Kugler suggests that we will “probably never have a final theory of consciousness;” however, if one were to be identified, it would need to describe some kind of “reality.” Do you agree or disagree with this assertion?

I’m working on a psychology writing question and need a sample draft to help me study.

 

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As summarized in the article by Flier, Kegan’s model of development suggests that a greater challenge is our inherent process of development where we are one—or embedded in—our perceptions, and therefore unable to see, experience, and understand higher orders of consciousness. Kegan’s model of the developmental stages of consciousness from first order through fifth order closely mirrors the levels and bands of consciousness outlined by Wilber. (For a more in-depth exploration of Kegan’s model I recommend reading his book The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development.)

For our discussion this week: reflect on Kegan’s developmental model of human consciousness and Wilber’s spectrum of consciousness. Where do you see similarities? Where do you see differences?

Kugler suggests that we will “probably never have a final theory of consciousness;” however, if one were to be identified, it would need to describe some kind of “reality.” Do you agree or disagree with this assertion?

Does the way in which you observe and understand reality change its nature? Or, is reality “out there” static, and we have to learn how to see it properly to see its true nature?

Please submit in 2 days and I will make adjustments if needed. Thank you.

Post – 250 words.

APA 7th mention (quotes and in parenthesis).

NO cover page please.

Class note

 

