Imagine you live in a world where you can develop freely. In a society where Self-Actualization is more important than productivity. In which you work less and pursue your desires. And in which your fellow human beings not only tolerate you, but accept you as you are – with your concept of life, your skin color, your sexual orientation.

It is possible that we are just experiencing the beginnings of such an age. Because there are signs that our society is undergoing fundamental development. More precisely, many people are developing fundamentally up the stages of ego. Many psychologists believe that the key to a more open society lies in the purposeful development of the ego, of this mysterious, indwelling entity.

Jane Loevinger stages of ego development


More: Nine Stages

Jane Loevinger’s stages of ego development ‘conceptualize a theory of ego development that was based on Erikson’s psychosocial model’, as well as on the works of Harry Stack Sullivan, and in which ‘the ego was theorized to mature and evolve through stages across the lifespan as a result of a dynamic interaction between the inner self and the outer environment’.[1] Her theory is significant in contributing to the delineation of ego development, which goes beyond fragmentation of trait psychology and looks at personalities as meaningful wholes.[2]

The Nine Stages

Loevinger describes the ego as a process rather than a thing.[6] The ego is viewed as the frame of reference (or lens) one uses to construct and interpret one’s world.[6] This contains impulse control and character development, with interpersonal relations, and with cognitive preoccupations, including self-concept.[7] Sullivan (1958) ‘had proposed four levels of “interpersonal maturity and interpersonal integration”: Impulsive, Conformist, Conscientious, and Autonomous’.[8]Developing over time from that initial framework, Loevinger completed a developmental model including nine sequential stages, each of which represents a progressively more complex way of perceiving oneself in relation to the world. Every stage provides a frame of reference to organize and give meaning to experience over the individual’s life course. ‘Since each new ego stage or frame of reference builds on the previous one and integrates it, no one can skip a stage…One has not yet acquired the interpersonal logic’.[9]

As the adult ego develops, Loevinger considered, a sense of self-awareness emerges in which one becomes aware of discrepancies between conventions and one’s own behavior. For some, development reaches a plateau and does not continue. Among others, greater ego integration and differentiation continue.[10] Loevinger proposed eight/nine stages of ego in development,[11] the six which occur in adulthood being conformist, conscientious-conformist, conscientious, individualistic, autonomous, and integrated. The majority of adults are at the conscientious-conformist level.

The Level/Stages


More: An Integrative Social-Cognitive Developmental Model of Supervision for Substance Abuse Counselors-in-Training



Impulsive (E2)

Here the child ‘asserts his growing sense of self’ and views the world in ego-centric terms.[7] At this stage ‘the child is preoccupied with bodily impulses, particularly (age-appropriate) sexual and aggressive ones.[12] The child is too immersed in the moment and view the world solely in terms of how things affect them. Their impulses affirm their sense of self however are ‘curbed by the environment’. When someone meets their needs they are considered ‘good’, and if they do not meet their needs they are considered bad—often resulting in impulsive retaliation such as s/he will run away or run home’.[13] Discipline is viewed by the child as restraints, and ‘rewards and punishments’ are seen as being “Nice to Me” or “Mean to Me”. This is because the Child’s ‘needs and feelings are experienced mostly in bodily modes’,[14] and ‘the child’s orientation at this stage is almost exclusively to the present rather than to past or future’.[15]

Self-Protective (E3)

The “Self-Protective” stage represents ‘the first step towards self-control of impulses.The Self-Protective person has the notion of blame, but he externalizes it to other people or to circumstances’.[16] At this level, the child ‘craves a morally prescribed, rigidly enforced, unchanging order’, and if maintained too long ‘an older child or adult who remains here may become opportunistic, deceptive, and preoccupied with control…naive instrumental hedonism ‘.[17]
While a degree of conceptual cohesion has been reached, morality is essentially a matter of anticipating rewards and punishments, with the motto: “Don’t Get Caught”.

