There are countless human development models: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Kegan's theory of adult development, Wilber's Integral Theory, and many more.
But, one continues to stand out to me: Susanne Cook-Greuter's Ego Development Theory (EDT). What makes EDT special?
- EDT has been developed and refined over 40+ years by empirical means—unlike almost all other developmental theories which first propose a theory and then find appropriate means to measure it (Susanne Cook-Greuter says she can't actually think of any developmental theories that are exceptions to this).
- EDT alone postulates that it is ego’s task to construct meaning—to form a coherent narrative about existence to counter uncertainty.
- EDT says each stage is a uniquely defined worldview and none are purely transitional stages—each stage emerges from a synthesis of doing, being, and thinking; each stage represents a distinct, qualitatively different, uniquely defined, and increasingly complex view of self and reality.
- EDT focuses on the development of individual awareness—it fully recognizes that there is no individual interior development outside a cultural and linguistic surround, nor is individual growth possible without the external context (historical, geographic, infrastructure, etc.) as it supports and constrains what is possible in the interior.
- EDT was built on and relies on the observation that the meaning-making capacity of individuals is reflected in their language—and the ever more subtle distinctions they are able to make over time).
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