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May 25, 2002

Skip to my lou, my darling….

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:

 Espoused Theory

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 behavior.

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 in use.



This material is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Financial, Legal and Professional information is not Financial, Legal and Professional advice. You should see a Financial, Legal or Professional in the area in which you live if you need advice.


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