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Wilber’s Quadrants Explained

The four quadrants of Wilber’s Matrix is a relatively new approach in psychology, but it can be widely used in different situations. In particular, everyday events can be analyzed through it, and observing other people, such as a student who is cheating, is among them. This paper will focus on the implementation of the Matrix in the situation when I observe other student cheating.

The four quadrants of Wilber’s Matrix were introduced in 1995 (Esbjorn-Hargens). According to this approach, people “can look at 4 aspects of any aspect of human experience or ‘holon’” (“Ken Wilber”). Any decision made by a human being can be understood from four perspectives: interior (interior-individual), objective (exterior-individual), inter-objective (exterior-social), and inter-subjective (interior-social or cultural) (“The Four Quadrants”).

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First, the situation with a cheating student will be studied in terms of the interior quadrant or from the interior individual perspective. If a student is cheating, it looks for me that this practice is bad, because I think it is so. I can consider this situation bad because of my personal principles or experience. For example, once I had a similar case when I cheated and was punished for that. I have my own opinion of the situation and consider it negative, but at this stage, others cannot observe what I think, unless I tell about it. The situation is observed only from my personal point of view, and others do not know about it.

Second, the situation with a cheating student will be observed from the exterior-individual side, meaning that my reaction to the event and behavior can be noticed by others. Such behavior may include various aspects. For instance, people may see that I often look at a student who is cheating. They may also notice my physical changes that appear when I face something unpleasant, or things I consider wrong. For example, others who see me when I watch somebody cheating can notice that my face changes and represents my dudgeon or anger, because I consider the cheating person unfair.

Third, the examination of the situation will continue within the interior-social or cultural framework. The latter refers to my culture or the one of a group to which I belong, and the way in which it determines my opinion of the event. If people from my culture consider that cheating is normal, I do not pay attention to the student who is cheating, because such behavior is accepted by society where I have been brought up, and I think it is right as well. However, if cheating is determined as bad according to cultural views, I will perceive it as a negative phenomenon. Thus, this framework represents my personal opinion of the situation that is determined by my culture.

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Finally, the fourth framework includes the exterior-social experience of the situation. It will be determined by society where I live and study with the cheating student. If people perceive cheating as negative, and the rules of the educational institution where I study prohibit it, my position on this event will be supported. However, if society does not care for cheating, my perspective that cheating is bad will not be considered, or in some situations, I will even be blamed.

In conclusion, the four quadrants of Wilber’s Matrix is a psychological approach that can be used to analyze any situation of everyday life. It is investigated in terms of four quadrants that include a personal position on the situation and its perception by others, as well as factors that influence individual decisions. The analysis of the event of a cheating student shows that a point of view on it may be different depending on the culture, rules, and social norms.

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