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Finally, after months of blog posts discussing human development, we arrive at the highest developmental level described by Susanne Cook-Greuter: the Ironist or Unitive perspective. Susanne really doesn’t like the name Ironist (which comes from another researcher), so I will refer to those from this stage as Unitives.

At this point it’s important to understand that the stages described by Dr. Cook-Greuter are not theoretical. They are, rather, derived from actual data from real people. This means that the descriptions of the developmental levels I’ve shared (the different perspectives a person can take as they seek to make sense of who they are and how they fit into the world) come from the analysis of data from real people, compiled over many decades.

In other words, Dr. Cook-Greuter describes a level or perspective only if sufficient data exists and she knows that some number of individuals exist who do see things from that perspective.

Almost certainly there are a few rare individuals who see things from perspectives even higher and broader than those described by Susanne Cook-Greuter and summarized in these posts. As time goes by, and more information comes to light, even higher developmental perspectives will no doubt be investigated and cataloged. Many theorists–Ken Wilber, for instance, and several others–have described possible ways of slicing the Unitive stage I’ll describe in this post into several different stages. As of yet, not enough hard data exists for these levels to be anything but theoretical.

You might say, then, that this is a story without an ending, because those living from the highest perspectives are always breaking new ground and exploring new ways to make sense of what it means to be a human being.

So, with that preamble, let’s look at the Unitive perspective, and see how it differs from that of the Magician.

Last time we looked at the developmental stage called the Strategist in Susanne Cook-Greuter’s developmental model. In this post I’m going to look at the developmental stage after the Strategist, the Magician. The Magician’s perspective is significantly different from that of the Strategist. The Strategist is the epitome of the well-organized, complex separate self, the master of his world. He is able to see and understand a complex universe from a perspective centered on, and in, the self. On the other hand, the Magician, though he has a separate self, begins to see through that self and begins to disidentify with it. His sense of self includes the separate self, but adds to it the infinite number of interconnections he shares with the rest of the universe–not as something he knows about, but rather as something he feels and experiences. As we go further, I’ll explain what I mean by that. The view of the Magician, however, is an entirely new way of seeing oneself and the universe.

Last time I discussed the Individualist, the first of the postmodern developmental stages as described in the work of developmental expert Susanne Cook-Greuter. Now I’d like to move beyond that to the highest postconventional stage, the Strategist.

The Strategist is the highest developmental stage in which a person’s sense of self is built around a separate self, a separate individual “me.” Though in the postconventional stages there is a new awareness that everything and everyone exists in relation to everything and everyone else, and that everything is connected, the center of one’s experience is still a separate me who observes and experiences this interconnectedness. (In the stages beyond the Strategist we’ll see a new perspective in which the self is not centered in the separate self.)

Everything is relative…right?

Monday, 10 March 2008 by

Well, it sure looks that way if you’re at one of the postconventional developmental levels, those beyond the rational, conventional levels. In this post we’ll look at the first of those levels, the Individualist. I’m going to make this post fairly short by just describing this one level. And, at the end I have a recommendation for you–one that doesn’t cost anything!

In my opinion, these postconventional levels are where it REALLY DOES get interesting.

Making sense of who you are…

Wednesday, 05 March 2008 by

I promised that we would next look at the developmental levels beyond those described by Piaget. In doing so, I’m going to rely heavily on the work of Susanne Cook-Greuter, who studied under Harvard’s Robert Kegan, one of the superstars in the world of human development. At Harvard, she became involved with the most highly regarded testing instrument for determining stages of human development, Jane Loevinger’s sentence completion test, and became a certified scorer for the test.

In the Loevinger test a person completes 36 sentence fragments, and from the responses the person’s developmental level is ascertained. This test has been used since the 1950s, and has been found to be VERY accurate. A huge amount of data has been compiled over the last 50 or so years, and the test is the most highly respected instrument in the field.

