The Continuum Theory™
I’m striving to create “nomothetic laws” about human development. These laws focus on universal sequences and their contexts – establishing eternal laws about human development that could apply to all of the people all of the time.
In the past we lived on the Earth without knowing what Earth is, having ideas like the Earth is flat, the center of the universe, the Sun revolves around us, and if it gets angry it may not rise again, etc. We lived with ignorance and misunderstanding. But once we had the knowledge that the earth is round it inspired us to travel the globe and meet other civilizations. Once we understood that the Sun wasn’t an angry God that revolved around us we could stop being afraid that our actions could cause it to not rise again. We could envision traveling in space. These understandings were vital contributors to humanity’s growth.
You may ask me if it is important to have a functional definition of self to do what we’re doing in therapy. For me the answer is, absolutely. Can we do what we do in psychology and psychotherapy without knowing what the Self is, or agreeing to what the Self is? To me the answer is, we certainly have been trying, but have not achieved it well enough. For the science of psychology and psychotherapy, we need to have a functional definition of the Self that everyone can agree on, so that the research that is done can be uniformly described and understood by everyone.
I have given this close to 30 years of thought, asking questions that perhaps others hadn’t, and not accepting answers that perhaps others had.
The life span development of a human being is evolutionary in nature. I believe it occurs as an overlapping, 3-part developmental process. Body – mind/brain – and the self. The self is conceived-birthed along with body and mind, with all three existing initially as potential that is able to develop fully. All 3 begin this development at conception-birth. ‘Self’ has the identical potential for development as the body and mind, and is fully integrated with body and mind. The ‘Self’ is the seat of conscious awareness. It is the ‘I’ we refer to. The more fully it is developed the more it is able to use the body and the mind and its own abilities/facilities to navigate effectively through life.
It makes complete sense that the ‘Self’ would identify itself with what it becomes aware of first, i.e. with its own body. It is the first thing its awareness becomes familiar with, the first thing it experiences, the first thing it can begin to log into its memory bank, which is the mind, the first thing it can begin to comprehend, and the first thing its parents continually attend to. So, since the ‘Self’s’ first conscious experience is of and with its body, it stands to reason it will identify with and believe that it is a body.
As the mind develops, the ‘Self’ begins to notice that those in charge of its development are trying to reach another part of it other than its body. The repetitious nature of much of this early communication is intended for the self to remember certain things like the naming of objects. It begins to realize that it can bring forth, recall this repetitious information. That it is using something else other than its body. It begins to use this other part and finds that it is rewarded with appreciation from those in charge. It begins to enjoy using it. The ‘Self’ may not know yet what this other part is or what it is called, or where the seat of this apparatus, its mind, is. Those attending to it are beginning to teach it language, counting, the recognition of objects, later memorizing facts, and later are asking it to think about problems of mathematics, reasoning, consequential thinking, etc. It is natural for the self to start to think of itself as a mind and a body.
Since the concept that we are ‘Self’, as well as body and mind, the conscious force that is aware of and makes decisions with relation to its body and mind, is missing from our developmental philosophy, it’s, the ‘self’s’, developmental needs are never addressed. Nor does it become fully aware and conscious of its own abilities/facilities. Therefore the ‘Self’s’ needs and developmental potential are left latent or damaged and continue to wait to be fully developed.
From conception each human being has a life force, an energy to potentialize its body, mind, and ‘Self’. The reality of this life force is obvious when we consider how the zygote potentializes in the womb into a full blown human being which is birthed. This life force continues throughout life. From conception and on into late teens each human being’s life force, the energy to potentialize, is focused primarily on the full development of the body. Once that is completed, this developmental energy, the life force moving us to develop fully, now finished with potentializing the body, shifts its entire energy to the full development of the mind’s potential. From late teens to around 40 years of age each human being’s life force, the energy to potentialize, is focused primarily on the full development of the mind. That is why the questions a human being asks at around age of 13 – What’s for dinner? Can I get the latest sneakers? around the age of 20 plus, shift to questions about politics, religion, gender, race, the future, relationships, etc. that requires one to use the mind.
The third stage, which starts around 40 years of age, is when nature again shifts its energy from the development of the mind’s potential to the full development of the self’s potential. This explains not only ‘mid-life crisis’, but why so many individuals begin to turn from materialism, which is simply the self’s use of the calculator that is the brain, quantifying what one has, thinking that more is better, and that more equals happiness, to a realization that more is not making oneself or anyone for that matter happy. The shift occurs when the questions that are being asked regarding how to achieve happiness change from quantity of stuff, money etc., to the quality of one’s life. This is when one begins to question one’s own motives, attitudes, relationships, career path, thus becoming what we might call a more aware person, and perhaps one who yearns for a more spiritual life-style.