The New Johari Window #6: Awareness of Self and the Postmodern Condition
A colleague of mine, Bob Schukraft, was preparing a manuscript prior to his very tragic death as a young man that suggested a shift in the notion of development from the first half of our lives to the second half. During the first half, according to Schukraft, development refers primarily to expansion in our capacity to do things. We gain new competencies. This is what “development” means in our youth. During the second half of life, “development” means something quite different. It concerns the choices we make with regard to the use of competencies we already have. We still learn new things, but our developmental challenges are primarily concerned in the second half of life with making choices among several priorities, and with identifying the enduring values and purposes that provide guidance for these choices.
To the extent that our postmodern society is “graying” (older average age), this selective self may become more prevalent. It may be appropriate not only for people who are growing older (all of us), but also for people who are faced with the challenges of postmodern life (most of us). I would suggest that the selective self is particularly appropriate when coupled with the notion of an appreciative self—the fifth type of postmodern self—to which I turn in a later essay.
So how does the Johari Window help us as a guidebook in these postmodern circumstances? In what ways does the New Johari Window serve even more effectively in our new Century as a human interaction tool of analysis and understanding? How do these emerging senses of self play out in the Johari Window and in our new century? To answer these three questions, I turn in the next three essays to a brief description of three fundamental challenges (inherent in our postmodern condition) to which I have already frequently alluded: (1) complexity, (2) unpredictability and (3) turbulence. I suggest, in a preliminary way, how the Johari Window helps us address these three challenges—especially in an interpersonal context—and how each challenge relates to one or more of the five senses of self. What, then, is the nature of these three challenges that create these five different senses of self—and how does each relate to our New Johari Window? I first turn in the next essay to the challenge of complexity.
Following are other posted essays in this series on the New Johari Window: