The New Johari Window #27: Quadrant Three: The Locus of Control
We play out a role and espouse a set of values not because at some deep level we wish to do so, but because we have abandoned any sense of personal integrity and integration. When we embrace a conforming self, our third quadrant can become quite barren. We no longer have much to keep secret, because we have fully aligned our self with that which is acceptable in our society.
Our public self (Quad One) becomes very large and malleable, while our private self (Quad Three) becomes small and often quite rigid. This, in turn, provides fertile ground for the expansion (and potentially destructive empowerment) of the unknown self (Quad Four).
Saturation and Disclosure
It is often hard to gain a clear sense of self in our postmodern world—whether or not we choose to embrace an assumed, ascribed or conforming self. Part of the Quad Three problem in our postmodern society concerns the “saturated self.” It is hard not only to gain a clear sense of self in our postmodern world, but also to know what type of “self” we want to or should (if oriented toward a conforming self) convey to another person. We are inclined to sift through and shift among different senses of self.
How much should I disclose about myself and what specifically do I disclose? And how much time and attention do I devote to the other person? One more question: How much and what do I want to know about this other person? In traditional premodern societies and in most modern societies, the rules of engagement are clear and consistent. Social class structures make it even easier to know what and how to share with other people about ourselves. The assumed, ascribed and conforming selves are much easier to engage—and the coerced self is all-to-common in these societies.
From the perspective of our internal locus of control, we must always strike an uneasy balance between our desire for information from the other person (“I want to know”: information flowing from the outside to the inside) and our desire to share information about ourselves with the other person (“I want to tell you”: information flowing from the inside to the outside). We don’t know the rules and often don’t really know much about the person with whom we are relating. We are living in what Bennis and Slater many years ago prophetically called the “temporary society.” We often must adjust our relationships because of the many different roles we play in our multiphrenic, postmodern society.