UNFORMATTED ATTACHMENT PREVIEW

Spectrum of Consciousness Class notes: This week we craft our understanding of several essential elements of our growing understanding of consciousness. What is consciousness? What is the Self? What is the shadow and the Unconscious—and how does it form? While there are no straightforward answers to these questions, through the process of exploring a progression of deepening layers of dualism—repression—projection, we can see how we systematically distance ourselves from Mind. Our readings this week will guide us toward the formation of the Spectrum of Consciousness. We’ll walk through Wilber’s model, which brings us from Absolute Subjectivity/Mind through a progression of dualism—repression—progression processes to a fully separated Self and Shadow. We’ll also look at another developmental model that also aims to outline a framework accounting for the full range of human consciousness. Finally, we’ll explore challenges inherent in the process of defining a universal view of human consciousness. As summarized in the article by Flier, Kegan’s model of development suggests that a greater challenge is our inherent process of development where we are one—or embedded in—our perceptions, and therefore unable to see, experience, and understand higher orders of consciousness. Kegan’s model of the developmental stages of consciousness from first order through fifth order closely mirrors the levels and bands of consciousness outlined by Wilber. (For a more in-depth exploration of Kegan’s model I recommend reading his book The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development.) For our discussion this week: reflect on Kegan’s developmental model of human consciousness and Wilber’s spectrum of consciousness. Where do you see similarities? Where do you see differences? Kugler suggests that we will “probably never have a final theory of consciousness;” however, if one were to be identified, it would need to describe some kind of “reality.” Do you agree or disagree with this assertion? Does the way in which you observe and understand reality change its nature? Or, is reality “out there” static, and we have to learn how to see it properly to see its true nature? Post – 250 words. APA 7th mention (quotes and in parenthesis). NO cover page please. Please submit in 3 days and I will make adjustments if needed. Thank you. DEMYSTIFYING MYSTICISM: FINDING A DEVELOPMENTAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIFFERENT WAYS OF KNOWING Len Flier Suva, Fiji As rivers lose name andform when they disappear into the sea, the sage leaves behind all traces when he disappears into the light. Perceiving the truth, he becomes truth; he passes beyond all suffering Beyond . death, all the knots of his heart are loosed. -Upanishads t I tellyou, as truly as God is God and I am a man, if you were quite free from self, free from the highest angel, then the highest angel would be yours as well as your own self This method gives self-mastery. -Meister Eckhart’ For thirty years, God was my mirror; now I am my own mirror. What I was I no longer am, for “I” and “God” are a denial of God’s unity. Since I no longer am, Godis his own mirror. He speaks with my tongue, and 1 have vanished. -Abu Yazid Al-Bistamf Some say that my teaching is nonsense. Others call it lofty but impractical. But to those who have looked inside themselves, this nonsense makes perfect Sense. And to those who put it into practice, this loftiness has roots that go deep. -Lao- Tzu” MYSTICISM VERSUS REASON Poetry, revelation, and inspiration for billions, the words of the world’s great mystics remain timeless, as fresh today as the day they were spoken. And (we might as well add) just as confusing. For, however often we repeat them, contemplate them, or meditate on them, it does not seem that we are able to understand them in the way that the masters meant them. Their words are a product of a different way of knowing that we are unable even to grasp, let alone share in. Frustrated, we turn back to the world that we know. But the optimism and promise of the words-boundless love, peace, and the vanquishing of fear-draw us back to them, over and over again. Copyright © 1995 Transpersonal Institute The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1995. Vol. 27, No.2 131 Some of us. Those of us who choose not mysticism, but reason; those of us with faith in the human ability to observe and to comprehend; those of us who appreciate poetry but trust facts, have sought our inspiration elsewhere. And we have found no lack of it. Filled with wonder and surprises around every comer, the natural world holds our imagination both personally, in countless laboratories late into the night, and collectively, in recent photographs from the Hubble space telescope revealing the birth of a distant star. What we would know about ourselves we find in the developmental psychologies of Freud, Erikson, and Piaget Bliss is not a mystical state; it is a satisfaction that can come from a life well lived. Which vision is real: mysticism or reason? Can the two be reconciled? “If the mystic knows something.” challenges the man of reason, “why can’t he explain it so that I can understand it?” Why, indeed? Such questions might be easier to answer if true mystics were more accessible. But there aren’t many around, and those that are around tend to keep their mouths shut. “He who speaks, does not know,” reminds Lao-Tzu, “and he who knows does not speak” (Mitchell, 1988, chap. 56). Transpersonal psychology has set for itself the goal of constructing a paradigm that accounts for the full range of human consciousness. This means, among other things, reconciling reason with mysticism. In recognizing the value of religious traditions and what has been called the perennial philosophy (Walsh, 1993; Wilber, 1990), transpersonal psychology has opened up new avenues of inquiry into mysticism. Much of the research has proceeded along the lines of characterizing altered and meditative states of consciousness (Murphy & Donovan, 1989; Tart, 1983; Walsh, 1993; Walsh & Vaughan, 1993). Such states have been shown to be distinct and reproducible. An important and unanswered question, however, is how temporary and induced unitive states of consciousness, such as those experienced in meditation and peak experiences, are related to the apparently enduring and non-induced unitive perspectives of the religious mystics. Does a single-or even multiple-meditative or peak experience constitute mysticism? Clearly not. We would expect to see a change in the individual’s normal waking consciousness-some kind of “high plateau,” as Maslow (1968) termed it. But what is the nature of this high