Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber

Mark EdwardsMark Edwards has an M.Psych in Developmental Psychology and a PhD in organisation theory from the University of Western Australia. He now works at Jönköping University in Sweden where he teaches and researches in the area of sustainability and ethics. Before becoming an academic he worked with people with disabilities for twenty years. He is the author of Organizational Transformation for Sustainability: An Integral Metatheory (Routledge, 2009) .

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII

Through AQAL Eyes

Part 3:
Applied Integral Holonics:
The Example of Developmental Health and Pathology
in Personal and Social Holons

Mark Edwards

This essay is part of a series looking at the holon construct and how it relates to Integral theory. The first essay, Through AQAL Eyes – Part 1 (June 2002), presents a critique of the Wilber-Kofman proposition of separate holonic categories. I concluded that the Wilber-Kofman model of separate holonic categories violates several Integral theory principles and that, in any event, such categories are not needed to overcome the "mixing problem" and other problems identified by Wilber and Kofman. I propose that such issues were better handled through a more complete assimilation of Koesler's Holon construct within Wilber's Integral theory. The second essay, Through AQAL Eyes, Part – 2 (November 2002), offered just such an alternative. It outlined a perspective on Integral theory that fully integrates holon theory within the AQAL framework. I proposed that the twenty tenets of holon theory are equivalent to the basic principles of the AQAL framework and that they should be regarded as such irrespective of the scale at which they are applied – be that the ultimate scale of the Kosmic TOE (the Kosmic Holon) or the intimate scale of common everyday holons. This perspective completely unites the AQAL model and holon theory and allows us to see holons as the basic unit of analysis for Integral theory. As a result the AQAL model gains greater applied flexibility and analytical power. The new perspective also enables the dynamics of the model, such as the Involution-Evolution cycle, to be placed on an equal footing with its more visible structural aspect, such as quadrants and levels. This third essay in the series applies the unified holon/AQAL framework to the topics of developmental health and pathology for both personal and social realms of human development. In doing this I introduce the notion of an applied Integral Holonics. Integral Holonics is the "science" of applying Integral theory. It refers to the methodologies that flow from the full integration of the AQAL framework and holon as described in "Through AQAL Eyes – Part 2"

The holon - Integral theory's unit of analysis

The development of the human, in both its personal and social forms, is the most complex phenomena that we yet know about in the Kosmos. To understand this process in any sort of detailed and valid fashion is, to put it mildly, a big ask. It is my opinion that Ken Wilber's Integral theory is the only philosophical/epistemological/theoretical framework that attempts to present a comprehensive understanding of the complex and multi-layered reality that we see about us. One of the most attractive central features of Integral theory is that it does not rely on ontological reductionism to simplify that complexity, as do many other branches of science. The neurologist and the medical specialist reduce the human to the biochemical with their unit of study being the chemical compound. The behaviourist reduces the human to physical action with their unit of study being the behavioural stimulus-response cycle. The cognitivist reduces the human to the world of behaviour and thought with their basic unit of explanation being the pattern of thought, belief or feeling. The evolutionist reduces it to reproductive advantage with the locus of explanation being the adaptive interaction between environment and phenotype. The sociologist reduces the human to the world of interpersonal relations and group dynamics with their focus of explanation being the social event. The humanist reduces the human to the world of being and identity with authenticity in word and deed being their centre of interest. The transpersonalist reduces, or more correctly elevates, the human to the world of spirit and finds explanation in the analysis of the mystical event.

All these disciplines simplify human complexity to find something of certainty, something that is true, something that will have lasting validity. And, in their own way, each of the main perspectives on human reality does contribute unique knowledge to the quest for understanding that so occupies us. As Wilber has often pointed out, all these contributions are partially correct. The human can be understood and explained through the study of the physical, the chemical, the animal, the social, the political, the cognitive, the existential, the spiritual, and the historical. Once this partiality is recognised, we are then faced with the problem of truly integrating the valid and the true of each and bringing them into some semblance of coherency. And the very first task that is required for this integrative endeavour to be successful is to identify a unit of analysis or explanation that does not privilege any of the units of analysis or explanation associated with partial views.

In my opinion it is one of Wilber's greatest insights that he has been able to identity an explanatory reference point that avoids the ontological pitfalls that have so plagued all previous explanatory elements. In so doing Wilber allows Integral theory to transcend (and integrate) all the reductionisms of the partial views to boldly propose that the true locus of explanation does not reside in any particular level of reality and cannot be limited to any single domain of investigation. The basic unit of analysis for Integral theory is not the atom, or the molecule, or the mathematical unit, or the interpretive perspective, or the cognitive pattern, or the historical event, or the spiritual revelation. For Integral theory the unit of analysis, it's basic point of explanation, analysis, reference and "measurement" is the "holon". This term, first coined by Arthur Koestler (who also outlined the first theoretical framework for applying the holon construct), refers to the concept that all entities, events, facts, and experiences are both holistic systems and particulates of other systems.

The reductive research paradigm has been immensely successful for investigating physical and chemical phenomena. More recently holistic approaches like the various systems theories, humanistic disciplines, and developmental theories have been successfully applied to social phenomena. The holon, the "part-whole", has a built in non-reductive perspective that allows for the simultaneous recognition that anything can be studied holistically and anything can be analysed reductively at the same time. This combination of holistic and reductive methodologies also introduces a new element and immensely important capacity for explanatory methodologies that utilise this part-whole focus of explanation. It now means that the various types of reductive science can now be carried out in relational context. The disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, the humanities, sociology, theology, and cultural studies can now be pursued within a cross-disciplinary framework that connects and situates their disparate findings and truths instead of juxtaposing them. By allowing for both holistic and reductive methodologies, the holon framework introduces an integrative dimension of implementing those approaches that no other approach can claim. This new capacity lies at the heart of Wilber's (2002) recent call for a revolutionary Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP) – "a project of synthesis".

Holism, reductionism and pluralism

The holon is the holarchic (i.e. hierarchic plus heterarchic) reference point through which the various principles of the AQAL model can be applied. This is the real point behind Wilber's first tenet of holons, "Reality as a whole is not composed of things, or processes, but of holons". He is really pointing out here that holons permit an analytical holism that can evade the reductive errors that result from explanations that rely on some fundamental thing or process. Unfortunately the wording of this tenet suggests that holons themselves are building block composites that in some way fit together to make up Kosmic reality. But this is not at all Wilber's intended reading for this tenet. The holon construct allows Integral theory and it's AQAL methodology to step away from and the methodological battles engaged in by other disciplines and to avoid the reductive pitfalls that abound wherever science seeks to understand complex phenomena. The use of the holon as the means for applying Integral theory also allows the many other truths that have been uncovered by human knowledge quests to be honoured and rightfully situated within a non-reductive context. It is not just that the holon in conjunction with the AQAL principles can investigate systemic and elemental aspect of reality but that it can also, as Wilber says, "acknowledge, honor, and include all authentic modes of human inquiry " (and their valid findings). In short, the full integration of the holon and the AQAL model enables Integral theory to overcome the traditional reductionist propensity to privilege very biased methodologies for gathering observations and experiences and very narrow modes of explanation for understanding them. As Wilber (2002) has recently said:

AQAL, then, is a metatheory that attempts to integrate the most amount of material from an integral methodological pluralism, thus honoring the primary injunction of an integral embrace: Everybody is right.

Everybody, i.e. all major theorists, philosophies and stores of cultural knowledge, are right (within context) and it is the holon construct that allows Integral theory to move without prejudice around these vast domains of human knowledge and pursue its agenda of holistic exploration and analysis. This is why the full integration of the holonic tenets and the various principles of the AQAL formulation is so very important. The inner-outer and agency-communion and part-whole dimensions of the holon are precisely the same as the experiential-behavioural and individual-collective and Eros-Agape dimensions of the Theory of Everything presentation of the AQAL framework. And the same goes for the other corresponding tenets and AQAL principles (see Table 2 in Part 2 of this series). From this perspective the application of holon structures, principles and dynamics is the basis for an Integral methodology. Holons DO NOT occupy, develop in or move around in the AQAL Quadrants, AQAL Levels, AQAL lines, etc. The AQAL structures of Quadrants, Levels, Lines and AQAL dynamics of Evolution, Involution, the Integral Cycle, Eros and Agape are precisely the same as the structures and dynamics of the holon. The combination of the holonic tenets and the AQAL principles forms a set methodologies that might be called Integral Holonics. It is the consistent application of these methods that results in what Wilber has recently termed an Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP). Integral holonics is an example of such an approach to the investigation of events, experiences, and knowledge.

Wilber's principles for an IMP

Wilber (2002b) has recently suggested some principles to begin the implementation of an IMP. These are non-exclusion, enfoldment/unfoldment, and enactment. Wilber defines non-exclusion as follows:

Nonexclusion means that we can accept the valid truth claims (i.e. the truth claims that pass validity tests for their own paradigms in their own fields, whether in hermeneutics, spirituality, science, etc.) insofar as they make statements about the existence of their own enacted and disclosed phenomena, but not when they make statements about the existence of phenomena enacted by other paradigms. (2002b, ¶52)

This principle refers to the acceptance of partial but valid knowledge that has been gleaned by disciplines focusing on particular aspects of holons. Much of this knowledge has been the result of reductionist paradigms (disciplinary matrices/methodologies). The second principle, enfolment/unfoldment is defined as:

nonexclusion often discloses an unfoldment that is enfoldment: in any particular developmental stream, successive waves transcend and include their predecessors, and thus each wave is adequate, each succeeding wave is more adequate. (2002b, ¶73)

In short, in healthy unfolding, each wave is holistic, each succeeding wave is more holistic. (2002b, ¶81)

The unfoldment/enfoldment principle refers to the acceptance of the holistic and developmental nature of knowledge and methods. This principle relates to the idea that all knowledge bases and methods are connected and can illuminate each other. Wilber's third principle, the Enactment principle is explained as follows: Putting all of these modes of inquiry together, as an enactment and disclosure of turquoise cognition, results in what we are calling integral methodological pluralism, which embodies the more practical side of an Integral Post-Metaphysics (Wilber 2002a, ¶64)
phenomena are enacted, brought forth, and disclosed by practices, then we realize that what appeared to be "conflicting phenomena" or experiences are simply different (and fully compatible) experiences brought forth by different practices. (2002b, ¶89)

So enactment refers to the novel capacity of an IMP to situate and provide a new integrative context for all other partial approaches be they reductionist or holistic. It is precisely these three IMP capacities that are made available when the holon is seen as the unit of analysis for Integral theory. This leads to what Wilber calls Integral indexing or conferencing.

"AQAL indexing" ("integral indexing" or "holonic conferencing" [see below]) allows individual paradigms to be seated next to each other at the integrative table, in such as a way that each individual paradigm is honored and acknowledged. (2002b, ¶75)

The holon construct, therefore, allows for the discriminative analysis of phenomena through non-exclusion, it allows for the inclusion of holistic and developmental through unfoldment/unfoldment, and it allows for the active discovery of insight and connective knowledge through its capacity to generate the enactment of integrative practices. In one way or another, the whole of this essay is an attempt to more fully explore the methodological forms that each of these principles might take in an applied use of Integral theory, that is, in the use of Integral holonics.

"Transformations of Consciousness": An early form of Wilber's IMP

Integral holonics is most useful in applications that require a comprehensive framework for the analysis of developmental change. And, of course this means that the model is eminently suited to the investigation of the development and maintenance of personal and social health. Later in this essay I will explore the application of Integral holonics to this topic of individual and social well-being. Many readers will know that Wilber has already dealt extensively with the individual aspect in his book, "Transformations of Consciousness". But, as this book was written before the development of his AQAL framework and his outlining of holonic tenets, the integral treatment of this topic does need some updating. n the following I will outline a more systematic investigation of personal and social health/pathology through the methods of Integral holonics.

