
connect them. With this wider perspective, the forest of value systems comes into view.
Value Systems as Worldviews
Recall that attitudes tend not to form randomly; values inform or guide attitudes.
Furthermore, many attitudes arise from one underlying value. Stepping back and viewing
an overall attitudinal pattern makes the operative value becomes more apparent. In this
way, a pattern of attitudes helps to identify an underlying value, but does not constitute it.
Individual values do not randomly form either. Values coalesce into recognizable
patterns. So if a patterned set of attitudes suggests a certain underlying value, then what
does a patterned set of values suggest? Scholars have grouped value patterns together in
various ways, giving them names such as value structures, value orientations, value
schemas, and value systems.
I will use the term "worldview" to indicate the underlying macro consciousness
structure that orients individual values into a value system. A literature review published
in Communication Research reports, "Worldviews may be more basic to the development
of other types of beliefs and they are treated as antecedent to [individual] values in the
literature" (McLeod, Sotirovic, and Holbert, 1998, p. 453). The English word
"worldview," first used in 1858, attempts to translate the German word Weltanshauung~tt~~ttt~~tt~~
(Wolters, 1989, p. 15). Immanuel Kant first coined Weltanschauungtt~~ttt~~tt~~ and it soon became
a key word in German Idealism and Romanticism, used by Fiche, Schelling,
Schleiermacher, Hegel, and Goethe (Wolters, 1989, p. 15). In time, thinkers as divergent
as Kierkegaard, Engels, and Dilthey eventually found the term helpful (Marshall,
Griffloen, Mouw, 1989, p. 8-11).
The social science literature defines worldview as "general assumptions about the
world that underlie the way people orient themselves to the environment" (McLeod,
Sotirovic, and Holbert, 1998; Kluckhohn and Strodtbeck, 1961). The American Heritage
dictionary defines worldview as "the overall perspective from which one sees and
interprets the world" (American Heritage, 2000). Miller refers to them as "structural
'filters' through which phenomena are perceived" (1994, p. 148). Kaufman calls a
worldview "an overall framework of interpretation .. which gives meaning to existence"
(1981). Consider this further description from Olthuis:
A worldview (or vision of life) is a framework or set of fundamental beliefs
through which we view the world and our calling and future in it. This vision need
not be fully articulated: it may be so internalized that it goes largely unquestioned;
it may not be explicitly developed into a systematic conception of life; it may not
be theoretically deepened into a philosophy; it may not even be codified into
creedal form; it may be greatly refined through cultural-historical development.
Nevertheless, this vision is a channel for the ultimate beliefs which give direction
and meaning to life. It is the integrative and interpretative framework by which
order and disorder are judged; it is the set of hinges on which all our everyday
thinking and doing turns. (1989, p. 29)
Indeed, worldviews comprise a collective worldspace that says what "We" deem
important, what "We" value.
Wilber designates "worldview" as referring to "the Lower-Left quadrant, or all of
the intersubjective practices, linguistic signs, semantic structures, contexts, and
communal meanings that are generated through shared perceptions and collective
values--in short, 'culture'" (1999a, p. 551). The intersubjective structures of a cultural
worldview, he explains, creates a space within which individual, subj ective experiences
arise. In The Order of things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences, Michel Foucault
makes essentially the same point. He calls his method an archaeology or "an inquiry
whose aim it is to rediscover on what basis knowledge and theory became possible;
within what space of order knowledge was constituted ." (1970, p. xxi-xxii).
Foucault' s archeology seeks to uncover the historical a priori, epistemological field
(episteme), intersubj ective structure, or worldview of a given epoch: "This a priori is
what, in a given period, delimits in the totality of experience a field of knowledge,
defines the mode of being of the obj ects that appear in that field, provides man' s
everyday perception with theoretical powers, and defines the conditions in which he can
sustain a discourse about things that is recognized to be true" (1970, p. 158). For
example, an archeology of language intends to "determine in what conditions language
could become the obj ect of a period' s knowledge, and between what limits this
epistemological domain developed" (1970, p. 119). Wilber and Foucault both articulate
the intimate relationship between the upper-left subj activity and lower-left
intersubj activity, underscoring the assertion that all four quadrants arise together,
Worldviews serve what Clifford Geertz calls a "dual focus" (1973, p. 73). They
function both descriptively and normatively, telling a person what is and what ought to
be. Put another way, "A worldview is both a sketch of and a blueprint for reality"
(Olthuis, 1989, p. 29). No fact carries an inherent value imperative apart from the
interpretive structure already within the observing subject. Divergent value systems
experience different "oughts" from the same "is," regardless of Hume' s "is to ought"
fallacy. As a person's worldview develops, her orientation of and for the Kosmos
expands in its capacity for justice and care, wisdom and compassion.
Dynamics of the Spiral
Habermas describes worldviews as "highly complex formations that are determined
by cognitive, linguistic, and moral-practical forms of consciousness," quickly adding that
"the composition and the interplay of structures is not fixed once and for all" (1979, p.
168). The implication: worldviews evolve in levels from egocentric (self-centered) to
ethnocentric (group-centered) to worldcentric (global-centered) (Habermas, 1979, p. 99-
100). A worldview is a holon--a whole which is simultaneously a part of a greater
whole--a whole/part. Each successive worldview level transcends and includes the
previous level and can be said to be "higher," "deeper," or "more encompassing" than the
previous level. Wilber further explains how to designate depth levels:
A "level" in a holarchy is established by several obj ective criteria: by a qualitative
emergence (as explained by Popper); by asymmetry (or "symmetry breaks," as
explained by Prigogine and Jantsch); by an inclusionary principle (the higher
includes the lower, but not vice versa, as explained by Aristotle); by a
developmental logic (the higher negates and preserves a lower, but not vice versa,
as explained by Hegel); by a chronological indicator (the higher chronologically
comes after the lower, but all that is later is not higher, as explained by Saint
Gregory). (2000b, p. 62-63)
Lawrence Kohlberg speaks of moral development in a similar way: "All of the
differences among people aren't all equally defensible; some of the differences among
people represent more comprehensive, more coherent, more elaborated--more
developed--concepts" (Rest, Narvaez, Bebeau, Thoma, 1999, p. 2). As holons, both
morals and worldviews meet Wilber' s twenty tenets of development (Wilber, 2000b, p.
