The New Johari Window #7: Complexity and the Postmodern Condition

The New Johari Window #7: Complexity and the Postmodern Condition

Each of these forms of attraction suggests a unique type of interaction between the parties involved in the human interaction. While we cannot yet trace out all of the implications of these differing types of attractor systems, we can bring what we do know about these systems to bear in addressing the inherent complexity of interpersonal systems.

Complexity and the Johari Window

More subtle definitions of self in all four quadrants is required in a highly complex interpersonal environment.  For instance, with specific regard to Quad 2 (Opaque Self), the postmodern condition suggests that we may be overwhelmed with great cognitive and emotional complexity and with a saturating array of potential selves. We are not blind—rather we are overwhelmed. We are provided with too much information and too many contradictions, but this doesn’t prevent us from addressing this information and these contradictions as they relate to our sense of self. We may need to keep things simple (Lasch’s minimal self) or at least we need to be selective. We might not need additional feedback (Quadrant Two). We already have enough coming in.

This postmodern condition suggests that there is a critical need for discernment. We must be careful in choosing the type of feedback we wish to receive and the people from whom we want feedback. The postmodern world may no longer be a setting for the naïve openness that was proposed during the 1960s and 1970s. Part of our second quadrant may remain opaque because we choose, at a specific time and place and in relationship with a specific person or group, to focus on a certain section of our second quadrant. Other sections will remain unattended until there is a more appropriate time, place and/or relationship for receiving relevant feedback.


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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