Before doing this it might be useful to offer a very brief summary of Wilber's ground-breaking book, Transformations of Consciousness: Conventional and Contemplative Approaches to Human Development. This book describes a model of psychopathology and psychotherapy that is based on his spectrum or multi-layered theory of human consciousness and life-span development. This book proposed, for the first time, a comprehensive conceptual model for understanding the dynamics of pathology in the various identity structures and how these pathologies correspond to specific psychotherapies and treatment modalities. Wilber's model is ground-breaking for several reasons. First, building on the work of many key developmental theorists, he has outlined a dynamic, yet very consistent, system of basic developmental pathologies, ranging from the prepersonal psychotic disorders to personal neuroses and cognitive pathologies to transpersonal disorders and spiritual dis-eases. Second, for each category of pathologies Wilber has pointed out that there were corresponding sets of treatment modalities that can particular developmental fulcrum points where lesions have occurred. Third, Wilber has shown how symptoms and syndromes of maladies could be more systematically interpreted through a more sensitive and scientifically valid diagnostic procedure that, in turn, allows for a more precise application of intervention approaches. For example, the presentation of anxiety should not be interpreted as a one-dimensional symptom that can be addressed by the same treatment modality in all cases. Wilber's new model allows a multilevel diagnostic process that sees the presenting symptom as a result of many possible types of developmental problems, each of which, after further diagnostic steps, may require a different treatment approach. In many ways this new framework of the spectrum of pathologies and treatment modalities is one of Wilber's most important contributions to developmental psychology and, more broadly to our modern conceptions and understandings of individual health and well-being.

In Transformations of Consciousness Wilber utilises his spectrum model of growth in consciousness to propose a model that systematically works through the stages of interior development and their corresponding pathologies and treatments to form an index of such connections. My objective in this essay is to build on this impressive achievement by proposing an Integral index that covers all the other quadrants for both personal and social holons. I will do this through the use of Integral holonics, that is, through the use of an integrated set of AQAL and holonic principles. In other words, I will develop an index of the major phases of health and pathology for individual personal holons and collective holons for the social, cultural and behavioural quadrants in the same way that Wilber has done for the consciousness of individuals. And I will be doing this from a consistent application of the Integral holonics model. I will show how an applied Integral holonics can identify states of health and pathology for all quadrants of the human person holon and the human social holon using all the principles of Integral theory (or as Wilber would say using an Integral Operating System or Integral conferencing).

To start this task I need first to identity the main principles and methodologies that are involved in Integral holonics. These principles will be the factors that will build up our indices of health and pathology. This is an essential step because integral indexing is definitely not just a matter of quadrants and levels, although in many instances that's a good place to start. There are also other crucial factors that need to have some presence in any indexing task that is might be seen as an IMP.

Applied Integral holonics

I don't think that it has been fully acknowledged just how pivotal the holon construct is for Integral theory as a whole. The idea that the AQAL principles of Quadrants, Levels, Lines are intimately present in each single holon has consequences for the way Integral theory investigates any aspect of reality. When our integral gaze rests on a particular phenomenon and boundaries are drawn to analyse, understand and experience that phenomenon, all the range of AQAL principles and holonic laws must be included for an IMP to come into play. As I have suggested, this practical application of Integral theory and its IMP principles might be called Integral holonics because it is based on the application of both AQAL principles and the dynamics of holonic/holarchic processes (i.e. the twenty tenets). The field of applied Integral holonics opens up the possibility of an Integral methodology that can be used to investigate any topic ("A Theory for Anything" – see Part 2) and to situate all other holistic and analytical or more reductive sources of knowledge of that specific topic.

As an example of an IMP, Integral holonics will support the use of all the valid types of methodologies that are currently in use in the natural and human sciences as well as other knowledge quests. The key features of any phenomenon that an Integral holonics will include are:

  1. Structural/Dimensional features: This primarily concerns the AQAL structural features of the holon's quadrants, levels, and lines. Hence an Integral holonics analysis will consider:
    1. the dimensions of interior-exterior structures and agency-communion structures as they are developmentally/historically expressed in the holon, (irrespective of whether this relates to individual holons or collective holons);
    2. all the developmental levels that constitute the growth potentials for the holon, this includes levels that may already have been developed as well as those that are yet to be;
    3. all the developmental lines (agentic, communal, experiential and behavioural) that are salient to a particular holon's developmental history and environmental relations.

  2. Internal Dynamics: The Internal dynamics of a holon come in three main varieties which are all highly related and interdependent - those that operate at the holonic level to bring coherency and unity to the complete system, those that operate between quadrants, and those that operate within quadrants.
    1. The unitive dynamics bring the various dimensional structures into a coherent unity. The most critical of these are those that "connect" the quadrants (see the Integral cycle below), those that "connect" the streams (horizontal connections), and those that "connect" the states of being/action (vertical connections). Unitive dynamics give rise to the "self" system (e.g. autopoiesis, self-organisation) in individual holons and the sense of social identity (some examples of a "localised" social form of self-identity include class consciousness, cultural milieux, Zeitgeist, group think, mob rule, gang identity, nationalism, national character, bystander apathy).
    2. The between-quadrant dynamics constitute the Integral cycle of development. The concept of an Integral cycle is a way representing the mutual interpenetration of the quadrants and their constituent structures and the dynamic relationships that exists between the quadrant domains. The Integral cycle can be considered to operate in any quadrant sequence depending on the historical circumstances and the developmental issue under consideration. Integral cycle dynamics are intimately involved in the balancing act that is required for quadrants, levels and lines of growth and their related dynamics to coalesce into a stable self system. The Integral cycle is the dominant dynamic involved in bringing unitive coherency to the stream and state structures.
    3. The within-quadrant drives and motivational dynamics include evolutionary forces (emergence) expressed as a holon's self-transcendence, and involutionary forces (integration) expressed as a holon's self-immanence. These motivating drives are also known at the Kosmic level as the Ascending and Descending movements and as the Eros and Agape drives. State dynamics can also be considered to be the result of within-quadrant dynamics. There will always be environmental factors either motivating or feeding into the phenomenon of altered states but essentially they are about outlying episodic and chaotic experiences and behaviours which cannot be integrated within the current holonic identity (I do not see the involutionary "states" of sleep and deep sleep as being within this category of altered states. They are not states in the formal sense in that they are not episodic, unusual, or induced. Sleep and deep sleep are simply the integrated presence of previous forms of identity as they appear in a rational-egoic identity).

  3. External-situational dynamics of holonic systems: The external dynamics of holons can be viewed from two basic perspectives. The first relates to the interaction between holons that belong to the same developmental holarchy – intra-holarchic dynamics. The second relates to interactions between holons from two of more different holarchic systems – inter-holarchic dynamics.
    1. Intra-holarchic dynamics can be analysed via generalised versions of the twenty tenets (i.e. by the principles of holonic dynamics). There is no need to postulate separate holonic categories to validate or investigate the relationships between holons from the same or from different holarchic series (see "Through AQAL Eyes Part 1"). An example of intra-holarchic dynamics is developmental scaffolding. Scaffolding is a Vygotskian notion that refers to developmental support provided through expert peers, teachers and supportive environments. In holarchic terms this means that holons are supported to reach the holarchic centre of developmental gravity but are discouraged from progressing beyond it. Scaffolding operates to the mean/mode level but not beyond it.
    2. The external dynamics of holons can be considered within what Wilber's refers to as cross-level analysis. This involves the complexity of relations that arise when different levels from different quadrants developmentally influence each other. For example, when two or more holons encounter each other the interactive dynamics can be considered either supporting or maintaining or hindering, a) inner development, b) behavioural development, c) agentic development, or d) relational development. The substance of these interactions will be filled out by the specific nature of the developmental quadrants, levels, lines and dynamics that will define the nature of the interactions. Clearly such interactions will be very complex and in many cases can result in the emergence of highly unpredictable features.

These structures and dynamics can be used to formulate indexes that are derived from the interaction between Integral theory factors.

Integral indexing

These structures and dynamics result in the indexing factors of: Quadrants x Levels x Lines x Streams x Vertical dynamics x Horizontal dynamics x External dynamics. A basic index will involve the factors and their respective levels (divisions) as shown in Table 1:

Table 1: Integral Indexing Factors

Indexing Factors and Levels
1. four quadrants - consciousness, personal behaviour, worldview, social action
2. three levels - the minimum of pre-normative, normative, and post-normative
3. three streams per quadrants - there are many candidates here
4. two vertical dynamics - evolution and involution
5. two horizontal dynamics - Integral cycle and translational dynamics
6. external dynamics – holonic systems dynamics

The first 5 factors give a basic indexing matrix that can unlock 144 derivative forms, diagnostic categories, explanatory reference points, functional exemplars, etc. Of course, not all of these variants need to be injected into the model on every occasion. But there should be at least some consideration of each of the five types of factors for any systematic consideration of any developmental phenomenon. The sixth factor, that of external dynamics can be considered in many different ways. One is to look at those external dynamics that hinder, maintain/legitimise, or initiate development. Another way to consider externals is via Wilber's relational exchanges and cross-level dynamics. This is an immense topic and really requires a detailed outlining of the principles of holonic systems. This will be the focus of Part 4 of this series on holons. For present purposes the external relations for a holon can be regarded as described above.

An Integral methodology will include some consideration of all these elements of quadrants, levels, lines, internal and external dynamics. For example, it is possible to consider the development of a holon across all evolutionary quadrants and through all major levels of development but if the developmental lines of that holon are not considered the resulting analysis can lack the multidimensionality that is required for a truly Integral approach. In my view, Spiral Dynamics, even in its new SDi form, falls into this category. It still has not consciously incorporated the core feature of developmental lines and associated dynamics. Hence, its analytical tools of four quadrants and eight levels will not be sufficient to accurately describe any complex developmental phenomena. Ray Harris' (2001) recent analysis of the conflict between fundamentalist Islam and Western modernity is successful in so far as it deals with the topic not only in terms of quadrants and levels but also in terms of separate collective lines such as political, corporate, cultural, historical and religious lines of collective growth. SDi needs to do this in a much more deliberate and systematic way before it can truly lay claim to being an Integral approach to social development. The basic quadrants and levels analysis is fine as a basic scanning process to open up discussion on a topic such as International terrorism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or the Vietnam war, but several more layers of analysis are essential for uncovering the reality of the issues involved in such events. Relying purely on the worldview's line of cultural development as an explanatory model is simply too reductive to engage with the historical and social complexities implicit in international relations and global development. A more thorough mapping of the analytical tools required for these tasks is essential for a valid form of IMP to be applied to complex issues. To help clarify this point I will present some diagrams of the key elements that make up Integral theory structures and dynamics.

Holonic structures of development

In this section I will present the basic structures and dynamics outlined above in diagrammatic and tabular form. Hopefully this will help with the terminology problems that also abound in discussion about development. I stress that the structures and dynamics represented below are relevant to the life of all types of holons and holarchies (holonic series), be they personal, collective, functional, scientific, cultural, etc. I will then use these diagrams and tables to outline an indexing example of psychopathologies and treatments for the individual human person and for human collectives that is derived from the application of the methodology described above.

Figure 1 shows the key structures of the personal holon in its healthy condition. To simplify matters I have reduced the spectrum of levels to three - body, mind and soul (those that relate to pre-rational existence, those that relate to rational-egoic existence and those that relate to trans-rational existence); and I have reduced the major structural features to Quadrants, Levels, and Lines.

It should be noted that this diagram refers to the single holon of the human person. The "collective" or, as I prefer to call them, the communal quadrants are not to be treated as somehow separate from the "individual" quadrants or, as I usually prefer to call them, the agentic quadrants. As I have explained in previous essays, the communal quadrants are as much a part of personal experience and behaviour as the agentic quadrants. They are both inherent to holonic identity. This issue is a crucial one for Integral holonics and it results directly from the full integration of AQAL principles (where the individual/collective distinction is used) and holonic tenets (where the agentic/communal distinction is used). The communal is fully present in the individual in the same way that all the information of the holographic image is contained in each part of a holographic plate. The communal is fully present in the individual in the same way that the genetic information of the entire organism in contained within each cell. The communal quadrants of a holon are not to be regarded as representing some interactive or mediated process between the "individual" holon and some collective entity. The subjective communal quadrant (the cultural quadrant) is as much interior to the holon as the interior individual quadrant (the experiential quadrant). And the objective social quadrant is as much a part of the exterior of the holon as the individual behavioural quadrant. The communal quadrants are that aspect of the single holon (irrespective of whether it is an individual holon or a collective holon) that relate to the presence of the many in the one. The communal quadrants do not lie outside of the boundaries of the holon any more than the agentic quadrants do.