plateau, and how does an individual get there? And why do religious mystics insist that the transition to mystical knowing involves sacrifice and suffering? Meditative states and peak experiences are not characterized by suffering-indeed, the experience is ordinarily reported as being quite the opposite. Observations such as these suggest that there is more to mysticism than can be explained in terms of transitory states of consciousness. It appears that structural development is required-development in what Wilber (1990) has termed basic structures of consciousness. Such structures are revealed in several stage theories of development, such as Lawrence Kohtberg’s (1969; Kohlberg & Ryncarz, 1990) theory of moral development and James Fowler’s (1981; 1991) theory of faith development, both of which place mysticism at the end of a chain of qualitatively distinct stages. This essay will describe and build upon a theory of basic structures introduced by Robert Kegan (1982; 1994). It will propose that the relationship between reason and mysticism is grounded in a deveiapmentalrelationship between basic structures (or orders) of consciousness. It will also propose a specific mechanism for the evolution of consciousness-e-a mechanism that explains suffering. And, 132 TheJournalof Transpersonal Psychology,1995, Vol.27, No.2 hopefully, it will demonstrate that this model represents a more satisfactory explanation of mysticism than a model based on altered states. DIFFERENT WAYS OF KNOWING At the heart of the distinction between reason and mysticism is the assignment of meaning. Reason assigns meaning only to those ideas and observations that can be expressed in terms of pairs of opposites: hot vs, cold, good VB. bad, etc. Mysticism assigns meaning to that which is “beyond” reason; it holds dualistic distinctions to be (ultimately) meaningless. It seems that mysticism and reason represent two entirely different ways of knowing. In other words, it is not so much what is known that is different but how it is known. Both Kohlberg and Fowler acknowledge a debt to the cognitive-developmental psychology of Jean Piaget, and it may help us if we, too, tum for a moment to this pioneering developmental psychologist. Piaget’s elegant experiments revealed that there are qualitatively distinct ways of knowing that everyone experiences during childhood. A seven-year-old child, for example, has a different way of knowing than a four-year-old child. Piaget (1970) demonstrated this using glasses of water. After pouring equal volumes of water into two glasses, he would ask a child ifthe amounts were the same. The child would agree. Then he would take one of the glasses of water and pour it into a narrower glass and ask the child if the amountsof water were still the same. A four-year-old child would reply that the narrower glass has more water. In an effort to show the child that the amounts are really the same, Piaget would pour the water back into the original glass. However, the child would reply, “Yes, they are the same-now, but they weren’t before.” Although an older child will disregard her perceptions and recognize that the amount of water is the same regardless of its appearance in the narrower glass, the younger child is not capable of this mental manipulation. The younger child makes meaning in terms of what she sees. The older child disregards what she sees and makes meaning in terms of what she knows: that the amount of water remains the same even though its appearance may change. The younger child’s way of making meaning has come to be called preoperational and the older child’s, concrete operational. In the preoperational and concrete operational child, we have a parallel to the relationship between reason and mysticism. The preoperational child represents reason: she assigns meaning to what is obviously true. “The narrow glass has more water. Anyone can see that.” The concrete operational child (imagine that she is the only one in the room) represents mysticism: she disregards what is obvious and pronounces that, in fact, there is no difference between the amount of water in the narrow glass and the wide glass. “Nonsense!” shout the preoperationalists (or something to that effect), and the debate is on. But it will never be resolved because preoperational thinkers cannot be “convinced” to think concrete-operationally; that is a cognitive leap that they will have to take on their own. This is, of course, not to suggest that reason-able people are preoperational and that mystics are concrete operational, but it does show developmentallyhow such a difference can arise. Demystifying Mysticism 133 Piaget also identified a third way of knowing, which he called formal operations. Formal operational children are able to consider abstractions, whereas concrete operational children are only able to consider concrete examples. Most children shift to formal operations in their early teens. The difference between preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational children is revealed in the following syllogism: “All purple snakes have four legs. I am hiding a purple snake. How many legs does it have?” The concrete-operational child, being unable to think out of the concrete, will politely suggest that you are talking nonsense because there is no such thing as a purple snake with legs (although you probably mean a lizard that changes color and she’d be happy to tell you about that). The formal-operational child, being capable of abstract reasoning, will see that despite the absurdity of the premises, a valid conclusion can be drawn: the presupposed snake has four legs. The preoperational child will have no problems with purple or leggy snakes and is as likely to say, “My brother has a snake” (Kegan, 1982). CONSTRUCTIVE-DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY AND ULTIMATE REALITY The distinguishing feature of Piaget’s cognitive-developmental psychology is that individuals progress through qualitatively distinct stages in which their way of knowing becomesprogressively more complex. It is not only that the seven-year-old knows more than the four-year-old: it is that she knows differently, in a more sophisticated way, The seven-year-old can see the mistake the four-year-old is making with the narrow glass of water, but the four-year-old cannot see it herself. It is as though the seven-year-old is able to step back and take a perspective on her perceptions. She can say, “The narrow glass looks like it has more water.” The fouryear-old, however, cannot do this. She can only say, “The narrow glass has more water.” She is one with (or embedded in) her perceptions. Piaget’s cognitive-developmental psychology ends in