Suppose you took the time to understand of the worlds great religions, philosphies, psychologies, histories and sciences (both East and West), with the assumption that they all are at least partly true, and you looked for the commonalities that ties them all together. With that knowledge you then took the time to draw a “map” that combines all of that knowledge into a single system. Yeh, I know the result – your brain would explode! I know mine almost did just thinking about the whole idea.

Well lucky of us someone who lives right here in Colorado has spent his life time doing just that. The result is what has come to be known as the AQAL (or Integral) philosophy. AQAL stands for All Quadrants, all Levels, Lines and Types. In their simplest form there are four Quadrants are: I, We, It and Its (see the diagram below). The I is the inner I each of us has, our emotions, our feelings, our thoughts, our imagination etc.. The WE is the inner connection we feel with each other as soon as we begin to communicate and what we think of as culture. The IT is the outside world, which includes everything physical from the extends of the universe down to your own body and farther down to the atoms and even subatomic particles that every IT is made of. And, the ITS are the systems of all of those ITs interacting. From electrical circuits to ecosystems to systems theory to chaos theory and even goverments.

You will notice that the two left Quadrants (I and We) are inner spaces and the two right Quadrants are outer or physical spaces. The upper two Quardants are singular and lower two are plural. And, perhaps most importantly, the Four Quadrants represent the first four persectives, I, WE, IT and its plural ITS.  

Got that? Well I almost do so maybe after I spend the next ten years trying to explain it I might begin to really grasp it. I have always found the best way to l earn something is to teach it.

In the near future I will start a blog where I will try to apply those four Quadrants to Architectural Design and show how we are using the integral philosophy in our own design projects. 

The Upper Left Quadrant (UL) is the (inner) I of design. Which is both the designer’s and the client’s inner space – “your ideas – my imagination” – you get it.  

The Lower Left Quadrant (LL) is the WE space the designer and client establish through their interactions. The better (more Skillfull) the Communication the better the end result. That’s assuming that my design is intended to reflect your desires and not just some figment of my own ego. But that is a future Blog where we may try to see if we can fit the work and design philosophy of Frank Lloyd Wright into the AQAL model.  

The Upper Right Quadrant (UR) is the physical component of your design, be it a new room interior, a new building or a whole city.  

Finally, for good design the LR Quadrant is the physical system into which our design is placed. That could be a neighborhood into which we insert our design for example, but also includes the Building and Zoning Departments we have to keep happy. That pesky Building Code we will put up in the UL Quadrant since it is a physical entity!

Let’s stop there for now. Next time we need to begin to include the AL part of AQAL.  

​6/1/11  When is Green not so Green?
​Using corn to fuel our cars is a perfect example of green gone off track.

While using corn for fuel has mad a few farmers rich (and probably saved a few from bankruptcy) and may have made gas in the US a bit cheaper and maybe even reduced our dependency on foreign oil a tad, it has, on a global scale, hurt the environment.

Naturaly, I am defining environment from integral AQAL perspective which will always take into account all four quadrants AND take as large (all encompasing  - think global) a view as possible.  ( This is a point I will explain further in next month's addition.)

So, where has corn fuel gone wrong?  Well, corn may not seem very important to us here in the US - we have always produced a surplus and the government has even paid some farmers not to grow it - but around the world is more important to life than gold.  In many developing (and not so developing countries) the cost of feeding a typical family is upwards of 60% of that family's TOTAL income.  Here in the US the average is closer to 5%.  So a very small increase in the cost of food represents a huge increase in that family's monthly budget.  And, corn has historically been a reasonably priced staple in the diets of much of the world's population.   Now, since we started using corn for fuel, in some parts of the world the price of corn has doubled.  That is the financial equivalant of your rent or mortgage going from $1,500.oo to $3,000.00 - virtually overnight!  

The bottom line is that corn fuel in the US has driven up the price of corn to eat by enough to cause starvation in some parts of the world.  And, unfortunately we are talking about people that were surviving by their own means who now can no longer afford to feed themselves and will soon need global assistance to live.