25). As such, worldviews easily meet the five criteria that Jean Piaget applied to
cognitive development and Kohlberg endorsed for moral development (Kohlberg, 1984,
p. 14; Piaget, 1969, p. 153). The twenty tenets can be abbreviated here by reviewing
Piaget' s five criteria of development:
First, worldview stages differ qualitatively fr~om one another. Worldview stages do
not differ along a continuous quantitative spectrum. An increase in the number or
strength of egocentric values does not produce worldcentric values. The values generated
from an egocentric worldview are qualitatively different from worldcentric values.
Higher stages are not more of lower stages, but of a completely new variety.
Second, worldviews develop in an invariant stage sequence. This means that
people pass through worldviews in a particular order. No one begins at worldcentric.
Children always start their lives with an egocentric worldview. To reach a worldcentric
value system, the child must pass through ethnocentric. No stages may be skipped.
Furthermore, unlike Erik Erikson's stage sequence, no guarantee exists that a person will
reach the higher worldview stages (Crain, 2000, p. 289). For example, a person could be
quite old and have acquired much life experience, yet still see through ethnocentric eyes.
A thirty-year-old could operate through a higher order worldview than a sixty-year-old.
For this reason, the life span literature generally does not apply to worldview research.
Third, worldview stages form structured wholes. A given stage response (in the
form of an attitude or behavior) does not just represent a specific, isolated decision
instance. Each worldview stage includes an underlying value organization that informs
specific attitudes and behaviors. General patterns of value reasoning exist that will
consistently show up across many different kinds of issues (Crain, 2000, p. 156).
Fourth, worldview stages develop in hierarchical integrations. In Kohlberg's
words, "stages form an order of increasingly differentiated and integrated structures to
fulfill a common function" (1984, p. 14). Simply put, development proceeds by
differentiation followed by integration. A later stage transcends and includes the deep
structures of an earlier stage. The "transcend and include" principle implies that "people
do not lose the insights gained at earlier stages but integrate them into new, broader
frameworks" (Crain, 2000, p. 159). The deep structures of all earlier stages are retained.
A person at worldcentric still cares for her self, family, state, and country, but not
Fifth, worldview stages are culturally universal. Although the specific expression
(surface structures) of worldviews varies greatly among people and cultures, the general
underlying features (deep structures) exist cross-culturally (Kohlberg, 1984, p. 582-621).
Universal worldview models, like spiral dynamics, seek to attain a generality that
captures the motivating value schemas within every cultural group.
Kohlberg' s stages of moral development could easily fit into the worldview models
described below. "In order to understand moral behavior," Kohlberg argued, "we have to
understand how the person is making sense of the world" (Rest, Narvaez, Bebeau,
Thoma, 1999, p. 1). Thus, find the three maj or worldviews (egocentric, ethnocentric,
worldcentric) appear in both Kohlberg's male moral development and Gilligan's female
moral development. Kohlberg's model develops from preconventional (1. obedience and
punishment; 2. naive egoism) to conventional (3. approval of others; 4. law and order) to
postconventional (5. individual rights and social contract; 6. universal ethics) (Kohlberg,
1984, p. 44). Similarly, in Gilligan's model, female morality evolves from
preconventional (selfish) to conventional (care) to postconventional (universal care)
(Gilligan, 1982). (Both theorists also postulated a post-postconventional level--
Kohlberg called it cosmic-spiritual and Gilligan called it hierarchical-integrative.)
Kohlberg uses the term "conventional" to mean "conforming to and upholding the
rules and expectations and conventions of society or authority just because they are
society's rules, expectations, or conventions" (1984, p. 172-173).
The individual at the preconventional level has not yet come to really understand
and uphold conventional or societal rules and expectations. Someone at the
postconventional level understands and basically accepts society's rules, but
acceptance of society's rules is based on formulating and accepting the general
moral principles that underlie these rules. These principles in some cases come
into conflict with society's rules, in which case the postconventional individual
judges by principle rather than by convention. (Kohlberg, 1984, p. 173).
Again, the three primary worldviews-egocentric (preconventional), ethnocentric
(conventional), and worldcentric (postconventional)-are clearly seen in moral
Worldview development also has a relationship with cognitive development,
although they represent two separate and distinct developmental lines. In the first
analysis, one finds "stages of affective development that are parallel with the stages of
cognitive development" (Brown ,1996, p. 144). Comparing Piaget and Kohlberg's
models, one finds that concrete operational cognition parallels preconventional morality;
low formal operational cognition parallels conventional morality; high formal operational
cognition polyvalentt logic) parallels postconventional morality. Kohlberg agrees and
carries the conversation one step further:
Since moral reasoning clearly is reasoning, advanced moral reasoning depends
upon advanced logical [or cognitive] reasoning. There is a parallelism between an
individual's logical stage and his or her moral stage. A person whose logical stage
is only concrete operational is limited to the preconventional moral stages, Stages 1
and 2. A person whose logical stage is only "low" formal operational is limited to
the conventional moral stages, Stage 3 and 4. While logical development is a
necessary condition for moral development, it is not sufficient. Many individuals
are at a higher logical stage than the parallel moral stage, but essentially none are at
a higher moral stage than their logical stage. (Kohlberg, 1984, p. 171)
The essential point here is that cognitive development can exceed moral development,
but not vice versa. Put another way, cognitive development is necessary but not
sufficient for moral development (Kohlberg, 1981, p. 138). I theorize that worldviews
and cognition relate in the same way. A certain level of cognitive proficiency is
necessary but not sufficient to support a parallel worldview.