adolescence with the emergence of formal operations. Thus it would not appear that it can help us understand the development of mystical thinking in adulthood. But Piaget’s observations have suggested a possible developmental relationship between reason and mysticism. What remains is to define this relationship and find a mechanism by which the individual may progress from one to the other. The constructive-developmental psychology of Robert Kegan (1982; 1994) may help us to do both. Kegan has broadened the ideas of Piaget to include not only cognition but personality, and he has extended them from adolescence into adulthood. What is basic to cognition and personality, according to Kegan, is the level of complexity at which an individual constructs his subject-object relations, where object refers to elements of knowing that can be reflected on or manipulated, and subject refers to elements of knowing that the individual is identified with or embedded in. In a subject-object relationship, the individual can distinguish himself from what is object, but he cannot distinguish himself from what is subject. Thus it may be said that the individual has objects, but he is subject. For example, Piaget’s concreteoperational seven-year-old can take her own perceptions about the water as an object and reflect on them, saying in effect, “I know it looks like the narrow glass has more 134 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1995, Vol. 27, No.2 water.” The preoperational four-year-old can only take the water as object; her perceptions are still subject. She can only say, “The narrow glass has more water.” Kegan’s psychology is constructivein the sense that reality is not “out there” waiting to be apprehended; the individual constructs it according to his subject-object balance. It is developmental in the sense that the individual’s subject-object balance becomes progressively more complex. Kegan identifies five orders of consciousness which represent increasingly complex orders of subject-object relations. The first three are attained in childhood and subsume Piaget’s cognitive stages. The final two are attained in adulthood, but, like Kohlberg’s moral stages, not all adults attain them at the same time, nor do all adults reach the final order. An order of consciousness is a general principle of organization, so one would expect that, when an individual develops a more complex. order, the changes will be manifested across his whole experience, including thinking, feeling, and social relations. In fact, this is what happens. The change in cognition which Piaget termed concrete operations is accompanied by a drastic change in personality. Let us consider once again the four-year-old and the seven-year-old, this time in the realm of personality. A typical four-year-old is an example of Kegan ‘s first order of consciousness or, as he called it originally, the impulsive balance.He is, quite literally, a bundle of’impuises. He is squirmy, has trouble sitting still, and at any moment he is Hable to drop whatever he is doing and dart off to some new activity. After beginning a conversation with his parents, he is likely to interrupt it himself with an entirely unrelated thought: re-engaging them in a conversation he himself had started. A seven-yearold, however, is a remarkably different child. He is capable of sustained periods of attention, and he undertakes self-managed projects which he continues over long periods. Whereas the four-year-old child will frequently interrupt conversations he has begun himself, the older child will never do this. It is apparent that the seven-year-old has succeeded in managing a part of himself that the four-year-old has not. He is not just “bigger” along the same lines as the fouryear-old, but qualitatively “different.” The difference is that the older child is operating at the second order of consciousness. Whereas the first child takes as object his sensations, the second child organizes his sensations into durable categories; the category itself being taken as object. One such durable category might be called “perceptions.” Because he is able to consider his perceptions as an object, the secondorder child is able to reflect on how water maintains its volume even though the volume appears to change. Another category might be called “impulses.” Because he is able to consider his impulses as an object, he can reflect on them and control them. Whereas, to the first-order child, perceptions and impulses are subject, to the secondorder child, they are object. Another way of looking at it is to say that the first-order child is embedded in his perceptions and impulses, whereas the second-order child has emerged from his embeddedness and can take these as object. Kegan’s model is elegant because it explains the transition to each new order of consciousness-e-even those that occur in adulthood-in terms of the same basic DemystifYingMysticism 135 motion: taking what is object and subsuming it to a higher structure which, itself; is then taken as object-or, to say the same thing more simply, taking what is subject and recognizing it as an object. This motion might be represented graphically as drawing a large circle around a group of smaller circles, but this does not convey the full complexity of the act. The individual’s perspective is not that of looking down on a sheet of paper with a group of circles drawn on it; it is that of being on the paper within one of the circles. From this perspective, he would have difficulty seeing his own circle, let alone any of the other similar circles nearby. The situation is like that of a frog in a puddle trying to imagine the ocean. Another frog might come along and tell him about it, but until he is able to jump high enough to see his own puddle, he will imagine that he is already in the ocean. How, then, does the frog-if he is unable to see even his own puddle-s-jump out of it and see it as just one of many possible puddles? More importantly, what would motivate him to jump out of his puddle in the first place? Deep reflection reveals that there are only two things that could make a frog leave his puddle. The first is if the puddle dried up. The second is, of course, lady frogs. It is probably no coincidence that Kegan’s third order of consciousness is forged in early adolescence, for it is, at least in part, romantic relationships that reveal the limitations of second-order consciousness. In the second order, an individual is able to take his impulses as object, but he is still embedded in his own needs and …
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I’m working on a psychology writing question and need a sample draft to help me study.

