Thus, to briefly summarize: the Integral approach looks at any problem—personal, social, ecological, international—and attempts to identify all of the important variables that are contributing to the problem in each of the five major domains (quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types). A truly Integral approach might draw equally on systems theory and meditation, technological innovations and emotional intelligence, corporate culture and behavioral modification—the full spectrum of potentials in all of the quadrants, all of the levels, all of the lines, all of the states, all of the types.
The Integral approach thus elicits solutions that acknowledge and incorporate all of these important factors, without excluding or denying any of them—because all of them are clearly affecting the present situation and the problems being generated, and anything less than a truly Integral approach might actually make matters worse, not better.
Yes, all of this may be tough to process initially, but the application of integral theory is quite straightforward. We are called on to incorporate as much knowledge as possible when dealing with any problem or when attempting to reach any goal; an integral tactic will be as holistic as possible, taking into consideration everything we can discern, learn and potentially do.
Integral approaches to many of today’s problems could help immensely. Would someone following integral theory refuse to engage in genuine discussion in any endevour? Not only could we cut through ideological oversimplification and blindness, we could certainly advance many fields by exploring the working elements of others (I’ll soon write about how this applies to taking open source from the world of software into the world of DIY craftwork and related disciplines). Now more than ever (are we not living in a world undergoing immense change?) we need to start exploring integral ways to live.