Blogging with Passion and Compassion


passion, n. “3.a. boundless enthusiasm”

compassion, n. “deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.”


I am sitting in front of my computer staring at a blank page. A faint recollection of a dream I had last night bubbles up in my awareness. I dreamt of a black expanse where everyday reality is projected. It was like watching a movie in a very dark theater where the only thing you can see is the movie screen. But the movie screen was not the typical rectangular wide screen. The screen filled my entire field of vision but I was somehow still aware of the backgound. I was disoriented. I was not in the movie but the movie is inside me, and I couldn’t even remember what was playing. Then I attempted to analyze—“is this the nondual?” There was no answer. My awareness dissolved in the abyss of slumber, and all that was left was the impression of the experience.

Just like web pages, our awareness comes and goes within the vast expanse of cyberspace.

What is a Blog?

Blog is a shorthand for “web log.” Blog is one of those terms that is tricky to define. Some define it simply as “a web site organized by time.” Some call it “the unedited voice of a person.” Those who want to get technical define it as “a hierarchy of text, images, media objects and data, arranged chronologically, that can be viewed in an HTML browser.” Those definitions are all correct. But I would like to add another definition by Rebecca Blood—”a weblog is a coffehouse conversation in text, with references as required.”

The act of blogging is indeed a “conversation,” whether via text, images, and/or audio. It is basic information sharing, whether be it personal, or collaborative. What makes blogging so revolutionary is that it feeds a basic need of humanity—“affection and belongingness.” People who blog want to connect. Cyberspace makes this linking possible, beyond the boundaries of space and time.

What is Integral?

Integral means comprehensive, inclusive, balanced, not leaving anything out.” This is the fundamental aspect of Integral theory. By “not leaving anything out” it is logically “a theory of everything.” Because of its scope, Integral theory is hard to summarize without watering down its crucial components. It is elegant and complex, beautiful and heady, simple yet not easy. The best I can do is to point to the source of information. If it’s the first time you’ve heard about Integral theory, I invite you to click here, bookmark the site and then go back to this humble essay.

Hard as it is, I would still say something and attempt to summarize at least the foundation of Integral theory. So here goes nothing…

The foundation of the Integral theory is a map known as the Four Quadrants (4Q) . The 4Q is a conceptual representation of the fundamental dimensions of “holons.” Holon is a term coined by a Hungarian philosopher named Arthur Koestler. It is a combination of the Greek word “holos,” meaning whole, and the suffix “on” meaning particle or part—or simply, a holon is a whole, which is part of another whole. Koestler used this term to describe a basic unit of organization in biological and social systems. In Integral theory, holons and holarchy (hierarchy of holons) are used as conceptual representations of “reality”—Kosmos (the physical Cosmos + interiors). The term “transcend and include” is often used to describe the relationships of holons to its junior holons—atoms are transcended and included by molecules; molecules are transcended and included by cells; cells are transcended and included by organs; organs are transcended and included by humans; to infinity and beyond —all the way up, all the way down. Below is a diagram of the 4Q:

(NOTE: For this discussion, ignore the diagonal lines, unless you want to get sucked into the rabbit hole.)

The 4Q can also be viewed as “perspectives” of a holon. In Integral theory, perspectives are the basic building blocks of the Kosmos . The Upper-Left (UL), and Lower-Left (LL) represent the interiors or subjective dimensions of a holon: UL is the individual subjective (e.g. First-person: I); LL is the collective subjective (e.g. First-person: We, Second-person: You). The Upper-Right (UR) and Lower-Right (LR) represent the exteriors or objective dimensions of a holon: UR is the individual objective (e.g. Third-person: It); LR is the collective objective (e.g. Third-person: Its). The Upper Quadrants (UL and UR) represent the singular/individual perspectives of a holon. The Lower Quadrants (LL and LR) represent the plural/collective perspectives of holons. A fundamental concept of the 4Q is that, a holon “cannot” and “should not” be reduced to any one of the four quadrants with the exclusion of the others. Doing so would result in a “non-integral” view of reality.

