May 25, 2002
|Skip to my lou,
The purpose of this article is to postulate a theory for skipping
levels of development and why we don’t. First off, you have to
understand a couple of theoretical structures:
A theory formed out of our beliefs and experience about what we
believe and experience. All new information either through experience
or intuition (pattern recognition) enters here. [This of course is
oversimplified, but that’s how I’m going to help you understand a
complex subject.] You could say this explanation is
simplistic….hopefully not overly so.
Theory of Action
A theory of action is designed as a result of espousing a particular
theory. Therefore, a theory of action can never be separated from a
connection to an espoused theory. If it’s not, then it is dis-connected
from one’s espoused theory and may not be actionable. However, it may
be valid, it is just not connected to the espoused theory of the
individual. It may however, be connected to someone else’s espoused
theory and may be tractable in some cases to some people.
Theory in Use
This theory is the “observed theory” as behavior. Even though behavior
is not always representative of the espoused theory or theory of
action, it is fact reality. This is key to my postulate or hypothesis
that some people will feel they are or “can” skip developmental
levels. However, because of the distinction between what we actually
do and what we belief, theory in use becomes the critical
differentiator and key success factor in development.
I often hear people express their theory in use and their theories of
action while at the same time modeling something quite different in
practice. These same people express their own ability to “see” things
differently, while behaving in a more sophisticated manner at the
level different than their sight.
Therefore, what is up?
Because of the neurophysiological meshwork in our brains, it is
literally impossible to behave (largely a function of non-conscious-
scripted behavioral models) in a manner inconsistent (most of the
time) with our neurophysiological capability or capacity.
Therefore, forming our neurophysiology through language over time is
not the same thing as re-wiring the associations in our brain that
represents the meshwork of behaviors we draw upon.
In no way is knowing enough.
I know I’ll get some pushback on this statement. Here is what I have
to offer. Essentially, we come to knowing before practice in most
cases. This is not to say we can not behave our way into knowing, but
more specifically that knowing precedes—must precede—our practice or
What’s key here is to understand that we go through a knowing but this
knowing or espoused theory, or even pronouncing it as a theory of
action is not sufficient enough to dictate non-conscious behavioral
scripts that are responsible for our behavior in most circumstances
(non-conscious as they may be).
This is the way we get people who think they can think or know their
way through “levels.” These people actually believe they can skip
levels of hierarchical development. Perhaps they can in their reality,
but in the reality the rest of us see, we see their practice. What
happens is that we can’t reform the associations that are required to
represent the knowing immediately because of the associations we have.
The neurobiopsychosocial system is plastic however like anything else,
the natural growth that occurs out of genetic and memetic conditioning
is responsible for continuously promoting the practices in place.
Change, renewal and r/evolution does take place, yet it is not done—in
all but rare cases—in a quantum leap, as some might say.
Transformation occurs slowly and often deliberately over time in an
environment of strong intention, garnered by a strong attention in a
support environment that is aligned with the the competencies required
for r/evolving the practices identified in espoused theory and theory