January 12, 2009

Integral Theory and Mapmaking

A General Introduction to Integral Theory and Comprehensive Mapmaking

By Sean M. Saiter

While attempting to keep to the larger vision of integral studies as a whole I shall be proposing a rudimentary outline of an underlying assertion primarily based upon the works of Ken Wilber, Jean Gebser, Don Beck and Christopher Cowan (based on the work of Clare Graves), and Mark B. Woodhouse. Robert Kegan, Howard Gardner, James Mark Baldwin, Susan Cook-Greuter, and Carol Gilligan are influences working in the background.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when trying to understand integral studies as a field is that a fundamental, underlying message in Wilber's, Graves', Beck's, Gebser's, and Woodhouse's work is that we are currently in a pivotal transition from one age to another.

The idea, and this is a rather popular idea, is that we are in the throes of a rather deep and penetrating shift in collective consciousness complete with its own once-in-a-lifetime phenomena. In my humble opinion, the works exemplified in this essay are among the most sophisticated, timely, and comprehensive manifestations of this general perception of global transformation.

The main function of this essay is to serve as a preliminary introduction to the new field of integral studies by looking into four particular theorists. Three of these, Wilber, Beck, and Gebser, are highly influential and central to the field. This has much to do with Wilber's highly influential work. Woodhouse, on the other hand, exemplifies an "outsider" perspective yet remains, I believe just as inclusive.

This is an argument for the validity of the integral approach and a call to awareness about the transition that is represents. By proposing a context for the field within the boundaries of the common underlying message of a profound shift in human consciousness, we can come to a greater comprehension of what can be considered to be among the most refined manifestations of human potential to date.

Read More: Here

SEAN M. SAITER is a doctoral student in the Residential Doctoral program in Transpersonal Psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California. The image above is original artwork by Sean Saiter - All Rights Reserved.

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