QUALITATIVE DEVELOPMENT

This type of development refers to progressive changes throughout the lifespan and involves the concept of developmental stages. Despite individual differences, it seems that some commonalities can be discerned in this respect. It was earlier proposed that the soul grows due to information, experience and intent. Thus, the three corresponding dimensions of development are suggested. They also correlate with the three dimensions of meaning. This is not surprising, since development is progressive and, therefore, intrinsically meaningful.

Each dimension has four points, representing the four stages: physical, conventional, personal and transcendent[2]. This is, of course, an idealised schema - each stage has sub-stages and there are huge variations within them. Also, they are not inevitable, the rate of change and the final stage reached differ widely from person to person.

It needs to be pointed out that the subsequent stages do not replace the previous ones, although they may modify them. Quantitative development (developing various capacities) within each stage can continue throughout one's life. This implies that a person on a further stage of development is not necessarily better or superior (as a third year student is not necessarily better than a second year student). Any aspect of a person can be well or poorly developed at any stage. In addition, although further stages may bring more freedom, there are also more chances to abuse it, so they require greater responsibility. Life is not easier at further stages. People face different challenges, that is all.

  • [2]. These stages can be generally related to the domains distinguished in existentialism: Umwelt, Mitwet, Eigenwelt and Überwelt (Binswanger, 1946, Boss, 1963, Deurzen-Smith, 1984) and also to Wade's notetic model (1996): Reactive (1); Naïve and Egocentric (the transition between 1 and 2); Conformist (2); Achievement and Affiliative (between 2 and 3); Authentic (3); Transcendent and Unity (4).