A lot of my friends and acquaintances are excited about Robert Kegan’s Constructive Developmental Theory (CDT). The gist of it is that at each stage of development, we’re thinking using some structure, and at the next stage, we’re able to think about that structure from the outside, using the next structure up. Stage 1 is for itty bitty kiddies. In Stage 2, you can think about objects, but identify with your preferences. In stage 3, you can think about preferences, but identify with relationships. In stage 4, you can think about relationships, but identify with your moral system. In stage 5, you can evaluate your own moral system, thinking with some sort of meaning-making faculty.
I’m not describing this very well, and it’s because the Kegan system is very unintuitive to me. I think it’s unintuitive to be because I skipped a level - level 3.Continue reading →
Consider the case of buying one's partner flowers. You can think of each act of flower-buying as an act of caring (and this is typically the right attitude if your partner likes flowers and you want to genuinely relate on that level). Or you can think of installing the flower-buying habit as the act of caring that you hope will be perceived through the mask of mere flowers. The first type of person I call a Phoenix, the second is a Skroderider.