The need for a new spirituality/ homo sui transcendentalis


The first motivation for a new spirituality is technoscience, with its associated fabulous economic power, which is simply incompatible with present spiritualities. It drives a hugely irrational force of efficiency for efficiency sake: everything which can be done will be done, for the worst or the best. The second motivation for a new spirituality is the difficulty of the dialogue between different spiritualities, which often appear as antagonistic, as we can testify in our everyday life. The new phenomenon of a planetary terrorism is not foreign to these two problems. In simple words, we need to find a spiritual dimension of democracy. Transdisciplinarity can help with this important advancement of democracy, through its basic notions of “transcultural” and “transreligious” (…) This evolution of mentalities could be achieved only if we perform the unification of Homo religious with Homo economicus (…) Transdisciplinary methodology is able to identify the common germ of homo religiosus and of homo economicus – called homo sui transcendentalis in my Manifesto of Transdisciplinarity



Nicolescu, B., 2010. METHODOLOGY OF TRANSDISCIPLINARITY – LEVELS OF REALITY, LOGIC OF THE INCLUDED MIDDLE AND COMPLEXITY. In Transdisciplinary Journal of Engineering & Science Vol: 1, No:1, (December, 2010), pp.19-38

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Methodology of Transdisciplinarity, by B. Nicolescu or ‘We have work to do till the end of time’


Trandisciplinarity is both unified and diverse.

  • Theoretical: general definition of transdisciplinarity and a well-defined methodology (a methodology corresponds to a great number of methods) (Piaget, Morin)/
  • Phenomenological: it implies building models that connect the theoretical principles with the already observed experimental data in order to predict further results. (Gibbons, Nowotny)
  • Experimental: it implies performing experiments following a well-defined procedure

There are degrees of disciplinarity which can more or less completely take into account the three methodological postulates of modern science.

Three axioms of methodology of transdisciplinarity:

  • ontological_there are different levels of Reality of the Object and the Subject (…) reality is both pragmatic and ontological (…) one has to distinguish the words “Real” and “Reality.” Real designates that which is, while Reality is connected to resistance in our human experience (…) no level of Reality constitutes a privileged place from which one is able to understand all the other levels of Reality (…) Every level is characterized by its incompleteness (…) a finite topological distance could contain an infinite number of levels of Reality. We have work to do till the end of time (…) The Gödelian structure of levels of Reality implies the impossibility of a self-enclosed, complete theory. Knowledge is forever open (…) The zone of non-resistance corresponds to the sacred (…) The unity of levels of Reality and its complementary zone of non-resistance constitutes what we call the transdisciplinary Object, Nicolescu asserts that the different levels of Reality of the Object are accessible to our knowledge thanks to the different levels of Reality of the Subject (…) Our ternary partition (Subject, Object, Hidden Third) is, of course, different from the binary partition (Subject vs. Object) of classical realism.
  • logical_the passage from one reality to another is ensured by the logic of the included middle (…) one necessarily discovers contradictions in the theory describing the respective level: one has to assert A and non-A at the same time (…) in the history of science a theory leads to contradictions and one has to invent a new theory solving these contradictions (…) one has to abandon the third axiom of the classical logic [there exists no third term T which i at the same time a and non-A] , imposing the exclusion of the third, the included middle T.
  • complexity_the structure of the totality of levels of Reality or perception is a complex structure, every level is what it is because all the levels exist at the same time (…) It is useful to distinguish between the horizontal complexity, which refers to a single level of reality and vertical complexity, which refers to several levels of Reality. It is also important to note that transversal complexity is different from the vertical, transdisciplinary complexity. Transversal complexity refers to crossing different levels of organization at a single level of Reality (…) complexity is a modern form of the very ancient principle of universal interdependence (…) The principle of universal interdependence entails the maximum possible simplicity that the human mind could imagine, the simplicity of the interaction of all levels of reality. This simplicity cannot be captured by mathematical language, but only by symbolic language. The mathematical language addresses exclusively to the analytical mind, while symbolic language addresses to the totality of the human being, with its thoughts, feelings and body (…)



Nicolescu, B., 2010. METHODOLOGY OF TRANSDISCIPLINARITY – LEVELS OF REALITY, LOGIC OF THE INCLUDED MIDDLE AND COMPLEXITY. In Transdisciplinary Journal of Engineering & Science Vol: 1, No:1, (December, 2010), pp.19-38

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Theory of Man-Environment Relations, by Irwin Altman


Four philosophical models of the human:

