About the TOK Society
Founded in 2018, the Theory Of Knowledge (TOK) Society consists of a group of approximately 100 scholars, students, and informed citizens who are concerned with the current state of the academic knowledge and are interested in Professor Henriques' Unified Theory Of Knowledge. The TOK Society has a listserve, periodic conferences and regular weekly meetings that brings interested parties together to listen to presentations, 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
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' 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. It is worth noting that the ToK System is 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 complexity 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. 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 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. In addition, 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 Theory Of Knowledge Tree 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 and then its opening conference in April of 2018. There was a second conference in 2019. The listserve has been very 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 Theory Of Knowledge Tree
Each Branch is a Key Idea in the Unified Metapsychology
The Unified Theory Of Knowledge: A Unified Metapsychology Framework
Henriques' Unified Theory of Knowledge 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, the Unified Metapsychology Framework 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 understand UTOK, it is useful to divide it up into three elements. First, in its totality, it is held up as a theory of knowledge and wisdom for the 21st Century. The totality of the system is represented by the iQuad-Garden depictions. Second, there 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. Third, there 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.
For an hour long overview of the system and its components, see here.