 

As summarized in the article by Flier, Kegan’s model of development suggests that a greater challenge is our inherent process of development where we are one—or embedded in—our perceptions, and therefore unable to see, experience, and understand higher orders of consciousness. Kegan’s model of the developmental stages of consciousness from first order through fifth order closely mirrors the levels and bands of consciousness outlined by Wilber. (For a more in-depth exploration of Kegan’s model I recommend reading his book The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development.)

For our discussion this week: reflect on Kegan’s developmental model of human consciousness and Wilber’s spectrum of consciousness. Where do you see similarities? Where do you see differences?

Kugler suggests that we will “probably never have a final theory of consciousness;” however, if one were to be identified, it would need to describe some kind of “reality.” Do you agree or disagree with this assertion?

Does the way in which you observe and understand reality change its nature? Or, is reality “out there” static, and we have to learn how to see it properly to see its true nature?

Please submit in 2 days and I will make adjustments if needed. Thank you.

Post – 250 words.

APA 7th mention (quotes and in parenthesis).

NO cover page please.

Class note

 

UNFORMATTED ATTACHMENT PREVIEW

Spectrum of Consciousness Class notes: This week we craft our understanding of several essential elements of our growing understanding of consciousness. What is consciousness? What is the Self? What is the shadow and the Unconscious—and how does it form? While there are no straightforward answers to these questions, through the process of exploring a progression of deepening layers of dualism—repression—projection, we can see how we systematically distance ourselves from Mind. Our readings this week will guide us toward the formation of the Spectrum of Consciousness. We’ll walk through Wilber’s model, which brings us from Absolute Subjectivity/Mind through a progression of dualism—repression—progression processes to a fully separated Self and Shadow. We’ll also look at another developmental model that also aims to outline a framework accounting for the full range of human consciousness. Finally, we’ll explore challenges inherent in the process of defining a universal view of human consciousness. As summarized in the article by Flier, Kegan’s model of development suggests that a greater challenge is our inherent process of development where we are one—or embedded in—our perceptions, and therefore unable to see, experience, and understand higher orders of consciousness. Kegan’s model of the developmental stages of consciousness from first order through fifth order closely mirrors the levels and bands of consciousness outlined by Wilber. (For a more in-depth exploration of Kegan’s model I recommend reading his book The Evolving Self: Problem and Process in Human Development.) For our discussion this week: reflect on Kegan’s developmental model of human consciousness and Wilber’s spectrum of consciousness. Where do you see similarities? Where do you see differences? Kugler suggests that we will “probably never have a final theory of consciousness;” however, if one were to be identified, it would need to describe some kind of “reality.” Do you agree or disagree with this assertion? Does the way in which you observe and understand reality change its nature? Or, is reality “out there” static, and we have to learn how to see it properly to see its true nature? Post – 250 words. APA 7th mention (quotes and in parenthesis). NO cover page please. Please submit in 3 days and I will make adjustments if needed. Thank you. DEMYSTIFYING MYSTICISM: FINDING A DEVELOPMENTAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DIFFERENT WAYS OF KNOWING Len Flier Suva, Fiji As rivers lose name andform when they disappear into the sea, the sage leaves behind all traces when he disappears into the light. Perceiving the truth, he becomes truth; he passes beyond all suffering Beyond . death, all the knots of his heart are loosed. -Upanishads t I tellyou, as truly as God is God and I am a man, if you were quite free from self, free from the highest angel, then the highest angel would be yours as well as your own self This method gives self-mastery. -Meister Eckhart’ For thirty years, God was my mirror; now I am my own mirror. What I was I no longer am, for “I” and “God” are a denial of God’s unity. Since I no longer am, Godis his own mirror. He speaks with my tongue, and 1 have vanished. -Abu Yazid Al-Bistamf Some say that my teaching is nonsense. Others call it lofty but impractical. But to those who have looked inside themselves, this nonsense makes perfect Sense. And to those who put it into practice, this loftiness has roots that go deep. -Lao- Tzu” MYSTICISM VERSUS REASON Poetry, revelation, and inspiration for billions, the words of the world’s great mystics remain timeless, as fresh today as the day they were spoken. And (we might as well add) just as confusing. For, however often we repeat them, contemplate them, or meditate on them, it does not seem that we are able to understand them in the way that the masters meant them. Their words are a product of a different way of knowing that we are unable even to grasp, let