By Giorgio Piacenza
Ken Wilber usually states that every individual must go through stages of development one step at a time. I think that developmental psychologists have shown that this is generally true. Nonetheless, I also think that individuals are very much affected in the way they go through these stages by their cultures (which, among other things, offer support and challenge) and nowadays cultural codes are more mixed than ever before. Today's living cultures are not clearly distinguishable or definable anymore; they are blending and they are also blending stage-wise.
We can also quite evidently say that there are few isolated cultures not affected by modernity's “critical mindset.” Also, as the number of separate cultures diminish, all kinds of ideas, belief systems, myths, codes and paradigms circulate and the modern and globalized system -generally speaking- acts like a framework that supporting them all (as long as the ideas, values and codes of particular cultural groups are not extremely challenged by the modern system in which case an uncomfortable coexistence leads to suppression, oppression and aggression).
My thesis is that the way individuals go through their developmental stages is being modified by these globalized, culturally mixed conditions. For instance, predominantly Red stage, self centered individuals may be conversant with ecology, modern rational methods, local religious myths and so on. With a minimum level of cognition, he or she may adapt to a variety of cultural values, expectations and even demonstrate proficiency in some of the practices and ways of being not representative of Red stage of development. The same would apply for individuals that could be primarily defined as focused upon Amber, Orange and Green stage or ways of being in the world.
So what I am observing here is that the separation between the stages may not be as clear as suggested or apparently emphasized in the world as it is today. The concept of 'less intensely interiorized or lived' 'combined stages' may need to be taken into consideration more actively even in the ethical line of development or ethical mode of being in the world. If the lines of development related with self identity can also be more affected than previously supposed by the multi-stage cultural influences simultaneously present in the world today then the classification of who is primarily in what stage would need to be re-thought, revised, and remodeled carefully. What does it mean when the values associated with any stage are not taken too seriously anymore? Is the world producing 'light' individuals? Is the world producing individuals with less convictions but capable of adopting 'chameleon-like' any set of values adaptively?
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