ARINA, Inc. is a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, incorporated in the U.S. state of Ohio in February 2004 for charitable, educational, and social scientific research purposes in a global service area.
ARINA arose as an organic response to individual, social, and global issues and their unmet needs for increased effectiveness and wholesomeness. Across all scales and fields of endeavor, we hear expressions of these needs in various forms: as clear statements of what’s needed but not available, as budding interests, as anger and frustration, as new actions in search of coherence (whether recognized or not), and as vague-but-real desires for new direction in existing action. ARINA is a conscious nexus of transformative action these needs have called into being—a deliberate, intentional hub of new forms of learning and acting in the world.
We created ARINA because our experience led us to recognize the kind of proactive approaches required to address 21st Century conditions and challenges. From our many years' worth of diverse experiences as practitioners and our ongoing inquiries in a range of different fields and professions, we have accumulated a number of insights and convictions. These clarify for us a number of the necessary and sufficient conditions for healthy, integral, processes of systemic change and development. We do not pretend to have all the answers, and that is why ARINA invites you to co-create with us! We have a commitment to integral praxis and research, and to incorporating reflective inquiry in all endeavors. We also recognize patterns and processes—developmental, and others—that contribute to replicable ways to understand and address common human issues at multiple scales. ARINA is about the critical issues of the 21st Century. It functions as an attractor to engage others who want to more effectively address those issues for themselves and the common good.
Our vision, mission, and strategy rest on a new paradigm – the integral paradigm. Paradigms are boundary-spanning, scale-spanning, and context-spanning – they can show up and apply to everything, everywhere. New paradigms can transform how we approach everything we do. Paradigms apply across all categories that divide humans and the issues that concern them. So, regardless of our location on the planet, our social or economic status, the context we work in, or the kind of work we do—or want to do—the integral paradigm can inform and transform how we function in personal, public, organizational, and all domains of life. And how we function has direct impacts on our effectiveness in this complex world.
ARINA’s mission is to model, teach, research, publish, promote, and institutionalize holistic, integral understandings and processes that are incorporated into efforts to address complex issues within individual, social, and global needs. Its service area is the planet, and its tax-exempt purposes are the public good (charitable), educational, and social scientific research.
Its vision is a world increasingly populated and served by integrated individuals and organizations that have the internal and external resources to be effective change agents in their chosen endeavors and settings for development and transformation of critical issues at the individual, group, civic, organizational, institutional levels, at local to global scales.
Our strategy to realize this vision is to create and foster a growing, comprehensive network that affords its individuals and organizations needed resources and integral new means of attaining, enhancing, and supporting their efforts to effect enduring, systemic change. Individuals and organizations participate in this network as Associates.
ARINA’s philosophical home could be said to lie in transdisciplinary process thought, where processes can be viewed as “the moment-to-moment building blocks” of the realities we experience. This process-view invites the following practical recognitions:
A process is a dynamic "happening," a complex unit with distinct phase transitions, a structure. These qualities underlie its characteristic dynamism of now this, now that, now this, now that, etc. Complex processes take place over time, from barely perceptible instances, to moments, to days, to decades, centuries, and eons. Processes at all scales are nested within others in a profuse display of dynamic energy and creativity.
Thus, we work with the organic or developmental nature of reality, emphasizing becoming rather than static existence or being, since we can view reality as ultimately made up of experiential events. For some process thinkers, this means a view of the universe being in a process of moving toward the-many-becoming-one, in a sequence of integrations at every level and moment of existence. Other process thinkers view all as in a process of re-cognizing how all is already one, and the one is becoming what it is. Either way, reality from these perspectives is viewed as an ongoing process of all the past's experiences reflected in and integrated with present events, which, in turn, influence and integrate with future events.
Why does this matter to ARINA? Because each event “matters,” from the briefest noticing of a reaction within us, to the reflections we engage, to successive moments of interactions with others and the environment, and to unplanned and well-planned “external” events. Through this lens, we can see how events operationalize – or bring into concrete form – our creative power and influence.
This brief introduction points to the meaning behind the Acting / Researching / Integrating in the ARINA acronym. The preeminent intention is facilitating the evolving processes of our acting, researching, and integrating in the midst of every endeavor. At each level of organization – the Board, programs, and projects – ARINA will be continually in process. To facilitate all of this activity consciously, the practice of timely action inquiry is embedded in endeavors at all levels of the organization. Thus, ARINA has a responsibility to refine and improve its own use of action inquiry, and model, and teach it to others as it fulfills its purposes.
A process philosophy underlying an integral paradigm results in the following operating principles we challenge ourselves to consciously employ, and invoke explicitly – especially when familiar habits seem to contradict them!
Process. We’re willing to live in the inherent tensions of needing to make decisions and take action, and the awareness that the process by which we arrive at decisions and actions always makes a qualitative difference. The means is every bit as important as the ends. Put another way, we recognize the challenge to be developmentally adaptable and flexible as events unfold with all their inherent surprises.
Accountability. We’re willing to take appropriate responsibility for our processes, decisions, actions, and learning. We encourage others to do likewise, and offer structured ways and means to facilitate this for all of us.
A Culture of Honest Communication. We challenge ourselves to give appropriate voice to affirmation, constructive criticism, action inquiry in the midst of endeavors, stating our boundaries, and making apologies when we owe them to others. We make the effort to articulate our learning, our interpretations, our reactions to events, and our assumptions.
Transparency. We convey our processual, developmental approach and our operational decisions in ways we hope others can understand, relevant to their interests and agendas. We institutionalize healthy ways for activities and communications to become more and more transparent.
Subsidiarity. Operations are structured so that those in closest relation to a situation have a voice and role in making decisions about it, and voice how decisions made elsewhere affect them.
Efficiency. We strive to develop time-and-energy-conserving approaches to every endeavor, with the aim of putting all efforts and learnings into productive use in relevant domains.
Just as there are many diverse ways in which the organizational philosophy will underlie perceptions and evaluations of events under ARINA’s auspices, so also there will be many different shapes that activities take. All of those activities comprise the organizational praxis. Intentionally broad, praxis in this discussion refers to our practice: ways of conceiving, planning, implementing, and evaluating events, and ways of being in and with each event as it unfolds, because we are always acting, always practicing, always becoming.
One constant that we will attempt, with you, to embed in each endeavor, is be the increasingly effective practice of timely action inquiry. We can view such inquiry as our “eyes on the process” as we experience the events that comprise our efforts of whatever kind. In this sense, the praxis of action inquiry provides one of the integrative structures through which our efforts take place.
There is another structural aspect of ARINA praxis that applies with more specificity to how we conceive and actually do our work. We call it the Integral Evaluation Process tm, and we plan to teach others how to use it. This process applies to the perspectives and intentions – the mindsets – we bring to whatever we are doing. This represents a major aspect of ARINA's mission.