Okay, now that I’ve bombarded you with Integral jargon, I suggest that you forget about it for now and just remember the following concepts:

Upper-Left (UL) = interior-individual = (First person: I) = our own consciousness = Self

Upper-Right (UR) = exterior-individual = (Third person: It) = objective world = Nature

Lower-Left (LL) = interior-collective = (First person: We; Second person: You) = collective consciousness = Culture

Lower-Right (LR) = exterior-collective = (Third person: Its) = objective world / Social = Nature

So in short:

Integral theory is a theory of “self,” “culture,” and “nature.” There. Piece of cake.

Blogging as Integral Transformative Practice (ITP)

One of the main objectives of the Integral Theory is to promote the idea of self-transformation or “expansion of self-awareness”. Hence, it adopts the concept of Integral Transformative Practice (ITP). Integral theory defines ITP simply as, “exercising body, mind, soul, and spirit, in self, culture, and nature.”

There is no single practice that could be deemed fully-integral. But every practice can be plugged into an integral framework, or ITP. Blogging is an excellent practice that could be integrated into any ITP program. To illustrate this point, I’ll describe how the practice of blogging touches the dimensions of the Four Quadrants in a flowing embrace.

Blogging @ Upper-Left (UL) / Interior-Individual (Self)

Bloggers write about their thoughts, interests, hobbies, pets. Whatever their topic, bloggers write about their “interiors”—their subjective space. Since blogging is, in general, a practice of writing, it is psycho-therapeutic—same as journaling.

Most bloggers are readers. They read blogs of other people. Through a combination of writing and reading bloggers expand their self-awareness, and exercise critical thinking.

Blogging @ Upper-Right (UR) / Exterior-Individual (Nature)

The practice of blogging requires a basic understanding of web technology and how to use a computer. Advanced bloggers study HTML and web design. Whether techies or average users, bloggers know how to navigate cyberspace and how to sort and filter information—a practice that exercises healthy discrimination.

Blogging @ Lower-Left (LL) / Interior-Collective (Culture)

A fundamental element of a blog is a “link”—hyperlinked text or image that points to other sources of information. Bloggers naturally link to other like-minded bloggers. Networks are formed. Collaborations begin. Subcultures thrive. And the blogosphere is born.

Concerned bloggers promote ideas—ecological and technological awareness, critical thinking, political issues, philosophy, spirituality—even if they are just for fun. Cyberspace is the extension of their egos, healthy or otherwise. Through information sharing via linking, bloggers learn from each other. Bloggers expand their egos and minds together—in hyperspeed.

Blogging @ Lower-Left (LR) / Exterior-Collective (Nature)

Blogging is a super-power more powerful than a speeding bullet. Healthy bloggers understand the powers and responsibilities that come with blogging. This makes “collective blogging” a “force” to reckon with. Collective blogging shakes institutions, businesses, governments, religions, and traditional media.

Healthy bloggers are not confined to cyberspace; linking also occurs in meatspace. Bloggers who share the same passions and concerns schedule group activities, conferences, and implement their ideas in the “real” world. They understand that cyberspace, no matter how cool, fluid, and timeless, is just another domain of existence. Until technology enables our senses and consciousness to roam in cyberspace, flesh and blood is still the way to go.

WTF!? So, Should I Blog on All Quadrants to be Integral?

Yes and No.

“Yes,” because “integrally-aware” bloggers cannot help but do so. However, integrally-aware is not limited to being familiar with the Integral Theory. Our “map of reality” doesn’t have to be the Four Quadrants. Integral awareness is simply, an awareness that has a passion to transcend and include everything, with compassion and critical thinking.

And “No,” because ALL bloggers are already engaged in ALL Quadrants, whether aware of it or not. They are already blogging their interiors (UL); they are avid users of technology (UR); they are inseparably linked with the blogging culture (LL); and they all live and breath the cyber-oxygen of the blogosphere (LR).

Integrally-informed or not, healthy or not, with or without compassion, blogging touches all dimensions of the 4Q. My only hope is that bloggers do their blogging, with passion and compassion, so that in time, their egos would transcend and include even infinity itself. This is the essence of integral. The rest are just details.


As I type this essay on this ephemeral page, its binary codes flicker like stars and nebulas from afar. The average lifespan of a web page is only 100 days. Way shorter than a lifetime, much longer than a single breath. But short or long it is still fleeting. Just like our awareness…

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