Conformist (E4)

‘Most children around school age…progress to the next stage, conformity’.[18] Persons begin to view themselves and other as conforming to socially approved codes or norms.[19] Teaching education as adult development. Theory into Practice, 17(3), p. 231 Loevinger describes this stage of having ‘the greatest cognitive simplicity. There is a right way and a wrong way and it is the same for everyone…or broad classes of people.[20] One example of groups conforming together at this age is by gender—boys and girls. Here persons are very much invested in belonging to and obtaining the approval of groups.[21] Behaviour is judged externally, not by intentions, and this concept of ‘belonging to the group (family or peers) is most valued’.[22] ‘the child starts to identify his welfare with that of the group’, though for the stage ‘to be consolidated, there must be a strong element of trust’.[16] An ability to take in rules of the group appears, and another’s disapproval becomes a sanction, not only fear of punishment. However rules and norms are not yet distinguished.
‘While the Conformist likes and trusts other people within his own group, he may define that group narrowly and reject any or all outgroups’, and stereotypes roles on the principle of ‘ social desirability: people are what they ought to be’.[21]

Self-Aware (E5)

Loevinger considered the Self-Aware (also known as ‘Conscientious-Conformist’) Transitional Stage to be ‘model for adults in our society’,[23] and thought that few pass the stage before at least the age of twenty-five.
The stage is largely characterized by two characteristics: ‘an increase in self-awareness and the capacity to imagine multiple possibilities in situations’…[24] [was] a stable position in mature life’, one marked by the development of ‘rudimentary self-awareness and self-criticism’: however the closeness of the self to norms and expectations ‘reveal the transitional nature of these conceptions, midway between the group stereotypes of the Conformist and the appreciation for individual differences at higher levels’.[25] Loevinger also considered the level to produce ‘a deepened interest in interpersonal relations’.[26]

Conscientious (E6)

While progressing to ‘the conscientious stage…individuals at this level, and even more often at higher levels, refer spontaneously to psychological development’.[27] By this stage, ‘the internalisation of rules is completed’, although at the same time ‘exceptions and contingencies are recognised’.[28] Goals and ideals are acknowledged, and there is a new sense of responsibility, with guilt triggered by hurting another, rather than by breaking rules. ‘The tendency to look at things in a broader social context’ was offset by a self seen as apart from the group, but also from the other’s point of view; as a result ‘descriptions of people are more realistic…[with] more complexities’.[29] Standards are self-chosen, and distinguished from manners, just as people are seen in terms of their motives and not just their actions.
The Conscientious subject ‘sees life as presenting choices; [s]he holds the origin of his own destiny…aspires to achievement, ad astra per aspera ‘[30] but by his or her own standards.

Individualistic (E7)

During this stage, persons demonstrate both a respect for individuality and interpersonal ties.[31] Loevinger explains’ To proceed beyond the Conscientious Stage a person must become more tolerant of himself and of others…out of the recognition of individual differences and of complexities of circumstances'[32] developed at the previous level. The individualistic ego shows a broad-minded tolerance of and respect for the autonomy of both self and others. With a new distancing from role identities, ‘moralism begins to be replaced by an awareness of inner conflict’, while the new stage is also “marked by a heightened sense of individuality and a concern for emotional dependence”.[32] Subjective experience is opposed to objective reality, inner reality to outward appearance; and ‘vivid and personal versions of ideas presented as cliches at lower levels'[33] may emerge.
A growing concern for psychological causality and development will typically go hand in hand with ‘greater complexity in conceptions of interpersonal interaction’.[33]

Autonomous (E8)

Loevinger described this stage as marked by the freeing of the person from oppressive demands of conscience in the preceding stage’.[34] People at this stage are “synthesizers” and are able to conceptually integrate ideas.[35] The autonomous person also ‘recognizes the limitations to autonomy, that emotional interdependence is inevitable’.[34] The stage might also see a ‘confrontation with the limitations of abilities and roles as part of deepening self-acceptance’.[36]
‘Self-fulfillment becomes a frequent goal, partly supplanting achievement’, while there may well be a wider ‘capacity to acknowledge and to cope with inner conflicts’,[34] such as between needs and duties.
‘A high toleration for ambiguity…[and] conceptual complexity'[34]—the capacity to embrace Polarity, Complexity, Multiple Facets, and to integrate ideas—is a further feature of the Autonomous Stage, as too is the expression of ‘respect for other people’s need for autonomy in clear terms’.[37]

Integrated (E9)

According to Loevinger, this is a rarely attained stage. At the Integrated stage,”‘learning is understood as unavoidable…the unattainable is renounced”.[36] The ego shows wisdom, broad empathy towards oneself and others, and a capacity to not just be aware of inner conflicts like the individualistic ego or tolerate inner conflicts like the autonomous ego, but reconcile and make peace with those issues.[38] This ‘Reconciling inner conflicts…cherishing of individuality'[39]are key elements of its Self-Actualizing nature, along with a fully worked-out identity which includes ‘reconciliation to one’s destiny’.[40]

Possible (E10) stage

As differentiation increases, the model of ego development has found broader acceptance amongst international researchers. Therefore, a new stage E10 has been mentioned in reference to “Ich-Entwicklung”, the German equivalent of Loevinger’s stages.

“Need to evaluate things and persons is abandoned. Merging with the world, no more holding, but engaging in the flow of things. Playful alternation between seriousness and triviality, intermingling of different states of consciousness, thinking in time cycles and historical dimensions, full acceptance of differences and people as they are.”

Jane Loevinger, a now-defunct US developmental psychologist Washington University, has spent half her life making a theory Measuring the ego to work out. She conducted tests with thousands of people through and worked out that their thinking, feeling and acting in the course of life developed in a similar way. Each ego follows a fixed one Sequence of developmental stages, and it is getting more sophisticated and more complex.

The theory of ego development is rejected by some researchers. Critic are bothered by the complex human nature in a rigid scheme too press.

But it is now consensus that Loevinger’s theory at least one good orientation gives, what about our personality in the course of our lives happens. And that explains a lot, which is otherwise difficult to understand; the emergence of our meritocracy, the same time Rise of the Greens and the AfD. But more on that later.

Today’s research on ego development makes a difference ten previously measurable levels, with no Man completely on one level only. Often our development spreads to four or more Steps, but on one of them the ego has its own Main emphasis.
The same is true of our society. Also Here most people are on one certain level. If you follow Loevinger’s concept, then we are facing fundamental changes. Because the distribution seems to be more and more on later ones Shift stages.
Since the sixties have been comprehensive Surveys were conducted on which ego levels in North America and in West and central Europe are the most widespread. One can today about from assume the following distribution:

Selected Levels, Main Characteristics and Frequency


E3: self-oriented step

Life motto: To prevail. Typical occurrence: Opportunistic. Strong on your own advantage
considered. Good sense for occasions that enforce own interests. Partly aggressive
intimidating. Typical way of thinking: Feels attacked quickly. Friend-or-foe logic. Very
short-term time horizon.5%

E4: Certain Community step

Life motto: Community. Typical occurrence: Loyal. Politic-mediator. Represents himself
back to the rules and standards of the reference group to follow. Suspicion towards people outside the own group. Partially blind obedience. typical Mindset: Black and white thinking. Self-worth hangs strongly dependent on the acceptance of others. Rather short-term Time horizon. 12%

E5: Rationalistic stage

Life motto: demarcation. Typical Occurrence: Sets Value on own characteristics and opinions. Pragmatic. Considering clear circumstances. from time to time perfectionist. Typical way of thinking: building of Expert knowledge. Fixed, sometimes rigid ideas,
how things should go. Sometimes problems with Prioritize. Short- to medium-term time horizon.38%

E6: self-determined step

Life motto: achieve your own goals. Typical Occurrence: Clearly delineated, yet principled We strive for relationships at eye level. strongly self-optimizing, sometimes rushed. Typical way of thinking: questions motives. Analytically. Differentiated. Starting self-critical. time horizon from five to ten years.30%

E7: Relativizing level

Life motto: individuality. Typical occurrence: Greater openness to other opinions and Lifestyles. Self-realization beyond social given roles. Typical way of thinking: relativized
10% increasingly own and foreign views. behind ask the social character of one’s own




My Mental Model for Self-Actualization

Constructing an operational definition for education

I’m currently developing a grand unified theory for learning based on DeweyPiaget, and Papert. As part of the theory, the purpose of education is to enable us to become self-actualized. However, once I started putting my theory into words, I suddenly realized my own understanding of self-actualization is only vaguely defined. This article is my attempt to rectify that.

