Early Stages of Development
These early, first-person stages of development begin in infancy. While rare, it is possible for adults to be at these early levels as well, usually due to disability or significant trauma. It is also possible to access these earlier stages in moments of stress when shadow is activated.
1.0 Stage of Development (Impulsive)
Concrete. Individual Receptive
This stage is the generally oceanic stage of experience that babies are born into. Individuals, generally babies, are inside of an individual experience of the gradual awakening of their concrete self and the concrete interior emotions: sad, happy, mad, surprise, and startle.
Here, mirror neurons activate, and copying mechanisms within the brain support the social learning of the child at this early age. For example, when a caretaker sticks out her tongue the baby is likely to do so as well, even at birth. This copying approach serves the learning of the child as they begin to grow and develop into language and relationships.
People experiencing this stage
- Are "had by" the stage; they are receiving information from their environment through their senses.
- Learn from repeating and copying speech and in actions (echolalia).
- See concretely from their own perspective; they don't know that others see.
- Experience that there only exists what they can see, hear, taste (etc) concretely.
- Exhibit their emotions/feelings physically on their face and body: happy, sad, mad, etc.
- Are learning the contours of their physical body as distinct from the rest of the concrete world.
1.5 Stage of Development (Opportunist)
Concrete. Individual. Active
Children at this stage now know they have a physical body and have power over it, so they are active in using their body to get things they want. The word "mine" comes up a lot at this stage; they don't yet understand the concept of "yours", so even when they take something that others believe belongs to someone else, they often will still claim it as "mine". This is because they have not yet developed a second person perspective where they can see that others have their own wants, needs, experience and ownership like they do.
This is a stage where the individual self is foregrounded, so it is all about "me" although this person is not technically selfish as is sometimes presumed. They assume that everyone sees just as they do.
Eventually they begin to use symbols, such as a string on the finger, etc, to help them remember. Even though the use of symbols and constancy is active, the limits of experiencing primarily with direct external senses has a profound sense of how a child sees the world in a magical way. They can pair two unrelated simultaneous events, and assume they are magically connected and they concretely project their experience onto an object with magical thinking: rabbit's feet, worry stones, and nature spirits as symbols with various powers are all examples of this late first person perspective where the concept of "luck" often develops.
Adults at this level often have these same characteristics related to their perspective taking; that is, they can be very confused about what is "mine"and "yours", so when they take something they tend to have no remorse for the feelings of the other person. They can't yet easily see that others have experiences just like they do, for their experience is still "all about me". Their interior senses are likely quite limited so they can't easily predict (visualize) consequences for their behavior, nor learn from (visualize) their past. However they do have many more years of experience than do children, and an adequate vocabulary has been built so they are much more agile in life than children are.
Those adults whose development has been arrested at this stage, for the most part, have been afflicted with some kind of trauma during this stage as a child, which prevents them from growing into a later perspective; or they are developmentally or physically disabled and have only been able to grow this far. These adults generally need a lot of compassion and strong boundaries around them in order to maintain a safe and happy life.
Adults can also be centered at a later stage, but have a shadow pattern that is trapped at this level. In this case they will act at this level in certain circumstances that bring their shadow material out.
People experiencing this stage
- See concrete either/or choices — I will choose what I want!
- Want to do it themselves, now!
- Are in touch with their concrete desires and seek to gratify impulses and sensorial desires immediately.
- Think others see only what they see.
- Are confused between yours and mine, thus may not fully understand the concept of stealing.
- Thus, they feel no guilt or remorse for others they have harmed
- Can't take a perspective on themselves, so feedback may be frightening to them.
- Express power as fight, flight, freeze; from their view, they get what they want, or get away from what they don't want.
- Are living parallel lives with others: Talking "at" and not "with".
- Can't easily visualize the past so don't remember past experience, and can't visualize the future so can't imagine consequences.
- Can have a normal, or even high level of intelligence.