alone share in. Frustrated, we turn back to the world that we know. But the optimism and promise of the words-boundless love, peace, and the vanquishing of fear-draw us back to them, over and over again. Copyright © 1995 Transpersonal Institute The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1995. Vol. 27, No.2 131 Some of us. Those of us who choose not mysticism, but reason; those of us with faith in the human ability to observe and to comprehend; those of us who appreciate poetry but trust facts, have sought our inspiration elsewhere. And we have found no lack of it. Filled with wonder and surprises around every comer, the natural world holds our imagination both personally, in countless laboratories late into the night, and collectively, in recent photographs from the Hubble space telescope revealing the birth of a distant star. What we would know about ourselves we find in the developmental psychologies of Freud, Erikson, and Piaget Bliss is not a mystical state; it is a satisfaction that can come from a life well lived. Which vision is real: mysticism or reason? Can the two be reconciled? “If the mystic knows something.” challenges the man of reason, “why can’t he explain it so that I can understand it?” Why, indeed? Such questions might be easier to answer if true mystics were more accessible. But there aren’t many around, and those that are around tend to keep their mouths shut. “He who speaks, does not know,” reminds Lao-Tzu, “and he who knows does not speak” (Mitchell, 1988, chap. 56). Transpersonal psychology has set for itself the goal of constructing a paradigm that accounts for the full range of human consciousness. This means, among other things, reconciling reason with mysticism. In recognizing the value of religious traditions and what has been called the perennial philosophy (Walsh, 1993; Wilber, 1990), transpersonal psychology has opened up new avenues of inquiry into mysticism. Much of the research has proceeded along the lines of characterizing altered and meditative states of consciousness (Murphy & Donovan, 1989; Tart, 1983; Walsh, 1993; Walsh & Vaughan, 1993). Such states have been shown to be distinct and reproducible. An important and unanswered question, however, is how temporary and induced unitive states of consciousness, such as those experienced in meditation and peak experiences, are related to the apparently enduring and non-induced unitive perspectives of the religious mystics. Does a single-or even multiple-meditative or peak experience constitute mysticism? Clearly not. We would expect to see a change in the individual’s normal waking consciousness-some kind of “high plateau,” as Maslow (1968) termed it. But what is the nature of this high plateau, and how does an individual get there? And why do religious mystics insist that the transition to mystical knowing involves sacrifice and suffering? Meditative states and peak experiences are not characterized by suffering-indeed, the experience is ordinarily reported as being quite the opposite. Observations such as these suggest that there is more to mysticism than can be explained in terms of transitory states of consciousness. It appears that structural development is required-development in what Wilber (1990) has termed basic structures of consciousness. Such structures are revealed in several stage theories of development, such as Lawrence Kohtberg’s (1969; Kohlberg & Ryncarz, 1990) theory of moral development and James Fowler’s (1981; 1991) theory of faith development, both of which place mysticism at the end of a chain of qualitatively distinct stages. This essay will describe and build upon a theory of basic structures introduced by Robert Kegan (1982; 1994). It will propose that the relationship between reason and mysticism is grounded in a deveiapmentalrelationship between basic structures (or orders) of consciousness. It will also propose a specific mechanism for the evolution of consciousness-e-a mechanism that explains suffering. And, 132 TheJournalof Transpersonal Psychology,1995, Vol.27, No.2 hopefully, it will demonstrate that this model represents a more satisfactory explanation of mysticism than a model based on altered states. DIFFERENT WAYS OF KNOWING At the heart of the distinction between reason and mysticism is the assignment of meaning. Reason assigns meaning only to those ideas and observations that can be expressed in terms of pairs of opposites: hot vs, cold, good VB. bad, etc. Mysticism assigns meaning to that which is “beyond” reason; it holds dualistic distinctions to be (ultimately) meaningless. It seems that mysticism and reason represent two entirely different ways of knowing. In other words, it is not so much what is known that is different but how it is known. Both Kohlberg and Fowler acknowledge a debt to the cognitive-developmental psychology of Jean Piaget, and it may help us if we, too, tum for a moment to this pioneering developmental psychologist. Piaget’s elegant experiments revealed that there are qualitatively distinct ways of knowing that everyone experiences during childhood. A seven-year-old child, for example, has a different way of knowing than a four-year-old child. Piaget (1970) demonstrated this using glasses of water. After pouring equal volumes of water into two glasses, he would ask a child ifthe amounts were the same. The child would