DECONSTRUCTING THE WORLD
DECONSTRUCTING THE SELF
The Human Mind
The Human Being
ERIKSON & CULTURE
There seems to be a similarity between the growth and development of an individual human and the growth and development of human cultures. The stages of development put forth by Erik Erikson seem to coincide with the ages of humanity.
The Age of Innocence is similar to infancy, as this is the time of oral traditions passed down from generation to generation. Indigenous peoples all over the world struggled between basic trust and basic mistrust within their culture and with their cultural environment. Primitive cultures developed the hope they needed to survive in whatever landscape they were plighted, and some did withdraw into seclusion.
The Age of Wonder is similar to early childhood (toddler), as primitive civilizations exerted their wills. Shame was non-existent, and doubt would lead to ruin, as anally stubborn leaders controlled their compliant subjects by force. The greatest wonders of the world were built during this time as the various ancient civilizations implemented their unique style of autonomy and self-expression.
The Age of Order is similar to middle childhood (play age), as some cultures turned to the logic of reason to become civilized societies. Through reason, they gained purpose and initiative as empires were built and theological religions spread. The core pathology of guilt was for the masses, and inhibition was for the leaders.
The Age of Curiosity is similar to late childhood (youth), as reason led to the science of our modern society. Only Western Europe bypassed the problems associated with curiosity to gain the competence to conquer the world. The rest of the world was left in inertia and inferiority, as the West turned to industry and competition amongst themselves.
The Age of Chaos is similar to adolescence, as the postmodern society has left us nothing to believe in. We are all suffering through an identity crisis as individuals and as a species. We do not know what we are. Our identity confusion will eventually lead to the fidelity of our true nature. Repudiation, diffidence and defiance only perpetuate the chaos as we cling on to the myths and legends of our childhood.
Using Erikson’s stages of development, we can get an idea of to what to expect in our next stage, as an Age of Unity for a global civilization sweeps the planet once we gain the virtue of fidelity. Isolation has been wiped-out by the conquest of modernity, so a mature sense of intimacy should grow as the virtue of love spreads throughout the species, and the exclusivity of a skewed economic pyramid turns to prosperity for all.
In the not so distant future, a mature adult human species will appear in a Golden Age of a Stellar Society, as the love for the whole species turns to the care of all species and the planet we inhabit. We will have to avoid stagnation as we reach for the stars (even terra-forming far away planets), as we create the generativity of worlds worth inhabiting.Finally, humanity will eventually evolve into something else. Every two million years or so, species evolve physically. Since we are evolving culturally as well as genetically, our transformation should not take that long (especially if spread out over space). As we go through that transition phase we will be experiencing Erikson’s old age (elder), and the Silver Age of a Galactic Civilization will be one of transformation. Distain and despair need to be avoided as we propel our wisdom and integrity into the future.