My current working definition for self-actualization

If I had to encapsulate my mental model of self-actualization in one sentence, it would be: “A state in which we live purposefully and in full alignment with our own coherent set of core values — reconstructing ourselves and the world around us as necessary.”

A pathway to self-actualization

My mind paid attention to dependencies while I was brainstorming attributes because it knows I’m developing a pathway to self-actualization. If we can’t plan strategically without systems thinking, and we can’t engage in systems thinking without scientific inquiry, it makes some sense to develop our ability to engage in scientific inquiry earlier on.

I’m also looking for positive feedback loops, or virtuous cycles, so a learner can, at some point, complete the pathway independently. Self-actualization is an example of a positive feedback loop itself. Once we’re self-actualized, we create strategic plans to achieve goals just beyond our present capabilities. As part of those plans, we engage in triple-loop learning to reconstruct how we learn and develop our abilities more fully. Then, after developing our abilities and achieving those goals, we look up only to spot new goals just beyond our new present capabilities. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

More: Medium Article about Mental Model for Self-Actualization

Triple-Loop Learning

In Seeking Mountains; Will Travel, I describe a vertical learner as someone who develops advanced learning skills and greater curiosity, insight, and perspective over time. With these increases in curiosity and insight, vertical learners naturally grow to learn about themselves, eventually aligning both who they are and the world around them to a set of core values.
In triple-loop learning, a third feedback loop comes into play. Besides fitting reality into our mental models and then revising our mental models to better fit reality, we also revise how we revise our mental models.


  • Single-Loop Learning
  • Double-Loop Learning
  • Triple-Loop Learning

Are we doing things right?

Are we doing the right things?

How do we decide what is right?

Single-Loop Learning

Single-loop learning assumes that problems and their solutions are close to each other in time and space (thought they often aren’t). In this form of learning, we are primarily considering our actions. Small changes are made to specific practices or behaviors, based on what has or has not worked in the past. This involves doing things better without necessarily examining or challenging our underlying beliefs and assumptions. The goal is improvements and fixes that often take the form of procedures or rules. Single-loop learning leads to making minor fixes or adjustments, like using a thermostat to regulate temperature.

Are we doing things right? Here’s what to do-procedures or rules.

Double-Loop Learning

Double-loop learning leads to insights about why a solution works. In this form of learning, we are considering our actions in the framework of our operating assumptions. This is the level of process analysis where people become observers of themselves, asking, “What is going on here? What are the patterns?” We need this insight to understand the pattern. We change the way we make decisions and deepen understanding of our assumptions. Double-loop learning works with major fixes or changes, like redesigning an organizational function or structure.

Are we doing the right things? Here’s why this works-insights and patterns.

Triple-Loop Learning

Triple-loop learning involves principles. The learning goes beyond insight and patterns to context. The result creates a shift in understanding our context or point of view. We produce new commitments and ways of learning. This form of learning challenges us to understand how problems and solutions are related, even when separated widely by time and space. It also challenges us to understand how our previous actions created the conditions that led to our current problems. The relationship between organizational structure and behavior is fundamentally changed because the organization learns how to learn. The results of this learning includes enhancing ways to comprehend and change our purpose, developing better understanding of how to respond to our environment, and deepening our comprehension of why we chose to do things we do.

