Stage theories say more about the person proposing them, and specifically the things they feel are absent from their cultural context, than they do human capacities.

The more substantive ‘thing’ imo is that while stage theories might be useful within their cultural context, they don’t say anything about “human” development. (Hence nora’s tweet).

That isn’t really a critique if you’re trying to help people in the contemporary Anglosphere; but it is a critique if you’re trying to talk about “humans”.

E.g. in the contemporary Anglosphere Kyle is right, subject-object relationships are laid into many theories (and found in the historical sources chosen by those theorists). And Kyle along with many others finds the axis useful for orientation, so 👍👏.

But it demonstrates less about humans than it does the cultural history of “today”.

e.,g., the self-spirit/universe axis:

Note the lack of intermediation between the individual and the universal– that’s bc of protestant influence on the cultural history in the West, there’s nothing between you and the spirit/universe. (most) other worldviews place something like nature or community here.

mind-nonmind draws on the same well, plus the “mind” (as we pretend it is today) being a relatively recent invention. and a lot of scientific and philosophical history. Excluded: the bodymind. inter-human relationships (which are central in some cultures)?

Plus the whole concept of a single or dual developmental axis is problematic (there’s more than one way-of-being a human can optimize for). I might write more about that at some point.

Problem with tech tree approach is that some techs actively detract from your chances of achieving others. It works within each ‘mountain peak’ but there’s MANY peaks representing alternative typologies. 

Illustrate w cogsci and SGKs stages as mountains. A few terms at the various levels (Inc above plateau).

Better might be to think of different ways of being. Each of which has a set of attributes attached (and other things deprioritized). Note the deprioritized bit; this is necessary to scale the peaks - subtraction is the route to growth without conflict beyond a certain point.

And moving from mountain top to mountain top is harder than transitioning lower down. Same as a generally fit person will likely bulk quicker than an ultra marathon runner (given equivalent dedication).

Another mountain picture, that folds on itself. Two pictures that transform one to other.

But imo there’s no reason to map this out - art not science and a lot of unknowns. maps are confusing as representations of possibility in art..

Even better imo is to recognize there’s a huge range of individual ways of being even in one village; trying to categorize it is tough. Trying to do so at the “human scale” is a fools errand imo. human development is an art, not a science.

And that everybody’s mountains look different - what might be a gentle incline for you (genetics, upbringing) is a cliff for someone else. 

Mountains morphing again.

Plus their context is different - other people are part of the ecosystems, maybe. And that quality of life varies not with height but with ecosystem - mountain peaks might be forbidding while the valleys are beautiful. Or vice versa.

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