Developmental psychological aspects
Erik H. Erikson.
Perhaps most famous is Erik H Erikson's development ladder, where each step presents a new psychosocial challenge for the individual to solve. While Freud's own theories of individual development stayed in childhood, Erikson's model holds a whole life course.
There are so many models, even in the relatively established academic world, that border on these thoughts. Maslow is one of the more famous, Kohlberg and Fowler, of course. But also one such as Loewinger as actually a highest "transcendent" stage that sounds religious. (Rosén 2000)
Rosén presents Loevinger's theory of self-development. Central concepts are assimiliation and accommodation. According to the former, the indidivden takes up the new, allowing itself to be enriched. His image of reality is modified. However, accommodera means that the individual is moved to the next stage of development. The individual now gets a theory about life that is more complex than the one that existed before., p272 (Rosen 2000)
"However, there is a limit to assimilation – receiving new experiences can lead to a lack of coherence in the experience, that is, make it difficult to merge beliefs and feelings into meaningful patterns. A lack of coherence can be perceived as uncertainty, anxiety and existential anxiety and therefore motivate to seek new knowledge and insights, which are made possible by the mental restructuring that is the hallmark of development", p272 (Rosén, 2000)
"From adolescence to about the age of 25, longitudinal studies can follow how many young people reach higher stages in the development sequence. In adult years, such movements become rare and most remain at the stage they reached a few years after the 20. Although strange, however, they occur", p272 (Rosén 2000)
Loevinger's theory includes nine steps: three pre-conventional, three conventional, and three post-conventional. The population normally divides over these stages, with about 10% in the latter three stages. "A transition to the postconventional stages involves a loosening of slightly rigid mindsets and more of psycho-logic, that is, an understanding of differences between appearance and reality, between role and individual, or in changing patterns of one's own and others' relationships over time. This can lead to moving on to a well-integrated, highest stage of development, where one can deal with seemingly incompatible elements of life, such as the conflict between one's own endeavors and the legitimate claims of others, or can reflect on human existence and its paradoxes. Less than one percent of those who have reached here may also be able to reach freedom from the preoccupation with one's own objectifiable self and reach intuitiveness in thinking and experience," p273. (Rose 2000)
Rosén writes: "This level [the highest post-convention level] implies a stable self-awareness and self-esteem and is considered a precursor to a transcendence beyond a self or self [m ref to a Miller & Cook-Greuter, 1994]. Spiritual or transcendent experiences as instantaneous states shall not be confused with the overrun referred to here. Such temporary conditions can occur at all levels of self-development. Instead, an experience of reality beyond that mediated through the representation system or what transpersonal psychology perceives as an experience of unity, the absolute or God", p276 (Rosén 2000)
Rosén also finds himself to find in his material that people who have actually reached higher stages have a less interest in personal identity. "This is an expected result, based on theory. A well-integrated personality is tantacious to not having to investigate and consolidate one's identity, but [one can then] devote oneself to other things", p280 (Rosén 2000)
James W. Fowler.
(Bergstrand, 1990) The introduction to Fowler's FDT, Faith Development Theory, which, based on thousands of interviews, mainly with Christians, has drawn a kind of "stage theory" in six, seven levels
(Fowler, 1981) Stages of Faith, book
(Stages of Faith, 1981; Weaving the New Creation, 1991; Faithful Change, 1996; also in Conn, 1986/1996)
Stages of Faith (1981) presents a 6-level model for how an individual's spirituality can develop over the course of a life. Not everyone reaches all stages, even if you get very old.
Fowler argues that individuals can be at very different levels, even within the same congregation or spiritual context. However, he believes that his presentation and results should not be understood normatively. It is no better to be at a higher level.
Mysterious experiences? They can probably appear at different levels. This is claimed by transpersonal psychologists (Wilber et al. That "50%" had mystical experiences that for them confirmed and inspired spirituality (La Cour, reply to Granqvist),
Criticism of Stages of Faith
Can't explain why the religiosity of individuals seems to be going backwards? We need a dynamic theory.
This is something that is also present in NA. The maturity of the individual or soul is often seen as a staircase, or a course in certain definite steps.
Adolescence's quest to find oneself, an identity that lasts. The study leans heavily on various stage theorists. Erikson, Kegan, Kohlberg, Piaget, but above all James Fowler. In the background is also the psychodynamic model of personality maturity (PDM, DSM). Criticism of psychological stage thinking has come from several quarters, including postmodern. The New Age holds itself with a kind of stage theory.