The holonic structures of quadrants, levels, and lines are the minimum dimensional categories required for an Integral analysis of any developmental event, i.e. holon, holonic system, or holarchy. Of course these categories are shared by all holons. Figure 2 shows these same structures for a human social holon (a community). As well as the dimensional structures of development Integral theory proposes a number of key process-related dynamics. These dynamics are the motivating processes that generate change in structures and developmental forms and are the subject of the next section.

It can be seen from these diagrams that I regard each quadrant in any holon as being ontologically equivalent in that the exteriors of a holon are just as rich as the interiors, just as developmentally complex, and display the same holarchical evidence of development as the interiors. It is not that the exteriors are physical correlates of ontologically complex. Unlike Wilber I do not regard exteriors as simply displaying different levels of material complexity. They also display different level of ontological and developmental complexity. Consequently, for me holons have equivalent structural levels in each quadrant. Using Wilber's terminology, the "basic" or "deep structures" of the consciousness quadrant (the "All Levels" aspects of the AQAL model) will have precisely corresponding "basic" or "deep structures" in each of the other quadrants. For example, I do not regard the exterior quadrants as only reflecting changes in material forms that simply "correlate" with real ontological changes in the interiors (see Wilber 's diagrams on pgs. 71, 72 of a "A Theory of Everything"). (This is why I always refer to the exterior quadrants are behavioural quadrants and not simply as quadrants of material or neural complexity. The neurological complexity of the nervous system is simple material complexity not necessarily ontological complexity. The brain is not behaviour, it is matter. Its complexity is material complexity. It's complexity does correlate with ontological levels in consciousness and behaviour but its relationship to consciousness is very different from that of behaviour. A fuller discussion of this topic must wait another time.) The exterior levels are as much generative of holonic identity as interiors. Hence they will have their own ontologically distinct holarchy of deep structures. Wilber has already presented a nomenclature for the Consciousness and Cultural quadrants and the following table outlines my suggestions for labels for the deep basic structures for the behavioural and Social quadrants for a individual human (personal) holon.

Table 2: Basic or Deep Structures/Levels of each quadrant
(life domain) for the personal holon

Consciousness Structures (UL) Behavioural Structures (UR) Worldview Structures (LL) Social Structures (LR)
Sensori-physical Physical movement, corporal behaviour Archaic-undifferentiated Sensori-physical roles/relations
Reflexive-Instinctual Reflexive Impulse, Imitative behaviour Magical, self-centric Significant-other dyad roles/relations
Representation Mind Modelling behavioural, Signalling behaviour Mythic Familial roles/relations
Rule Mind Declarative behaviour Material rational Extended familial/kinship roles/relations
Role Mind Goal-directed behaviour Formal rational Peer group roles/relations
Formal-reflexive Mind Role-Oriented behaviour Pluralistic Relativist Community roles/relations
Vision-logic Vision-logic centauric action Holistic-Integral Leadership roles/relations
Psychic-Subtle Contemplative in action Integrated Spirutal Prophetic roles/relations
Causal-Nondual Sagely behaviour Nondual Integrated spiritual-social

The same process can be performed for any collective holon. Again, the exterior levels of a collective holon should not be seen as just changes in material relations or physical productive capacities. Exterior social forms such as institutions are themselves as much about a collective holon's developmental nature as its interiors. I also do not regard the communal quadrants of collective holons simply as the aggregate of its constituent individual minds and bodies. Collective holons have full agency to the same degree that an individual holon does. Collective agency is bot simply a function of pschometrics. It has its won life and activity. Collective holons also have a full measure of interior-agency or collective consciousness to the same degree that an individual holon does (see "Through AQAL Eyes, Part1). Wilber has a different perspective on this issue. Wilber has a very valid desire to ensure that collective holons do not usurp the rights of the individual, but his means of doing this is to treat the quadratic dimensions for individual and collective holons very differently. This issue cuts both ways: i) the intersubjective/cultural quadrant of the individual holon need not be treated as theoretically different in kind to the intersubjective/cultural quadrant of the collective holon; and ii) the subjective/consciousness quadrant of the collective holon need not be treated as theoretically different in kind to the subjective/consciousness quadrant of the individual holon. With regard to the first point, the Vygotskian notion that the consciousness of the collective is always present in the consciousness of the individual is well articulated by Vila (1996) who states that,

"from birth on, babies are included in social routines, building up an "intersubjectivity" by adjusting their rudiments of awareness to the subjectivity of others".

Thus, individual consciousness is also always an intersubjectivity. With regard to the second point I have argued strongly elsewhere (Edwards, 2002) that the consciousness of a collective has a holonic agency that is, in terms of the application of holonic theory, comparable to that of an individual holon. Consequently, it is not necessarily evident that the consciousness of collective and individual holons should be treated as separate theoretical entities (they are clearly different entities in many toerh respects). I agree completely with Wilber that individual holons and collective holons need to be seen as separate holarchic entities but this does not mean that their subjectivity has to be treated as different in methodological terms. This means that a thorough application of the model must, i) see the collective/social/cultural as pertaining fully to the individual/personal holon, and ii) see consciousness and agency as pertaining fully to the life of the collective/social holon. As a result there will be intersubjective deep structures existing completely within the "boundaries" of the individual holon and there will be deep structures of consciousness existing completely within the "boundaries" of collective holons (remembering that these structures that are not reducible to the qualities of its individual members). The resulting deep structure levels for each quadrant of a collective holon could be as suggested in Table 3.

Table 3: Basic or Deep Structures/Levels of each quadrant (life domain)
for the collective human holon.

Consciousness Structures (UL) (as represented in universal archetypes) Behavioural Structures (UR) Worldview Structures (LL) (as represented in universal mythologies) Social Structures (LR)
Bio-genetic prehension Bio-genetic predispositions Collective Undifferentiated (paradise myths) Physical infrastructure
Familial identity and clan archetypes Kinship behaviour – bonding rituals Archaic-undifferentiated (hermaphrodite myth) Housing structures
Peer group/mob identity, "group think" Peer-related archetypes Group behaviour, Magical, ethno-centric (creation myths) Community organisations
Social class consciousness (the heroarchetype) Organisational behaviour Mythos-centric (empire and war mythology) Corporate/bureaucratic institutions
National consciousness and archetypes (the motherland, fatherland) Community goals-directed behaviour Rational democratic (patriotic myths) National government institutions
Humanistic, international identity, archetypes for freedom (Statue of Liberty) Inter-group mediation, multicultural relations Social democratic (egalitarian mythologies) International NGO's and institutions (UN)
Noo-sphere consciousness, global archetypes (God the Father/Mother) Integrated consensus governance Holistic-Integral (developmental mythologies) Global networks for enacted IMP, at all levels
Integrated identity – noos/socio/bio/sphere, Integrated Archetypes (Holy Trinity) Integrated Sangha actions Mystic-Integral mythologies of spiritual communities (the communion of the saints) Global networks for integrated social spirituality.
Kosmic consciousness, Kosmic Archetypes (The Kosmic Christ) Sagely behaviour Kosmic-Integral (integrated spiritual mythologies – the Sermon on the Mount) The Kosmic Sangha

The deep/basic structure descriptions given here are not to be taken as definitive. They are merely suggestions to convey the idea that deep structures exist in all quadrants for all types of holons and that this is a core aspect of any application of an IMP in general and Integral holonics in particular. Having considered the structural aspects of Integral holonics let's now look at the dynamics that motivate these structures.

Holonic dynamics of development

Figure 3 shows the key developmental dynamics that operate across, between, and within the four main holonic quadrants (I also refer to these as developmental domains). These dynamics are as important to the AQAL framework as the more frequently associated quadrants or levels. As with developmental structures, developmental dynamics follow the homologous principle where the pattern of structures and processes in one quadrants is reflected in the others.

Although Wilber uses the AQAL acronym as shorthand to include other elements of the model like All States and All Types he does not explicitly include the dynamics of evolution/involution, ascent/descent, eros/agape, transformation/translation, and emergence/integration. Within the context of Integral holonics, the AQAL acronym does very much include these more process-oriented elements of the framework. Because of this I sometimes refer to the AQAL acronym as the All Quadrants, All Levels, All Lines, All Dynamics. Figure 3 present a diagrammatic summary of these dynamics. Again these dynamics should be taken to relate to all holons in precisely the same way irrespective of what holarchies particular holons may belong to.

These dynamics are often left out of discussions and applications of Integral theory and their inclusion can result in a very different perspective on developmental phenomena. For example, the inclusion of involution as a prime developmental dynamic can result in a different estimation of the meaning of indigenous expressions of spirituality. The inclusion of stream and state dynamics in the collective quadrants can also influence the analysis of political and other social events. In political and social applications of Integral theory the stream structures and dynamics are often left out of it's analysis (particularly when it only uses the rather limited SDi principles of quadrants and vMemes). This sometimes results in generalisations that ignore historical complexities and the power relationships between collective developmental streams. It also means that particular streams in a society are not to be taken as representative of the overall level of development at which a society operates.

At this point it might be useful to clarify a few issues concerning terminology. In holonic terms the vertical dynamics of growth and integration are hierarchical dynamics. The horizontal dynamics of translation and Integral Cycle dynamics are heterarchical dynamics. Holarchical development is the result of both hierarchical and heterarchical dynamics. This means that Integral cycle dynamics are intimately involved in the evolution-involution process. Whenever developmental issues are being considered the dynamics and structures of both the hierarchy and the heterarchy must be considered. Particular branches of the social sciences are often associated with a focus on one of these types of dynamics. Developmentalists often think of human growth only in terms of evolutionary dynamics. On the other hand many psychotherapists think of health only in terms of integrative, involutional dynamics and have often omitted the issue of evolutionary transformation that calls for new emergent experiences and needs to be more fully explored. Behavioural psychologists have often looked at translational and Integral cycle dynamics without considering transformational or integrative processes. Economists have only recently begun to look at involutionary factors. A more holistic Integral perspective will consider all these dynamics.

In summary, there are two meta-dynamics that drive personal development and well-being in general. These are the Evolution-Involution Cycle and the Integral Cycle. When transformational dynamics plus integrative dynamics are considered together they form the cycle of Evolution-Involution. When translational dynamics are considered in the quadrants they form the Integral Cycle. Both are fundamentally essential for stable development and personal health to be attained and maintained. Table 4 is a summary of the key holonic dynamics involved in Integral theory.

