Spiritual development and psychological development: engaging with the dimensional contrast of the terms waking up and growing up as used by Ken Wilbur there. Trying to record as I just heard them defined:

  • waking up as the spiritual enlightenment of mystics and gurus, wisdom traditions
  • growing up as psychological growth through developmental stages

Wilbur says they're mostly independent, in the above-linked video. The Western "Enlightenment" was a developmental growth to psychological modernity, where spiritual enlightenment has been sought and found in different religious traditions through the millennia.

I think this is a useful distinguishing of dimensions. Developmental is more mapped out currently (Maslow/Kegan/Gebsner/Graves) than the spiritual (which happens within religions, not across them?). I don't even like the word "spiritual" given its magical-ness. I'm going to ignore the "spiritual means magically non-material" side of the "spiritual but not religious" usage as not relevant to connecting with meaning.

I'll translate these terms now as:

  • waking up is the spiritual growth path towards experiencing greater meaning and purpose, and/or the self/ingroup to include all/everything
  • growing up is the psychological growth path towards pulling our self outside successive frames of meaning-making

Waking up is meaning-making (within a frame?) and growing up is frame-busting?  Ooh, the potential unifying relationship is tantalizing, but perhaps deceptive - is it? Let's check.

Spirituality as usually thought of: getting closer to God, connecting with the divine, becoming enlightened, figuring out the meaning of life, becoming wise. Spirituality as meaning-making, purpose-making, wisdom-finding, all that seems on solid etymological grounds. Not that I've necessarily nailed "waking up" as Wilbur means it, but if waking up usefully maps to "spiritual development" then that's what I'm after.

The key action in adult development is the subject-object transition - to go from being subject to something fixed in the frame/context surrounding you, to realizing that it's a movable object. From "is a" to "has a", from inheritance to composition, to use the Comp Sci terms that map via a delightful ontological accident. That this is labeled as "growing up" - the process of setting down childish beliefs and becoming self-authored and responsible for one's own self (and self-hood) - yeah, that's pretty solid.

So now I'm intrigued by this yin-yang model of making and destroying... wait, no, that's not quite the right relationship.  I said "frame-busting" instead of "meaning-destroying" above. What about spirituality as growth within a space, and psychology as hopping between spaces? Except no, psychological development is continuous at least as much as it is also discrete stages. The psychologists noticed the stages first, and are only now relaxing it back into the complexity mish-mashed within people.

They seem to both be continuous (vs discrete) processes, and... yeah, mostly independent? Let's check the 2 by 2 for spiritual & psychological dev:

  • Low SD, Low PD: most everyone, fairly unconsciously inhabiting the spirituality of their default religion, is a "good person" in default frame
  • High SD, Low PD: religious zealot, spiritual striving to be the best <religion>ist in order to find harmony and peace and win the approval of their God/community frame
  • Low SD, High PD: deconstructed birth religion, agnostic or universalist but heavy dose of nihilism or hedonism since it doesn't really matter
  • High SD, High PD: where the mystics converge spiritually, and self-transforming identity bridges into universal/integral? this-ish

Ooh... I seem to be using "meaning" and "complexity" to define these high/low quadrants.  (Or capacity for complexity? caplexity? big-ness of awareness at least) I've seen meaning-seeking inhibit complexity-seeing (e.g. the fundamentalists), and complexity-development certainly do a number on previous meaning (e.g. the nihilists), and... oh, that finishes the pithy labels! 2x2:

  • Low SD, Low PD: the unconscious
  • High SD, Low PD: the fundamentalists
  • Low SD, High PD: the nihilists
  • High SD, High PD: the mystics

Like this:

Four quadrant graphic mapping spiritual/psychological across unconscious/fundamentalist/nihilist/mystic

I don't know how much I "believe" the above, but it's been fun to generate. I'll let that sit for a day.

Heh, maybe I should engage with Vervaeke's Awakening from the Meaning Crisis next. Oh, and I was primed to consider spirituality a few days ago by Vinay Gupta's "Cutting Through Spiritual Colonialism".