Psychological Stage 2.0

2.0 Stage of Development (Rule Oriented)

Concrete. Collective. Reciprocal.

This stage generally arises in children. At this point a child can see that other people can see what they see and perhaps what they can't see. This results in the realization that others also have an independent concrete self with their own capacity to see, hear and feel just like "I" do. A new approach to communication arises, because now the child can talk with others rather than one-way talking at them, for others can know things that they may not. They learn from others, ask questions of them and make agreements with them. Both/and reciprocity arises as one becomes engaged collectively with others. At this stage, the child tends to be very much in the moment, engaging reciprocally with friends and others, which form their experience of community.This concrete collective is foregrounded over the individual self.

Imaginary playmates or spirits "grow up." For example, Santa Claus can now see me when I'm not looking as well. These others, seen or unseen, are people who have human sensory emotions like "I" do, with whom one can also have reciprocity. This early mythic view of reality is also a period of intense creativity and imagination.

At this stage, the internal senses of visualization, interior hearing and feeling become stronger so there is a beginning memory of the past. They can now remember in the "mind's eye" what happened earlier, and hear the words of authority figures or others internally. This gives them the capacity to learn from the their past. They also begin to learn that the rules keep them safe - so they can accept edicts from others in authority. The most difficult part for them is remembering the rules; this aspect of their internal auditory capacities is still developing.

Adults at this stage have enough capacities to manage well if they have enough structure around them, and are greatly supported by many of our religious institutions and other concrete communities, which help them remember ethical rules and in general, "goodness", that serves their happiness and prevents them from the kind of trouble they likely encountered as an adult at the 1.5 stage. While these adults have all of the mythic qualities of a child at this level, they have more experience, which supports them in making a living, having families and fitting into day-to-day life, however compromised. Most adults, however, move beyond this stage.

People experiencing this stage

  • See both/and reciprocity: from "Its all about me" to "Its all about we" at the concrete level!
  • Reciprocity may go both ways, "You and me" and "an eye for an eye".
  • Know that others can see and know things you don't.
  • See others "seeing you back" in a concrete sense
  • Understand that in order to learn what others see, you need to communicate, and so want to make friends
  • Exist in the "now". Memory that supports good decisions often fades in the moment.
  • Can make agreements with others but are often unable to remember them consistently.
  • Have a beginning sense of trust and of fairness.
  • Experience that we can love and care for each other.
  • Struggle between doing what one wants, and wanting to be told what to do.
  • Accept feedback by making comparisons, self to other, other to self.


This is where people are beginning to notice that others are physically seeing them in return, even if "I am not looking". Thus they begin to ask for information about that which they cannot see. The maturing of the interior senses continues here, and there is yet little capacity to determine the difference between what is experienced in the visual and auditory imagination and what the exterior senses experience. A trauma at this level could support the same struggles that we see at late first person perspective, Opportunist—however this is now on a collective level, so their imaginations bring in what they think other people are imagining as true, not only what they are imagining for themselves. They may not be able to tell the difference between what they are imagining, (which they can't distinguish from what they are actually seeing, hearing and feeling), from what others are imagining—or seeing hearing and feeling—thus concrete projection on others is born. This is very common, but a trauma at this level could support bullying and other harmful projections on others or ambivalent attachment—which is a very narrow range of what is acceptable reciprocally, with highly defined rules of what will be acceptable.

At the later part of this level, children begin to discern the difference between their own imaginations and what they see, hear, feel externally, and reciprocal love and care typically begin to arise with others that are close to them. A trauma at this level might dampen the ability to give and receive love and care for others appropriately, either over or under extending love and care for others, or being able only to give or to only receive.

Borderline affects can also arise here when trauma and a lack of a secure base can create fusion and merger with the other and an inability to emotionally regulate or begin to understand the mind of the other.

Early understanding of roles happens at this stage, and with aberrant family dynamics, where healthy roles don't get appropriate attention, the child may take on ones that will get attention, such as a joker, a hero, a golden child, a rebel, withdrawn, mother role, etc. These roles can become locked in so that the child only receives attention when they are activated and the child can start to develop a "false" self.

As well, here is where rules are first learned but they aren't able to discern yet a hierarchy of rules. With trauma or family aberration, the child or adult at this age may treat all rules with the same harshness; thus a very small incident may be treated the same as a destructive one. They may insist on the following of exterior rules that have been inculcated by the group they are identified with. The pathology here is fusing with the other and an inability to differentiate; being joined-at-the-hip, so to speak—and following the crowd even if what they are doing goes against their own moral code. This can lead to guilt and shame syndromes. As well this is where the most severe fundamentalist leanings come, where rules and punishments have no hierarchy, and thus all may be treated with the same consequences.

None the less, reciprocity supports the beginning delay of gratification which may be erratic and unstable without support.