  1. mechanistic model: the human as a task-oriented organism, understood and described only in relation to the task at hand/ human as a passive agent merely enacting the designer’s plan of use and having no agency
  2. perceptual-cognitive-motivational model: the human as an ‘internal processing organism’ with subjective traits
  3. behaviorist model: this focused on external human actions in the environment instead of internal thoughts and feelings and intentions. (it does not identify however with Skinner’s operant psychology)/ Altman classifies here all action-centric and interactionalist descriptions of human engagements with the environment without excluding intentions and motivational states
  4. ecological model: declared human behavior and environment a mutually constituting, dynamic ensemble/ Behavior itself, in other words, resided in the relation between the human and social and material contexts/ this model promoted an agentive understanding of the human/ Altman also emphasized its model’s utility for establishing a common ground among social scientists and designers thus cultivating the conditions of interdisciplinary collaboration/ it offered a reconciliatory mechanism between the unit and the whole, the small and the large scale, analysis and synthesis, thus urging scientists and practitioners to “surpass the provincialism of their parent professions”



Vardouli, Th., 2016. User Design: Constructions of the “user” in the history of design research. In 2016 Design Research Society 50th Anniversary Conference, 27-30 June 2016, Brighton, UK

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Jean Labatut


Labatut understood the architect to be a visual artist who, in order to be effective, should learn not just the academic rules of composition but also the commercial and popular techniques of visual communication. But the architect’s promiscuity with crass commercialism was justified only, advised Labatut, to elevate it to a high spiritual art. He taught students that buildings were the organization of attention. Good buildings engaged people, sustained their intellectual and spiritual curiosity, and communicated meaningful experiences to them. Through his students, Labatut’s teachings helped shape postmodern architecture and promoted the view that the best way to understand this new architecture was to experience it. Labatut’s success as a teacher rested on the clarity of his message: before architects could create modern buildings , they had to first be able to experience buildings in a modern way. His pedagogy aimed to define this modern experience as a bodily communion with architecture, which was immediately meaningful and did not require intellectual reflection. Architectural phenomenology was formed against the background of Labatut’s teachings. Indeed, the emergence and career of architectural phenomenology cannot be properly understood without bringing Labatut from under the shadow of the generation that followed his.

Labatut liked to say that his architectural education began during World War I when, as a nineteen-year old , he served in the French Army Corps of Engineers and worked on the project to camouflage the Grand Canal of Versailles (…) Through the artists of the Service de camouflage, Labatut was exposed to some of the most advanced contemporary visual art theory. He quickly learned the practical application of cubist notions about the visual dissolution of mass through contour and object matching (…) This was a defining experience for Labatut. It turned his attention to buildings as material to be shaped by the visual artist, persuaded him that the visual arts were not simply meant to delight but also to be socially useful, and forged his sense of an indissoluble bond between advanced technology, progressive society, and avant-garde art.



Otero-Pailos, J., 2010. Eucharistic Architecture: Jean Labatut and the Search for Pure Sensation. In Architecture’s Historical Turn: Phenomenology and the Rise of the Postmodern. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from Project MUSE database, available here

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The future that is now, by S. Allen

neuromancer-gibson-banner.jpgStan Allen’s text was originally in Architecture School: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America and later published in Places magazine

The 1990s in particular were characterized in part by the rejection of history and the announcement of massive, technology-driven change; these claims need to be examined and placed in context. The introduction of the computer has indeed made the design studio a very different place than it was in 1990s (…) Questions provoked by global urbanization, economic instability and increasing awareness of the environmental crisis have spurred a rethinking of design methodologies and the potential of cross-disciplinary work (…) in architecture and industrial design a hands-on, activist culture has arisen, often working with a pragmatic mix of simple technology and global distribution networks to enact change in the developing world. The environmentalism of the 1960s has also been revived, now seen through the lens of landscape, ecology and building performance (…) the decade began in an atmosphere of uncertainty and transition (…) The year 1990 is also significant for the development and implementation of digital technology. The underlying architecture of the World Wide Web was proposed in 1989, tested in 1990-91, and released to the public in 1992 (…) In architectural practice the territory was divided between the large corporate offices, still responsible for the majority of commercial work, and a smaller number of high-design practices (…) A pair of conferences, both later published as books, may stand for the state of American architectural theory and discourse in 1990 (…) The tendency for architecture theory at the end of 1980s to open itself to other disciplines was also evident in a second example, the “Fetish” conference that took place at Princeton University, also in 1988 (…) What is significant about all this is not simply the appeal to other disciplines per se, but the general scope and direction of the references. Architecture was not alone in looking to cultural studies and literary criticism for its theoretical models (…) Throughout the 1980s and early ’90s the divide between theory and practice grew. Critical practice aligned itself with film, new media and installation art. And in turning to literary criticism, philosophy and cultural studies for its theoretical models, architecture minimized its operative, technical capacity (…) Yet the greater momentum for change came in response to technological developments (…) So the early formal experimentation soon gave way to a new set of questions. Was it possible actually to build the complex forms that the computer could so readily generate? (…) In schools today there are two complementary directions with regard to digital work. First, as the widespread availability of inexpensive, easy-to-learn digital technology has made the computer’s impact more tangible and immediate (…) As a result, designers are now turning their attention to the computer’s strategic and operative potential (…) The second direction emerging today is an emphasis on sophisticated applied research in computation. Scripting, robotics and parametric design are the focus of this new research and are beginning to find a place in schools, especially at the doctoral level (…) “Does architectural ‘research’ constitute a new form of practice? What is the relationship between your research, writing (if applicable) and your design work?” (…) It appeared, at the time, that the closer academics have approached the protocols of university research, the more they have distanced themselves from the real concerns of active, creative practitioners (…) But the past two decades have seen a shift toward collaborative, practice-based research (…) If these research-based initiatives have maintained an academic focus, then landscape urbanism, which emerged in the schools in the late 1990s, has aimed to revitalize urban design practice. It has also provided an interesting test case of the potential of interdisciplinary work (…) Today collaborative work, while still resisted, is becoming more common, and issues of landscape, ecology and large-scale urbanism are addressed in interdisciplinary design studios (…) Architecture’s ongoing engagement with interdisciplinary theoretical work, and the increased emphasis on doctoral programs, is visible in the number of scholars and historians heading up schools and departments (…) A new model of alternative practice has also emerged and is being reinforced in the schools. Based not so much on critical commentary as on activism, it involves highly pragmatic, hands-on architectural and product designs that can be quickly implemented in places like developing countries and disaster areas (…) The most effective of these current efforts work with product design and community activism more than architecture, suggesting yet another realignment of architectural expertise