A considerable number of attempts have been made to understand and classify the
various worldviews available. With the rise of evolutionary thinking, scholars began to
study worldviews as a process of developmental unfolding. Numerous researchers have
independently identified, articulated, and studied the identical worldview levels.
Understanding this spiral of worldview development will prove essential in formulating
an integral communication strategy in the next chapter. This section gives a brief
introduction and biographical sketch of a few pioneering worldview researchers.
The Spiral Dynamics integral (SDi) model represents the culmination of 50 years
of research and theory building, prompted by the American psychologist Clare Graves
(see appendix A). It stands as perhaps the clearest and most user-friendly model. Graves
began researching human values in 1952 when, exasperated with the state of academic
psychology, he first asked the question, "What will be the nature and character of
conceptions of psychological health of biologically mature humans beings?" (Graves,
1988). After more than 20 years of quantitative and qualitative research, Graves
proposed that "the psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent,
oscillating spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower-order
behavior systems to newer, higher-order systems as man's existential problems change"
(Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 28). Expressed another way, he says, "My data indicate that
man's nature is an open, constantly evolving system, a system which proceeds by
quantum jumps from one steady state system to the next through a hierarchy of ordered
systems" (Graves, 1974, p. 72). Graves often summarized his findings like this (Beck
and Cowan, 1996, p. 29):
1. Human nature is not static, nor is it Einite. Human nature changes as conditions of
existence change, thus forging new systems. Yet, the older systems stay with us.
2. When a new system or level is activated, we change our psychology and rules for
living to adapt to those new conditions.
3. We live in a potentially open system of values with an infinite number of modes of
living available to us. There is no Einal state to which we must all aspire.
4. An individual, a company, or an entire society can respond positively only to those
managerial principles, motivational appeals, educational formulas, and legal or
ethical codes that are appropriate to the current level of human existence.
Although Graves passed away in 1986, Don Beck and Chris Cowan continue to expand
on Graves's original insights. They founded a think tank called the "National Values
Center," and Beck later founded the "Institute of Values and Culture" out of which grew
the spiral dynamics integral model of value system evolution (Beck, 2002a). Spiral
dynamics researchers and practitioners use the model to solve a variety of problems.
For instance, Beck made over 63 trips to South Africa between 1981 and 1999 to
launch an initiative first called "Strategic Evolution" (Beck, 2002b, p. 122).
During that period, my basic role was to reshape the definitions the various sectors
of society were using to stereotype each other, replacing the usual racial/ethnic
categories with an understanding of these value system or memetic differences, all
of which were alive in that global microcosm. The complexity of the South
African situation had been simplified down to what is morally right or wrong along
race lines, and that was a grave mistake. Much sympathy was lavished on the black
"struggle," and rightfully so. But getting rid of what they didn't want--
apartheid--was not the same thing as getting what they did want--a just and
prosperous society. (2002b, p. 122)
Beck goes on to describe how he used spiral dynamics to communicate in newspaper
articles, discussions, and negotiations that were "influential in convincing Afrikaner
political leaders in Pretoria to release Nelson Mandela and start the peace process," which
eventually ended South African apartheid without a civil war (Wilber, 2000c; Beck,
2002b, p. 122). The Zulus named him "Amizimuthi," which means "One with Strong
Medicine" (Beck, 2002b, p. 122). Beck' s current client list includes President Vicente
Fox' s administration in Mexico and Prime Minister Tony Blair' s Department of
International Development in Great Britain (Cohen, 2004, p. 14). To date, the spiral
dynamics model has been tested with more than 50,000 people from first-, second-, and
third-world countries, and there have been no maj or exceptions found to the general
model (Wilber, 2000c, p. 6).
The most noteworthy of the early worldview scholars is Jean Gebser (1905-1973).
Born in Posen, Prussia, Gebser traveled across Europe (befriending Picasso along the
way) and eventually settling in Zurich, Switzerland where he worked with Carl Jung. In
1949, Gebser published The Ever-Present Origin, his most profound statement on the
unfolding worldviews of humanity (Gebser, 1985). In this work, he traces the
"(discontinuous mutation" of consciousness through five major structural "leaps." By
"consciousness structure," Gebser means "the visibly emerging perception of reality" or,
in other words, worldview (Keckeis, 1985, p. xx).
With an intuition of integral methodological pluralism, Gebser went beyond mere
synthesis, using instead the Greek term "systasis," meaning "put together; connection;
forming" (1985, p. 292). Gebser explains that "systasis is the conjoining or fitting
together of parts into integrality .. the means whereby we are able to open up our
consolidated spatial consciousness to the integrating consciousness of the whole" (1985,
p. 310). He asserts that his approach "attempts to present in visible, tangible, and audible
form the respective consciousness structures from within their specific modalities and
unique constitutions by means appropriate to their natures" (1985, p. 2). Gebser follows
this method by examining fiye worldviews from many angles: the natural sciences
(mathematics, physics, biology), the sciences of mind (psychology, philosophy), the
social sciences (jurisprudence, sociology, economics), and the arts (music, architecture,
Along with Gebser, Gerald Heard (1889-1971) stands as one of the great early
pioneers in worldview research. Originally from London, Heard was educated at
Cambridge University and taught at Oxford University. With his friend Aldous Huxley,
he moved to the United States in 1937 after being offered the chair of historical
anthropology at Duke University (Barrie, 2002). Feeling too constrained at Duke, he
founded his own college called Trabuco while continuing to lecture at maj or American
universities such as Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, UCLA, and Berkeley. A prolific author,
Heard wrote thirty-eight books during his life, the most insightful arguably being his first
The Ascent ofHumanity (1929) and his last The Five Ages of2an (1963).
