One of the organizations that I'm active in is called Integral Philly. Part of our mission at Integral Philly is to explore complex and dynamic topics using the Integral Theory lens called AQAL. At our last meeting, we decided to apply the AQAL Lens to the rapidly changing Internet. (Ken Wilber is the originator of the AQAL model.)
The conversation quickly jumped into a discussion of Network Theory and Six Degrees of Separation. It seems that this idea is particularly important in the social networks we are creating and propagating across the Web.
However, the conversation quickly ran through a gamut of topics which I captured in the Quadrant breakdown shown below. For those of you not familiar with AQAL, the quadrants are:
- upper left. the interior of the person. Think of our consciousness.
- upper right. the exterior/measureable elements of the person. Skills, demographics, behaviors
- lower left. the interior of the group. This represents our culture.
- lower right. the exterior of the group. The formal organizations we use.
In the diagram below, the four quadrants capture single phrases around a wide range of topics. However, some of the key takeaways and discussions were captured as links between quadrants. A brief recap includes:
1) Remember that Technology runs ahead of Morality (Blue Line). One of the saddest moments of my career as a technologist came when I realized how a cool technology like a video camera built into a cell phone could be turned into a cyber-bulllying tool. Imagine a boy or girl being humiliated on a playground by one or more bullies. A 12 year old girl, thinking its funny, whips out her phone and records the whole scene on video. The bullying video is posted to YouTube. The next day, the bullied child with low self-esteem, now the laughing stock of the entire school, does the unthinkable.
We are blessed daily with new technologies. But those of us who use them, or who put new technologies in the hands of children, are obligated to recognize that morals and ethics for these devices often have not been established by our culture. We have the responsibility of using vigilance in personally monitoring ourselves and others for moral and ethical violations that emerge from using these technologies.
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. - Martin Luther King Jr.
2) Different Internet Communication Channels provide different levels of Context. An interesting discussion started with a conversation about email and how so much can be taken out of context. Indeed, it seems that proper etiquette in email should be required education in our classrooms today. That said, what is the difference between the context provided by Twitter - at 140 characters of text - and live online video? Quite a bit, I'd say. But its interesting to think about the differences of context provided by the various Internet channels. Live networking or "Pressing the flesh" may always be the most intimate way to interact with someone. This item opened up an entire range of new topics for me related to mapping Internet Marketing Channels. More on that in an upcoming blog post.
3) Working at Home has a crucial side-effect of more isolation. Okay. I admit it. I often communicate with my wife by email... even when she is 20 feet away from me. I instant message co-workers who are in the same room. How pathetic is that?
We are becoming increasingly isolated even as we become more connected.
4) Disembodied Surfing needs to be more present. Have you ever zoned out while surfing the Web? I have... plenty. A random meditation bell software program that rings periodically, without warning, helps to bring me back to reality. I can take a deep breath... appreciate my surroundings and begin surfing again with more presence.
Some of the topics discussed during our Integral Philly Meetup are shown below.
I hope you get the idea that, during the talk, we covered a wide range of topics. One of the final areas of discussion before we ran out of time was the role that generation is playing in how people interact with the Web. One hot topic was how Millenials relate differently to the world in particular. Millenials are the first full-fledged Internet generation from just-about cradle and on.
Apparently, this hasn't gone un-noticed by a number of authors. Some books mentioned during the conversation included:Fourth Turning by William Strauss
How do you relate to the conclusions our group reached? What questions do they raise for you?
Are there other cross-quadrant topics that you'd like to explore?
By: Skip Shuda