AQAL Framework of Integral Psychology

Integral psychology as a discipline strives to explain how our society and cultures can be transformed by experiencing interconnectedness between body, mind, spirit, and nature. As part of a systematic inquiry into development of human thoughts, integral psychology depends on a framework called AQAL. Short for all quadrants, all lines, all levels, all states, types, and bodies, the framework is a comprehensive approach that creates a foundation to understand and explain evolution of human thoughts and behaviour.

The Four Quadrants

The four quadrants are drawn by dividing the experiences into:

  • Interior or intangible experiences
  • Exterior or tangible experiences
  • Individual experiences
  • Collective experiences

Quadrant 1: This is the upper left quadrant where the experiences are at individual level and are intangible. Also known as I space this will have a lot of thoughts or emotions.

Quadrant 2: This is the upper right quadrant. Here the experiences are individual and tangible. Known as It space, this will have body actions.

Quadrant 3: The lower left quadrant called as We space has more collective experiences that are intangible. So here you will find shared values and understandings.

Quadrant 4: The lower right quadrant called the Its space will have collective and physical experiences.

The Four Levels

Levels are also known as the stages of development of consciousness, complexity, capacity, and depth of a human being. The four levels that are included here are:

  1. Egocentric: This is the stage where a person just cares for himself and is worried about his personal gains only.
  2. Ethnocentric: This is the stage where a person moves beyond himself and also cares for his family, tribe, or nation.
  3. Worldcentric: At this stage a person moves beyond his own tribe or nation and starts caring for the world we live in and our globe.
  4. Kosmocentric: This is the stage where a person transcends beyond the world and starts becoming conscious about the cosmos.

It is to be noted that these stages show a vertical development and are more a transcendence from one to another. This means that a person can be ethnocentric while still being conscious about himself. He does not need to stop caring about himself to be at stage 2.

The Five Lines

The stages or levels of development are achieved on a platform known as lines. These lines are basically different capacities of:

  1. Cognition
  2. Emotional Intelligence
  3. Interpersonal
  4. Morals
  5. Needs

The development of these lines makes us better at some things compared to others.

The States

The three basic states of human consciousness are waking stage, dreaming state, and deep sleep state. The states are exclusive and cannot be transcended. This means you cannot be in deep sleep state and still be awake.

The Types

These are the horizontal differences like male/female or left handed/right handed that stay with a person throughout the development. So, a person who is left handed at egocentric level will continue to remain egocentric at ethnocentric level as well.