The New Johari Window VII: Postmodern Relationships and Complexity

The New Johari Window VII: Postmodern Relationships and Complexity

The challenges become even more complex as we turn to Quad Four and the shadow functions and unconscious dynamics of this quadrant. We don’t have sufficient time in our postmodern world to sort through the complexity of the three accessible quadrants—so how do we ever find time to plunge into the labyrinth called Quad Four? Isn’t this even more complex than the other three quadrants, and isn’t there likely to be even greater ambiguity and inconsistency? In his analysis of the minimal self and the obsessive preoccupation with discovering something about our unconscious life (through psychotherapy, personal growth groups, and so forth), Christopher Lasch offers an even more telling concern:

The ethic of self-preservation and psychic survival . . . reflects the conviction—as much a projection of inner anxieties as a perception of the way things are—that envy and exploitation dominate even the most intimate relations. . . . The ideology of personal growth, superficially optimistic, radiates a profound despair and resignation. It is the faith of those without faith.

Lasch is suggesting that our exploration of Quad Four may be no more anchored than our quest, in previous times, for some spiritual verity. We believe that our unconscious life will somehow provide the Holy Grail of enlightenment. Our faith in the wisdom of the unconscious life becomes a secularized version of spirituality—“the faith of those without faith.”

How should we respond to these telling critiques of Quad Four exploration? What makes Quad Four worth the time and effort? What does Quad Four have to offer that is something more than a secular substitute for faith? We offer in response to these critiques a quote from Albert Einstein that led off Luft’s description of Quadrant Four in the original presentation of the Johari Window:

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experienced of mystery – even if mixed with fear – that engendered religion. A knowledge of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitutes true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. – Albert Einstein, Living Philosophies


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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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