It has been said:

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

But, why? Why adapt to the cultural norms and practices of the place you are visiting or living in, rather than trying to impose your own beliefs or habits?

The city of Rome was once a powerful and influential center of the Roman Empire, the Empire consisting of other “city-states” like Alexandria in Egypt, Athens in Grece, and Antioch in Turkey. Each city-state had their unique way of life, customs, and social norms. For context, imagine the unique cultures of New York City, Jakarta, and Bejing within the same country, sharing a unifying government.

The phrase “when in Rome… ” reflects the idea that visitors or newcomers should respect and follow those customs while in Rome. More broadly, it reflect the idea it’s important to be adaptable and respectful of local customs wherever you go, whether it’s a foreign country, a different region within your own country, or even just a different social or cultural group. It emphasizes the importance of cultural sensitivity and open-mindedness when encountering new environments, and the idea that blending in and adopting local customs can help you navigate unfamiliar situations more smoothly.

Let’s take it a step further. Not only does “doing what the Romans do” help you navigate more smoothly in Rome, within that cultural context, it very well be the healthiest behavior you can do.

Culture decides what is healthy. And we live in a multi-cultural world.

Integral Metatheory: the four dimensions of every sentient being

Four Dimensions

Integral metatheory is the best-known map of the Kosmos and has a location for all things, and for all non-things. The cosmos began with involution, and it is in a process of becoming through evolution of four dimensions — Mind, Body, Relationship, and Environment — proceeding through developmental stages, each stage transcending and including previous stage, ideally, the healthy versions of previous stages.

From an integral perspective, the integral stage of development is “vertically oriented” taking into account ALL previous stages, respecting ALL previous stages, and adapting ALL previous stages — including cultural and societal characteristics. And that’s why we’re developing this idea of “when in Rome…” Assuming the stage is expressing some degree of health:

  • When in Archaic do as the Archaics do.
  • When in Mythic, do as the Mythics do.
  • When in Rational, do as the Rationals do.
  • When in Integral, do as the Integrals do.

“When in Heaven, do as the Heavens do.”

When in PraxisAletheia…

It’s different here, too. Not different in the way you might think. We train ourselves to identify the unique cultural & societal features of each stage and make it healthy within us. We train ourselves to identify the states & stages of development with ourselves, and within others and then adapt. Adapting appropriately is one of the healthiest things one can do and learn to do. And it’s what the world needs right now.

If you’re ready to increase your cultural and social intelligence and to go vertical, watch the webinar for PraxisAletheia, which is a one-year journey at the leading edge of evolution and which is required for a graduate degree from The NHU.


Click here to register for the webinar now…