On Adult Development

Written by kaa

digital native, sacred activist, social therapist, large group facilitator, active psychonaut, generative scribe and visual facilitator, participatory design for desirable futures. if you can't find me i'm at the campfire in the forest.
August 29, 2020

In 2018 I wrote the article below, which has been published in a german magazine called ”OYA” Nr. 47. Authors having been featured before or who had written for the magazine before were asked to write something about what was essential to them. A few days ago I had written this piece which is now even more actual then 2018. Interestingly enough, I wrote that before I had read ”The Listening Society” by Hanzi Freinacht and before I had come across Otto Laskes Work on Dialectical Thought Forms and Social Emotional Stages in Adult Development and before I had come across Warm Data. 

This topic of adult development in forms where we do not look at as a society has since not left me and has brought me to Nora Batesons work and Otto Laskes work and has then brought me to Frændi. And this topic is why I go on tour through Europe now, in times of a global pandemic, to talk about this and to bring these practices into the communities I am part of.

Enjoy reading the slightly agitated kind of rant I wrote two years ago – and know that I found some practices that can lead us into a world where people who are dialectically and social-emotionally mature ”lead” us into desirable futures. You will find these practices described on our homepage under “Explorations” together with links to go deeper.

If you are interested in finding out about your own cognitive capacities for desirable futures and your own social-emotional maturity, feel free to contact us for an assessment that leads you across your developmental thresholds towards your next plateau of human maturity. You will find a button for this below. May we journey into desirable futures together as fraends.

For a psycho-active society!

”In mid-January (2018) one could hear on the radio that Donald Trump was, according to his medical officer, physically and mentally healthy and fit for the office of the US President. Being physically and mentally healthy is not enough in my opinion. I hear this report and I know perfectly well that at least half of the world’s population is absolutely clear on the fact that Donald Trump does not meet the corporeal requirements to exercise the office of US President for the good of at least the US people.

Yes. You read that right. I mean that he “does not meet the corporeal requirements”. Corporeality is a philosophical category of phenomenology that understands body, mind and soul as always influencing one another and not separated from one another. Corporeality is a fundamental and constitutive (creating) element of our experiences. The results of the research, which certifies Donald Trump’s fitness for the office he holds, apparently neglects relevant aspects of his corporeality such as dialectical cognitive capabilities, and social-emotional development. There seems to be no testing, measurement or certification at this level.

Rest assured, I am not calling Donald Trump stupid or mentally ill.

But for me it is about dialectical cognitive capacities, social-emotional maturity and the psyche/soul – that part of our corporeality that is completely hidden in educational institutions, unless it is the field they are working in. We have physical education, go swimming and jogging, we do brain jogging, sudokus, we pound our heads full of decontextualized knowledge … But apart from a bit of culture, that’s the institutional education we get until we ”grow up”. Emotional education, psychological knowledge, sociological knowledge, knowledge of the origin of and dealing with conflicts and relationship dynamics, conscious experience of the self and the inner worlds, the capacity to think dialectically and a healthy inner projection of ”the other” are hardly taught to children in school contexts. There is also a lack of space to gain experience.

Opening up inner spaces of experience is not particularly welcomed in “our” society. Meditation, autogenic training – that is being applied, whilst it is beneficial for our performance in a capitalist system. But people who seriously deal with their inner spaces and relate them to the »outside« – where do we get there? There’s nothing to be consumed in inner worlds! And what kind of illegal and dangerous things need to be taken in order to experience inner worlds?

Donald Trump’s assessment clearly shows what is missing: dialectical and social as well as a special kind of spiritual maturity – and the research into it. That is where our blind spot seems to be. Attention is paid to physical and mental fitness. In this domain there are trainings and self-measurement, but dialectical and social and psychic fitness? Have you heard of any of these before? »Remain physically and mentally active until old age!« – But dialectically or psycho – active? What could that mean?

There is this word “psychoactive” which refers to substances that affect the human psyche. These have been ingested from time immemorial in order to relate to what is in and around us in a non-day-to-day way, and are expertly used by people such as shamans or medicine people, whose job it is to help others navigate through the soul and spirit worlds. In the meantime, there are increasing numbers of studies that ascribe some currently illegal substances a curative effect for (among other things) mental illnesses. Some are considered by science as less dangerous as alcohol, nicotine and sugar.

Of course, psychoactive substances are by no means the only way to become social-emotionally and dialectically flexible and healthy. There are a wide variety of ways to gain other states of consciousness and insights into the connections between inner and outer worlds, starting with dance, music, poetry or other creative or imaginary methods, focussing on inner expression, from vision quests to therapeutic approaches such as gestalt therapy or methods from the field of body psychotherapy. However, these eke out a niche existence. We do not focus on this aspect of our corporeality in society as a whole. The result is an accumulation of psychological inadequacies and diseases that we could prevent if we brought these hidden dimensions of our corporeality transparently into society and made it an issue. People who go to therapy are (still) often picked on and often no longer taken seriously.

I wish that we as a society deal seriously with the topic – that we use current and existing research results as the basis for long overdue and necessary changes. How do we become more mature, ready to master soul storms, more empathetic people? How can we get to know ourselves and our patterns, our sensitivities, vulnerabilities and strengths so that we can become deliberate, co-creating members of the community?

If we are already testing how fit or capable we are in different areas, then please on a “holistic” level, without neglecting a relevant part of our being. In this way we can develop instruments that also confirm our completely correct perception that Donald Trump is not fit for the office he holds. In this way we can become capable of acting, instead of being psychologically reactive like four-year-olds blowing the consequences of our personal sensitivities and unresolved issues into the world.”

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