Aldous Huxley once wrote, "The Universe is a continuum; but our knowledge of it
is departmentalized. Every learned Society is a pigeonhole, every University a
columbarium. Gerald Heard is that rare being, a man who makes his mental home on the
vacant spaces between the pigeonholes." Indeed, like Gebser, Heard incorporated data
from diverse disciplines into a unified whole (Barrie, 2002). And like Graves, he viewed
both human phylogeny and ontogeny as a "spiraling evolution of consciousness"
(Houston, 1980, p. 183; Heard, 1963, p. 88, 97). Worldviews, or cosmologies as Heard
calls them, are the "core beliefs that [people] espouse about the universe and themselves,
and the frame of reference by which they interpret and understand life" (Barrie, 2002).
Jumping ahead to more contemporary scholarship, sociologist Paul Ray and
psychologist Sherry Ruth Anderson authored The Cultural Creatives in 2000. Ray spent
13 years as executive vice president of American LIVES, Inc., a market research and
opinion polling firm specializing in psychographic analysis (Ray and Anderson, 2000).
During this time, Ray used both quantitative survey techniques in addition to qualitative
interviews and focus groups to study the lifestyles, interests, values, expectations and
symbols of Americans. Ray and Anderson make a concerted effort to differentiate their
methodology from a one-dimensional demographic study:
Most surveys are content to classify people by demographic categories: male or
female, black or white, white collar or blue collar, income, education. It's familiar
and easy to do. But those conventional categories show only a thin slice of
people's lives. The research findings we report here do not reflect [only] 'the
demographics.' Rather, our research is values research, which leads directly to a
rich and many-dimensional description of what Americans are up to--and why.
(2000, p. 22)
Finally, Ronald Inglehart, professor of political science and program director at the
Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, has conducted rigorous
investigations into the development of global value patterns, beginning with his
groundbreaking book The Silent Revolution: Changing Values and Political Styles
Among Western Publics (1977). Inglehart clearly states his central thesis that "the basic
value priorities of Western publics seem to be changing as their societies move into a
Post-Industrial phase of development" (1977, p. 21).
The process of change is not as ephemeral as the flow of events might suggest.
Instead it appears to reflect a transformation of basic world views. It seems to be
taking place quite gradually but steadily, being rooted in the formative experiences
of whole generation-units. (emphasis added) (Inglehart, 1977, p. 21).
He further suggests that this "transformation of basic world views" moves in a "specific
direction," signaling an "evolutionary drift" towards value systems of greater inclusion
and acceptance (1977, p. 4, 22).
Inglehart coordinates the steering committee that operates "The World Values
Survey," the most ambitious attempt by social scientists to measure and track global
value patterns. Inglehart regards the world values surveys as providing "a broader range
of variation than has ever before been available for analyzing the impact of the values
and beliefs of mass publics on political and social life" (2003).
The World Values Survey is a worldwide investigation of sociocultural and
political change. It has carried out representative national surveys of the basic
values and beliefs of publics in more than 65 societies on all six inhabited
continents, containing almost 80 percent of the world's population. .. This
investigation has produced evidence of gradual but pervasive changes in what
people want out of life, and the basic direction of these changes is, to some extent,
predictable. This study has given rise to more than 300 publications, in 16
languages. (Inglehart, 2003)
An international network of social scientists facilitates the proj ect, conducting numerous
waves of interview surveys over the past twenty-Hyve years. The next chapter discusses
some developmental dynamics of worldviews and then investigates the four worldviews
most relevant to contemporary American culture.
The next four sections cover the four worldviews most applicable to contemporary
American culture. Not all possible worldviews will not be covered, namely those at the
very top and the very bottom of the spectrum. See appendix B for a description of all
eight spiral dynamic levels. The presentation below will combine the research Eindings
of Graves, Beck, Cowan, Gebser, Heard, Inglehart, Anderson, Ray, and Wilber. Note
that these theorists arrived independently at the same worldview levels through their own
research efforts. By combining the research Eindings, a developmental holarchy emerges
that unfolds into ever-increasing levels of inclusion--from traditional-mythic to rational-
achi evi st to plurali sti c-communitari an to integral-exi stenti al.
"A single guiding force controls the world and determines our destiny. Its abiding
Truth provides structure and order for all aspects of living here on Earth and rules
the heavens, as well. My life has meaning because the fires of redemption burn in
my heart. I follow the appointed Pathway which ties me with something much
greater than myself [a cause, belief, tradition, organization, or movement]. I stand
fast for what is right, proper, and good, always subj ecting myself to the directives
of proper authority. I willingly sacrifice my desires in the present in the sure
knowledge that I look forward to something wonderful in the future."
Beck and Cowan give this fictional, first-person account of the worldview they call
"Purposeful Blue" (1996, p. 229). To facilitate and simplify discourse, spiral dynamics
gives each worldview a color tag. I will freely use these colors--in this case Blue--for
easy shorthand reference and to aid memory. Graves originally called this stage "saintly
existence (D-Q)"; Heard called it "the midindividual"; Gebser named it "the mythical
structure;" for Wilber it is "mythic-membership"'; and Inglehart, Ray, and Anderson all
call it "traditional" (Graves, 1974, p. 74; Heard, 1963, p. 42; Gebser, 1985, p. 61;
Wilber, 1999c, p. 405; Inglehart and Baker, 2000; Ray and Anderson, 2000). Despite the
different labels, all the researchers are describing the same underlying value orientation.