Table 4: Key Developmental Dynamics for the Personal Holon

Dynamic Description Examples
Integral Cycle Dynamics The Integral cycle is the holistic drive that holds the four quadrants in creative mutuality. These dynamics generate the four-fold dialectic nature of the quadrants. The Integral Cycle operates through all quadrants via holographic mutuality and is not merely an interactive force. Learning and cognitive development is a dynamic process that involves the agentic quadrants (Piaget's genetic epistemology, behavioural capacities) as well as the communal quadrants (Vygotsky's cultural-historical theory, Bandura's Social learning theory).
Growth (Evolutionary) Dynamics Human development requires evolutionary growth dynamics for new emergent structures to arise. These ascending dynamics stimulate transformative processes. Many developmentalists have investigated personal growth dynamics including Loevinger, Erikson, Baldwin, Vygotsky, Piaget.
Integrative (Involutionary) Dynamics Human development requires involutionary dynamics that stabilise and integrate the submergent characteristics of previous developmental phases. The descending dynamics stimulate healing and therapeutic processes. In human development integrative dynamics have usually been the province of therapists and health practitioners. On the agentic side -physical exercise, nutrition & behavioural therapies, structure building techniques, regression in service of the ego, talk therapies. On the communal side - vocational & relationships counselling, social involvement & community networking.
Translational (heterarchical) Dynamics Translational dynamics work to stabilise and legitimise the current emergent capacities by enabling relation exchange. Translational dynamics operate within the same level of one or even two quadrants. The Integral Cycle is really the sum of major translations across all quadrants. Translational dynamics are involved in same-level investigations and analyses. The maintenance of a physical self through metabolic processes, egoic self through mental-verbal translations, social self through social relations, spiritual self through mystical communion.
State Dynamics State dynamics are a subset of the vertical dynamics of growth and integration and are related to the overall strength and coherency of the holonic identity (e.g. the coherency in the developmental streams profile) . They are characterised by short or episodic time duration, often chemically induced, and dramatically altered internal awareness and external behaviour. Altered states above the present level of identity are called "peak experiences". Altered states below the present level of identity are often the result of substance abuse or psychological disorders, or collective pathologies, e.g. mob dynamics. (The dreaming and deep sleep "states" are actually the vestiges of involutional stages, i.e. previous stages of development that are fully integrated with in the current identity.)
Stream Dynamics The balancing of the various streams of development to result in a stable personality is a complex process. It is a function of all the dynamics listed above as they play out through all the structures shown in Diagram 1, but of particular relevance is the Integral cycle. All quadrants have their own salient streams of development. Hence each investigative discipline will study these streams from a particular perspective, e.g. social psychology, individual psychology, community psychology, behavioural psychology.

Holonic stream and state dynamics are rather difficult to represent in a static diagram. State dynamics are best thought of as an interaction between situational variables and the many types of streams of development. Situational variables such as intoxication, rapid environmental change, crisis situations, social pressures, and extreme natural events can interact with behavioural and consciousness streams to result in either unusual levels of peak experience or regressive episodes. The more uniform the relationship between streams in all quadrants the more likelihood there is that a crisis will result in sustainable long-term transformation. The greater the level of differentiation among streams for all quadrants the greater the likelihood that these interactions will result in unstable experiential and behavioural regressions and psychotic states. Figures 4a and 4b attempt to capture this idea of stream/state dynamics using Wilber's concept of psychographs.

* Unstable Holonic identity: this is why we sometimes have the phenomenon of psychosis and mystical experience occurring together. Weak identity structure and big variations in developmental streams result in destabilising swings in holonic dynamics causing turbulent personal interior and exterior states (experiences and behaviours).

The Integral cycle is important in this process because it's strength and unifying function is interdependent with the strength and function of stream-state dynamics. The Integral cycle brings equanimity to the developmental streams between quadrants and the streams. The stronger the Integral cycle, i.e. the more integrated the developmental domains are in the life of the holon, the more mutual support there is for the developmental balance of the different streams of development. Of course, this is also reliant on the sufficiency of physical, affective, familial, economic, and cultural environments to support development. But if a sufficient threshold of supportive environmental exchange is available then growth becomes largely a question of the healthy functioning of Integral cycle and stream dynamics. The more developmentally equivalent the levels of streams of development, the stronger and more robust the Integral cycle dynamic of the holon and the more likely it is that crisis and rapid situational and environmental change will result in growth transformations that can accommodate the crisis. The more developmental variation there is the profile of developmental streams the weaker the balancing effect of the Integral cycle dynamics and the more likely it is that crises will result in regressive states and systemic developmental decline.

Basic developmental pathologies

Given that we have a primary list of candidates for the indexing of developmental pathologies, we can now point out the overall categories that can be derived. These pathologies can be present in any holon of adequate depth including both individual holons and collective holons.

Quadrant (life domain) pathologies: This occurs when there is incomplete development across the four major domains of life. For example, the inner life of an individual holon might be developed while social and meaning-making concerns are underdeveloped, and for a collective holon, its national social health programs might be very advanced while its global relations are severely underdeveloped. There are four basic types of quadrant pathologies – interiorism (e.g. introversion, New Age spiritualism), exteriorism (e.g. extroversion, flatland materialism), individualism (e.g. "hero mentality", laissez faire capitalism), and communalism (e.g. co-dependency, totalitarian communism). Each, or any combination of these pathological forms can be present in a holon.

Evolutionary or Transformative pathologies: Evolutionary pathologies come in two forms. They can either be too strong and overpower involutionary drives, or they can be too weak and be unable to negotiate the transformative task at hand. Subsequently, the ascending evolutionary task is either not accomplished, or significantly delayed or not achieved at an appropriate age/historical period. Evolutionary drives that are too strong result in dissociation and/or imbalances in unitive dynamics (see below) because the evolutionary thrust outstrips the holon capacity for integration and stability. Evolutionary dynamics that are too weak result in developmental fixation or regression or social collapse to at formative and less integrative stages of growth.

Involutionary or Integrative pathologies: These involve problems in involutionary dynamics where there are difficulties in integrating emergent capacities into a sustainable and healthy growth trajectory. Here also involutionary dynamics can be either too strong or too weak. When they are too strong there is a delay in the appropriate pace of evolution and a reluctance to move beyond normative levels of growth. Ultimately there can be outright deliberate pursuit of regressive stages of being and activity leading to hedonism in individuals and moral decline in social collectives. On the other hand where involutionary dynamics are too weak there can be severe problems with meeting the therapeutic and integrative needs of holons. In general, it seems to be the case that pathologically strong evolutionary dynamics are coupled with pathologically weak involutionary ones and vice versa. Hence, evolutionary excess is strongly associated with severe integrative deficit, and involutionary excess is strongly associated with severe delays in growth.

Developmental Level pathologies: In Transformations of Consciousness Wilber outlined the categories of pathologies that can occur when the crucial "developmental fulcrum" is not adequately negotiated in the consciousness quadrant. This can also apply to any of the other quadrants. Hence for each level in each quadrant there is a specific family of pathologies resulting from unsuccessful transformation. These are often called, in both psychology and sociology, developmental disorders or difficulties.

Stream pathologies: When there is uneven development across streams the holon can lack evolutionary-involutionary balance and unity in integrative grow. Stream pathologies can occur within individual and social holons. In individual holons this often results in unstable self-identity and erratic behaviour or at least a self-sense that is vulnerable during periods of stress. In collective holons stream pathologies lead to inequitable power relations, "class warfare", irreconcilable differences between internal laws and foreign policies, the "have and have nots" phenomenon, and eventually extreme social division and breakdown. Stream pathologies can apply to specific lines in specific quadrants or more generally across lines and/or quadrants.

Integral Cycle pathologies: The Integral cycle is the main dynamic that conveys the quadratic form of development into a coherent holonic unit. This is an immense topic and I have only touched briefly on it in the above section and in previous essays (Edwards, 1999, 2002). There are many ways in which the unitive flow from one life domain to another can be disrupted and cause systemic illness and social dislocation. The cycle can be distorted to privilege particular quadrants as discussed above. If the Integral cycle is to weak or only partial then large aspect of personal and social life can be undeveloped and identities and behaviours can become very biased towards unhealthy forms of both intra-holonic and inter-holonic being and activity. It is often the case that Integral cycle pathologies in the collective holon are recapitulated in the life of the personal holon and they reinforce each other.

I have concentrated in the above on forms of pathologies that Integral theory would predict could be present in the structures and dynamics of any holon. There are, of course, corresponding interventions that can also be aimed at reconstituting healthy states in each of these aspects of holons. Together, these considerations form the basic techniques that are required of a pluralistic Integral methodology. Wilber has already mapped most of these aspects of Integral theory. My task here is to try to bring all this into a single presentation with my own particular understanding of how the principles of Integral theory work together on an applied topic. I will do this by applying my approach to IMP to the topics of, first, personal development and, second, social development.

Example application of Integral holonics

So far I have presented the basic structures and dynamics that might make up the methodology for an applied Integral holonics. A consideration of each of these elements will have some part to play in an Integral analysis of a developmental event. Such an analysis would utilise what Wilber refers to as Integral Methodological Pluralism. That is the inclusion of both holistic (enfoldment/unfoldment) and reductionist explanations (non-exclusion) in a model that can implement methods that situate the valid truths of the competing theories (enactment). The example presented below builds on the early work by Wilber in the area of personal psychopathologies and their corresponding treatment.

Table 5 (a)-(h) presents an index of the basic forms of health and pathology for the example case of a personal holon via a Quadrants (4) by Levels (9) by Lines (3) by Evolutionary-Involutionary dynamics (__) by translational dynamics (_) by Integral Cycle dynamics (¤) indexing procedure. The presence of arrows indicate whether the pathology is associated with evolutionary or involutionary dynamics, where "_" indicates a pathology associated with an evolutionary dynamic and "_" indicates a pathology with an involutionary dynamic, where "_" indicates a pathology in heterarchical translation, and "¤" represents a pathology in the Integral cycle. I have only indicated these dynamics pathologies for some of the entries. The resulting matrix (of 864 possible diagnostic possibilities) gives a initial overview of developmental disruptions and disorders according to a systematic application of Integral theory.

Such tables could form the basis of an Integral theory form of diagnostic manual (some of the index cells are blank for want of more fine grain diagnostic methods) for both personal (as with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) and collective pathologies (I feel that the possibilities for indexing collective pathologies are more interesting and provide an opportunity for much greater analysis of social problems than is currently the case and these are presented in Table 6 (a)-(h)).

It should be noted that in each of the following tables, I identify a spectrum of deep structure levels for a number of streams of development for each quadrant. I believe that this is the first time that this has ever been done on a consistent basis across all quadrants. In other words I have provided suggestions for the deep structures that are intrinsic to the particular nature of each holonic quadrant. These deep structures (also called basic structures or levels) should be seen as ontologically equivalent across all quadrants. By this I mean that a particular basic structure in one quadrant will have corresponding deep structures in the other three quadrants. For example, someone the basic structure of formal-reflexive cognition in the consciousness quadrant will have the corresponding deep structures of rational-perspectival worldview (cultural quadrant), goal-oriented behaviour (behavioural quadrant), and normative community roles (social quadrant). This is called the principle of homologous structures as outlined by Wilber and as discussed in detail in Edwards (2002). Same level structures in each developmental stream in each quadrant will complement each other in critical ways. Hence there will be corresponding and complementary deep structures in each of the quadrants. In contrast to Wilber, I do not regard the exterior quadrants as relating only to matter, or surfaces, or monological methodologies. They are as ontologically rich as the interior quadrants. From an Integral theory perspective, when holon A encounters the behaviour of other holon B it engages with the full spectrum of B's identity and is not simply observing surfaces. So in this presentation, the interior quadrants are not, in any way, to be regarded as ontologically privileged or as more complex than the exterior quadrants.

There is another issue that immediately becomes apparent in considering these tables. The tables really can be seen to represent indexes of either holarchies or complex individual holons. A holarchy is a developmental series that is made up of autonomous holons. Its is usually presented in a serial form as one holon followed by its next developmental senior and so on until the holarchy is built up. The holarchic series can also be shown in a "nested" format where the holons are embedded within each other. Finally, the series can be shown in tabular form (see Figure 5).

In general, I prefer to use the nested graphic form which shows the transcend-and-include nature of holons so well (and as typically used by Wilber). In using the tabular form it is easy to lose sight of the dynamic and holistic nature of holonic development. It might be useful to keep the nested graphic form in mind when interpreting the following tables. Because the tables relate to the whole spectrum of structures they can be interpreted as portraying complete holarchies. They can also be seen to represent a single ideal holon that embraces the whole gamut of developmental possibilities.

Tables 5(a)-(h) present the healthy and pathological forms for a personal or individual holon. Pathologies arise in structures when transformational or integrative dynamics are disrupted in any of the basic levels of the particular developmental streams in question. I will base all the indexes on nine levels of development. In presenting these indexes it is not my intention to show that any condition of health or illness can be categorised into a simple diagnostic box. These tables are presented merely to show that development is multifactorial and that Integral holonics, i.e. the application of an integrated AQAL/holon model, can be used to gain useful a perspectives on an immense variety of human conditions. This Integral indexing process can also clarify patterns of aetiology, symptomology, reinforcement, treatment and so on. It is also true that the identification of states of health, pathology or treatment within the individual must also be accompanied by a corresponding review of the physical, emotional, mental, and social environment in which that individual lives and develops. Individual pathology does not stand alone, outside of an environmental context no matter how fundamental the pathological condition. (In many instances pathology may not even seem to be an appropriate term. I use the term here in the sense that pathology is a "dis-ease", a state of not being in balance. I am not suggesting that the cause of that imbalance is a personal affair).

Table 5a: Single human holon – Healthy forms
of consciousness structures (UL) for three developmental streams

Basic Consciousness Structure (UL) Healthy forms of three developmental streams
from the Consciousness Quadrant
  Self-Identity Cognitive Affect
Sensori-physical mind Undifferentiated uroboric Sensation, Proprioception Reactivity, physio-states
Image mind Axial body, Image body Perception, Pre-conceptual #1 Proto-emotions
Representation Mind Name self, Emoto-centric Single representation set #2 emotions- anxiety, anger, liking, happiness
Rule Mind Conceptual self, early membership Representational mapping  
Role Mind Membership self Symbolic #3 emotions- belongingness, joy, hate
Formal-reflexive Mind Mature Egoic self Intra-systemic #4 emotions- universal affect, justice
Vision-logic Centauric Mind-Body self Autonomous, Inter-systemic #5 emotions- compassion, rapture, awe, affinity
Psychic-Subtle Psychic-Subtle self Illumined Mind # 6 emotions- saintly compassion, spiritual bliss
Causal/Non/dual Pure Witness, Self/No Self No Mind/Original Mind # 7 infinite freedom/joy, pure love

Table 5b: Single human holon – Pathological forms
of consciousness structures (UL) for three developmental streams

Basic Consciousness Structure (UL) Pathologies in three developmental streams
from the Consciousness Quadrant
  Self-Identity pathologies Cognitive pathologies Affect pathologies
Sensori-physical mind Schizophrenia Delirium, Dementia _ Catatonic disorders
Image mind Narcissistic disorders _ Amnesia, Dissociative disorders Bipolar disorder
Representation Mind Borderline disorders Delusional disorder Mood disorders _
Rule Mind Neurotic disorders _ Chronic ruminative worry _  
Role Mind False belief patterns, Script Disorders_ Chronic narrow mindedness, Role inflexibility ¤ Self-esteem problems, performance anxiety _
Formal-reflexive Mind Identity disorders, egomania_ Positivism, extreme rationalism _ Mind/Affect dissociation
Vision-logic Existential disorders ¤ Hyper-relativism ("Boomeritis"), meaninglessness ¤ Existential depression _
Psychic-Subtle Dark night of the Soul, Dukha, bliss fixation Infallibility, Moral absolutism, Crazy saint phenomenon, mortification of body
Causal Emptiness fixation _ Non-integrated Supermind Pernicious peace

Table 5c: Single human holon - Healthy forms of
behavioural structures (UR) for three developmental streams

Basic Behavioural Structure (UR) Healthy forms of three developmental streams
from the Behavioural Quadrant
  Self-other relations Learning Behaviour Problem solving
Sensori-physical movement Incorporative Habituation Random action
Reflexive behaviour Impulsive/affective relations Classical conditioning Repetition
Signalling behaviour "Imperial" self-centric behaviour, Instrumental learning Trial and error
Communicative behaviour Team player, social member Operative conditioning Simple communication & action
Rule-directed behaviour Interpersonal network Imitative learning Copying and imitation
Role-Oriented behaviour Formal institutional, humanistic Observational learning, Social learning (Bandura) Planning, evaluation & coordination of self-network resources
Centauric action Post-formal relations Integrated holistic learning "Everyday" problem solving
Contemplative in action Relationship with all sentient beings Universal learning/Witnessing Prophetic, Integrated socio-spiritual challenging
Sagely behaviour   Bodhisattva compassion Messianic, AQAL revolutionary

Table 5d: Single human holon - Pathological forms
of behavioural structures (UR) for three developmental streams

Basic Behavioural Structure (UR) Pathologies in three developmental streams
from the Behavioural Quadrant
  Self-other relations pathologies Learning behaviour pathologies Problem-solving pathologies
Sensori-physical activity Profound Autism _ Motor Skills/ CNS disorders _ Paralysis _
Reflexive behaviour Sexual Disorders (eg. paedophilia) _ Associative leaning disorder, memory disorders Sensory disability
Signalling behaviour Receptive/Expressive Language Disorders _ ¤ Learning disorders, Hyperactivity disorders Relational problem-solving
Communicative behaviour     Inability to engage peer-group problem solving ¤
Rule-directed behaviour Neurotic interpersonal behaviour _ Attention disorders _ Inability to apply analytical skills _
Role-Oriented behaviour Severe lack of life skills _ Role confusion ¤ Meta-cognitive weakness_
Vision-logic centauric action Stagnation, Non-recognition of accomplishments __ Lack of reflection/action flow in all quadrants ¤ Spontaneity/Impulsiveness confusion
Contemplative in action Lack of a "social spirituality" ¤ Sole reliance on meditative techniques ¤ Kismet error, leaving all to the "Divine" _
Sagely behaviour Lacking "revolutionary" behaviour ¤   Lack of revolutionary behavioural impact on community problems ¤

Table 5e: Single human holon - Healthy forms
of worldview structures (LL) for three developmental streams

Personal Worldview Structures (LL) Healthy forms of three streams
from the Worldview/Meaning-making Quadrant
  Values Meaning making Aesthetic Sense
Archaic-Somatic Pleromatic Physio-sensory pleasure, play Instinctual attraction
Magic-Contingent Desire fulfilment, membership, survival Environmentally contingent, wish dependent, superstitious truth Environment/group feeling, form/place attraction
Mythic-Narrative Security, social network survival Mythos, literal story meaning, fundamental religious truth Literal/formal appreciation, colour-form beauty
Rational-Abstract Formalism, cultural-national prosperity Logos, uni-systemic interpretive process, abstracting, scientific truth Interpretive appreciation, form-balance, perspectival
Pluralistic-Relativistic Multiculturalism, values diversity Pluros, multi-systemic interpretive process, artistic, humanistic truth Abstract appreciation, aperspectival,
Holistic-Integral Dialectical development as world process, integrated sustenance Integrated multi-systemic interpretive process, global truth Holistic appreciation, integrated interpretation, global perspective
Psychic/Subtle-Unitive Union with the other, inter-species reverence, nature/deity mysticism Universal play, Mystical truth Symbolist-Unitive perspective, unitive feeling (awe/bliss)
Non-dual Witnessing Union with source of manifest Kosmic play, One Taste truth Kosmic perspective, form/noform

Table 5f: Single human holon - Pathological forms
of worldview structures (LL) for three developmental streams

Personal Worldview Structures (LL) Pathologies in three developmental streams from the Meaning-making Quadrant
  Values pathologies Meaning-making pathologies Aesthetic sense pathologies
Archaic-Somatic Mass/serial murder as meaningful _ Hedonism, harmful play Instinctual/sensory obsessions
Magic-Contingent "Black magic" harm on members of other social groups, Outlaw gangs _ Unreal wish fulfilment, superstitious truth as controlling of life Beauty as fashion, Pop culture as final judge of beauty/art
Mythic-Narrative Security, social network survival at the expense of other groups _ Mythos as sole source of truth, mythic judgement as independent from communal judgement Tradition as final judge of beauty/art, Moral sense determines cultural value, Art is subject to conscience _
Rational-Abstract Evolutionism, _ Individualism, ¤ Exteriorism ¤ Logos as sole source of truth, meaning dissociated from life source_ Beauty is analysable in terms of form-balance, technical mastery
Pluristic-Relativistic Aculturalism, martyr syndrome, pluralistic permissiveness _ Pluros as sole source of truth, meaning is solely context dependent Beauty is only lack of form, anti-technical, completely unmediated
Holistic-Integral Anti-intellectualism, social "drop out", romantic regression Holism as sole source of truth, Analytical truth as invalid ¤ The Whole is the only form of beauty, integration as only physical_
Psychic/Subtle-Unitive Interiorism, New Age spiritualism, non-critical acceptance of evil ¤ Gnosticism as sole source of truth, Mystical idealism ¤ Bliss is the only quality of the Beautiful¤
Nondual-True Nature Arhat's disease All meaning comes from formlessness ¤ Ultimate aesthetic beauty is the Kosmos in self-absorption

Table 5g: Single human holon - Healthy forms
of social structures (LR) for three developmental streams

Basic Social Roles (LR) Healthy forms of three streams
from the Social/Communal Roles Quadrant
  Exchange relations Interpersonal Economic relations
Physical Role Food, comfort, tactile and sensory contact exchange/stimulation Neonate, uroboric involvement Consumer of food, shelter, material, basic human resource
Instinct/Reflexive roles/relations Safety, security, emotive exchange Infant, significant other involvement Consumes of time, energy, emotional and planning resources Produces play
Communicative roles/relations Belongingness, image/sign exchange The child learner/player  
Familial Roles/Relations Membership agreement, familial interaction, symbolic exchange The family member/participator, emotional involvement Produces emotional outputs, Consumes of images/toys/TV
Peer roles/relations Peer group interactions and contracting, team membership, peer group exchanges The friend, "one of the gang" role, peer group involvement Produces peer social commodities (fashions, fads), Consumes familial planning, fad industry products
Community Roles/relations Designated community interactions, Social Role Valourisation Student role, worker role, neighbour role, community involvement Produces material goods and services, community functioning Consumes art, sport, pop culture
Leadership roles/relations Centauric exchange, autonomous & cultural values exchange, Community leader/teacher role, social activist, global involvement Produces elite cultural goods and services, education, Consumes self-development, humanist/spiritual goods
Prophetic/Mystic roles/relations Spiritual exchange and soul-focused ways of relating, exchanging Dharma assets Spiritual teacher/leader/activist role, prophet, Sangha/spiritual community involvement Produces spiritual-cultural products, sacred writings, transmission of the Dharma, Consumes ultimate teachings
Integrated spiritual social roles Godhead unity in all relationships Unmediated Kosmic involvements Produces leading edge developmental directions for individuals and cultures

Table 5h: Single human holon - Pathological forms
of social structures (LR) for three developmental streams

Basic social roles (LR) Pathologies in developmental streams
in social/communal (roles) quadrant
  Pathological exchange relations Pathological interpersonal roles Pathological Economic rolesathological Economic roles
Physical Role Anatomical/Metabolic disorders _ N/A Excessive consumer of food, shelter, material, basic human resource ¤
Instinct/Reflexive roles/relations Lack of basic relating due to profound levels of intellectual disability _ Limited range of instinctual or reflexive responses _ Excessive consumer of time, energy, emotional and planning resources; lacks play
Communicative roles/relations Autistic, Asocial, non-communicative, selective mutism, _ The "problem" child, chronically aggressive child, playground bully_ Excessive consumer toys, play resources; does not produce or imagine own "toys"
Familial Roles/Relations Disruptive behaviour disorders, chronic aggression exchanges _ "Loner", Non-participatory family member, "runaway"_ Fixation on emotional outputs; excessive consumption of TV, no familial work role
Peer roles/relations Chronic unlawful and antisocial relations & exchanges, outlaw groups Outlaw roles, drug pusher, pimp, recidivist or white collar criminal, corrupt authorities Infatuation with peer social commodities (fashions, fads); does not produce consumes familial planning, fad industry products
Community Roles/relations No community involvement, non-political, non-voter, apathetic relations Chronically limited social roles, "crazy recluse or hermit", _¤ Produces endless amounts of meaningless material goods and services, no community input
Leadership roles/relations Celebrity syndrome, delusions of importance, fame dependent relations __ Inept leaders, abstract/dissociated leadership, non-visionary style, inability to adopt "statesman" role Has no leadership role, passively consumes others achievements through e-media. _¤ Workshop junky
Prophetic and mystic roles/relations Unintegrated spiritual exchange and neglect of physical/emotional or social exchanges _¤ "Crazy" teacher role, infallible pope/guru role _¤ Consumer of spiritual products, teaches but does not fully enact sacred writings, the consumption of spiritual ritual replaces the production of insight.
Integrated spiritual social roles Godhead unity without integrated social exchange   Produces leading edge developmental directions with unhealthy distortions

As well as these indexes of healthy and pathological structures as described in Table 5(a)–(h), there is also the possibility of developing corresponding indexes of treatment approaches for each of the pathologies (dis-eases) described. With an AQAL indexing methodology made up of 4 quadrants, 9 levels, 3 streams and 2 vertical dynamics (transformation and integration) we have the theoretical possibility of categorising 216 pathologies with an equal number of corresponding treatments. But to simply engage in such a categorising process devoid of the holistic context of holonic life would be a grave error. In reality, the holistic nature of the holon entity, with its unitive dynamics and include-and-transcend structure, means that pathologies and treatments do not simply fall into categorical boxes but are multidimensional in aetiology and cannot be diagnosed without consideration of many other layers of context. For example, individual pathology does not reside simply in individuals but can be completely the result of environmental and situational factors. In addition to this, pathologies in one aspect of a person's life will affect them in a holistic way and treatments need to include holistic-unitive dynamics that connect and rebalance all aspects of the holon system.

