Reaching Kegan Level 4

What skills to learn, what tools to get
mathiverse
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Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by mathiverse » Tue May 21, 2019 4:59 pm

I came across a few references to Robert Kegan's levels of consciousness and I ended up reading In Over Our Heads. There is a post about the book here that has other references: viewtopic.php?t=9972

This article is a good description of the levels: https://medium.com/@NataliMorad/how-to- ... 3f4311b553

I'm pretty sure I'm at Kegan level 3 in most areas of my life and I wanted to develop into level 4, but I've been having trouble figuring out how. I've read two books which I'm pretty sure are meant to push people into Kegan 4 within intimate relationships: Passionate Marriage and No More Mr. Nice Guy. I've also worked on the suggestions here: https://medium.com/@NataliMorad/part-2- ... f057b4517b. Does anyone have any recommendations for books along a similar vein, but in different contexts?

Anyone else have other advice toward this end?

bigato
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by bigato » Tue May 21, 2019 5:00 pm

I'd say branch out to psychology in general, instead of relationship focused advice

mathiverse
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by mathiverse » Tue May 21, 2019 5:08 pm

@bigato

I definitely don't intend to stay relationship focused, but I don't have a good idea of what books are about reaching Kegan 4. Do you know books that are essentially about reaching Kegan 4, but in other contexts?

Do you have any recommendations as far as psychology books?

bigato
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by bigato » Tue May 21, 2019 5:29 pm

Well this is a long shot, but one that was particularly useful to me was "Women who love too much". Other commonly recommended around here is "Please Understand Me", which is focused on MBTI.

daylen
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by daylen » Tue May 21, 2019 5:30 pm

There is not really a shortcut or algorithmic method along the lines of read x, y, then z. Generally, Kegan4 is more about being able to differentiate and find similarities between a wide variety of topics, models, and/or levels. Any book would be just small piece of the larger puzzle being worked out.

For instance, say that you read a book on horticulture and figured that in addition to serving as a model for how to mix and match plants together, it also served as an analogy for how a small business can extract more labor and creativity from its employees by understanding how they are distributed in some feature space. After that you read another book about permaculture and figure that the individuals do not need to be directly managed, but that the management system itself can be designed so that individuals have the freedom to choose their own roles. You would also recognize that such approaches would become less viable as the business is scaled just as it becomes more challenging to maintain/control a garden in the middle of a jungle as opposed to a grassland ecosystem.

At Kegan4 all ideas are in some way connected, and you are both the connector and selector of what ideas to use. Strategies in a particular area can be illuminated with analogies from another.
Last edited by daylen on Tue May 21, 2019 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bigato
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by bigato » Tue May 21, 2019 5:34 pm

Also, i'd say avoid any "psychology" book which is focused on how to achieve "X", specially when X is something related to relationships. Those who focus on explaining how stuff works are usually more useful.

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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by jacob » Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 pm

3->4:
Please understand me 1 & 2 (Keirsey)
Thinking fast and slow (Kahneman&Tversky) + similar studies of fallacies(*)

(*) Most of Kegan3 is founded on the fallacy of social proof.

Also second the comments above about going wide. Kegan4 is not a better Kegan3, but rather an understanding that there are many ways to be Kegan3. Reading about general models of psychology and understanding how they work.

4->5:
A guide for the perplexed (Schumacher)
Analects (Confucius)
Angels Fear (Bateson&Bateson)

I'll add more as I come to think of them.

Frita
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by Frita » Tue May 21, 2019 7:06 pm

Though there are valid criticisms, read more about Kohlberg’s Moral Development. There is still value.

intellectualpersuit
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by intellectualpersuit » Tue May 21, 2019 10:27 pm

Beginning to Look into the 4 temperaments introduced in Please understand me 1 & 2 suggested above, I wonder if there is some connection to the 4 temperaments that 7wannabe5 talked about in the 9to5 thread.