The Blue worldview is traditional and conservative, emphasizing order,
consistency, and convention. Blue's core values echo themes of meaning, direction, and
purpose in life. Blue values include these (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 46):
* One sacrifices self to the transcendent Cause, Truth, or righteous Pathway
* The Order enforces a code of conduct based on eternal, absolute principles
* Righteous living produces stability now and guarantees future reward
* Impulsivity is controlled through guilt; everybody has their proper place
* Laws, regulations, and discipline build character and moral fiber
The Blue value structure views the world from an absolutistic, polarized, black and white
perspective. Honoring and submitting to authority, Blue allows the conventional system
to define good/bad, right/wrong.
Good opposes Evil in an ongoing battle for dominion. .. There is no room for
compromise or gray areas among the devout True Believers for whom wishy-
washy moderation is worse than declaring with the enemy. .. Invoking the sacred
name of Authority is part of Blue whether the Lord, the Prophet, Chairman Mao, or
'in the name of the Law. (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 233)
Or as Graves puts it, "The measure of his worthiness is how much he has lived by the
established rules" (1974, p. 74).
But to live up to the established rules, Blue must tame chaos into order, both
externally and internally. A person, Heard explains, "discovers that he must find a
method of disciplining himself. For not only is outer nature unpredictable, powerful,
dangerous, and uncontrollable but his own nature betrays him. The Universe is
unfriendly and man is fallen" (1963, p. 51). The sinful nature of humans and the
impossibility of perfectly following every external rule creates guilt, which peaks at Blue
(Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 232). Wilber' s fictional, phenomenological account of a
young girl underscores Blue's familiarity with guilt.
The priests tell us that there was a time that our ancestors walked with the Creator,
but then something terrible happened. We pray twice daily to be returned to before
the mistake. I pray very hard, but the last time I prayed hard, my sister died
anyway. My uncle said I must pray harder, so something must be wrong with me.
(Wilber, 2000a, p. 413)
Guilt arises in the young girl from failing to please the Authority and being punished for
it; "a lonely creature pitted against an unfriendly Nature" (Heard, 1963, p. 51).
Ray and Anderson also recognize the Blue value schema. Not surprisingly, they
call it "Tradional" as "shorthand for a complex cultural conservatism [that] refers to a
real subculture of shared values and familiar customs, rich with the details of life" (2000,
p. 30). According to their data, Traditionals account for 24.5 percent of the American
population, or 48 million adults (Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 30). They list specific
attitudes indicative of a Blue/Traditionalist worldview (Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 31-
* Patriarchs should again dominate family life.
* Family, church, and community are where you belong.
* The conservative version of their own particular religious traditions must be
* Customary and familiar ways of life should be maintained.
* It' s important to regulate sex--pornography, teen sex, extramarital sex--and
* Men should be proud to serve their country in the military.
* All the guidance you need for your life can be found in the Bible.
* Country and small-town life is more virtuous than big-city or suburban life.
* Our country needs to do more to support virtuous behavior.
* Preserving civil liberties is less important then restricting immoral behavior.
* Freedom to carry arms is essential.
* Foreigners are not welcome.
Demographically speaking, American Traditionals have an average age of 55 and a
median family income of only $23,750 per year, partly due to retirees (based on 1995
data) (Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 32). In general, the data shows they are older, poorer,
less educated, and more religious than other Americans.
Although participation in a traditional organized religion (i.e., Catholics, Mormons,
fundamentalists, or evangelical Protestants) often indicates a Blue value system, Blue
does not need religious participation to flourish. "Deference to the authority of God,
Fatherland, and Family are all closely linked" (Inglehart and Baker, 2000, p. 25). Take
Heard' s analysis of Blue' s attraction to the atheistic Communist ideology of the Soviet
Union. Referring to Communism, Heard says, "we see the pressures being attempted
which in the great ascetic [Blue] age produced (1963, p. 138):
1. the man who accuses himself, denounces his own actions, and informs on others:
"the right-acting man"
2. the examiner of conscience and the spiritual judge, the ideal
3. the one revelation, absolute and final, the code to which utter submission must be
made in the name of quod semper, quod ubique, quod omnibus.
Extreme nationalism or patriotism, wherever it occurs, spurs a black and white "my
country right or wrong" attitude, or as George W. Bush puts it "You're either with us or
Lastly, Inglehart arrives at nearly identical conclusions from value data obtained
not only from America, but from the entire world. Inglehart also chooses the term
"traditional" to describe the general value orientation in people who "show relatively low
levels of tolerance for abortion, divorce, and homosexuality; tend to emphasize male
dominance in economic and political life, deference to parental authority, and the
importance of family life, and are relatively authoritarian; most of them place strong
emphasis on religion" (Inglehart and Baker, 2000, p. 23-24). See appendix C for
Inglehart' s chart, displaying some defining attitudes of the Blue value schema.
Blue's ethnocentric values and conventional moral development appear in all
Inglehart's attitudinal analyses. For instance, ethnocentric nationalism leads people to
favor "more respect for authority, take protectionist attitudes towards foreign trade, and
feel that environmental problems can be solved without international agreements"
(Inglehart and Baker, 2000, p. 25). Traditionals accept national authority passively,
rarely discussing politics or questioning "official" received knowledge (Inglehart and
Baker, 2000, p. 25). Inglehart goes on to say that traditional worldviews "emphasize
social conformity rather than individualistic striving, favor consensus rather than open
political conflict, support deference to authority, and have high levels of national pride
and a nationalistic outlook" (2000, p. 25).
