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The operating model at Integral Institute is the AQAL map, a multi-dimensional, evolutionary matrix incorporating the human inquiry fields: physics, biology, psychology, culture, and spirituality. The acronym “AQAL” embodies the Institute’s primary belief that ultimate human knowledge accounts for the truth quality present in all forms of inquiry, bringing them together not as a random heap, but as a living, conscious whole.

The quadrants depict the four dimensions of the Kosmos arising every moment, the four dimensions of your being arising this very second, and this very second, and this very second. The quadrants are: subjective (Upper Left); intersubjective (Lower Left); objective (Upper Right); and interobjective (Lower Right)—also known as I, We, and It.

An easy way to describe the quadrants is to say the Y-axis splits consciousness, the left side, from matter, the right side. The X-axis divides singular, the upper half, from plural, the bottom half. While each quadrant is not reducible to any other they are related to one another. For example, in the Upper Left there are the great states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. These states correlate in the Upper Right with beta, theta, and delta brain waves respectively. These states of consciousness are not the brain waves; the brain waves are the exterior manifestation of interior consciousness. No quadrant is dominant or prior to the others. All four arise simultaneously moment to moment. Each subjective moment comes already enmeshed in intersubjective modes of discourse and communication, which themselves manifest as interobjective patterns of technological systems, societal and governmental patterns and the like.

The quadrants are a “map of maps.” Each quadrant contains certain practices, called paradigms, that illuminate those dimensions of being. For example, behaviorist psychology, with its instruction to pay exclusive attention to the exterior behavior of an individual illuminates the Upper Right Quadrant. The AQAL approach seeks above all to incorporate the greatest number of paradigms and allow for each to contribute its own fundamental insights without marginalizing others or absolutizing its own true but partial statements. The AQAL approach seeks to shed light on what is already arising, and by bringing awareness to bear on these modes of Kosmic manifestation, bring about a more integral, whole world.

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