More: Developing a Learning Organization

Triple-Loop Learning as Foundation for Profound Change, Individual Cultivation, and Radical Innovation Construction Processes beyond Scientific and Rational Knowledge

Purpose: How does new knowledge or profound change come about and which processes of construction are involved? This article aims at developing an epistemological as well as methodological framework which is capable of explaining how profound and radical change can be brought about in various contexts, such as in individual cultivation, in organizations, in processes of radical innovation, etc. The concept of emergent innovation will be developed—it is based on the triple-loop learning strategy and the U-theory approach which opens up a perspective how the domain of scientific/rational knowledge, constructivism, and wisdom could grow together more closely. Design/Structure: This article develops a strategy which is referred to as “triple-loop learning”, which is not only the basis for processes of profound change, but also brings about a new dimension in the field of innovation, learning, and knowledge dynamics: the existential realm and the domain of wisdom. A concrete approach realizing the triple-loop learning strategy is presented. The final section shows, how these concepts can beSinterpreted in the context of the constructivist approach and how they might offer some extensions to this paradigm. Findings: The process of learning and change has to be extended to a domain which concerns existential issues as well as questions of wisdom. Profound change can only happen, if these domains are taken into consideration. The triple-loop learning strategy offers a model fulfilling this criterion. It is an “epistemo-existential strategy” for profound change on various levels. Conclusions: The (cognitive) processes and attitudes of receptivity, suspension, redirecting, openness, deep knowing, as well as “profound change/innovation from the interior” turn out to be core concepts in this process of emergent innovation. They are compatible with constructivist concepts. Glasersfeld’s concept of functional fitness is carried to an extreme in the suggested approach of profound change and finds an extension in the existential domain.

More: Research Gate Article Triple Loop Learning


Performance Culture

Work hard, play hard – the overtime cult of consulting and agency companies has spilled over to other sectors. Many people believe that real performance means working until late in the evening. At home, there is also pressure to keep functioning in one’s private life. Instagram-worthy interior decoration, optimized wardrobes, marathon training, exciting holidays – it’s all about living up to extremely high standards. Botox and hair transplants are used to combat the first signs of ageing. Performance food, sleep assistants and meditation applications serve to enable permanent top performances. In the performance culture, many people commit themselves to total self-optimization.

More: Performance Culture

The quest for a perfect existence

A longer life – as healthy as possible, mentally in shape and physically in top condition. Most people probably have this desire. The market reacts with offers dealing with digital self-monitoring, and research is also conducted to deal with this topic. In Berlin scientists and philosophers discussed this in the event series “Fokus@Helmholtz”.

Who doesn’t want to feel a bit more in shape, more beautiful and healthier – or get ahead in their profession? The market for self-optimization is booming: Ever more consultants, nutrition concepts, apps, courses, pills and perhaps even genetic engineering all promise an improved and longer life. But do we really feel healthier after all is said and done? What direction does the optimization take? And what does it have to do with a better life? Or is constant optimization just a social ritual that many individuals take part in, in order to avoid looking like a loser? In the podium discussion “Higher, faster, further! – The Quest for a Perfect Existence” it quickly became evident that there are very controversial points of view regarding this modern phenomenon.

Arnold Sauter from the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag has observed several driving forces behind the rapidly growing self-optimization trend of recent years. In his short introductory speech, he indicated on the one hand the disappearance of traditional structures and religious commitments. This requires a lower degree of integration for the individual into society and also a decrease in spiritual orientation.  This goes hand in hand with the increasing cult concerning one’s own physicality. Moreover, the growing compulsion to promote oneself in today’s economy is complemented by, thanks to scientific findings, the aspiration to also be able to continuously improve oneself.

Bastian Greshake openly admits that he feels healthier and more satisfied when he takes advantage of the opportunities offered by modern technology regarding self-optimization.  And the doctoral candidate in Applied Bio-Informatics at the Goethe University Frankfurt does just that – extensively. Not only does he meticulously analyse his nutrition, his sleep and his sports activities; he has also set up a databank for genetic data that is open to everyone. Anyone who has taken a genetic test can upload his data there and make it available to research scientists. And it is not only large firms that receive a benefit from this.  He agrees however with Arnold Sauter that many expectations regarding such genetic tests have been set too high: That is to say, to date, far too little medically relevant information has been gained from this data.