"I want to achieve, and win, and get somewhere in my life. The world is full of
opportunities for those who'll seize the day and take some calculated risks.
Nothing is certain, but if you're good, you play the odds and Eind the best choices
among many. You've got to believe in yourself first, then everything else falls into
place. You can't get bogged down in structure or rules if they hold back progress.
Instead, by practical applications of tried-and-true experience, you can make things
better and better for yourself. I'm confident in my own abilities and intend to make
a difference in this world. Gather data, build a strategic plan, then go for
These statements represent the values of someone at the "Achievist Orange"
worldview level (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 244). Again, all our featured researchers
recognize this stage using slightly different names: Graves: "materialistic existence (E-
R)," Heard: "total individual or self-sufficient man," Gebser: rational-perspectival, the
mental structure," Wilber: "rational-egoic," Ray and Anderson: "Moderns," Inglehart:
"materialist, secular-rational" (Graves, 1974, p. 75; Heard, 1963, p. 56; Gebser, 1985, p.
73; Wilber, 1999c, p. 518; Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 25; Inglehart, 1977, p. 41).
Orange is the worldview of modernity, which, for the first time, used Orange
values to apply universal principles to all humans, cutting across group loyalties. Such
rational, universal principles include "greater equality among persons, personal freedom
and liberty, justice, citizen's rights (for example, freedom of speech, religion, assembly,
and fail trials), representative and deliberative democracy, and equality before the law"
(Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 26). In the late eighteenth century, the Constitution of the
United States brilliantly institutionalized Orange values in a population with a Blue value
Aristotle, Gebser remarks, calls the human an "animal rationale, an animal with the
gift of rationality. And in the word ratio--which means 'to reckon' as well as 'to
calculate' in the sense of 'to think' and 'understand'--is found the principal characteristic
of the perspectival world: directedness and perspectivity, together with--unavoidably--
sectorial partitioning" (Gebser, 1985, p. 74). A person at this materialistic stage, states
Graves, "develops and utilizes the objectivistic, positivistic, operationalistic, scientific
method so as to provide the material ends for a satisfactory human existence in the here
and now" (1974, p. 75).
During the cultural transformation from traditional to modern, Heard asserts that
"tradition was demoted from its office of supreme judge. Reason was ordered to take on
experimentation as its vicar or suffragan. Dogma and argument could stand only if
supported by experiment" (Heard, 1963, p. 147). When the Orange worldview first arose
in ancient Greece, "man had to direct and judge himself; herein lies the almost
superhuman grandeur of the age that became a reality around 500 B.C. in Greece via the
mutation to the mental structure" (Gebser, 1985, p. 79). Fading during the middle ages,
Orange reappeared around 1250 A.D. in Europe. "The new Man of the Renaissance, the
man of recently intensified self-consciousness, aware of this distinctive and separative
individualism, was keen to reason and sharply equipped to argue" (Heard, 1963, p. 60).
Industrialization extended Orange's desire to direct and control the physical
environment to unprecedented levels. Many industrialists equated progress with
exploiting natural resources and life became a "game against fabricated nature" (Bell,
1973, p. 147). Peter Bowler, an environmental historian, explains that mythic
worldviews were "eliminated because Nature had to be despiritualized if people were to
feel comfortable when they used the Earth for their own selfish ends. The mechanistic
view of Nature may have been created to legitimize the ruthless attitude of an age in
which profit was the only motive that mattered" (1992, p. 69). Despite Bowler's bias,
Inglehart gives a similar description of the Orange situation:
A technical, mechanical, rationalized bureaucratic world directed toward the
external problem of creating and dominating the environment. As human control
of the environment increased, the role ascribed to religion and God dwindled.
Materialistic ideologies arose with secular interpretations of history, and secular
utopias were to be attained by human engineering operating through rationally
organized bureaucratic organizations. (Inglehart and Baker, 2000, p. 21-22)
As the history of modernity demonstrates, Orange strives for progress, success,
status, and affluence. Spiral Dynamics offers this summary of Orange value assumptions
(Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 46):
* Change and advancement are inherent within the scheme of things
* Progress by learning nature's secrets and seeking out best solutions
* Manipulate Earth's resources to create and spread the abundant good life
* Optimistic, risk-taking, and self-reliant people deserve their success
* Societies prosper through strategy, technology, and competitiveness
See specific attitudes of Orange in appendix C. One need not look far to locate Orange
values in contemporary American culture because Orange is the dominant culture.
Read Time, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week,
Forbes, or USA Today, and you will get the official ideology laid out in detail, day
after day. It' s the culture we see at all levels of government, in the military, and in
the courts. It' s the normal culture found in the office towers and factories of big
business; in banks and the stock market; in university science labs and high-tech
firms; in hospitals and most doctors' offices; in mainline churches and synagogues;
in the "best" schools and colleges. It's the culture of professional football,
basketball, and baseball leagues; chain stores and malls; most TV programs; and
most "mainstream" magazine and newspaper articles. The standards we [as
Americans] take for granted, the rules we live by, are made by and for Moderns.
Their worldview is so all-encompassing and their viewpoint so much presupposed
that most Modems can't see any alternatives. (Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 25).
In short, Modems accept the values associated with a materialistic, commercialized,
urban-industrial world as the obvious right way to live. Life is a series of "executive
summaries, sound bites, and quick takes" where "image often counts more than
substance" (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 252). Fighting for victory and achievement at all
costs, Orange values "materialism over spiritualism, pragmatism over principle, and
short-range victories over longer term guarantees" (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 251).
