The New Johari Window #14. Quadrant One: The New World of Interpersonal Relationships
In many ways, our sense of self hasn’t changed much since Joe Luft first wrote about the Johari Window. After all, a foundational concept, such as “self,” is forged in a specific society over many centuries. It doesn’t change overnight, nor is it strongly influenced by the ephemeral tides of new technology, life style changes or economic/political relocation. The extent to which we share this sense of “self” with other people, however, is subject to rather dramatic change, as are the ways in which we do this sharing. The New Johari Window has been drafted, in part, to take into account these shifts and to address the even deeper issue regarding how we come to our own personal understanding of self in the midst of a postmodern revolution.
In a postmodern world of complexity, unpredictability and turbulence, it is hard to establish a consistent public self. We are different people in different settings—this is the essence of the saturated, contextual self that I described earlier in this book. Furthermore, as Robert Bellah and his colleagues have suggests, we tend to retreat to specific “life-style enclaves” that enable us to display a more consistent self. If these enclaves continue to play an important role in our society, then there are at least three important implications with regard to the first Quadrant: (1) Our Q1 is defined within a specific community, (2) Q1 is defined as different from the Q1 of other people (Erik Eriksen’s “negative identity”). I am defined by my difference (“I am old.” “I am Black.” “I am a Goth.”), rather than by my sameness. (3) When I leave my enclave to go to work or to meet with other family members, I feel “alienated” and inauthentic (my persona is more visible).
Time and Technology
In our postmodern world there seems to be less time for Quad One—or for any of the quadrants, for that matter (as I noted in Chapter Two). When we say there is less time for Quadrant One, there are actually four dimensions to consider and each of these dimensions relates directly to recent technological innovations. First, there is less time for other people and for displaying various aspects of our richly textured (perhaps saturated) self to different constituencies. We may have time for our immediate family and for the people with whom we work, but we typically don’t have time for our neighbors or for people we meet casually on the street. While technology is supposed to save us time, it actually consumes time. We spend three hours a day answering our e-mails and voice mails. We find little time for the face-to-face meetings with people that formerly occupied much of our workday. We no longer leave our work life behind us when we leave the office, but now bring it home with us via email and the Internet. If we have time for our family, it is often carved out of time devoted to our closest colleague—the desktop or laptop computer.