In scoring the test Cook-Greuter (who, by the way, I know personally, and have studied with) began to notice responses that did not fit any of the stages identified by Loevinger (though these stages in many ways mirror Piaget’s levels, Loevinger was focusing on the development of one’s sense of self rather than on merely cognitive development). Eventually, after a great deal of research, Cook-Greuter compiled enough data to add two additional levels to Loevinger’s model and is now considered to be one of the world’s top experts in human development, and THE expert in the higher developmental stages.

Before discussing the postconventional stages, though, I want to give you a quick “cook’s tour” of the Loevinger levels corresponding to those we’ve already looked at. This will serve as a quick review, and will also highlight the fact that there is more to development than just the cognitive line.

In this post I’m going to answer some of the questions you’ve asked me, and make a few other comments I think you’ll find interesting. Then, in my next post (honest) I’m going to talk about the developmental levels after those we’ve already discussed.

First, though, I want to give you a report on the 2-day workshop Zen master Genpo Roshi and I taught last weekend in Los Angeles. Quite frankly, I was blown away by what happened. We had about 220 people, from all over the world, and they clearly had a series of mind-blowing and life-altering experiences.

Toward the end Genpo asked if anyone had failed to experience the transcendent states we’d promised were possible with the Big Mind process, and not one person raised a hand (on the previous day, a handful of people did raise their hand and confessed that they were having trouble, but Genpo worked with them and once helped, each of them did have an experience of unity consciousness).

Everyone wants to improve his or her life in some way. You wouldn’t be reading this blog, or be involved with Centerpointe in other ways (Holosync, my online courses, and so forth), if you didn’t want to improve your life–and  if you didn’t think that what I offer might help.

I have one very potent resource that I don’t talk about very much. From a business standpoint it isn’t a big money-maker, and it occupies just 10 days of my time each year. This resource gives you, though, the greatest amount of personal contact with me, and–based on the feedback we get from those who take advantage of it–the fastest, deepest, and greatest amount of change.

So let me ask…if you really could get 6 months of growth in just 5 days, would that interest you? What if you could pack so much insight and so many personal ah-ha’s into a few days that you experienced a huge breakthrough? And, as a result of these insights and ah-ha’s, you really did experience a significant positive change in your life?

It’s hard being here, isn’t it?

Tuesday, 22 January 2008 by

Okay, everyone. Let’s take a breath.

I realize that these posts about human development have become pretty intense for some of you. There is a lot of information, a lot of terminology, and some complex ideas. So let’s pause for an easier-to-understand, more relaxed post.

And, at the end, I’m going to add a few recommendations you might want to look into, if you’re interested.

Let’s get started. First, let’s zoom out from the details for a few general comments about what I’ve shared so far about development. (Trust me, this will be easy stuff, and interesting.)

Here, in my opinion, is the basic underlying idea I want you to understand about development:

This is the third post in a series about cognitive development based primarily on the work of the legendary Jean Piaget, but also drawing on other developmental theorists.

First, before we jump into this, why should you care about human development? How will knowing this benefit you?

First, cognitive development underlies development in nearly every other area of your life. And, since where you are in the developmental process has a huge affect on the way you make sense of the world, and to a great degree determines your ability to successfully navigate your life, understanding development can greatly help you take charge of your life. If for some reason you aren’t creating what you want in life — enough money, enough friends, enough peace of mind, enough fulfillment — it’s very likely that where you are developmentally has something to do with it.

This is the second in a series about cognitive development and the work of Jean Piaget — and the huge benefits of understanding this developmental process. You might also want to read part one, where I described Jean Piaget’s first two levels of cognitive development (sensorimotor and preoperational). In this post, we’ll look at the third stage, concrete operational, the stage of most adults in the Western world.

I know the names of these stages can be confusing at first. And some might see the topic itself as dry and intellectual. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. I think that you’ll find this information to be extremely practical and pertinent to your life. You might even find yourself saying “Ah-HA!” as you have insights that allow you to better understand your life. Understanding how the developmental process works will accelerate your mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. It will expand your awareness of who you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going (or at least, could be going).

And, it will very likely help you understand some of the reasons why certain areas of your life aren’t working as well as you’d like them to.

Let me begin by reminding you of a little-known (but very important) secret about life…