Knowledge regarding genetic links however continues to grow. Targeted manipulation of genes using new methods is also becoming possible – something that earlier scientists hardly dared to imagine. “By making use of interventions into the human germ line, hereditary diseases, for example, would be treatable,” says Ralf Kühn from the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC). One could thereby prevent the emergence of diseases such as sickle-cell anaemia. Indeed, in Germany such techniques are currently forbidden, but not in other countries.

We are therefore forced to grapple, with increasing intensity, with difficult ethical and legal issues, the podium group concurs. “If it is possible to do something, it will be done,” Ariadne von Schirach states. The philosopher and author has expressed an ardent plea with her book “Du sollst nicht funktionieren” against the growing trend towards self-optimization and self-marketing. She considers it to be dangerous when the economization of the world leads to our own self-worth being equated with market value. Perfection of the external packaging can then only be gained at the expense of the inner self. Von Schirach observes here an objectionable and unbalanced characteristic of contemporary culture. The individual is therefore always being forced to choose wisely to what extent he or she is prepared to follow social trends or his or her own preferences. The paradox inherent in self-optimization is that, according to Schirach, it follows on the one hand prescribed rules from the outside, while at the same time it is egocentric. Schirach proposes, as a counter prescription, that individuals in this day and age should gather the courage to become self-oblivious.

Despite all the differences, the participants agreed on one thing: The increase in mental performance, the so-called neuro-enhancement, has obviously been overvalued by the media. While top-class athletes are able to coax, through respective performance-enhancing substances, a few more percentage points here and there, the brain is not so easy to optimize. Heretofore, there is no known substance with which one could appreciably dope his or her brain.  Apparently, the brain in a healthy individual already functions so well that foreign agents are hardly able to improve it. And who has ever claimed that higher intelligence automatically makes us content?

16.03.2016 , Dirk Eidemüller

More: Self-OptimizedSelf-Optimized

Brain Performance Training



Learning how to practice the inner game of golf is the key to getting better. Afterall, it’s our minds that control our swing and it’s our mind that has to process the results of a golf shot.

Good golf is about positive visualization and feel, and responding correctly to outcomes whatever they are.

Being able to do this has a massive impact on our performance, whatever our handicap. This is easy to say, but how to we learn it?

The first part is easy. Make your practice more about being creative, rather than learning new techniques. Learn to heighten your senses and make shot making part of your instinct. Introduce different shots to your body and make it work to produce different shot shapes. Gary Player (the most diligent golfer ever) that said practice should involve hitting as many different shot as you can – hooks, slices, fades, draws, low and high shots. Enjoy the adventure of being creative. Tiger Woods says creativity is his 15th club in his bag. This is becasue he learns and practices positve visualization and feel as often as possible. I bet Tiger rarely hits the same shot more than a few times on the pratice range. So many golfers think they have mastered the game on the range, because they see the ball flying at the same target shot after shot. This is not the most effective way to practice. Your body put’s that shot in the short-term muscle memory and it’s repetition becomes sub-conscioius.

We need to use our minds to keep our body learning new shots and the feel of shot shapes. This is what will make you a better golfer. On the golf course you are never faced with a straight shot on a level lie, shot after shot. You have to recognize how the ball will move in the air and the optimal shot shape to hit. No shot is the same as it is on the range. Through practicing a variety of shots on the driving range and during our play, good golf will become part of our instinct and we will be able to visual and feel the swing needed to produce it during our rounds. Learning a large repertoire of shots is the key to a scoring game.


More: Golf state of mind

Based on Dr Crews’ research over the last 30 years she found that a state of “synchronicity” in the brain seconds before the motion starts is predictive of good performance. To help people understand what that state feels like she created 2 apps. The Opti Brain and Opti Train apps to work with the Muse head band (measures brain signals through 7 sensors – 2 on the forehead, 2 behind the ears plus 3 reference sensors).




More: Muse Brain Headband

More: My Opti BrainMy Opti Brain

More: View it on AmazonView it on Amazon

More: 25. The Value of Happiness 🙂

Superintelligence2525/Supi2525 is an Ecosystem that can help everybody to complete the personal pathway independently to the EGO-Stages by high performance triple loop learning.


Will be continued 🙂