My personal view of integral life

Identification and Navigation of the Self-system; comparison of the Green and Turquoise Altitudes

Developmental Psychology – Assignment #9 : Identification and Navigation of the Self-system; comparison of the Green and Turquoise Altitudes (check out the altitudes diagram below the text)

In this assignment I chose to compare the identification and navigation functions of the self-system between Green (Stage 4/5 (C-G), Individualist) and Turquoise (5/6 (C-G), Construct-Aware) altitudes. The self is the locus of identification being constructed of proximate (I) and distal (me) selves. Navigation can be seen as the self facing several “directional pulls”, which means that it can choose to remain on its present level of development or it can choose to release its present level either moving up or down the hierarchy of basic structures. This can also be thought as identifying with that level or dis-identifying it. Navigation to a higher level first needs full integration of the current level and after that differentiation and then re-integration or identification.

A person at Green altitude or early vision-logic (Wilber, 1986) seems to think everything as relativistic and his self is related to the system and is in interaction with the system. This can lead to a “drowning” in the ocean of relativity; everything seems to be interrelated and the self is taking up all the perspectives in a holonic way. Yet, the self at Green is not able realize the possibility of transformation from the personal realm to the transpersonal, which is to say that it is not aware of the ego as “separate” form of the true self. And in other words, the process of meaning-making itself is no yet at the awareness of a person at early vision-logic stage. At Green it is possible to realize various interpretations rather than “speaking of the truth” and one is more tolerant of oneself and to others due to the awareness individual differences and the complexities of life. Navigation into the higher altitude (Teal-Turquoise or 2nd tier) takes form as “… adding higher cognition and affect as well as insights from body an non-waking realities to the tools of the earlier merely rational mind” and “…at its most advanced, vision-logic opens the door into the spiritual, transpersonal, non-egoic, non-representational realm of being” (Cook-Greuter, 1999, p.94). Navigation can in some individuals be also a regression moving into less differentiated structure of Orange’s cold rationality. This can for example be seen in stressful situations as being temporary or under the influence of “less developed” community dragging into the old paradigms of the self.

Turquoise altitude is the Construct-Aware stage of the self (Cook-Greuter), a truly Kosmocentric consciousness. It can also be labeled as the late Vision-Logic stage (Wilber). A person at Turquoise is highly aware of complexity of meaning making and dynamic processes and what is spectacular and unique to this stage from the previous stages or altitudes (including Green) is the seeking of personal and spiritual transformation and supporting others in their life quests. Ego is understood as a “GPS navigator” or as the “central processing unit” that is actively forming the self’s sense of identity. The aspect of time is not being seen as linear or literal as it is at Green, but rather as symbolic and metaphorical. The self can realize the difference of psychological time (past, present & future) and chronological time (Krishnamurti, 1957). A realization that everything happens “in the now” is clear and the split between the knower and the known as central problem of Green Altitude is clearly seen and being navigated through. At Green however “…no matter how reflective and insightful the ego becomes, like an eye, it cannot look at itself directly” (Alexander, 1990). The Construct-Aware self (Cook-Greuter) can notice the range of transformations that they have moved through and the likelihood of continuing transformations, which is the navigation to the increasing “differentiation-and-integration” (Wiber) to a higher altitude (Indigo and beyond).

The shift from 1st tier (Green and below) to 2nd tier (Teal and higher) can be seen as monumental a transformation as the shift from the unconscious preverbal world of the infant to the world of the personal realm (Alexander, 1990).


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Categorised in: Integral, Psychology

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