Welcome to the Integral Approach

The Integral Approach is a way of mapping the various dimensions of human consciousness onto a framework which can then be used as a common reference point for discussing various issues.

Example 1:  Dieting

Let’s take the example of someone who wants to try to lose weight as a New Year’s resolution.

Many people take the approach of a restrictive diet by simply cutting calories and using their willpower to maintain that diet.  As Bill Phillips puts it in chapter 3 of his book Transformation, it’s like trying to hold your breath underwater.  No matter how much willpower you have, your body’s need for oxygen will overcome your resolve.  You will eventually surface and start gasping for air.

In a similar way, if you try to cut calories without consuming a sufficient amount of essential nutrients, your body’s need for those nutrients will also overcome your resolve.  You will eventually start eating and when you do, your built-up hunger will most likely cause you to overeat.  So just paying attention to psychology and willpower won’t work.  You have to know something about nutrition and how the body’s physiology works in order to make dieting effective.

The Transformation approach to weight loss by Bill Phillips combines attention to psychology plus knowledge of the body’s physiology to create an effective weight-loss program.  Or to put it in terms of the Integral Approach, it succeeds where most diets fail because it takes an integral approach of the internal (psychological) and external (physiological) factors involved.

Example 2:  Obesity Epidemic in U.S

What if you decided to make it your life’s work to help an entire society lose weight rather than simply a single individual?   Bill Phillips not only wants to help individuals lose weight through his Transformation program, but he also wants to work on creating solutions to the societal problem in the United States where 70% of the entire population is overweight.

To understand the roots of this societal problem, you have to approach the cultural factors as well as the political and economic factors that contribute to it.   In other words, you have to take an integral approach of the internal (cultural) and external (political and economic) factors.

The difference between the two examples shows the same problem of being overweight but related to an individual (singular) vs. a group (plural).  These two dimensions, the  internal vs. external and the singular vs. plural create a total of four quadrants or ways of viewing an issue.

And that is where I get the title of this blog called “4squareviews”.

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