Demographic figures complement the above psychographic analysis by revealing
that about 48 percent of Americans (93 million out of a total of about 193 million adults)
hold the Orange worldview as of 1999, and their median family income in 1995 was
$42,500 per year (Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 25). Consider this fictional, first-person
I've been an electrical engineer for over three decades, because it works, it is
verifiable, it betters human lives. There is a real world out there, with real tnrth in
it, and real hard work required to dig it out. .. The fortress of science, is how I
think of it. It will stand forever, constantly updated. .. We human beings, for
good or ill, are the only gods in existence, the only force of rational intention and
good will. And we will save ourselves if we can be saved at all. The Bible is right
about one thing: the tnrth will set you free. And science is the only path of
discovering truth. (Wilber, 2000a, p. 414)
As the engineer expresses, Orange values "what's good, approved, efficient, and worthy
of praise, the latest and most stylish, the most competitive and profitable" (Ray and
Anderson, 2000, p. 26).
"Life is for experiencing each moment. We can all come to understand who we are
and how wondrous it is to be human if we will only accept that everyone is equal
and important. All must share in the joy of togetherness and fulfillment. Each
spirit is connected to all others in our community; every soul travels together. We
are interdependent beings in search of love and involvement. The community
grows by synergizing life forces; artificial diversions take away from everyone.
There is an abiding order in the universe for those who are open to it. Bad attitudes
and negative beliefs dissolve once we look inside each person and uncover the
The level of worldview development described here suggests postmodern values.
The "Communitarian Green" worldview in spiral dynamics again matches up with the
other models. The research suggests that "the emergence of post-industrial society seems
to be stimulating further evolution of prevailing worldviews"--a shift away from
"materialistic, secular-rational" values and towards what Inglehart calls "post-industrial,
post-materialist" values (Inglehart, 2000, p. 222; Inglehart and Baker, 2000, p. 22).
People with a postmodern, Green worldview--or "cultural creative" as Ray and
Anderson call them-rej ect many of mainstream America' s Orange values.
Cultural Creatives are disenchanted with 'owning more stuff,' materialism, greed,
me-firstism, status display, glaring social inequalities of race and class, society's
failure to care adequately for elders, women, and children, and the hedonism and
cynicism that pass for realism in modern society. They also reject the intolerance
and narrowness of social conservatives and the Religious Right. They are critical
of almost every big institution in modern society, including both corporations and
government. They reject narrow analyses and are sick of fragmentary and
superficial glosses in the media that don't depict what they see, or explain what
they know from their own direct experience. (2000, p. 17)
In agreement, Inglehart says, "To have a Post-Materialist world-view means that one is
apt to be out of harmony with the type of society in which one lives," since no society has
a Green majority or center-of-gravity (1977, p. 365). Cultural creative are literally
creating a new Green culture while living within the dominant Orange culture.
Green communities hold values of belonging, relationship, and pluralism sacred.
Heard calls this the stage of humanitarianism, marked by an "interest in human beings
regardless of the type to which they may belong" (1963, p. 88). Cultural creative with
"postmodern values emphasize self-expression instead of deference to authority and are
tolerant of other groups and even regard exotic things and cultural diversity as
stimulating and interesting, not threatening" (Inglehart, 2000, p. 223). If in Orange
America everyone melts into a moderate, bland, mucilaginouss whole" within the
melting pot, Green America worships the ethnic, multifarious diversity of the patchwork
quilt (Houston, 1980, p. 190). For Inglehart, this value transformation gives all the
indications that a "silent revolution" is underway (1977, p. 363).
During the Green stage, says Graves, a person (or culture) displays a
"personalistic" value system, becoming "centrally concerned with peace, with his inner
self, and in the relation of his self to the inner self of others" (1974, p. 75). The spiral
dynamics model gives examples of Green values (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 46):
* The human spirit must be freed from greed, dogma, and divisiveness
* Feelings, sensitivity, and caring supersede cold rationality
* Spread the Earth's resources and opportunities equally among all
* Reach decisions through reconciliation and consensus processes
* Refresh spirituality, bring harmony, and enrich human development
* See appendix C for an extended list of Green attitudes.
For Inglehart, post-materialist values include "subj ective well-being, interpersonal trust,
political activism, and tolerance of outgroups (Inglehart and Baker, 2000, p. 29). A
person with Green values tends to be "communitarian, egalitarian, and consensual" (Beck
and Cowan, 1996, p. 264). Belonging, being accepted, and maintaining harmony within
the group is essential. Always advocating peace through nonviolence, Green believes
that "interactions with our fellows need no longer be based on violence and competition
but on cooperation" (Heard, 1963, p. 89).
Most value scholars point to the 1960s as the birth of Green values in the United
States, and "this change in world views has given rise to a wide range of new social
movements" (Inglehart, 2000, p. 224). Indeed, all the major social revolutions of that
time have Green footprints: social justice movements, ethnic advocacy movements
(Hispanic, Native American, etc.), international NGOs (world peace, human rights,
hunger, third world development), civil rights movement, antinuclear movement, holistic
health and alternative health care movements, environmental and ecology movements,
new age movement, women's movement, organic foods and vegetarian movements,
human potential movement (humanistic psychology, bodywork), gay and lesbian
liberation movements (Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 115). Political scientists would most
likely place these social movements towards the liberal end of the political spectrum.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that "Post-Materialists [Green] tend to take a less
conservative, more change-oriented stand in politics than the Materialist [Orange] types.
Post-Materialist types are significantly more likely to align themselves with the 'Left' or
'Liberal' position than are the Materialist types" (Inglehart, 1977, p. 61-62).
Research data indicates that Green values are increasing. "During the past 25
years, these values have become increasingly widespread in almost all advanced
industrial societies for which extensive time-series evidence is available" (Inglehart and
Baker, 2000, p. 27-28). In the 1960s only 5% of the American population possessed a
Green value orientation (Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 4). In the mid-seventies, Inglehart
reported that they comprised 12% of the United States population (Inglehart, 1977, p.