To understanding individual pathology it is essential to include the consideration of forms of collective pathology. Consequently, I have followed a similar indexing procedure for the collective holon (or more correctly holarchy since we will be carrying out this indexing up from the physical aspects of collective holons all the way to the Nondual aspects of collective holons). For the following case of a collective holon, I use the indexing factors of four quadrants, five levels, three streams and dynamics. As with the above case of a single personal holon, these categories of pathology could be furthered analysed in terms of the developmental dynamics of transformation, translation, integration and the unitive dynamics of the Integral cycle. And I will include in the tables some suggestions for pathologies in certain dynamics. I will deal in more detail with some basic issues concerning the dynamics within Integral holonics in a later section which deals with pathologies in global development.

In performing this Integral indexing process it needs to be understood that I treat the collective holon as a unitary holon and not as a collection of individuals. At the risk of repeating myself, in contrast to Wilber, I see the methodological application of the developmental dimensions of agency-communion and interior-exterior to be theoretically equivalent for both social and personal holons. And so the social holon has its own agentic interior (consciousness quadrant) and agentic exterior (behavioural quadrant) and its own communal interior (cultural quadrant) and communal exterior (social structures) which are not reducible to the consciousness, behaviour, cultural or social activity of individuals persons. Consequently, the consciousness quadrant of the social holon is qualitatively different from and not reducible to the consciousness of individual persons who are interacting within that social holon. For me, the consciousness of the collective is evidenced in its mythologies and in particular as distilled in the collective interior form of the archetypes. And this includes both conscious and unconscious myths and archetypes. In this way of thinking about cultural forms of awareness, the stages of collective consciousness are investigated and identified through the exploration of the myths/archetypes of a culture. Each stage of communal consciousness will have its own corresponding myth and mythic narrative.

Let me give an example of this. Jungian analytical psychology was the very first serious examination of the contents of cultural (un)conscious. Roughly speaking, these cultural contents consist of the archetypes of collective identity and correspond to the unfolding layers of subjective collective development. Jung and later Joseph Campbell have studied the collective psyche of humanity through their studies of mythologies, archetypes, national epics and sagas. It is in this Jungian concept of the archetype within the collective unconscious, indicates the existence of definite structures in the a cultural psyche which often seem to contain cross-cultural themes at all levels. Take the following quotes from Jung (1968):

My thesis, then, is as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, ... there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually, but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.

The collective unconscious is a part of the psyche which can be negatively distinguished from a personal unconscious by the fact that is does not, like the latter, owe its existence to personal experience and consequently is not a personal acquisition. While the personal unconscious is made up essentially of contents which have at one time been conscious, but which have disappeared from consciousness through having been forgotten or repressed, the contents of the collective unconscious have never been in consciousness, and therefore have never been individually acquired but owe their existence exclusively to heredity. Whereas the personal unconscious consists for the most part of complexes, the content of the collective unconscious is made up essentially of archetypes.

The concept of the archetype, which is an indispensable correlate to the idea of the collective unconscious, indicates the existence of definite forms in the psyche which seem to be present always and everywhere. Mythological research calls them "motifs"; in the psychology of primitives they correspond to Levy-Bruhl's concept of "representations collectives," and in the field of comparative religion they have been defined by Hubert and Mauss as "categories of the imagination." Adolf Bastian long ago called them "elementary" or "primordial thoughts." From these references, it should be clear enough that my idea of the archetype -- literally a pre-existent form -- does not stand alone, but is something that is recognized and named in other fields of knowledge.

The collective unconscious -- so far as we can say anything about it at all -- appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious.

All passages are from the "Definition" portion of Carl Jung's lecture in 1936, "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious", Collected Works, Vol. 9.i, pars. 87-110; and from Carl Jung's "The Structure of the Psyche", 1927, Coll. Works Vol. 8. , Presented in "The Portable Jung", Edited by Joseph Campbell, translated by R. F. C. Hull, copyrighted & published in USA by Viking Penguin Inc., 1971, Penguin Books 1976.

These collective structures – or as I would say, these interiors of social holons - are not "a personal acquisition". Myth and archetype are pre-eminent examples of structures that consciousness can take when it appears in collective form. To put it another way, the investigation of the interior quadrants of the collective holon are essentially investigations of myth and archetype (in the broad sense of those terms). More specifically, when Integral theory studies archetypal structures it investigates the consciousness quadrant (UL) of the collective holon, i.e. the interior of the agentic structures of the collective holon. When it studies the mythos structures it investigates the cultural quadrants (LL) of the collective holon, i.e. the interior of the communal structures of the collective holon. I want to again stress that the agentic aspects of the social holon are not to be seen as theoretically different to those of the personal holon. The agentic conscious and behaviour of the group has its own particular agency that is not reducible to the interactions of the persons in that group. The whole history of social psychology since the 1950's is testament to this. The research of Stanley Milgram, Solomon Asch and Philip Zimbardo show that group dynamics, i.e. the dynamics of social holons, must be seen firstly as a unique aspect of groups and only secondarily as expressions of individual interactions. Milgram, for example, stated that when an individual, "merges ... into an organizational structure, a new creature replaces autonomous man, unhindered by the limitations of individual morality, freed of human inhibition". And this "new creature" is a social complex (holon) not an individual one.

On the basis of these considerations both the healthy and pathological expressions of the life of collective holons will be unique and not simple reducible to interactions between personal holons. This is all fairly well accepted. My aim in drawing this point out is only to show that the holon construct can be applied to investigate the developmental "life' of any phenomenon in the same basic way. Tables 6 (a-h) presents my labelling suggestions for forms of life of collective human holons. As with the labels of the personal holon structures, these labels are suggestions only and are very open to improvement and debate.

Table 6a: Collective human holon - Healthy forms
of consciousness structures (UL) for three developmental streams

Basic Consciousness Structure (UL) Healthy forms of three developmental streams from the collective consciousness quadrant
  Collective Identity (collective awareness) Collective epistemology (collective ways of knowing) Collective Archetypes (and their cultural symbols)
Familial/kinship consciousness, Family mind Ethno-centric identity, group mind Mythic cultural knowledge, epic sagas, creation myths The Great Mother, The Great Father, Warring families of gods
Peer group/class consciousness, peer group mind Class-centric identity, social class milieux, corporate identity Popular culture, corporate/sport culture, popular religion The Hero, Individuus, Dianne Artimus,
National consciousness, civil-social mind National psyche/character, Culture-centric identity, statehood National system of science, national broadcasting media, political culture Civilus, Athena Polias,
Global Consciousness, global mind Anthropocentric identity, Multicultural spirit, Cosmopolitanism Integral Methodological Pluralism, Integrated knowledge quests Rex/Regina union, Arjuna, Universal unity
Kosmic consciousness, Over-Mind/Super Mind Kosmic Christ, communion of saints, Perusha, Fellowship of the Holy Spirit Omniscient godhead, Kosmic gnosis The Self, The Transcendent Hero

Table 6b: Collective human holon - Pathological forms
of consciousness structures (UL) for three developmental streams

Basic Consciousness Structure (UL) Pathologies in three developmental streams from the collective consciousness quadrant
  Collective identity pathologies Pathologies in collective epistemology Pathologies of Collective Archetypes
Familial/kinship consciousness/ mind Racial supremacy, group mind Ethno-centrism, _ _ Fundamentalist interpretation of myth, unquestioning submission to mythos The Destroyer Mother
Peer/class consciousness, peer group mind Group think, mob psychology, bystander apathy, corporate greed, _ _ Peer mind fixation, eg tribal knowledge used to deal with national problems, _ The Evil Child, The Judging Father God, _
National consciousness, civic-mind Nationalism, Jingoism, nation wide fundamentalism, National war mentality, war as international solution to conflict The Bad King/Queen
Global consciousness/ mind excessive global development Human supremacy, non-integrated globalisation, ¤, Globalisation at any cost, world-centric views need not include tribal or community views, _ The Syzygy (the Divine Couple), _
Kosmic Consciousness, Over-Mind/Super Mind Spiritual community as elite, pure, infallible and separated from "evil", _ Mystical reductionism - The solution to all social issues lies in interior development, ¤ Kali, The Final judgement

Table 6c: Collective human holon - Healthy forms
of behavioural structures (UR) for three developmental streams

Basic Behavioural Structure (UR) Healthy forms of three developmental streams from the collective behavioural quadrant
  Economic Production Collective Entertainment Collective Media
Familial/kinship behaviour Personal/family economy, family income/industry Simple play as physical expression of happiness Oral traditions, fairy stories Ritual meetings, gatherings
Peer group/class behaviour Corporate production, business economics Peer rituals and "pushing the boundaries", drug experimentation Peer communication, gossip, jargon, "the scene"
Community behaviour Community building, local economy, Community rituals, seasonal & historical commemoration Local print and electronic media, local political discussions & movements
National behaviour Social economy, social welfare, national economy National sports, national film culture, multicultural events National print and electronic media, national political debate and policy
Global behaviour The triple (quadruple) bottom line, world economy Olympic games, global film industry, international arts festivals Internet, International electronic media, UN debates and communiqués
Kosmic behaviour The products of all life, Kosmic economy Shiva's Dance, the Play of Lila, "all the world is a stage" Kosmic mediation of life through all forms

Table 6d: Collective human holon - Pathological forms
of behavioural structures (UR) for three developmental streams

Basic Behavioural Structure (UR) Pathologies in three developmental streams from the collective behavioural quadrant
  Economic Pathologies Entertainment pathologies Media pathologies
Familial/kinship behaviour Family poverty, inadequate means of income/production, _ Fixation with play as simple sensori-physical fun _ Stories as media for controlling or producing fear
Peer group/class behaviour Corporate loss or collapse, production, business economics, _ _ ¤ Peer entertainment as substitute for friendship, __ Peer communications as means for exclusion and intimidation
Community behaviour Community poverty and social economic disadvantage, _ Community entertainment as means for ignoring crucial local issues Community communication as means for controlling local politics, _ ¤
National behaviour Social economic recession or depression, unsustainable economic production National entertainment as means for dissociating from national problems, _ ¤ Domination of national media by individuals and corporate groups, _ _ ¤
Global behaviour Global distortions of national and local economies, destruction of global environment, _ _ ¤ International entertainment as elite events, manipulated for making money, _ _ ¤ International media as means for hiding/distorting truth
Kosmic behaviour Impoverishment of the Kosmos at any level, any reduction in the gifts/products of the Kosmos,_¤ The Kosmic Play as reason for not addressing issues of poverty, non-development  

Table 6e: Collective human holon - Healthy forms of
worldview structures (LL) for three developmental streams

