Article Index

The third stage of development

     Welcome to stren #68 which describes the process of progressing from immaturity, to maturity, and then the developmental stage of super-maturity that is available only to humankind.  We gain considerable enlightenment by recognizing the stages of mastery as we progress from womb to tomb.  The assumptions that influence our values and actions change relative to our level of maturity.  The super-maturity stage is especially important to understand because it is in this stage that we develop the skills to take responsibility for our life’s experience.  The four steps described in stren #67 to insure that we survive and thrive are relegated to those of us who attain the development stage of super-maturity.   

     Who we are, what we become, and what we stand for are first determined by authorities over which we lack control.  We give names to these authorities such as instinct and tradition,fate and circumstance, nature and our nurturers.  The authorities who first program us have greatest influence during our formative years:

Immaturity (stage 1): We lack the capacity to question and resist whatever our genes demand through instinct.  We inherit the pre-wired behaviors that were determined by trial-and-error to work, especially those that emphasize the fight or flight, survival of the fittest instincts that were crucial to survival in the savage environment our ancestors faced.  Can you think of anything comparable to the billions of years of trial-and-error learning that has honed the design we inherit though our genes?  We are fortunate to be born with such a level of perfection.     

Upon birth, our nurturers add their programs to our genetic inheritance.  They provide us with the language, flag, and political, religious, and assumptive worldviews that are prevalent in our family of origin.  Their prejudgments become our prejudices.  Our brain has its greatest ability to mimic role models during our pre-teen years.  Like a sponge, we absorb whatever fate and circumstances prescribe.  Consider how easily we acquire a native language compared to learning a foreign language after our brain has matured. 

We all first perceive the world in either/or opposing categories.  Instinct and our nurturers command we follow their way and that all else is “wrong.”  Words like should, have to, must, ought, yes and especially no leave little doubt of what is good and right.  With repetition, their way of thinking becomes my way of thinking.  “My way, the only way!” becomes habitual.  Habit passed forward from generation to generation becomes tradition.  This dichotomous way of thinking is adaptive when we lack the common sense required to survive.  To the degree that this either/or thinking persists when we become godlike creators and destroyers, our assumptive worldview will remain biased toward bigotry, prejudice, harmful confrontation, and war.