agree. Then he would take one of the glasses of water and pour it into a narrower glass and ask the child if the amountsof water were still the same. A four-year-old child would reply that the narrower glass has more water. In an effort to show the child that the amounts are really the same, Piaget would pour the water back into the original glass. However, the child would reply, “Yes, they are the same-now, but they weren’t before.” Although an older child will disregard her perceptions and recognize that the amount of water is the same regardless of its appearance in the narrower glass, the younger child is not capable of this mental manipulation. The younger child makes meaning in terms of what she sees. The older child disregards what she sees and makes meaning in terms of what she knows: that the amount of water remains the same even though its appearance may change. The younger child’s way of making meaning has come to be called preoperational and the older child’s, concrete operational. In the preoperational and concrete operational child, we have a parallel to the relationship between reason and mysticism. The preoperational child represents reason: she assigns meaning to what is obviously true. “The narrow glass has more water. Anyone can see that.” The concrete operational child (imagine that she is the only one in the room) represents mysticism: she disregards what is obvious and pronounces that, in fact, there is no difference between the amount of water in the narrow glass and the wide glass. “Nonsense!” shout the preoperationalists (or something to that effect), and the debate is on. But it will never be resolved because preoperational thinkers cannot be “convinced” to think concrete-operationally; that is a cognitive leap that they will have to take on their own. This is, of course, not to suggest that reason-able people are preoperational and that mystics are concrete operational, but it does show developmentallyhow such a difference can arise. Demystifying Mysticism 133 Piaget also identified a third way of knowing, which he called formal operations. Formal operational children are able to consider abstractions, whereas concrete operational children are only able to consider concrete examples. Most children shift to formal operations in their early teens. The difference between preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational children is revealed in the following syllogism: “All purple snakes have four legs. I am hiding a purple snake. How many legs does it have?” The concrete-operational child, being unable to think out of the concrete, will politely suggest that you are talking nonsense because there is no such thing as a purple snake with legs (although you probably mean a lizard that changes color and she’d be happy to tell you about that). The formal-operational child, being capable of abstract reasoning, will see that despite the absurdity of the premises, a valid conclusion can be drawn: the presupposed snake has four legs. The preoperational child will have no problems with purple or leggy snakes and is as likely to say, “My brother has a snake” (Kegan, 1982). CONSTRUCTIVE-DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY AND ULTIMATE REALITY The distinguishing feature of Piaget’s cognitive-developmental psychology is that individuals progress through qualitatively distinct stages in which their way of knowing becomesprogressively more complex. It is not only that the seven-year-old knows more than the four-year-old: it is that she knows differently, in a more sophisticated way, The seven-year-old can see the mistake the four-year-old is making with the narrow glass of water, but the four-year-old cannot see it herself. It is as though the seven-year-old is able to step back and take a perspective on her perceptions. She can say, “The narrow glass looks like it has more water.” The fouryear-old, however, cannot do this. She can only say, “The narrow glass has more water.” She is one with (or embedded in) her perceptions. Piaget’s cognitive-developmental psychology ends in adolescence with the emergence of formal operations. Thus it would not appear that it can help us understand the development of mystical thinking in adulthood. But Piaget’s observations have suggested a possible developmental relationship between reason and mysticism. What remains is to define this relationship and find a mechanism by which the individual may progress from one to the other. The constructive-developmental psychology of Robert Kegan (1982; 1994) may help us to do both. Kegan has broadened the ideas of Piaget to include not only cognition but personality, and he has extended them from adolescence into adulthood. What is basic to cognition and personality, according to Kegan, is the level of complexity at which an individual constructs his subject-object relations, where object refers to elements of knowing that can be reflected on or manipulated, and subject refers to elements of knowing that the individual is identified with or embedded in. In a subject-object relationship, the individual can distinguish himself from what is object, but he cannot distinguish himself from what is subject. Thus it may be said that the individual has objects, but he is subject. For example, Piaget’s concreteoperational seven-year-old can take her own perceptions