Psychological Stage 4.5

The 4.5 Stage of Development (Strategist)

Subtle. Collective.Interpenetrative

At this active, prioritizing stage, you have moved beyond the exploration of multiple voices and contexts of the 4.0 stage and have clarified your sense of having a central authentic self with confidence. You have a perspective that brings to its awareness all that has come before, and in so doing, can look into the concrete and subtle past and see its trajectory. Concretely you apprehend the generational experience of grandparents, parents, self, children and grandchildren, and the changes and differences between the cultures and contexts that each generation has been shaped by. Thus you know that you may plant a seed now, which may not blossom in your lifetime. This is the first stage where you can see your own transformations through time, and you will naturally understand this transformative change without any understanding of developmental theory.

Having observed this developmental trajectory, you can clearly see that there will likely be levels beyond the one you inhabit, so you may seek to engage in that process deliberately, taking on many different practices with great energy to support your development and evolution. You will also tend to be very interested in supporting others (and the world!) to develop, whether or not others have that desire for themselves. You scan the field to see what practices and approaches you can participate in to develop and evolve and do so with vigor, taking great pride in sharing the tracking what you do to improve, to grow up and wake up.

People at the 4.5 stage can thus see themselves as curators of developmental approaches for themselves and others so you may not be shy about sharing all you know to be true. You may find yourself interrupting, and monopolize the floor with your prodigious subtle knowledge, if not externally, then internally within your own mind. This is a subtle form of fundamentalism that repeats from the 2.5 stage. You may not easily see that others may know more than you do—thus this stage culminates the greatest flair of the subtle ego, which is generally not seen clearly.

Because you recognize that people are at different developmental stages, you know that you have to speak different languages for each one, you can sometimes appear sanitized in your presentation as a result of taking care not to alienate anyone who has a different worldview while simultaneously trying to move your passionate projects ahead from their own perspectives.

In the 4.5 stage, prioritization and hierarchical distinctions between the developmental levels of people and contexts become apparent. You can step outside of contexts, outside of complex systems and outside of the developmental trajectory to look at a long view. Standing outside of contexts and seeing how they shape individual lives that are within them, you realize that, rather than being had by these contextual containers, you can "have" them, and actually begin to create appropriate containers for people, depending on their capacities and needs.

Like the 2.5 stage you will have a code of ethics, but rather than rules, you engage with an evolving set of principles with which you seek to discern the best course of action. This includes an ethic around developmental rights where you accept every stage as a necessary aspect of growing up and can allow each their worldview as long as they do no harm.

People experiencing this stage

  • See interpenetration at the subtle level. You are me, and I am you, subtly. Interiors and exteriors, subject and object come together as the seeing and understanding of projections.
  • See the social construction of reality and prioritizes contexts. Some environments, containers and systems are better than others.
  • Focus on self-development in order to increase their capacity to work with complex system and serve their purpose.
  • Operate in a time frame and embraces past and future generations.
  • Situate in a space that includes sentient and planetary concerns. Desire to prioritize approaches for the benefit of humanity, the planet, and all living things.
  • See complexity too great for simple plans and goals and guide themselves by self-amending principles, their code of ethics.
  • Embrace paradox and projections as inevitable and looks for guiding principles and values by which to discern.
  • Adept at creating shared visions that encourage personal and collective transformations across different levels of development.
  • Seek feedback as essential to development. Understands that communication includes projections, but sees them upon refection.
  • Sees developmental rights—the right to be developmentally at whatever stage one occupies as long as they aren't hurting anyone else (a guiding principle).


  • Need thought partners to engage their ideas about inter-systemic complexity and the interpenetration of contexts
  • Enjoy working with a bigger picture with a beginning global understanding
  • Need to engage their forward movement and creative visionary potential in order to feel most alive
  • Can be arrogant because they find few people in the world who see what they see
  • Can be rigid or inflexible because they have mastered subtle systems and believe they know the right way
  • Trauma at this stage can support regression to the 4.0 pluralist level where they can get lost in an earlier subtle collective. They may isolate in their sense of superiority and succumb to depression.
  • Frustration may occur because they can see evolution and a better way but few others may see it. As a result anxiety may arise as they can see the outcome long before it is obvious to others, and feel the isolation when others can't see it.
  • Can be helped by seeing that there are others who have developed beyond them, by opening to new learning and to what they don't know, realizing that the world wont fall apart if they don't hold it all together; softening their heart and seeing their projections.
  • Body can be dominated by capacity of mind, making somatic work a good way to open up territories of being they normally they ignore or repress through strategizing.
  • Interpersonally can assign themselves "high status" making others feel inferior and leaving them feeling disconnected emotionally.