362). In 2000, the Green population has grown to 26% (50 million people) in America
(Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 4).
Cultural creative place a huge importance on the environment' s health.
"Postmodern values give priority to environmental protection and cultural issues, even
when these goals conflict with maximizing economic growth" (Inglehart, 2000, p. 223).
Nearly every cultural creative agrees with survey questions like these: "We should
change how we live now so future generations can enj oy a good quality of life; Human
survival depends on finding better ways to balance economic growth with environmental
protection; Humans are part of nature, not its ruler; The Earth is headed for an
environmental crisis unless we change; Nature has value far beyond the practical uses we
can make of it" (Ray and Anderson, 2000, p. 160). Green's worldcentric outlook
naturally evokes an awareness of ecological interconnectedness and a strong desire to
heal the Earth.
Finally, Green replaces organized religion with spirituality. Participation in
organized religion has steadily declined in postindustrial societies (Inglehart and Baker,
2000, p. 46). Interestingly, as allegiance to established religious institutions falls,
spiritual concerns rise. Inglegart remarks that "the established churches today may be on
the wrong wavelength for most people in postindustrial societies, but new theologies,
such as the 'theology' of environmentalism, or New Age beliefs, are emerging to fill an
expanding niche" (2000, p. 47). Wuthnow also concludes that the decline of organized
religion in America is accompanied by the rise of spiritual concerns, a shift from what he
calls a "spirituality of dwelling" (emphasizing sacred places) to a "spirituality of seeking"
(emphasizing a personal quest for new spiritual avenues) (Wuthnow, 1998; Inglehart and
Baker, 2000). With Green, the quest for inner wisdom begins, unconstrained by
"Viability must be restored to a disordered world endangered by the cumulative
effects of the first six [value] systems on the earth' s environment and populations.
The purpose of living is to be independent within reason; knowledgeable so much
as possible; and caring, so much as realistic. Yet I am my own person, accountable
to myself, an island in an archipelago of other people. Continuing to develop along
a natural pathway is more highly valued than striving to have or do. I am
concerned for the world's conditions because of the impact they have on me as part
of this living system."
Clare Graves and Spiral Dynamics deem the transformation from "Communitarian
Green" to "Integrative Yellow" as a "momentous leap" (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 274;
Graves, 1974). They call the previous three value stages (Blue, Orange, Green) "first-tier
subsistence levels," while Yellow marks the first of the "second-tier being levels" (Beck
and Cowan, 1996, p. 274). Postconventional values deepen into fully universal,
existential concerns: "life and death, authenticity, full bodymind integration, self-
actualization, global awareness, holistic embrace" (Wilber, 1999a, p. 537). Yellow
worldviews include these values (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 275):
* Accept the inevitability of nature' s flows and forms
* Focus on functionality, competence, flexibility, and spontaneity
* Find natural mix of conflicting 'truths' and 'uncertainties'
* Discovering personal freedom without harm to others or excesses of self-interest
* Experience fullness of living on an Earth of such diversity in multiple dimensions
* Demand integrative and open systems
* Life is a kaleidoscope of natural hierarchies, systems, and forms
* The magnificence of existence is valued over material possessions
* Knowledge and competency should supersede rank, power, status
* Differences can be integrated into interdependent, natural flows
Please see appendix C for an expanded list. According to Beck and Cowan's data, less
than 2% of the world' s population has reached second tier or higher (1996). Due to such
small numbers, most value researches fail to identify this leading-edge value level.
Jean Gebser is an exception. He detected the Yellow worldview structure-which
he named "integral-aperspectival"-back in the mid-twentieth century (1985, p. 24).
Gebser employs the term "aperspectival" to "emphasize the need of overcoming the mere
antithesis of affirmation and negation," moving from "either-or" to "both-and" (1985, p.
2). His concern "is with integrality and ultimately with the whole; the word
'aperspectival' conveys our attempt to deal with wholeness" (1985, p. 3). Like an ever-
changing kaleidoscope, Gebser's highest level values all perspectives and privileges no
view as final, while attempting to integrate them into a coherent whole.
"Man," says Gebser, "is the integrality of his mutations. Only to the extent that he
succeeds in living the whole is his life truly integral" (1985, p. 153). A person with a
Yellow value awareness intuitively recognizes her compound individuality and the stages
through which she and everyone else evolves.
As Yellow peaks, scales drop from our eyes enabling us to see, for the first time,
the legitimacy of all of the human systems awakened to date. They are forms of
human existence that have a right to be. The systems are seen as dynamic forces
that, when healthy, contribute to the overall viability of the Spiral and, as a result,
to the continuation of life itself. (Beck and Cowan, 1996, p. 276)
The rainbow of worldviews in both self and others become visible or "transparent" to
someone at Yellow. No worldview is "wrong" and each has its legitimate and proper
place in the unfolding spiral.
As they develop, worldviews transcend and include each other so that "these
structures are not merely past, but are in fact still present in more or less latent and acute
form in each one of us" (Gebser, 1985, p. 42). Value systems naturally appear
multidimensional for someone proficient at Yellow. "The various structures that
constitute him must have become transparent and conscious to him; it also means that he
has perceived their effect on his life and destiny, and mastered the deficient components
by his insight so that they acquire the degree of maturity and equilibrium necessary for
any concretion" (Gebser, 1985, p. 99).
The transparency of second-tier value awareness allows one to handle complex
problems, previously unsolvable at first-tier. Individuals at Yellow welcome paradox and
uncertainty. They adeptly orchestrate Win:Win:Win outcomes by finding "ways to