about the water as an object and reflect on them, saying in effect, “I know it looks like the narrow glass has more 134 The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 1995, Vol. 27, No.2 water.” The preoperational four-year-old can only take the water as object; her perceptions are still subject. She can only say, “The narrow glass has more water.” Kegan’s psychology is constructivein the sense that reality is not “out there” waiting to be apprehended; the individual constructs it according to his subject-object balance. It is developmental in the sense that the individual’s subject-object balance becomes progressively more complex. Kegan identifies five orders of consciousness which represent increasingly complex orders of subject-object relations. The first three are attained in childhood and subsume Piaget’s cognitive stages. The final two are attained in adulthood, but, like Kohlberg’s moral stages, not all adults attain them at the same time, nor do all adults reach the final order. An order of consciousness is a general principle of organization, so one would expect that, when an individual develops a more complex. order, the changes will be manifested across his whole experience, including thinking, feeling, and social relations. In fact, this is what happens. The change in cognition which Piaget termed concrete operations is accompanied by a drastic change in personality. Let us consider once again the four-year-old and the seven-year-old, this time in the realm of personality. A typical four-year-old is an example of Kegan ‘s first order of consciousness or, as he called it originally, the impulsive balance.He is, quite literally, a bundle of’impuises. He is squirmy, has trouble sitting still, and at any moment he is Hable to drop whatever he is doing and dart off to some new activity. After beginning a conversation with his parents, he is likely to interrupt it himself with an entirely unrelated thought: re-engaging them in a conversation he himself had started. A seven-yearold, however, is a remarkably different child. He is capable of sustained periods of attention, and he undertakes self-managed projects which he continues over long periods. Whereas the four-year-old child will frequently interrupt conversations he has begun himself, the older child will never do this. It is apparent that the seven-year-old has succeeded in managing a part of himself that the four-year-old has not. He is not just “bigger” along the same lines as the fouryear-old, but qualitatively “different.” The difference is that the older child is operating at the second order of consciousness. Whereas the first child takes as object his sensations, the second child organizes his sensations into durable categories; the category itself being taken as object. One such durable category might be called “perceptions.” Because he is able to consider his perceptions as an object, the secondorder child is able to reflect on how water maintains its volume even though the volume appears to change. Another category might be called “impulses.” Because he is able to consider his impulses as an object, he can reflect on them and control them. Whereas, to the first-order child, perceptions and impulses are subject, to the secondorder child, they are object. Another way of looking at it is to say that the first-order child is embedded in his perceptions and impulses, whereas the second-order child has emerged from his embeddedness and can take these as object. Kegan’s model is elegant because it explains the transition to each new order of consciousness-e-even those that occur in adulthood-in terms of the same basic DemystifYingMysticism 135 motion: taking what is object and subsuming it to a higher structure which, itself; is then taken as object-or, to say the same thing more simply, taking what is subject and recognizing it as an object. This motion might be represented graphically as drawing a large circle around a group of smaller circles, but this does not convey the full complexity of the act. The individual’s perspective is not that of looking down on a sheet of paper with a group of circles drawn on it; it is that of being on the paper within one of the circles. From this perspective, he would have difficulty seeing his own circle, let alone any of the other similar circles nearby. The situation is like that of a frog in a puddle trying to imagine the ocean. Another frog might come along and tell him about it, but until he is able to jump high enough to see his own puddle, he will imagine that he is already in the ocean. How, then, does the frog-if he is unable to see even his own puddle-s-jump out of it and see it as just one of many possible puddles? More importantly, what would motivate him to jump out of his puddle in the first place? Deep reflection reveals that there are only two things that could make a frog leave his puddle. The first is if the puddle dried up. The second is, of course, lady frogs. It is probably no coincidence that Kegan’s third order of consciousness is forged in early adolescence, for it is, at least in part, romantic relationships that reveal the limitations of second-order consciousness. In the second order, an individual is able to take his impulses as object, but he is still embedded in his own needs and …
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