Personal integration - relational interdependence

David Ronfeldt's latest post has given us tons of food for thought on ways to characterize the evolution of society beyond tribes, institutions and markets. Today I'll explore my uses of the concept of "integration" and tie it into the relational grammars I previously aligned with his TIMN framework. Ronfeldt wrote:
Consider how Adler and Heckscher associate hierarchies with dependence, markets with independence, and collaborative community with interdependence. Okay, I see their point. But it may also be true that hierarchies and markets are rife with their own interdependencies. Furthermore, the interdependencies may become so deep and intricate that a term (and a spectrum) with the root “depend” isn’t accurate enough anymore — terms like interconnection and internetted and integration may make more sense.
Rather than replace "interdependency" with "integration", I see the two as very complimentary. Likewise contamination and co-dependency together explain why people join tribes, why tribes endure and why tribal conflicts are so common. Separation and counter-dependence together explain why people seek employment in institutions, why institutions outlive their usefulness and why institutions are rife with political infighting, turf battles and memo wars. Reversals and independence together explain why entrepreneurs innovate, relate well to their customers and serve markets better than institutional providers. Finally integration and interdependence together explain how civil society can be transformed by unheard levels of contributions, cooperation, collaboration and communication among all of us. Here's a more detailed look at those combinations:
  • Contamination: When I'm thinking "I'm just being myself" there's no way I can stop that or start being someone else. My concept precludes any choices or changes. I have to be this. I expect others to accept me as I am, get off my case and get where I'm coming from. I'm unconsciously identified with being myself and preclude identification with anything else. Being myself is serious devotion not to be laughed at, satirized or criticized. Any contrary view will be taken as a insult that will inspire retaliation. Nobody can tell me an differently and expect me to understand, relate or learn from their input. This psychological condition is called a contamination because there is no separation in my psyche from my all-consuming identity. I am preoccupied by it, enchanted with it, and possessed by it -- without being able to admit that, see it or detach myself from it. If something has gotten into me, gotten ahold of me or gotten the best of me, I don't know it. There's no limit to what we can get contaminated by. For tribes it's being identified with their tribe, its history and its shared identity.
  • Co-dependence: When you're feeling upset, I'm feeling upset too. There's no way I can feel differently from each other. We share an identity that precludes any separate feelings. When someone insults you, I'm insulted too. We're in this together totally and nobody can pulls us apart. I cannot: handle your feelings getting hurt, help you cope with it or let the insult go myself. All I can do is cling to it like it just happened, join you in holding grudges, commiserate with you over this misfortune and remain entangled with your reactions. It's called "co-dependence" because we're both depending on each other to prop up our faltering confidence, to hide our insecurities and to shift the blame onto others besides ourselves. We're using each other as crutches so we don't have to stand on our own two feet, look ourselves in the mirror or take responsibility for our effects on others. There's no stopping a co-dependent relationship, For tribes, it's perpetuated as traditions, rituals, and resentments that keeps all the members feeling the same about themselves and outsiders.
  • Separation: When I'm thinking "I'm doing that thing I usually do", I'm no longer identified with it. I've separated myself from being it to doing it with detachment. Now I can stop it when I want to and do or be something else. I have choices and can change. I can leave work at work and have a life at home. I can enjoy weekends and vacations from doing that thing I do. I can get better that that thing and break with traditions too. I'm in the right frame of mind to leave a tribe and join the rank and file of an institution. I can join an army and fight for a cause. I can join a workforce and do time in a paycheck prison. I can commit crimes and do time in a guarded prison.
  • Counter-dependence: When you're telling me what to do, I'll find ways to give it lip service and do something else. When you're saying "from now on we're going to change", I'll be thinking "here we go again and won't these big announcements ever change". I'm having a problem with authority figures to break out of my previous mindless dependency, compliance and conformity. Being employed by an institution provides lots of authority figures, policies, directives and chains of command to take issue with. My walking the fine line between insubordination and acceptable defiance keeps life interesting for me while inducing bureaucratic stagnation in the institution.
  • Reversal: When I'm thinking "what can I do to better serve you?", it's no longer about me. I've reversed my outlook from winning at your expense to looking after how you can win with my help. I'm thinking about what you're trying to do, what position you're in and what's keeping you from being more successful. I'm setting myself up to be caring, understanding, responsive and innovative. I've got what it takes to become entrepreneurial, take a market by storm and better serve the customers than my rivals. If I take a hit, it's a lesson about what I've been missing, what I can change for the better and what revised strategy will better serve the market.
  • Independence: When you're telling me how you respect me, I can stand on my own two feet. When we're relating as equals, I can own my mistakes and take responsibility for how I come across. When you're giving me challenges in line with the ways I'm growing, I'm going to value who you are, where you're coming from and what we've got going between us. My outlook on relating comes across to customers as exceptional service, reliability and partnering that generates more value, useful purchases and loyalty to my market-driven enterprise.
  • Integration: When I'm thinking "it takes both your winning and my winning too", it's no longer about you, it's about us. If we don't both win, we both lose out on the combinations that generate so much synergy and beneficial spinoffs for us. The more responsive I get to you, the more receptive you get to me, and vice versa. The more we collaborate, the more we will see ways to be more efficient and effective by relying on each other. We bring out the best in each other by being there for each other. Our shared outlook sets up outcomes easily falling into place that previously involved lengthy struggles, huge investments and excessive controls.
  • Interdependence: When you're telling me what you're relying on me for and how I'm free to get it done as I see best, I can do the same to you in return. When you are getting me hooked up with others you depend on, they then find ways to depend on me. Before long there are so many of us depending on each other, together amazing things get accomplished. The way we work makes short work of what could not even be achieved by heroics, throwing money at problems or experts strutting their stuff.
Contamination, separation, reversal and integration captures a psychological evolution from weak ego states to full maturity. The stages define how we change with experience how we think, conceptualize, identify and comprehend our world. Co-dependence, counter-dependence, independence and interdependence are a relational grammar. They characterize how we're getting along, dealing with differences in our power and relating to each other's potentials. Together, these two frameworks say something useful about patterns of societal evolution also.

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