Basic Worldview Structures (LL) Healthy forms of three streams from the collective meaning-making quadrant
  Collective Mythology Collective Communication of Meaning Collective Values
Familial/kinship worldview Totemism, animism clan mytholgoies, ancetser worship, hierarchy of panteism families of gods Familial narratives, stories Trust, honesty, dignity
Organisational/Peer group worldview Peer myths, secret "men's/women's business", corporate myths, Organisational policy statements, mission statements, strategic plans Friendship, loyalty, honour
Community worldview Local mythologies, shared community assumptions Community plans, local policies, council bylaws, community demonstrations Intergenerational Commitment, Social welfare
National worldview National Motherland-Fatherland mythologies, national epics and sagas, Democratic mythology, National constitutions, policies, laws Justice, respect for valid laws, critical patriotism, citizenship, democracy
Global worldview Postmodern mythologies, Internet mythology, UN Declarations, Global agreements, International law World democracy and integral development, participatory democracy
Kosmic worldview   "The Word", Dharma law, Kosmic revelation Kosmic egalitarianism, inter-species welfare

Table 6f: Collective human holon - Pathological forms
of worldview structures (LL) for three developmental streams

Basic Worldview Structures (LL) Pathologies in three developmental streams from the worldview quadrant
  Pathology in Mythology Communicative pathology Pathologies in social values
Familial/kinship worldview The wicked witch, Edeipus/Electra, fairy stories, Typhon, _ The shadow of familial narratives, untold stories _ Dignity as capacity to withstand/commit violence
Peer group/class worldview The Hero is falls, tragic forms of narrative, the fallen King, gang loyalty, fascist nationalism _ Inability for organisations to identity or express policy, mission, aims or plans _ _ Group/corporate duty or honour overrides moral sensitivity _
Community worldview Suppression of individualism for the collective good _ Urban silence, the breakdown of communal communication and dialogue _ ¤ Social welfare creates poverty traps _
National worldview Conservative or benign Nationalism, _ National constitutions that endorse violations of human rights, inhuman laws Culture of (Western) progress as the only/best direction of global development_ ¤
Global worldview Dystopias, global levels of social control, ¤ Refusal to ratify UN Declarations, WTO distortions Indiscriminate Globalisation, ¤
Kosmic worldview The Kosmic law as social law, ¤ "The Word" as final arbiter, Dharma law as non-rational _ Kosmic revelation as unrelated to the bahavioural, ¤

Table 6g: Collective human holon - Healthy forms
of social structures (LR) for three developmental streams

Basic Social Institutions (LR) Healthy forms of three streams from the collective social structures quadrant
  Political institutions Institutions of Education & Knowledge Institutions of Social Relations
Familial/kinship institutions Formal and informal political sub-branches or groups The family/kinship network The family/kinship network
Peer group/class institutions Formal political party Institutions for Compulsory education (K-12) Public gathering venues – campfires, pubs, clubs
Community institutions Council, local government, local representatives Universities, colleges, adult eduction centres Community churches, community/learning centres
National institutions State/federal Parliaments, Cabinet, Federal offices of political parties National Library, national centres for science, national university National public service, diplomatic services,
Global institutions United Nations International universities, Internet communities for learning, the "Deep Net" Non-government organisations – Amnesty, Greenpeace. International centres for trade, social welfare, development

Table 6h: Collective human holon - Pathological forms
of worldview structures (LR) for three developmental streams

Basic Social Roles (LR) Pathologies in developmental streams in social/communal structures quadrant
  Pathologies in Political Institutions Pathologies in Educational Institutions Pathologies on Institutions of Social Relations
Familial/kinship institutions Branch stacking, local political violence and manipulation_ _ _ ¤ Family breakdown Dysfunctional family/kinship network _
Peer group/class institutions "party politics", over-conformity to party rules _ Under-funded schools _ Vandalism, gang warfare _
Community institutions Lack of community involvement, low social capital, _ ¤ Corrupt local government, nepotism, cronyism, _ _ Private universities not based on scientific principles, _
National institutions Coup d'état, non-compulsory voting, ineffective parliament Lack of public education or national library system, etc, _ Politicised public service, violent security services
Global institutions Weak United Nations, UN without legislative power or moral authority, _ ¤ An Internet that restrains individual rights or that ignores social responsibilities, _ _ ¤ Lack of functional and resourced global institutions, _ ¤

The above tables outline the various deep structures of holarchies or developmental streams that can be identified by a more thorough integration of holon theory and the AQAL principles. These categories are not intended as neat pigeon holes for boxing the immensely rich and fluid nature of personal and social human holons. These labels do however, give a good indication of the true breadth of topic that an applied holonic theory can cover. For purposes of clarification and summary the above tables for collective holons can be represented in diagrammatic form as shown in Figure 6:

I have included in Tables 5 and 6 only a very cursory indication of the part that developmental dynamics can part in the analysis of holonic health or pathology. As I have mentioned the fundamental dynamics of Integral holonics are Involution-Evolution, transformation-integration, Integral Cycle dynamics and translational dynamics. In their healthy state these dynamics are characterised by a balance or equilibrium in their drive strength. Accordingly, their pathological forms are characterised by severe levels of imbalance and disequilibrium. The following section will present an introductory discussion of the holonic dynamics as applied to the issue of global development.

Pathologies in holonic dynamics: Example from the field of global development

To this point I have shown how the flexibility of a truly integrated Integral holonics can be applied to the healthy and pathological forms of holonic structures. The application of Integral holonics can follow a more interpretive and hermeneutic methodology. This is particularly so when the Integral theory is applied to issues of the developmental dynamics of a holon. I will illustrate this in the following descriptive approach to pathologies in holonic dynamics at a global level of focus. I want to illustrate how an understanding of some basic pathologies in holonic dynamics can open up a novel perspective on some major social pathologies currently afflicting global developmental.

I have already shown in Figure 3 above that the evolution-involution dynamic and the Integral cycle dynamic are two of the major energising processes through which development is motivated. One central aspect to developmental health is that these dynamics need to be operating in a creative and sustainable balance of ascent and descent and of mutuality between quadrants. Figure 3 is intended to show this balancing aspect in the holonic dynamics of development. So in this ideal condition emergent, evolutionary growth is balanced by integrative, involutionary inclusion and that this evolution-involution dialectic is complemented by a dynamic that flows through consciousness, behaviour, cultural identity and social action. Applying this Integral understanding of health to the issue of global change I propose that the current crises in global development finds its aetiology in three very fundamental imbalances in the dynamics of most forms of personal and social holons. These are that:

  1. Evolutionary dynamics are pathologically dominating developmental concepts and activities in that we see a fundamental bias (at all social holonic levels) towards a progressive, growth obsessed and evolutionary worldview which dominates everything from our conceptions of time, to our approach to health systems, to the measurement of economic progress;
  2. Integral cycle dynamics are displaying a pathological distortion towards the valuing of the agentic qualities of individual (i.e. personal and corporate) freedoms, rights, and responsibilities over and above communal qualities of public freedoms, rights and responsibilities;
  3. Integral Cycle dynamics are displaying a pathological emphasis on a material, external worldview of life and knowledge and a widespread neglect or even denial of the interior dimensions of life and knowledge.

Integral theory would predict that any evolving system that suffered from these three pathological states would be heading for major developmental collapse unless steps were taken to re-establish creative balance through supporting the complementary developmental dynamic. Table 6 summarises the relationship between these developmental dynamic and the corresponding form of social and/or personal pathology.

These pathologies of modern and postmodern life (for these qualities also characterise those social forms that we often label as postmodern) have, of course, been pointed out many times previously. However, they have not, to my knowledge, been systematically discussed in a theoretical context that can systematically link these factors with other agents of change and hence provide ways for moving the public debate of these matters onto new ground. Ken Wilber himself has written copiously on the third of these social pathologies, i.e. the contemporary focus on external realities and the neglect of interior ones. However, Wilber has not drawn attention to the first two of these widespread social imbalances – evolutionism and individualism - which, to my mind, are even more crucial to understanding the current problems in national and international development. These issues are so basic that only through addressing them in a consistent way can a more sustainable form of global growth be achieved. These three areas and the impact they have on public policy and corporate planning need to be debated at a very wide level and the following pages will present a few topics on which this debate might focus. However, before that I want to spend a few moments considering how these imbalances relate to the issues of cultural values and particularly Western values.

Table 7: Pathological forms of developmental drives

Integral theory principle Corresponding pathology in current global/personal development
The Evolution-Involution Principle

Evolution is a ubiquitous movement across all spheres of reality, not only biological, but also personal, communal, cultural, social, and political. It's purpose is to transcend current structures and forms of knowledge through the generation of emergent ones. It is balanced and complemented by Involution - the ubiquitous movement to integrate, include and sustain current and formative structures and forms of knowledge in a way that is cognizant of supportive environmental systems.

The evolutionary drive overrides the need for involutionary sustainability and formative integration. Hence the reckless quest for growth dominates public and private policy rather than the more inclusive aim of sustainable development. This is evidenced in unrealistic national targets for GDP growth at the cost of natural and social systems, in the corporative frenzy to grow, takeover, and merge business organisations, and in the popular movement for unrealistic personal achievement and wealth attainment.
The Individual-Communal Principle

The individual-communal dimension of life is another of the key settings in which evolution-involution operates. Individual and communal identity, agency and relationship complement and co-create each other in all aspects of healthy growth. Both the particular and the general forms of being are recognised and honoured. Once again the individual-communal poles define an ontological continuity and not a dualistic interaction.

The rights of the (powerful) individual and the perspective of individuality usurp communal rights and perspectives. Systems are analysed and policies developed in terms of the patterns of beliefs and behaviours of individual parts and not of dynamic systems. This pathology gives rise to the deregulation of national and international corporate behaviour and responsibility, the legal immunity of powerful individuals, social and employment policies that focus on individual agents rather than communities, social factors or systems of wealth creation.
The Interiority-Exteriority Principle

The interior-exterior dimension of life is one of the key settings within which the principle of evolution-involution operates. The inner and the outer, consciousness and physical behaviour complement and co-create each other in all aspects of healthy growth. Both subjective identities and material and behavioural realities are recognised and honoured. The subject-object poles define an ontological continuity and not a dualistic interaction.

Exteriority usurps the world of the interior. The inner life of individual identity, consciousness and experiential subjectivity, and of communal identity, knowledge and experience is neglected or denied. Ken Wilber calls this desubjectified reductive world "Flatland". This pathology appears as forms of social development that ignore cultural communities/subjects, as health systems that ignore subject well-being, as instrumental cultures that ignore spiritual realities, and as the quest for economic wealth that ignores cultural and interior resources.

I am proposing that pathological forms of evolutionism, individualism and objectivism/materialism are causative factors in the social and environmental ills that now plague us. And that these can be analysed in terms of pathological forms of some of the major dynamics that constitute Integral theory.

Evolution-Involution pathology: Evolutionism and excessive drive to transcend

Integral theory proposes that the evolution-involution dynamics is a ubiquitous movement that, i) generates new structures that possess creative and emergent qualities (the evolutionary movement), and, ii) integrates and includes all preceding structures into the current structure in a dynamic yet sustainable way (the involutionary movement). Involutionary dynamics perform the job of developmental integration, stability, sustainability, and relational involvement that balance the ever onward and upward march of emergent processes. The discipline of future studies has been not systematically included the involutionary side of the development equation into its interpretations of current global issues. While the topic of sustainable development, a decidedly involutionary approach, has received some attention from futurists, in general involutionary development has been far less attention from future studies scholars than its more glamorous and exciting cousin. To my mind it is the involutionary phase of development that we now need to urgently investigate in our imaginations of viable and sustainable futures. It is within these involutionary dynamics of growth that we will find visionary and inclusive solutions to the dilemma of furthering our personal and collective evolution while at the same time addressing the environmental and social ills that confront us.

There are many areas of contemporary social life that display blatant forms of pathological evolutionism. These include:

  • clinical health systems that focus almost exclusively on overcoming illness and aging through curative medicine, clinical wizardry, and cosmetic surgery
  • the hyper-technology industries of nano-technology, AI, nuclear fusion, and GM agriculture
  • the allocation of immense resources on research and development in areas as diverse as pharmaceuticals research, space development, and reproductive and genetic sciences when much existing knowledge is ignored
  • economic systems where health is defined as continuous and unrestrained growth at all costs and where the focus of economic indices is on short-term fiscal expansion.
  • technological developments that outstrips a society's moral/ethical capacity to deal with new technical possibilities
  • futurist worldviews that are dominated by transhuman and ultra-technological speculations rather than by innovative, viable, sustainable and inclusive visions of human social possibilities.

