About the TOK Society
Founded in 2018, the Theory Of Knowledge (TOK) Society consists of a group of approximately 150 scholars, students, and informed citizens who are concerned with the current state of the academic knowledge, the state of our society and the globe, and are interested in Professor Henriques' Unified Theory Of Knowledge. The TOK Society has a listserve, periodic conferences and meetings that brings interested parties together to discuss philosophy, psychology and the state of the world, and to engage each other in meaningful conversation to explore best practices and sense-making systems for the 21st Century.
A Brief History and Overview of the TOK Society
The TOK Society is interested both in big picture views in general and Professor Henriques' Unified Theory Of Knowledge, which also is known as the Unified Metapsycholgy Framework. This consists of the set of 8 key ideas developed to offer the outline of a consilient theory of knowledge and wisdom for the 21st Century. It is the central focus of the TOK Society.
To understand Professor Henriques' Unified Theory Of Knowledge, it is helpful to review its history and development. It started as the Tree of Knowledge (ToK) System, such that the ToK System, along with the BIT and JUST as the "joint points", provided the outline for theoretically unifying psychology and defining its subject matter. The ToK System was the primary frame for the ideas between 2003 and 2008. For example, here is the first major paper on the system.
It is important to note that although Professor Henriques is a psychologist, the ToK System is first and foremost a theory of scientific knowledge that offers a novel way to conceptualize both reality (as depicted by Matter, Life, Mind, and Culture) and the way scientific knowledge emerges out of Culture to generate descriptions and explanations of that reality (in the form of the physical, biological, psychological, and social sciences). It is also useful to point out that the ToK System introduces new ways to define Matter, Life, Mind, and Culture. When capitalized, these terms refer to different dimensions of complexification or planes of existence. This is crucial to understand because it creates a new grammar for these concepts. In particular, it changes how we think about the "Animal-Mental" and "Culture-Person" concepts.
From 2007 to 2011, the framework had grown into into the "Unified Theory of Psychology," which included the Influence Matrix and more applied developments toward a unified psychotherapy. The shift was framed by the 2011 book, A New Unified Theory of Psychology. It is important to be aware that, starting in 2005, Dr. Henriques had become the director of the "Combined-Integrated" Doctoral Program at James Madison University. This is an innovative applied professional program that trains "psychological doctors" in a way that cut across the traditional practice areas of clinical, counseling, and school psychology.
In 2011, Dr. Henriques started his blog Theory Of Knowledge: A Unified Approach to Psychology and Psychotherapy. It is useful to know that the society goes by the same name as the blog and both are abbreviated TOK (with a capital "O") .
Between 2011 and 2016, the framework shifted to the applied side of psychotherapy. This gave rise to the four key ideas that make up the Unified Approach, which are CAST, the Wheel of Development, the Nested Model, and CALM-MO. It also resulted in the development of a systematic approach to assessing psychological functioning called The Well-Being Check-Up. During this time, Dr. Henriques was heavily involved in the Unified Psychotherapy Movement, which was focused on clarifying why unification was a viable pathway in the psychotherapy integration movement. All of this started to become organized separate as "the Unified Approach to psychotherapy." Thus, there was the Unified Theory (UT) of psychology and Unified Approach (UA) to psychotherapy, each of which consisted of four ideas.
Between 2016 and 2019, the Unified Theory and Unified Approach were merged into the "UTUA Framework." It was in part because of the somewhat unusual title of UT-UA that set the stage for a significant shift in how the system might be conceptualized and visualized (see here for the story). The result was "The Garden of UTUA" with the Unified Theory Of Knowledge Tree of Life in the middle (see below). This was a "sincerely ironic" artistic representation that was designed to offer "a place for the two cultures of the academy, the sciences and the humanities, to come together in a mutually inspiring dialectical dance". The Garden then gave rise to the iQuad pathway and iQuad Coin, such that the iQuad-Garden complex represents a new form of educational/knowledge technologies that Henriques believes will be relevant for 21st Century educational practices.
This was also the time when the Theory Of Knowledge Society officially launched, first as a listserve in late 2017, and then its opening conference in April of 2018. There was a second conference in 2019. The listserve has been active during this time. In 2020, new developments were launched, including a W I I Thrive Well-being community. This resulted in the TOK Thrive Weekly Meetings, and represents a domain of future development.
The UTOK Tree of Life
Each Branch is a Key Idea in the Unified Metapsychology
The Unified Theory Of Knowledge: A Unified Metapsychology Framework for the 21st Century
In 2020, the UTUA Framework was rechristened the Unified Theory of Knowledge (UTOK), and this website was launched. The UTOK can be thought of either as a synthetic scientific humanistic philosophy or a "metapsychology". The term “metapsychology” dates most clearly back to Freud. Although other metapsychologies have been offered, it has been used most regularly to characterize his body of psychoanalytic work. The time is ripe for a new metapsychology to emerge in the 21st Century, as it is becoming clearer and clearer to more and more people that the old ways of knowing are not up to the task of effective sense- and meaning-making (see, e.g., here). The prefix “meta” refers to that which is beyond or above or that which is more comprehensive or operates at a higher level of abstraction. Metacognition, for example, is cognition about cognition.
UTOK is a metapsychology that effectively defines both the subject matter of psychology and the institution of Psychology and place both in cosmic evolutionary context. In contrast to mainstream academic psychology, UTOK offers a view of the field that is at once scientific and humanistic, epistemological and ontological, and empirical and metaphysical in its organization. In short it is a broad scientific humanistic philosophical system that offers a new way to understand both the human condition and our scientific knowledge of it.
To fully grok UTOK, it is useful to divide it up into three core projects. First, in its totality, it is held up as a unified theory of knowledge and wisdom for the 21st Century. To see the need for this, we can start with the premise that modern civilization is facing a meaning and mental health crisis, and our knowledge systems are confused and chaotic. A central root cause of this confusion can be framed in terms of the Enlightenment Gap and its natural consequence, the problem of psychology. The Unified Theory of Knowledge affords a much-needed remedy by generating a consilient vision of knowledge and reality that effectively frames and interrelates: (a) objective, scientific quantifiable knowledge of behavioral patterns in nature (i.e., the Tree of Knowledge System); (b) subjective, idiographic qualitative knowledge of lived experience (i.e., the iQuad Coin); and (c) intersubjective narrative and ethical systems generated by cultural collectives (i.e., the Garden). As such, the UTOK is positioned to resolve the Enlightenment Gap that plagues modern knowledge systems and potentially revitalize the human soul and spirit in the 21st Century.
The second core project is the Unified Theory of psychology (UT), which consists of the ToK System, JUST, BIT and the Matrix, which provide a metatheoretical synthesis to define the field of psychology and assimilate and integrate its major paradigms into a coherent whole, and a new metaphysics and ontology for science, mind and behavior.
The third key project is the Unified Approach to Psychotherapy (UA), which consists of CAST, the Wheel of Development, the Nested Model of Well-being, and CALM-MO. The UA assimilates and integrates key aspects of adult individual psychotherapy and is deeply congruent with a more holistic, integrated approach to the profession of psychology in regards to theory, research, practice and education, training and identity. As evidence of his long standing interest in psychotherapy integration, Dr. Henriques is currently President Elect of the Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration.