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KEGAN'S SUBJECT-OBJECT THEORY My thinking has been highly influenced by the work of Harvard educator, Robert Kegan

. In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life (1994) presents a meta-theory of the organizing principles we bring to our thoughts, feelings, and relationships. It is a neo-Piagetian approach where he "took the idea of such principles as mental organization and extended its 'breadth' (beyond thinking to affective, interpersonal, and intrapersonal realms) and its length (beyond childhood to adulthood)" (p. 29). Subject-object theory examines the "unselfconscious development of successively more complex principles for organizing experience" (p. 29), whereby the subjective experience transmutes into ones objective experience. An individual evolves the ability to reflect on what previously simply "was." The evolution of subject to object generates a new subjective experience which then must be organized. In fact, transforming our epistemologies, liberating ourselves from that in which we were embedded, making what was subject into object so that we can "have it" rather than "be had" by it--this is the most powerful way I know to conceptualize the growth of the mind (p. 34). Kegan details five principles, or subject-object evolutions, which occur from infancy through adulthood. Each of the principles of mental organization has a logic to it, or "more properly speaking, an 'epistemologic.' The root or 'deep structure' of any principle of mental organization is the subject-object relationship" (p. 32). Principles are not only developmentally related, but each contains the previous. "Each successive principle 'goes meta' on the last; each is 'at a whole different order' of consciousness" (p. 34). Each epistemological evolution "is a qualitatively different order of consciousness, because the former order of consciousness is transformed from whole to part, from the very system of knowing to an element in a new system, from subject to object" (p. 28). "One does not simply replace the other, nor is the relation merely additive or cumulative, an accretion of skills. Rather, the relation is transformative, qualitative, and incorporative" (p. 33). The principles refer to the form in which organization occurs, not the content of what is organized. Increased complexity of organization does not mean increased worth or value. Kegan carefully distinguishes between intellectual ability and the epistemology of its organization. He uses an analogy to illustrate this, comparing the ability to drive a car with an automatic transmission and the ability to drive with standard stick-shift transmission. He goes on to discuss the function of changing gears; it exists simply as an external event for the automatic driver, whereas the standard-shift drivers are able to take responsibility for, and reflect upon the function. Kegan situates the epistemological principles within historical moments, from traditional to postmodern, and suggests that most of us struggle to make the transition into functional modernism. In discussions of parenting, partnering, work, psychotherapy, and education, he describes epistemological transformation as the "hidden curriculum." I concur with his "belief that the unrecognized epistemological dimension of adult life is a promising source of clues to many new mysteries" (p. 129).

Furthermore, subject-object theory and Kegan's thinking about it are remarkably consistent with Buddhist thought. For me, this has meant congruence across my work and Buddhism. By way of example, the following passages address Mind, non-self, attachment, and the notion of consciousness: By now it should be clear that when I refer to "mind" or "mental" or "knowing" I am not referring to thinking processes alone. I am referring to the person's meaning-constructive or meaning-organizational capacities. I am referring to the selective, interpretive, executive, construing capacities that psychologists have historically associated with the "ego" or the "self" (p. 29). It is as faithful to the self-psychology of the West as to the "wisdom literature" of the East. The roshis and lamas speak to the growth of the mind in terms of our developing ability to relate to what we were formerly attached to. The experiencing that our subject-object principle enables is very close to what both East and West mean by "consciousness," and that is the way I intend the term throughout this book (p. 34). This section has offered a brief summary of Kegan's subject-object theory. He reveals the simplicity and brilliance of epistemological evolution, and addresses congruence with Buddhist thought. In addition, the individual's reorganization at a higher order is remarkably consistent with systemic reorganization according to chaos theory. Kegan, Robert. (1994). In over our heads: The mental demands of modern life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

This semester I am taking a course with Robert Kegan on Adult Development. We are learning about Kegan's "Subject-Object" theory, which says that people progress through a series of qualitative shifts in consciousness over the life span. At each progressive "order" of consciousness, there are new things that can be made "object" for a person, able to be reflected upon and manipulated. One of Kegan's critical insights is that there is a qualitative shift between adolescence and adulthood, between what he calls the 3rd and 4th orders of consciousness. In adolescence, we are defined by our relationship to authority, by definitions of value and priority outside of ourselves - what it means to be a "real punk," what our parents expect of us, what our peers' pressure demands. We look to those structures to give us meaning. This can be an intensely conflicted state, especially when we are pulled in different directions by our various relationships to authority. Gradually, however, and in part driven by the mental demands of that conflict, we move to a new order of what Kegan calls self-authorship. As a person becomes self-authoring, the barometer of value begins to come from within. We "author" for ourselves a system of values and principles that allow us to negotiate the competing roles and forces in our lives. We learn to look within for truth. In so doing, our relationship to everyone - parents, children, peers, colleagues, even God - change character. We do not necessarily become more separate, less related to people, but we begin to author and guide how our relations will unfold.

Robert Kegan's "Orders of Consciousness"
My goal in this first section is to show how Robert Kegan's "subject-object" theory outlined in his 1994 book, In Over Our Heads, provides a developmental scheme that can help us explain the structures that underlie and shape rationality in both science and theology. 5 In an earlier work, The Evolving Self, Kegan described the evolution of the self as it develops through a set of stages called "evolutionary truces." These are temporary solutions "to the lifelong tension between the yearnings for inclusion and distinctness."6 In his 1994 book, he expands his theory to clarify the central importance of the underlying structure of the relationship between subject and object within each stage. Kegan speaks of five "orders of consciousness," each evolving as a more complex way of relating the subject (or the knower) to the object (or the known). This theory grew out of his desire to elucidate the core structural commonalties underlying the cognitive and interpersonal characteristics of the developmental stages. For our purposes, the critical orders of consciousness are the third, fourth, and fifth, which Kegan refers to as "traditionalism," "modernism" and "postmodernism," respectively. (In the next section, we will propose a taxonomy of "structures of rationality" that correspond to these three orders of consciousness). Let us review each briefly, with reference to Chart 1. The first thing to notice about the chart is that the contents of the "subject" box are moved into the "object" box with each new order of consciousness. So, for example, whereas in the second order, one constructs knowledge out of one's point of view (childhood), a person in the third order "backs up," so to say, and objectifies his or her own point of view, as one among others (typically in adolescence). The qualitative nature of this transformation obtains for each new underlying structure, including the move to "postmodernism." Kegan illustrates the difference between the third and fourth orders of consciousness by describing a couple who are struggling with the issue of interpersonal intimacy in their marriage. He notes that if each spouse constructs the self at a different order of consciousness, each will have a different idea of what it means to be intimate, or to be near another "self." In the fourth order, the self becomes subject to its third order constructions "so that it no longer is its third order constructions but has them… [now] the sharing of values and ideals and beliefs will not by itself be experienced as the ultimate intimacy of the sharing of selves, of who we are."7 The move to the fourth order is a qualitative difference, involving more than just the inclusion of more complex content within the same mental frame. It requires a transformation of the third

order, with its underlying cross-categorical structures, from whole to part, i.e., from subject to object. The move to a "systemic" (fourth) order is not something that can be taught like a new skill. It normally takes a long time for an individual to "negotiate" such a complete transformative change. Introducing new complex ideas to a person who still constructs the subject-object relationship in the third order will not by itself accomplish a transformation. Rather, the person will tend to fit the newer concepts into the old order and "make the best use it can of the new ideas on behalf of the old consciousness!"8 As we will see below, the same phenomenon occurs when a scientist or theologian attempts to accomodate new ideas; the underlying structure of knowing shapes the way the new concepts fit into his or her frame of reference. Although Kegan focuses most of his case material on helping to understand movement up to the fourth order (which his research indicates most educated adults have not reached), he points out that culture is quickly moving to a point of demanding the fifth order. This is his interpretation of the emergence of "postmodernism" in various disciplines and cultural spheres. These new demands in so many arenas of life "all require an order of consciousness that is able to subordinate or relativize systemic knowing (the fourth order); they all require that we move systemic knowing from subject to object."9 This final "order" is important to understand, for I will argue that at this level a person gains a new capacity to overcome the postmodern dilemma, without collapsing into relativism or absolutism. To understand the fifth order more clearly, it will be helpful to take an example that is particularly relevant to our topic: Kegan's discussion of "knowledge creation" from a fifth order of consciousness, and its relationship to "postmodernism." The move out of the fourth order means a relativizing of the "system" from its throne as subject, recognizing that all of its constructions are grounded in subjectivity. It is a process of "differentiating" the self from the fourth order of knowing. But then, asks Kegan, is post-modernism (being "beyond" the fourth order) also about a new kind of "integration" after the "differentiation," or is the creation of knowledge hopelessly ungrounded? Here he distinguishes between two kinds of postmodernism: deconstructive and reconstructive. Both point to the limits of knowledge, to the "unacknowledged ideological partiality" of every discipline and theory. For the deconstructivist this leads to the unacceptability of any position and the devaluation of commitment. The reconstructive approach, on the other hand, makes an "object" of the limits of our disciplines and theories:
for the purpose of nourishing the very process of reconstructing the disciplines and theories… When we teach the disciplines or their theories in this fashion, they become more than procedures for authorizing and validating knowledge. They become procedures about the reconstruction of their procedures. The disciplines become generative. They become truer to life.10

As a theory about theory-making and a stand-taking about the way we take stands, a reconstructive approach to postmodernism will necessarily make judgments concerning theories and stands that are not aware of the relativized mental structures that uphold them. The more complex order of consciousness is "privileged" only because it is "closer to a position that in fact protects us from dominating, ideological absolutes."11 In essence, the move to the fifth order of consciousness requires that one take the relationship itself as prior to its parts: "Do we take as prior the elements of a relationship (which then enter into relationship) or the relationship itself (which creates its elements)?"12 This primacy of

relationality in the "fifth" order of consciousness will be a key to overcoming the postmodern dilemma through what I will call a "relationalist" structure of rationality. Before moving on to a description of my taxonomy, it is important to emphasize that my appropriation of Kegan's "orders of consciousness" is qualified in at least three ways. First, the use of this model is not meant to suggest that psychology "explains" the experience of human knowing. It describes only one factor among many (historical, physiological, spiritual, etc.). Second, the model is not intended, even by Kegan, to be elitist. Having a numerically "higher" order does not make a "better" person, either morally or intellectually. The taxonomy merely describes increasing levels of complexity, which may lead to more competence in some areas. Third, my use of Kegan's model is not an attempt to "prove" a theological point by appealing to the authority of psychology. Rather, it is an attempt to outline a proposed correlation between two structural aspects of human knowing. Since this discussion has already become rather long I will pass over the work of Kohlberg and proceed directly to that of Robert Kegan, whose neo-Piagetian “subject-object” theory currently represents, I think, the most insightful and philosophically sophisticated articulation of developmental thinking. Kegan draws on Piaget and Kohlberg, as well as on neo-Freudian object relations theory and existential and phenomenological psychology, and tries to synthesize them with reference to a theme he thinks was strongly implied in those thinkers but not fully developed: the changing relation between the subjective and objective poles of consciousness at the different stages of psychological development. There is nothing to indicate that Kegan has read Jaspers on this subject, but it is no accident he should have found this theme implicit in Piaget, since Piaget and Jaspers were both working out some of the implications of the Kantian “Copernican revolution,” to which the discovery of the constructive role of subjectivity in cognition was central. Kegan considers the principle of the dynamic reciprocal relation between the subjective and objective poles of consciousness to be the key to understanding in its full dimensions the movement from one level of development to another. He suggests that “the underlying motion of evolution, setting terms on what the organism constitutes as self and other, may both give rise to the stage-like regularities in the domains they explore and describe the process of movement from one stage to the next.”* {*The Evolving Self, p. 74.} This is certainly a cognitive process, as Piaget had analyzed it, but Kegan thinks it is also much more than that: “I suggest that human development involves a succession of renegotiated balances, or `biologics,' which come to organize the experience of the individual in qualitatively different ways. In this sense, evolutionary activity is intrinsically cognitive, but it is no less affective; we are this activity and we experience it” (p. 81). It is this intrinsic phenomenological duality that leads Kegan also to try to integrate the cognitive-developmental psychology of Piaget and Kohlberg with existential psychology. Piaget, he says, tended to look at meaningmaking descriptively, “from the outside,” as a “naturally epistemological” process of constructing logical, systematically predictive theories to balance and rebalance subject and object, self and other (p. 12). Existential psychology, he says, looks at meaning-making “from the inside” as an ontologically constitutive process in which “what is at stake in preserving any given balance is the ultimate question of whether the `self' shall continue to be” (ibid., emphasis in original).

The emergence of a Piagetian cognitive operation constitutes a new structure in the subjective pole of consciousness that naturally generates (“constructs”) a new structure in the objective pole. Looked at from the existential or phenomenological point of view, what happens in this process is a reconfiguration of “self” in relation to “other.” When the change is radical---and movement from one stage to another can be experienced as fairly radical---it can even feel like a death; the self one had been dissolves under the pressure of assimilation and accommodation, and a new self begins to form---or at least one hopes a renewal is taking place to balance what is being lost. But while one is going through the change, this may feel quite uncertain. It can be experienced, that is, as not only a cognitive but also an existential crisis. One might, in fact, describe Kegan's approach as a neo-Piagetian existential psychology---hence the centrality of “meaning-making” for him: “Thus it is not that a person makes meaning,” he says, “as much as that the activity of being a person is the activity of meaning-making” (p. 11). Meaning-making is an activity, in the first instance, of interpretation of experience: it assimilates experiential data and combines and recombines them in an effort to construct an objective view that will adequately accommodate them. But at certain points the process can also involve a restructuring of subjectivity itself and a movement from “what Piaget calls `decentration,' the loss of an old center, and what we might call `recentration,' the recovery of a new center” (p. 31). It is this latter process that constitutes psychological growth, the basic element in which is a movement of differentiation within consciousness: “Growth always involves a process of differentiation, of emergence from embeddedness…, thus creating out of the former subject a new object to be taken by the new subjectivity” (p. 31). What does this mean concretely? Kegan offers various examples. One has to do with how a developing child may relate to its perceptions. He tells the story of two brothers looking down from the Empire State building: “As their father reported it to me, both took one look down at the sidewalk and exclaimed simultaneously: `Look at the people. They're tiny ants' (the younger boy); `Look at the people. They look like tiny ants' (the older boy)” (p. 29). The younger boy was still at the preoperational stage, at which one looks at the world through one's perceptions but cannot reflect on them, so that if there is a change in what one sees, it can only seem a change in the object: “For the `preoperational' child, it is never just one's perceptions that change; rather, the world itself, as a consequence, changes” (ibid.). The older boy's “They look like tiny ants,” says Kegan, “is as much about him looking at his perception as it is about the people.” To put it another way, the preoperational younger brother (perhaps around four years of age) was “embedded” in his perceptions. Prior to this, as a newborn he was embedded in something still more basic: his reflexes, or what Piaget called the “sensori-moteur.” At this stage the child has at most a very hazy sense of a world that could be called objective, and much of its cognitive activity is occupied with sorting out where he or she ends and the rest of the world begins. “The events of the first eighteen months,” says Kegan, “culminate with the creation of the object and make evolutionary activity henceforth an activity of equilibration, of preserving or renegotiating the balance between what is taken as subject or self and what is taken as object or other” (p. 81). Typically, by around age two “[t]he sensorimotoric has `moved over' from subject to object, and the new subject, the `perceptions,' has come into being. This is how our four-year-old got to be who he is---a meaning-maker embedded in his perceptions” (p. 32). The same process of evolving, at the same age, also creates “\thinspace`the impulse,' the construction of feelings arising in me, which are mine as distinct from the world's” (ibid.); the child at this age is thus embedded in perception with regard to cognition and in impulse with regard to action.

The existential dimension is easy to see when development is formulated in terms of embedding and differentiation. What we are “embedded” in is irreducibly subjective to us, so that we experience it as simply what we are. The child embedded in perception and impulse can experience the thwarting of its impulses as though this were a threat to its very being. To move from this state to one that can reflect on perceptions and impulses, not only means that something has “moved over” from the subjective pole to the objective; it also means that a new experience of selfhood, of what it means to be has taken shape. This can be wrenching. Kegan even suggests that the experience of this is the source of our emotions, “the phenomenological experience of evolving---of defending, surrendering, and reconstituting a center” (pp. 81--2). Embedding and differentiation is also the point of connection with object relations theory, which focuses on the affective aspect of the same process of changing relations between subject and object that Piaget analyzed primarily in its cognitive aspects. There are some important differences, however, between the Freudian psychoanalytic approach to object relations and the neo-Piagetian approach that Kegan favors. One difference is that psychoanalysis emphasizes early childhood as determinative of the affective patterns of one's entire life and interprets it as fundamentally narcissistic, while Piaget considered each stage to have its own evolutionary dynamism in the present and said that Freud's “primary narcissism… is really a narcissism without Narcissus”---since at that point there is no more sense of self than there is of an other.* {*Quoted in Kegan, Evolving Self, p. 79.} Another difference is that, as was mentioned earlier, psychoanalysis has always interpreted the fundamental psychological motive of the child as a wish to restore the condition of complete satisfaction it enjoyed in its mother's womb; it looks backward even as it reaches out to form object relations. These are therefore essentially a detour for it, a roundabout route toward the uterine home that is the goal of its true longing. For Piaget, on the other hand, object relations are created for their own intrinsic value; the child's goal is equilibration in the present, not a return to the past, and the equilibration it seeks is adequacy of its cognitions to the new complexity of the objective world it is discovering. Both Freud and Piaget thought it was dissatifaction that prompted the infant's development, but Piaget believed, like Aristotle, that the exercise of our capacities is itself pleasurable, and he also believed, like Lonergan and Voegelin, that we therefore have an inherent dynamism toward the operations of interpreting, judging, and evaluating. In The Evolving Self (1982) Kegan discussed this dynamism as evolving through six “selves” or stages: the incorporative, the impulsive, the imperial, the institutional, and the interindividual. (His later book, In Over Our Heads (1994), offers a somewhat different five-level scheme, as we will see shortly.) As stages, he designates these as 0 through 5. The numbered stages (1--5) each involve a balance between what is subjective and what is objective in the structure of consciousness at that point. The unnumbered incorporative stage (0) does not yet involve such a balance, because as its name indicates, everything in its phenomenological “world” is incorporated into its subjectivity. This is the condition described above as that of the newborn until about eighteen months---embedded in reflexes, sensing, and moving. When these have moved over to the side of the object, a new self, the impulsive (stage 1), takes shape in which the subjective principle is the child's perceptions and impulses. This is Piaget's “preoperational” child. Kegan's stage 1 child, because it is embedded in its perceptions, is unable to hold two perceptions together in mind, which Kegan says is what give its world its Piagetian concreteness. Nor can it hold simultaneously two different feelings about a single thing, which is why it is

impulsive; what it wants, it wants right now. This makes it as yet incapable of forming a notion of enduring dispositions over time. Movement to the next stage takes place through differentiation of the impulse as something that can be reflected on and controlled for the sake of longer term goals defined by the enduring dispositions that now come to constitute its subjective principle. Kegan terms these “needs,” perhaps because a child embedded in its appetites can only experience them as that; the idea of a “desire” would require further differentiation. The “self” of this stage is called “imperial,” because the child embedded in its “needs,” organizes its forces for their fulfillment and pursues them with a determination that subordinates everything else. The imperial self thinks of others as either useful or the opposite. It does not feel guilt, but only anxiety over how others will react. Guilt would require something not yet possible at this stage, “the internalization of the other's voice in one's very construction of self” (p. 91). It is worth noting the link at this point to the mimetic psychological theory discussed earlier. At stage 3 inner mimesis of the feelings and attitudes of others becomes central. As Kegan puts it, “[i]n the interpersonal balance the feelings the self gives rise to are, a priori, shared; somebody is in there from the beginning. The self becomes conversational. To say that the self is located in the interpersonal matrix is to say that it embodies a plurality of voices” (pp. 95--96). No longer does the child have to anticipate anxiously how others might react, since it is “able to bring into itself the other half of a conversation stage 2 had always to be listening for in the external world” (p. 97). Stepping back from its “needs,” It is also able to experience ambivalence as it feels the simultaneous force of different desires. In fact one might say that what makes the difference between what I experience as a “need” and what I experience as a “desire” is precisely the differentiation that takes place when the “need” I was embedded in becomes something I can think about. I may still feel the same appetite, but when it becomes something I can notice and recognize as a desire, then I am able to place it imaginatively alongside other ones I may have and ask myself which is more important to me. At the interpersonal stage, however, this last capability is still rather limited, since the different desires I feel are embedded in relationships with persons, which become the psychological ground of the “realities” I share with particular others. Here “reality” becomes the “world” shaped by one's interpersonal relations. Ambivalence now, as Kegan puts it, is a matter of being pulled “between what I want to do as a part of this shared reality and what I want to do as part of that shared reality” (p. 96). There is still no sense of a self capable of standing back from both “shared realities,” because here one is simply embedded in them. For a person at the interpersonal stage, personal relations are not only important, they feel like a primary need: “You are the other by whom I complete myself, the other whom I need to create the context out of which I define and know myself and the world” (p. 100). This puts a limit on the kind of personal relationship that is possible. “This balance is `interpersonal,'\thinspace ” says Kegan, “but it is not `intimate,' because what might appear to be intimacy here is the self's source rather than its aim. There is no self to share with another; instead the other is required to bring the self into being” (p. 96--97, emphasis in original). What one has here instead of intimacy is really psychological “fusion” with the other. Genuine intimacy, which leaves each partner free to be the person he or she is beyond the relationship, requires a level of individuation only to be found at the later stages, after one is no longer simply embedded in the interpersonal. Here personal relations are more a matter of mutual dragooning to fill needs that are felt but not

understood. “If one can feel manipulated by the imperial balance,” says Kegan, “one can feel devoured by the interpersonal one” (p. 97). Kegan calls his fourth stage “the institutional” because it constitutes the subjective structure that leads to the construction in the objective realm of normative social systems, including the roles one plays in various relationships and the obligations and expectations that go with them. Others are not lost when one emerges from embeddedness in the interpersonal; rather they come to be seen in a larger, more complex framework of relations. Here one no longer is one's relationships; one has relationships, and one can think about how the variety of relationships people share can be regulated for mutual benefit. The life of the emotions, too, becomes more complex at this stage, “a matter of holding both sides of a feeling simultaneously, where stage 3 tends to experience its ambivalences one side at a time” (p. 101). Even more important, stage 4 is “regulative of its feelings,” just as it is of relations in society. In fact, Kegan suggests, “social constructions are reflective of that deeper structure which constructs the self itself as a system” (ibid.). Stage 4 brings obvious benefits, but like each of the earlier stages, it also has limitations. A major strength is “the person's new capacity for independence, to own herself, rather than having all the pieces of herself owned by various shared contexts…” (ibid.). This is because she is longer simply embedded in her relationships with others. The limitation at stage 4, however, comes from being embedded in the institutions one constructs: “The `self' is identified with the organization it is trying to run smoothly; it is this organization” (ibid.). The pressing question, therefore, is no longer, as at stage 3, “Do you still like me?” but, “Does my government still stand?” (p. 102). At some point, just as the self of stage 3 could come to feel burdened by the cost of maintaining such consuming relationships, a person at stage 4 may come to feel the captive of his institutional arrangements and burdened by the cost of upholding them or of living up to the standards and roles they demand. The mimetic factor here also seems both to offer rewards and to impose costs: Kegan says that his stage 4 is inherently ideological (p. 102); its truths are truths for a group, and its sense of the rightness of its roles and its performance in them depends on recognition from a class of others that share its commitments. From the point of view of mimetic theory, the mimetic factor in this would be the internalized eyes and voices of others whose approval or disapproval we feel within ourselves. This can feel sustaining while the institutional balance is stable and the objective arrangements that give social expression to it are working well, but if things begin to go wrong under the system's administration or when one begins to wonder if there is more to life than the system makes room for, one can experience frustration (if the problem seems the recalcitrance of the social material), doubt (if one begins to wonder about the adequacy of the system), or selfhatred (if one blames oneself for its failure). This prepares one for the next transition. Stage 5, which Kegan calls “interindividual,” brings an inner separation of the self from its institutions, thus producing the “individual,” which Kegan defines as “that self who can reflect upon, or take as object, the regulations and purposes of a psychic administration which formerly was the subject of one's attentions” (p. 103). Now “there is a self who runs the organization, where before there was a self who was the organization” (ibid.).

In terms of the differentiation of consciousness, this constitutes “the evolution of a reduced subject and a greater object for the subject to take, an evolution of lesser subjectivity and greater objectivity” (p. 294). Subjectivity, that is, comes to comprise less and less as it becomes disembedded from psychic material that moves over to become new content in an expanded objective pole. Perhaps one might also say that in this process the subjective pole of consciousness, the seat of our psychic and spiritual activity, becomes not only “reduced” but also intensified as we become capable of more actively and consciously performing the acts that constitute us as experiencers, interpreters, knowers, deciders, and ultimately ethical agents. To experience one's own emergence in this way, as what Kierkegaard called “an existing individual,” brings with it the recognition that others are capable of that too, and to value it in oneself implies valuing it in them as well. Respect for the other as an individual, or as capable of becoming one, is the ground of the interindividual mode of relating to others. The interpersonal (stage 3) gravitated toward “a fused commingling” with the other; the commingling in the interindividual stage, in contrast, is one that values and supports distinct identities. What about intimacy at this stage? Kegan believes it is only here that intimacy in the proper sense really becomes possible, because here the individual subjectivity of the other can be recognized and cherished. With this fifth stage we come to the end of Kegan's stage theory as presented in The Evolving Self. His next book, In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life, presupposes the processes of development described above and continues the analysis of the implications of his “subject-object theory,” but it does so in terms of a somewhat different schema made up of what he no longer calls “stages” but “orders of consciousness.” This represents a further working out of the implications of the subject-object differentiations described in The Evolving Self. An “order of consciousness” is a total psychological structure constituted by such a differentiation. The first two of the orders correspond closely to the first two of the earlier book's stages, the impulsive and the imperial, only here they are not even named, perhaps because In Over Our Heads focuses on the last three almost exclusively. Here he says he is interested primarily in adult development as “a vast evolutionary expanse encompassing a variety of capacities of mind” (p. 5). To summarize the early orders briefly, the first is the consciousness of a child who sees everything strictly in terms of his or her own immediate needs and feelings. It is embedded in perceptions and impulses, and its objects are movements and sensations. The second order of consciousness is that of a maturing self that becomes capable of realizing there are other people with points of view and feelings of their own but which still understands these only in very concrete terms, that is, in terms of what the other must want and how that agrees or conflicts with what the self wants. The underlying structure is the durable category, a pattern of mental organization that comprehends elemental properties and relates them to one another as a group. The same capacity that makes it possible for a child in a Piagetian experiment to understand that liquid poured from a short fat container into a tall thin one retains the same quantity in the new container also enables the child to construct his or her own point of view and grant to others their distinct points of view. But in the second order of consciousness a child still cannot think from both his or her own point of view and the other person's simultaneously. This requires what Kegan calls “cross-categorical” or “trans-categorical knowing,” which instead of subsuming only elemental properties subsumes durable categories themselves as its members. This is the underlying structure or mental organization characteristic of the third order of consciousness. One can see how this would make

possible the “interpersonal” mode of relating to others described above with reference to The Evolving Self's third stage, but in In Over Our Heads the third order of consciousness comes to include much more, even if the interpersonal mutuality made possible by trans-categorical object construction remains its core. The expanded conception of the third order here can be seen from the way Kegan identifies it as “traditional.” In Over Our Heads employs as an overarching metaphor the image of culture as a “school” with a “curriculum.” In a “traditional” curriculum the material to be learned has a single, standard shape and is suited to the capacities of the third order of consciousness. What the title In Over Our Heads refers to is the way we can feel when the curriculum of contemporary culture overwhelms us by making demands that are beyond our developed mental capacity. The third order of consciousness is what gives us the capacity to form abstract concepts, formulate and test hypotheses, and function within a framework of roles and relationships---and this was all we needed until fairly recently. “The great religions of traditional cultures,” says Kegan, were “a paradigmatic example of one kind of effective culture-as-school” (p. 44). The curriculum of a tradition is mastered by learning its contents---its roles, knowledge, skills, and ethos---and by holding fast to them, in part with the aid of affective bonds and a network of personal loyalties. The mental capacities required for this do not go beyond those of the third order. The underlying psychological structure of fourth order consciousness is the ability to step back from roles, relationships, and other now objective contents of consciousness and use them as elements in the construction of complex systems. Compounding our problem of being overwhelmed, contemporary culture involves not only a “modern” curriculum demanding fourth order capacities, but also a “postmodern” one demanding those of a fifth order. When its instructors are themselves unaware of the differences between these and of the need to advance from one order to the next sequentially, the individual is often beset with multiple conflicting demands, some of which he or she may not even be able to understand.* {*Kegan especially laments the way university faculty, tend to demand fifth order reflection on the part of students who mostly have still not managed to make the transition from the third order to the fourth. In Over Our Heads, p. 293.} Even the demand for fourth order thinking can produce confusion and frustration in people who could nevertheless function quite adequately within the framework of a traditional culture. Kegan offers the fictional example of a successful middle manager, Peter, in a business whose boss decides to promote him to manager of an independent operation. This gives him responsibilities that require him to make his own plans and decisions independently. Where before he had enjoyed working under his boss's supervision in a framework with a clearly defined set of procedures and expectations (in other words, a tradition), now he feels burdened and uncertain. His wife, Lynn, on the other hand, a teacher, is also given a career promotion that makes similar demands but thrives on them even when they are difficult, because she has already developed a fourth order mentality. An incident in Peter's and Lynn's marriage serves to illustrate the difference between the orders of consciousness they represent. Kegan tells a story about how they had planned on a vacation together, just the two of them. This was important to both, since they felt they needed time alone for their relationship. But Peter spontaneously invites his parents to join them. Lynn is extremely annoyed and cannot understand why Peter would do this. The reason he did was that while talking with them he felt they were a little lonely, so he thought they might like to come too. At that moment he simply forgot what he and Lynn were looking for from the vacation; he found himself looking for a solution to an entirely different problem. His third order consciousness was

drawn by its interpersonal orientation into thinking about the feelings of the others who were right in front of him at that moment. Lynn, on the other hand, was concerned with something more systematic and long term, the needs of their marital relationship. One can see that the fourth order is, among other things, institutional, as the fourth stage was in the earlier book. But in In Over Our Heads Kegan expands it to include the ability to take as objects not only abstractions and mutuality and interpersonalism but also subjectivity as such and self-consciousness, and he emphasizes self-authorship as its hallmark even more than institutional role-regulation and multiple-role consciousness. This is for Kegan the principal manifestation of the “modern” mentality, even if Piaget's formal operational thinking is its structural foundation. Kegan's fifth order of consciousness, which he speaks of as “postmodern,” emerges when a person who has learned to think reflectively becomes aware of the restrictedness of the institutional and ideological world views he or she constructs. Kegan describes it as “transideological” or “post-ideological” in relation to the fourth order's abstract systems or ideologies, from which the fifth order disengages its subjectivity in order to place them over on the side of the object. He also speaks of an awareness of paradox that characterizes the fifth order and helps it to break out of fixation on the neat formulations of the fourth. This may, but does not necessarily, Kegan thinks, lead to a radical suspicion of all traditions. Like Paul Ricoeur, whose Freud and Philosophy (1970) spoke of both a hermeneutic of suspicion and a hermeneutic of trust and recovery, Kegan makes a distinction between “deconstructive” and “reconstructive” postmodernisms. Deconstructive postmodernism he says is simply anti-modern; it considers reason, freedom, rights, equity, self-determination, all the major achievements of the modern mentality, to be uncritically ideological concepts. Kegan considers this sort of negative critique to be an early step toward moving from fourth order toward fifth order consciousness, but he thinks it remains itself uncritically ideological, an incomplete transition (p. 324). Reconstructive postmodernism, on the other hand, seeks to rethink and reappropriate modern conceptions of reason and right order, though in a less absolutistic way. Considered from this point of view deconstruction might be described as the growing pains of transcending the fourth order; it is the differentiation that must precede the new integration that will itself constitute the fifth order. Since this fifth order of consciousness is a recent historical development that even those in its vanguard are still struggling to complete, it should not be surprising that the social discourse of postmodernism---much of which may be uttered by people who themselves have little notion of what it is about---should take on a primarily negative, often anti-rational tone. And what it will lead toward on the level of the general culture still remains to be seen. Kegan's own conception of a genuine postmodernism is not at all anti-rational and embraces everything that was a source of real strength in the fourth (“modern”) order of consciousness. “Reconstructive postmodernism,” he says, “… reopens the possibility that some kinds of normativeness, hierarchizing, privileging, generalizing, and universalizing are not only compatible with a postideological view of the world, they are necessary for sustaining it,” and he appeals to those who consider themselves postmodern to consider the possibility “that a theory such as the one I have outlined in this book---in spite of the judgments, generalizations, and claims to universality it makes and in spite of its unabashed privileging of `complexity'---is at least potentially an ally, not an enemy of postmodernism” (p. 331).

Whether it is to be called postmodern or simply a further development in the differentiation of consciousness, Kegan's conception of the fifth order is the ultimate fleshing out of the idea that each of us remains always a combination of both differentiation and embeddedness. What seems finally at issue in the controversy between fourth and fifth order thinking---quite apart from any associations with temporal epochs---is the realization that subjectivity can never be reduced entirely to objectivity, that there will always be a mysterious depth of subjectivity in consciousness, a point of emergence in the soul from which freedom, love, and all the potentialities of spirit can proceed and gradually unfold. Before leaving Kegan there is one last topic in his earlier book, The Evolving Self, that is worth mentioning because it has a special bearing on the theme of this year's Eranos conference, “Cultures of Eros.” It is an idea Kegan adapted from the object relations theorist D. W. Winnicott: “D. W. Winnicott was fond of saying that there is never `just an infant.' He meant that intrinsic to the picture of infancy is a caretaker who, from the point of view of the infant, is something more than an `other person' who relates to and assists the growth of the infant. She provides the very context in which development takes place, and from the point of view of the newborn she is a part of the self” (p. 115). Winnicott called this the “holding environment,” and Kegan calls it the “culture of embeddedness.” For Winnicott it was a developmental factor that applied only to infancy, but Kegan generalizes it to all the stages of life: “In my view it is an idea intrinsic to evolution. There is not one holding environment early in life, but a succession of holding environments, a life history of cultures of embeddedness. They are the psychosocial environments which hold us (with which we are fused) and which let go of us (from which we differentiate)” (p. 116). Each of us, at any point in development, is a combination of both differentiation and embeddedness. We are never simply individuals; the individual is only that side of a person that has become differentiated. But there is always that in which the person is also embedded, and this too is a component of the total personality. The importance of the culture of embeddedness is that, at least under the best circumstances, it (1) nurtures the developing person to the point that further development becomes possible, (2) encourages transition to the next stage, and then (3) encourages reintegration, in an appropriate new form, of what has been transcended.