The Integrator Archetype
Flow of Life
The Integrator card symbolizes balance, moderation, and the middle path. It also represents changes, adaptability, adventure, freedom, and also conflict.
The Metallic Angel is a massive peace keeper. Both male and female, it is guarding our Earth in its mechanical womb. All around it, are space slugs and nearby planets. Without reacting, it harmoniously lets other planets flow around it. It has a halo on the head that shows divinity and a solar symbol on the crown that depicts clarity of thought. The white metallic depicts the purity of intention and its wings represent wise counsel. The faraway yellow mountains can be obstacles and also represent the passionate goals that one has in life.
The Integrator is able to accept that nature is inconstant and changing, and as a result realizes that as the environment changes so does what is deemed valuable. In other words, values and environment go hand in hand. The Integrator is no longer tied to one worldview and “begins to question and analyze all of [the] human processes as parts of an integrated spiral” (NVC, 2001a, p. 2). As a result, the Integrator is capable of focusing on functionality, competence, flexibility, and what is needed in a given situation. All value systems and worldviews become legitimate, and understood as forms of human consciousness that when healthy, are a vital contribution to life, and continuation of our evolution.
The Integrator produces a “FlexFlow” worldview. It is “flexible” in that it is able to be in touch with each preceding worldview, interacting with them in their own language and on their own frequencies. It recognizes that “what is right yesterday may not be seen as right tomorrow” (Beck & Cowan, 1996, p. 279), dependent largely on which worldviews one accesses. While it might not agree with the worldviews of the others, the Integrator is able to clearly see their individual significance and points of view.
The Integrator is concerned with “what’s necessary, natural, and next” (Beck & Cowan, 1996, p. 280). It gets to the core of issues, focusing on what it necessary in order to help the situation evolve. Authority for a the Integrator is contextual; “the best equipped and most capable gains authority, regardless of rank, tenure, or even feelings” (Beck & Cowan, 1996, p. 280). The Integrator's endeavor to provide what is natural to the occasion, as what is necessary to perform the task in the best manner becomes the primary concern, albeit the Integrator is also keenly aware of the conceptual and personal worldviews of each previous value systems and allows what is natural for each. Above all, the Integrator is interested in uncovering ways in which other living systems thrive, so that individuals retain as much freedom as possible to be as he or she chooses. This is a complex pursuit, but well within the scope of the Integrator's abilities, as it instinctively recognizes that “what is ‘natural’ comes in all of the Spiral’s colors – both singly and in various blends, mixtures and combinations” (Beck & Cowan, 1996, p. 281). The Integrator's consciousness is adroit at finding problems, producing complex answers that are simple to execute, and thus creating win- win outcomes that work for all the levels of consciousness involved.
Characteristics of the Integrator:
Overarching view of living systems
View life as a chaotic organism in which change is a constant and in which insecurity is an acceptable way of living
Integrative structures and evolutionary streams
The need to develop natural living environments that support human evolution in a step-by-step and phased way
Integration of head, heart and gut feeling
Focused on both process and content
Moves freely in different value systems
Change is a constant: it’s emergent and about long-term thinking
“Acupunctural interventions”; small actions with a big impact
Personal freedom without harming others or nature
Thinks and acts from an inner-directed core
Bottom line: Qualities and responsibilities of being.
Basic theme: Live fully and responsibly as what you are and learn to become
What’s important: The magnificence of existence (over material possessions); flexibility, spontaneity, and functionality; knowledge and competency (over rank, power, status); the integration of differences into interdependent, natural flows; complementing egalitarianism with natural degrees of ranking and excellence; recognition of overlapping dynamic systems and natural hierarchies in any context
Where seen: Peter Senge’s organizations; W. Edward Deming’s objectives; Stephen Hawking’s Brief History of Time; chaos and complexity theories; eco-industrial parks (using each other’s outflows as raw materials)
Main focus: Linking theory and principles with practice; dynamic systems interactions
Qualities: Comprehends multiple interconnected systems of relationships and processes; able to deal with conflicting needs and duties in constantly shifting contexts; recognizes the need for autonomy while parts of a system are interdependent; recognizes higher principles, social construction of reality, complexity and interrelationships; problem finding not just creative problem solving; aware of paradox and contradiction in system and self; sensitive to unique market niches, historical moment, larger social movements; creates “positive-sum” games; aware of own power (and perhaps tempted by it); seeks feedback from others and environment as vital for growth and making sense of world.
How influences others: Leads in reframing, reinterpreting situation so that decisions support overall principle, strategy, integrity, and foresight.
The Integrator has a 4th person perspective. They can see things from their 1st person perspective, take on a 2nd person perspective of another person or group via empathy, integrate a 3rd person and see themselves as an object, take on a 4th person perspective of understanding systems within the context of time and change.
This stage represents an enlarged fourth person perspective which places the individual’s experience into the context of multiple worldviews and within people’s whole lifetime. Cognitively the Integrator has a general systems view of reality, that is, they can comprehend multiple interconnected systems of relationships and processes both internally and externally as these are experienced as connected.
The expanded 4th person perspective is now truly world-centric. While earlier stages may express world-centric values and goals, the Integrator embraces the tenets of a global worldview and can embody them. They have internalized systems thinking. They not only see the interconnected aspects of the external world, but also that of their own meaning making. With the expanded time frame and wider social networks, the Integrator can perceive systemic patterns or long-term trends and are often valued for that “strategic” capacity and vision.
the Integrator realizes that they may notice different conflicting aspects in themselves at different times and in different contexts. However, -- unlike Individualists, who may despair about ever knowing who they really are -- they are capable of “owning” and integrating many disparate parts of themselves. This includes integrating previously compartmentalized sub-identities, and rejected or marginalized parts of themselves. The experience of being part of interlocking systems rather than a bunch of separate agents changes one’s sense of responsibility in conflict situations. One sees how one inevitably is part of and contributes consciously or unconsciously to them. The self and the other can be seen as both perpetrator and victim, giver and taker, product and process as actions, thoughts and feelings can no longer be isolated as was the preferred way of dealing with difficulties at the Achiever level. Instead they form a dynamic interplay.
The self as in embedded in history and multiple cultural contexts:
Embrace: like-principled others and a broad range of human beings and their many ways.
Time frame: “historical perspective, lifetime view”
Cognition: general systems view internalized, metasystematic = able to compare and coordinate multiple systems
Chief concern: development of self and others, self- actualization, integration, beginning to own shadow
Positive expression: Well balanced, tolerant, insightful, growth-oriented; committed to improving the lot of all stakeholders
Truth: can be approximated; higher is better since not all arguments and positions are of equal quality. Higher is more flexible and thus more adequate to deal with complexities of all kinds.
Critical, curious without judging and keep asking questions. Can easily distinguish between the essential and the ancillary. Creative and innovative and has a continuous flow of new ideas and ways of thinking. Uses the most appropriate and workable methods and behaviors to realize strategies and builds on already existing knowledge and models.
Get bogged down in complex analysis. Builds castles in the air; inventing beautiful futuristic solutions, which are not pragmatic. Not able to finish something because there’s always something new that requires attention. Everything is criticized and made more complex instead of doing what actually needs to be done. At times, the Integrator may seem cold and distant as it sometimes forgets to connect to people (because of its enthusiasm).
Spiral Dynamics: Stage Yellow
Ken Wilber's AQAL: Stage Teal
Cognitive Development: Middle Vision Logic
Ego Development Stage: Strategist (5)
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