"Life as a Ladder"
In psychology, there are several models that describe the maturity of man or personality in steps or phases. They differ ideologically and/or in degree of disintegration. Some focus on a particular section. The very first years (Freud, Mahler, Klein), children and teens (Piaget), teenage years and adolescence (Elkind). Others take a holistic approach and argue that general phases can be discerned throughout human life (Erikson, Jung). Some models are in some sense normative or potential, that is, they describe possible or desirable stage. Stages discernible in some people, of a specific age (Fowler, Maslow, Keegan, Kohlberg, Loevinger). The latter often have a highest stage that may seem bordering on something mysterious or transcendent.
Between several of these there are significant overlaps. This can be explained partly by the fact that they have taken an impression of each other, learned from each other, etc. A more closely related explanation is of course that it is the same phenomenon studied, i.e. characteristic changes in a person's life.
0. Infancy and Undifferentied Faith
Primal Faith (1996) is called Faithful Change.
1. Intuitive-Projective Faith
Early childhood; age 3-7 (1996b)
2. Mythic-Literal Faith
Middle childhood and beyond
The school child, "though we sometimes find the structures dominant in adolescents and in adults" (in Conn)
Fowler: Adolescens and beyond
"Has its rise and ascendancy in adolescense but for many adults it becomes a permanent place of equilibrium" (in Conn)
Two writers who have written extensively about the teenager's situation are Elkind and Winnicott. Elind points out a number of characteristic traits of the teenager: Black and white thinking, imagined audience, egocentrism, discussion lust, pseudstupidity, motility towards adults, personal fable, symbiotic "best friend" relationships, idealization and disparagement, projection, perfectionism, apparent hypocrisy/apparant hypocrisy (Elkind, 1967)
Winnicott points out that "it takes years before an individual can develop an ability to discover the equilibrium of the self between good and evil, the hatred and the destructiveness that exists alongside love within the self. In this sense, maturity comes later in life, and the teenager cannot be expected to look beyond the next stage, beginning in his twenties" (Winnicott, 2003, p.225)
"The social process must in reality count on and recognize such processes in the youth, including its excesses…" (Erikson, 1982, p.104)
The teenager's limitation is probably due to a combination of things. This is something that can be described psychodynamically. The stress of facing completely new tasks, and a sadness and fear let go of the old. Firstly, the habit (cognitively) of many new kinds of relationships, opportunities and obligations, lack of experience doing external analysis, etc. Firstly, a pure neurological immaturen (which is well related to the former, or vice versa), that the brain has not actually developed that far yet. Recent research shows that the brain (especially the "social" part, parts of the frontal lobe) is fully trained only around the age of twenty-five.
One kind of hypothesis: The NA supporter performs below his own level, for the same reason that the adolescence youth does, in a way. The stress and anxiety about the new. Regression, "one step backwards".
Lisa Simpson will be "wicca", but her brother Bart advises:
"No, no, no. You're too young to be a witch! Savor the steps leading up to it: college anorexic, string of bad marriages, career disappointment, failed pottery shop. Then when you're old and alone you can hit the witch thing hard!" (In the episode "Rednecks and broomsticks").
In adolescence, there may be a great interest in existential issues that, however, "cannot 'come of age' until old age" (Erikson, 1982/2004, p. 91).
"Totalism" (Erikson, ref!) V/V thinking…
Young adult (16-25?).
The brain develops until about 20-25 (Jay Giedd has researched and written about this, ref!)
Early Midlife and Beyond
"This stage develops a 'second naïvité'," fowler uses in reference to Paul Ricoeur. Here they are reunited symbolically and concretely.
The individual can connect things that seem incompatible. One can endure living with paradoxes (Bergstrand, 1990).
"Negative Capacity" (Bion)
Unusual before mid-life, Stage 5 knows the sacrament of defeat and the reality of irrevocable commitments and acts. What the previous stage struggled to clarify, in terms of boundaries of self and outlook, this stage now makes porous and permeable. Alive to paradox and the truth in apparent contradictions, this stage strives to unify opposites in mind and experience. 347, in Conn)
In the same reasoning, something emerges that we need to be noticed in terms of the new age. Fowler further describes how the individual here is free from group, tribe, class, religious context or nation… On a deeper level, this criterion is certainly good enough for NA as well, but superficially it describes a stance that occurs everywhere within NA.
"… and whith the seriousness that can arise when life is more than half over" (i Conn, p.
The danger here is to become paralyzed, passive, "giving rise to complacency or synical withdrawal, due to its paradoxical understanding of truth" (i Conn, p. 547)
Midlife and Beyond
"Exceedingly Rare" (in Conn). Often they are killed by their own, and often appreciated only after their death.
