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