When we look back over the past 20 years of architecture education, three overriding tendencies stand out. The first is the shifting relationship between the profession and the schools (…) a climate of increasing pluralism. Clearly no single design direction dominates today (…) Complicating the climate of pluralism is the leveling effect of new technologies and the tensions between the global and the local. Not only are there more choices out there; the differences among them are ever smaller

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Integral approach to education

Four QUADRANTS: behaviors (reading, writing etc)/ experiences (imagination, intuition, insights) / cultures (shared meaning, group values) / systems (program curriculum, rubrics, policies). They can also be seen as the various modes of interaction and ways of knowing the world


twelve commitments of IE


twelve ways of knowing

Four LEVELS: four general levels of altitude that occur in each of the quadrants (traditional, modern, postmodern, integral)


Wilber’s color chart

It is important for Integral educators to continually ask themselves how to teach in a way that could help their students transform vertically toward post-rational modes of being.

Kegan: five developmental levels: 2-6, 6-teens and teens & beyond, self-authoring, integral (being able to synthesize many different value systems)

Four LINES: While there are lines of development in all the quadrants, there are at least four main developmental lines within an individual’s interior that Integral Education should take into consideration: cognitive (objective reals, sensory input, perspective talking, interconnections between phenomena), emotional (subjective realm, feelings and impulses, sensations, phenomenological awareness), moral (intersubjective realm, interpersonal obligations, duty, compassion), and kinesthetic (somatic and physical realm, physical sensations, hand-eye coordination, bodily movement)

Four STATES: By working actively with various states, the transformative space of the classroom can be increased dramatically. gross-waking states that take physical reality as its object; subtle-dream states that takes the subtle realm as its object; causal-formless states that takes vast openness as its object. The fourth category is witnessing states, which can take any state as its object and witness it

Four TYPESsensory styles of learning/ personality styles of learning/ gender styles of learning/ preferred narrative styles of writing



Esbjörn-Hargens, S., 2007. Integral Teacher, Integral Students, Integral Classroom: Applying Integral Theory to Education. In AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice Vol 2, No. 2., pp. 72-103.

Image 01 available here, Image 02 available here, Image 03 available here

Integral Theory


Integral Theory

  • is a post-metaphysical approach to knowledge synthesis that is based on the AQAL (all-quadrant, all-level) framework, its five elements (quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types), and Integral Methodological Pluralism
  • provides a comprehensive means of integrating the four dimension-perspectives of objectivity, interobjectivity, subjectivity, and intersubjectivity with the major methodological families in such a way that avoids postulating pre-existing ontological structures/ IT assigns no ontological or epistemological priority to any of these elements because they co-arise and “tetra-mesh” simultaneously
  • is interested in the participatory relationship through which multiple ways of knowing the myriad dimensions of reality occurs through various methods of inquiry
  • is designed to offer an effective means to combine the best of both conventional and alternative approaches in a particular form of Integral Education/ it claims that if an approach to education excludes any of the following components, it falls short of a truly integral approach.
  • provides an effective template to design pedagogy, classroom activities, evaluations, courses and curriculum

ALL QUADRANTS: basic perspectives an individual can take on reality/ ALL LEVELS: occurrence of complexity within each dimension/ ALL LINES: the various distinct capacities that develop through each of these levels of complexity/ ALL STATES: temporary occurrence of any aspect of reality within the four quadrants/ ALL TYPES: refers to the variety of styles that aspects of reality assume in various domains.


References + Image

Esbjörn-Hargens, S., 2007. Integral Teacher, Integral Students, Integral Classroom: Applying Integral Theory to Education. In AQAL: Journal of Integral Theory and Practice Vol 2, No. 2., pp. 72-103.