It requires high-level debt perception. You must have brought in a larger circle than family, group, clan. For example, to be able to deal with the fate of the world and the theodice problem.
"Universalizers are often experienced as subversive of the structures (including religious structures) by which we sustain our individual and corporate survival, security and significance" (i Conn, p. 348) Good enough as a description of how many in NA view ideals and perhaps even themselves.
"Particularaities are cherished because they are vessels of the universal" (in Conn, p.348)
Here, perhaps as with Maslow at his highest level, you meet people who have had mysterious experiences? Maslow called these "peak experiences" or "highlight experiences" to distance them from the religious (Wulff-2, p. 521)
Named "Generalized Faith" in Wulff-2, p.230. Translation of "univerzilised"?
Man becomes more spiritual over the years, (Wink, 2002)
"Gerotranscendence: A Developmental Theory of Positive Aging" by Lars Tornstam, PhD (2005).
"The gerotranscendent individual typically experiences a re-definition of the self, of relationships to others and develops a new understanding of fundamental, existential questions."
– – – –
Jmfl Erik H Erikson (note: spelled with k & k), and the addition his wife made to the later edition.
The Life Cycle Completed (Extended Version)
by Erik H. Erikson (Author), with the addition of a "9th stage", by Joan M. Erikson (published in 1997)
First up was The Life Cycle Completed in 1982, with eight stages. (The discovery of this eighth that Joan M Erikson describes in the preface to the extended edition.)
Erik H Erikson 1902-1994
Joan M Erikson 1902-1997
Stage 8 (as Erik and Joan saw it when they were barely eighty). Joan describes in the foreword how she found Erik Erikson's own copy of the book full of additions towards the end. When The Completed Life Cycle was published, Erik Erikson was barely eighty. He was 92 (91?)
Maturity (65 to death)
Ego Integrity vs. Despair
Reflection on Life
Older adults need to look back on life and feel a sense of fulfillment. Success at this stage leads to feelings of wisdom, while failure results in regret, bitterness, and despair.
Her addition of a "stage 9"
(Wink, 2002) Man becomes more spiritual as he gets older
(Erikson, Erik &. Joan) Also have some reasoning that spirituality/religiosity increases with age
(Tornstam, 2005) "The gerotranscendent individual typically experiences a re-definition of the self, of relationships to others and develops a new understanding of fundamental, existential questions."
Erikson also talks about a false kind of integration as you get older, that you manage to cradle yourself in this: "We also have to recognize a retrospective mythologising in old age that can result in pseudointegration as a defense against lurking despair. (All the syntonic qualities that dominate the diagonal of the table can of course be used as a defense in this way.)" Erikson, 2004, p.82.
This is similar to what he writes of "disgust." This is combined with despair the antithesis of the "integrity" of old age. He writes:
"If the antithesis of wisdom is disgust, this (like all other negative opposites) must be recognized to some extent as a natural and necessary reaction to human weakness and to the eerie repetition of evil and deceit. If one completely denies disgust and contempt, it is done at the risk of covert destructiveness and more or less hidden self-loathing" (Erikson, p81)
Is the New Age "bad religion"?
Attachment research seems to show that religion can in some cases help the individual repair a bad attachment
Farias and Granqvist (2007) also argue that New Age seems to do poorly to help individuals achieve earned security. Sometimes religions have shown themselves to be able to do that. Why not NA?
Farias &. Granqvist (2007) points out something aggravating about NA. Together with a kind of fatalism (everything is meant, I am led, etc.), one also includes the notion that the individual has complete possibilities – and responsibilities – to create his own life. This is actually similar to the situation that is supposed to be behind the most severe stresses for the young child, i.e. "irreconcilable strategies", and which appears in cases of globally disorganized states (CC, "cannot classify").
The authors caution against believing that the underlying factors for different types of spirituality are the same. This does not seem to be the case, but even the other way around. (Far&gran, 2007) (Comp vs corr, for example)
"A new person"?
Several commentators point to how in new age/newness there is a certain elitism (ref). That one is the spearhead of a new human type (ref?). Psychology in general, with contributions not least from cognitive experimental psychology and attachment theory, and psychoanalysis and, if you will, theology, in particular, puts this into question.
Freud may have been categorical when it came to human religiosity. Others have nuanced and broadened the perspective after him. But it is possible that Freud's criticism is still valid, at least when it comes to how spirituality or religiosity becomes problematic?
In the further study, among other things, a Freudian view of the existential conditions (formulated by Werbart, Shausget-Smirgel, and "Wisdom from the Coach", etc.), will be used as one of the breaks to assess the new age/new-age sphere of thought based on what the informants tell us.