Integral Cycle pathology 1: Individualism and the drive to take control (power)

The Integral cycle (for a preliminary discussion of the Integral Cycle see the essay by the same name on Frank Visser's website) is often best seen as the process by which holons learn and acquire knowledge and experience through the dynamic flow that unifies their quadratic identity. Holons learn through the four strands of injunction (UR), apprehension (UL), interpretation (LL) and validation (LR). This process engages the behavioural domain (injunction), the experiential domain (apprehension), the cultural domain (interpretation and meaning), and the social domain (communicative validation) in a unitive process. So there is dynamic flow that mutually interpenetrates all of a holon's life domains. This process is a re-iterative one in that it occurs over and over again through time in a very dynamic manner. This is what Wilber calls tetra-meshing or tetra-interaction (although this is not an interactive process but a mutually interpenetrating one). When the cycle only engages with agentic quadrants, or only with communal quadrants, or only with the interior quadrants, or only with the exterior quadrants then the resulting knowledge and subsequent decision-making outcomes will reflect this pathological form of the knowledge. A healthy holon will have a balance in agentic rights and responsibilities as well as its communal rights and responsibilities for any adequate level of developmental health to be achieved. From my assessment of the political and social landscape of major nations and key global organisations, the agentic pole of this developmental dimension is currently in a very ascendant position which, in many quarters, has reached a state of extreme dominance. And these days of extreme deregulation the major agents of national and international policies are more usually associated with private corporations and agentic organisations such as accrediting agencies (e.g. Moody's), financial markets and stock exchanges rather than collective regulating institutions such as national governments, or international/global regulatory agencies.

The areas where a pathological form of individualism has quite strongly taken hold in the contemporary world include:

  • Threats to democratic power: The decreasing level of state/collective power compared to that of individual corporations, privately sponsored terrorism, media moguls/corporations, and deregulated free markets.
  • Public policy: The direction of public policy on issues such as deregulation, privatisation, user-pays principles of welfare provision, crime prevention, substance abuse, and the public-private debate in education and health all evidence varying degrees of individualism.
  • Corporate governance: Corporate leaders, accounting firms, CEO's, and company directors are not held accountable under the law for their corporate actions.
  • International relations: In the last decade there has been a move by many conservative governments to seek bilateral, i.e. individual-to–individual, agreements on trade and other areas, rather than multilateral/collective international agreements.
  • Regional security: The continued attempt by many nations to acquire regional military superiority (individual power) as a method of national defence, instead of joint defence through international agreements and interdependence in security matters (collective power).
  • Rogue states and USA military supremacy: Some individual rogue states choose to operate outside of global institutions that regulate the international law and diplomatic convention. In response the USA has recently opted to act outside of UN processes to pursue its own agendas (however laudable or otherwise) these may be. These individual actions profoundly destabilise global governance processes that operate at a collective level.

In each of these areas the direction of influence and power is increasing at the individual end of the individual-communal dimension of development. By this I do not mean that the average citizen or individual person is being currently vested with more power. I mean that in all areas of social activity from economic development to public policy, to political decision-making, to media influence and ownership are all heavily biased towards perspectives that see the "individual" as the source of both all good and all harm, and therefore that real social change and growth will only come about by initiating and supporting the useful actions of the individual or by inhibiting or defeating their harmful actions. It also means that individual social holons (such as nations) are currently more likely to act out of their own agentic aims and motivations without a prevailing collective balance (such as UN resolutions). Figure 8 shows this bias in graphic terms.

Integral Cycle pathology 2: Flatland Exteriorism and the drive to possess (consume)

One of the foundational elements of Integral theory is the proposition that all reality is constituted by both exterior and interior structures. Development requires that these structures evolve (display emergent qualities) and involve (display integrative qualities) through many qualitatively different phases. For several hundred of years Western culture has generally turned away from perspectives that give credence to internal realties and emphasised external measurement, objective evidence, material enterprise, and physical models of reality. Ken Wilber has been one of the most vocal critics of contemporary western culture's predilection for discounting the vital importance of interiority and the reality of the subject in both its personal and social guises. Wilber has given the very apt term "Flatland" to this subjectless world of contemporary western life. In contrast to this, Integral theory has argued very strongly and persuasively for the equal inclusion of the interior world and the notion of an evolving subject into our conceptions of reality.

The subjectless world of Flatland gives rise to a pathological form of developmentalism that values physical and material attainment at the cost of an internal growth in moral responsibility or world-centric perspective. I don't think there is any need to point out examples here of how this materialism/exteriorism occupies a place of dominance in contemporary global culture. What I would like to point out here is that materialism and excessive accumulation of physical property are pathological forms of an otherwise essentially human quality. While materialism has been widely recognised as a damaging feature of modern societies, in both its personal and social forms, it has not been widely acknowledged that it derives from an underlying drive that is definitive of human development. As such it needs to be returned to a state of balance through the application of its complementary developmental cousin – the recognition and open encouragement of personal and cultural interiors. Integral theory defines culture as the interior of the community/society. It is the subjective glue that holds a society together. Culture comes out of shared visions and common worldviews. It does not come from the imitation of lifestyles or equality in standards of living. The counterweight to materialism is not some abstract spiritualism but cultural identity and respect for the culture of others. Integral theory would suggest that the first step to rebalancing the materialistic nightmare of Flatland is to be found in the rediscovery of culture and in the meaning that flows from cultural visions of life.

Combinations of the pathologies

The three pathologies of evolutionism, individualism and exteriorism probably never exist in a pure form but combine together to result in the particularly damaging social forces that we see are threatening continued global viability. For example, evolutionism combines with exteriorism to result in the mad rush to acquire, to invent, to build, to possess far beyond any possibility for actual enjoyment or reasonable use. I believe that ultra-technologies have already reached a point of transcendental objectivism that is no longer interested in the health of the subject but only in the emergence of new objects of power for their own sake. There are several areas of science now that deliberately seek public funding through offering a future that is based on complete control of, and dissociation from, natural systems. This, to my mind, this level of infatuation with evolutionist-exteriorist values is a severe form of social pathology. It's is also a form of thinking about the future that has captured the imaginations of many writers in the area of future studies. Based on my reading of Integral theory however, this ultra-tech path leads not to a thrilling future of possibility but to disconnected world where many of the world's current social ills will be greatly amplified.

The unhappy alliance between evolutionism and exteriorism can also be seen in various religious forms, for example in the dominant movement within evangelical Christianity known as the "Prosperity Gospel". When spiritual growth and the social vision that accompanies it is stifled through lack of public recognition of higher values or through fundamentalist distortions the evolutionary instinct is translated into the desire for material attainment and the social pathologies that go with it - status seeking, egoic gratification, economic power. The natural balance of development is stunted into the substitute pathological hierarchy of material attainment. Instead of the social vision supporting the unfolding of the individual potential for spiritual growth and collective religious well-being the social vision becomes one simply of becoming rich and/or glamorous. The collective evolutionary drive towards developmental health is short-circuited into a drive towards simple material production, consumption, and display. The wider cultural task of promoting and supporting individual and collective developmental health is subverted into the economic vision of supporting and promoting material wealth. When evolutionism-materialism runs amuck the social drive to build more humane, inclusive and liberating civic structures is redirected into the building and acquisition of just more buildings, more land, and more physical structures.

To give but one cultural examples of unhealthy forms of these meta-values, evolutionism plus individualism results in our infatuation with celebrity, fame, and the cult of personality at the popular level and the phenomenon of the tyrant and absolute corruption at the political level. The death of Princess Diana provided a social window on the strength and rather strange dynamics of this phenomenon within the popular world. Intimations and dreams of transcendent saintliness and beauty combined with the individual world of personalised identification to form a very powerful example of how human values can surge up in spontaneous movements that show both their inherent humanity as well as how easily they can be distorted and misplaced. The world of politics has long been witness to this type of infatuation. I need not point out how disastrous this has been for humanity in our past and how it will be again in our future.

There is presently a very misunderstood combination of pathological forms of individualism and exteriorism/materialism that is having a strong impact on post-modern values and worldviews. When a lack of social-cultural meaning combines with a very objectified view of life the result is a particularly nihilistic and pessimistic outlook that is having a very broad impact on many levels of society. This combination is manifested in a wide range of social phenomena – from the public loss of interest in political participation to the dramatic drop-off in community engagement of virtually any sort. One particularly important area that is susceptible to this type of values distortion is that of youth and adolescent development. It shows up when younger generations must often try to assemble their own values and social connections in the absence of family and community values or any social recognition of inner life. Hence the "lack of meaning", youth suicide, vandalism, and social dislocation that is a significant problem in many different cultures across the world.

There is also the possibility that the three developmental imbalances I have identified here can come together to form a particularly unhealthy form of social activity that causes extreme social disruption and violence. When an excessive need for growth combines with extreme materialism, a disregard for interior values, and a rampant form of individualism the result is devastating for societies and whole nations. Figure 4 shows this extreme distortion where all three pathologies combine to produce a very unstable system. I believe that this extreme level of social pathology has existed in several different forms in recent history. A possible contender at the national level is Stalinist Russia which had an extreme dose of the cult of personality, industrialised madness, and an intense disregard for inherent human and cultural values. The result was social and environmental devastation on an unprecedented scale. But then the Soviet Union was, theoretically at least, governed on collectivist political principles. A more pertinent example for our current purposes is probably to be found in the actions of some multinational corporations. Trans-national governing bodies have yet to develop an adequate system of regulatory principles and enforceable legal process that can harness the enterprise and energy of corporate activity for the common good. Too much corporate activity is still dominated by the unaccountable individual behaviour that embodies the types of excesses and developmental imbalances that I have pointed out throughout this essay. The result is the abuse of natural environments, the wasting of immense resources for questionable technological gain, and the undervaluing of cultural values and interior forms of development. But I believe these difficulties, vast as they may be, can be managed. And Integral theory does provide a very useful analytical tool for setting directions on how that management should proceed.


I have given here a very generalised overview of how Integral theory can be used to analyse holonic health and pathology for both the personal and social contexts. I have done this through the application of what I can integral holonics. Integral holonics can follow any number of methodologies and I have out lined two such methods here. The first has been the method of Integral indexing that uses the full complement of Integral holonics principles. This indexing approach relies more on the structural elements of Integral holonics. The second has been the analysis of developmental change through the interpretive application of integral developmental dynamics. This methods relies more on the analysis of change and the dynamic aspects of the model. I have applied these methods to the analysis of both personal and social holons. I have not dealt at all with the historical or situational factors that also play a crucial role in understanding personal and social health or illness. It is my understanding that the complexity of personal and social life requires the full use of the principles of Integral holonics as well as the inclusion of the contextual factors of developmental history and situational contingencies to be adequately understood. Any interpretive process that attempts to analyse personal and social events without at least these essentials is likely to produce reductive and invalid explanations.


Edwards, M. (2000) "The Integral Cycle of Knowledge: Some thoughts on integrating Ken Wilber's Developmental and Epistemological Models". Available on-line at:

Edwards, M. (2002) "The way up is the way down: Integral socio-cultural studies and cultural evolution". ReVision: A Journal of Consciousness and Transformation, 24, 21-31.

Harris, R. (2002) "The Blood Brotherhoods: A developmental look at terrorism from the perspective of mythos". Available on-line at:

Vila, I. (1996) "Intentionality, communication and language", In A. Tryphon & J. Voneche (Eds.), Piaget-Vygotsky: The social genesis of thought (pp189-200). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Wilber, K (2002a) "Excerpts from the Kosmos Trilogy - Excerpt A". Available Online at:

Wilber, K (2002b) "Excerpts from the Kosmos Trilogy – Excerpt B - The Many Ways We Touch, Three Principles Helpful for Any Integrative Approach - Part II". Available Online at:

© Mark Edwards
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