Comments on Chapter 2, “It’s All About Perspectives: The AQAL Model”
By Sam Mickey
Chapter 2 gets us further into the AQAL model: the all-quadrant, all-level framework that we started exploring last week. The AQAL model was developed by Wilber in the 1990s, and E-H&Z follow Wilber very closely, maybe even too closely (perhaps “slavishly,” following Adrian’s comment last week). Before elaborating on the specifics of the AQAL framework (pronounced ah-qwul), E-H&Z discuss the “perspectivalism” that is “[c]entral to this framework” (48).
Perspectivalism involves post-disciplinarity. E-H&Z mention that, while their aim to “organize and integrate many different perspectives” shares some commonalities with interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research, the Integral approach is actually “postdisciplinary” insofar as it can be used in contexts that are disciplinary, multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary (47). Post-disciplinary is synonymous with meta-disciplinary, as they mention in a footnote (557n5). Are they drawing too precise of distinctions here with this proliferation of prefixes? Or maybe not precise enough? That is a question I have for Integral Theory in general. I appreciate all of the distinctions, but I feel like they always slip into too much precision (e.g., distinguishing between inter-, meta-, multi-, post-, and meta-) and not enough precision (giving short shrift to Romanticism and postmodernism). Reading Integral Theory, I’m often reminded of Aristotle (Ethics, 1094b) saying that an educated person is one who adheres to the clarity of what they study, treating objects of study with the precision those objects call for, not less precision, and not more.