The New Johari Window VII: Postmodern Relationships and Complexity

The New Johari Window VII: Postmodern Relationships and Complexity

Einstein seems to be suggesting that any mystery in the world is worth exploring because of its beauty, its compelling nature and the wisdom it contains. Many years ago, one of Einstein’s colleagues, Michael Polanyi, the remarkable Nobel Prize-winning scientist and philosopher, was asked in a seminar how he knew something was “true.” This question was appropriate in this setting, for Polanyi was in the midst of debunking many so-called “scientific” assumptions about “objectivity” and “truth.” Polanyi paused for a moment after receiving the question. He then indicated that he knew something was “true” when it surprised him, when it didn’t fit neatly into any of his preconceived categories. Another person attending the seminar then commented that Polanyi seemed to be describing the experience of confronting God (“Jahweh”). Polanyi was apparently taken aback by this observation and connection. He found it to be quite profound and gasped with recognition. He noted that for many years he had left his own Jewish heritage behind him. Yet, here it is, coming forth once again to influence his fundamental assumptions about the nature of “truth.”

This is what Quad Four is all about—the surprising truths about our selves that are waiting to be revealed by ourselves or by other people. It’s not that other people know what’s in our fourth quadrant. Rather, it is an inadvertent comment that provokes or evokes the insight (sight inward) within us. Alternatively, it is feedback (Quad Two) about one aspects of our behavior that provokes or evokes something else in us. It might instead be the act of revealing something about ourselves (Quad Three) (such as Polanyi’s definition of “truth”) that solicits a comment or observation by someone else—which, in turn, leads to our own internal-sighting from Quad Four (such as one of Polanyi’s sources in his definition of truth). I would suggest that this is the fundamental reason for exploration of Quad Four in the midst of a complex and demanding postmodern life. It is in this quadrant that we are most likely to gain access to something that might in some way be mysterious, surprising and “true.” Quad Four contains information about our self that is unvarnished, de-constructed, minimally-manipulated and compelling. It is certainly worth a glance.


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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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