4 temperaments from "Please Understand Me":
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keirsey_T ... ent_Sorter

4 temperaments determined by brain chemicals:
https://thoughtcatalog.com/january-nels ... peraments/

Also I have almost started a how to ascend Kegan levels thread, so I'm super into this one, thanks! I operate on order 4 most of the time, Knowing about the fifth makes achieving operation on the fifth the thing most worth doing. Also understanding 1% of the population is on the fifth order, I am not optimistic for myself. I am also interested in the factors that promote ascendance. Mentioned above reading which instills knowledge of systems so one can use the correct system for analysis, and I think IQ are factors. what are other factors, and how are they weighted?

daylen
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by daylen » Tue May 21, 2019 11:14 pm

I do not think they are the same, but they probably overlap to some extent. The first four originated from Plato. Here are some attributes:

Guardians: Concrete, Affiliative, Systematic
Artisans: Concrete, Pragmatic, Interest
Intellectuals (better name than rationales, IMO): Abstract, Pragmatic, Systematic
Idealists: Abstract, Affiliative, Interest

Concrete / Abstract
physical, tangible, what is / metaphysical, intangible, what if
Affiliative / Pragmatic
interdependence, loyalty, ask permission, authority / independence, merit, ask forgiveness, liberty
Interest / Systematic
motivations, transactions, expectations, purposes / functions, methodologies, rules, categories

I have not read them yet, but I know of a community that prefers Berens over Keirsey:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0966462424
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0979868432
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0979868440

The original temperaments can be intersected with the interaction styles ( structure, starter, finisher, background ) to map the 16 personality types; like so.. https://i.redd.it/fxokuo7kito11.png

I prefer to use the ( manager, starter, finisher, spectator ) naming-scheme.

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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by jacob » Wed May 22, 2019 8:18 am

intellectualpersuit wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 10:27 pm
I am also interested in the factors that promote ascendance. Mentioned above reading which instills knowledge of systems so one can use the correct system for analysis, and I think IQ are factors. what are other factors, and how are they weighted?
I think "deliberate practice"---think 10,000 hours to expert---at the current level is the biggest factor. Generally, we [humans] don't practice who we are and so it usually takes a bunch of conflicts to notice that there is an issue that needs to be resolved to fix/rise above who we are and it is only then practice becomes deliberate. For example, "going to college"(*), "joining the army", or "traveling" is quite the "in your face" wake-up maneuver to take Kegan3's out of the comfort zone where they've been living defining themselves mostly by their relations to their surroundings. Putting them into a new situation requires them to figure out "who they really are" w/o the support of "social proof".

(*) Moving to a new place physically, intellectually, ... attending night school after work or community college while living at home is not going to work.

A Kegan4 will need to develop experience(*) being/noticing how they become/act differently in different situations, for example, at work, at home, alone, with some friends, with other friends. This is where a fundamental understanding of [personality] psychology is helpful. Then eventually have an :idea: (possibly after a [moral] conflict) that all these expressions tend to be situational expressions of something deeper, namely a being who is capable of selectively expressing such things.

(*) Lots of experience ... why Kegan himself does not believe at it is possible to get to level 5 before age 40. At least he hasn't seen anyone younger.

I might say that the difference between Kegan3 and Kegan4 is that Kegan4 takes responsibility (ownership) of their internal thoughts and emotions whereas Kegan3 just acts reflexively on them. Whereas Kegan5 owns entire systems (personalities) of thoughts and emotions, that is, they take ownership of their identity.

Put it another way ... there's a saying that "you're the average of the five 5 closest people you surround yourself with". That statement epitomizes what Kegan3 is all about. Basically, it's saying that if you're Kegan3 (56% of all humans) I don't really need to know anything about you because I can just average your social surroundings and you'll be that average ["person"]. This does not hold for Kegan4. Kegan4 is at least capable of creating thoughts/ideas/opinions that are NOT based on the average social proof of the surroundings. Instead, they will be their own. Put a bunch of Kegan4s in a room (such as this forum) and they will still struggle because while they understand themselves (unlike the Kegan3s) they don't understand each other (Schumpeter makes a big point of this which is why I recommended it). The reason is that Kegan4 mainly have experience being themselves and thinking about why/how they think or feel something ... and how they feel/think about what others think/feel. IOW, they are their identity and as such all discussions will be of the "I stand where I sit"-type. If Kegan3 is the average of one's 5 closest humans, Kegan4 is the average of oneself.

(I should probably note that I suspect that INTJs transition into Kegan4s at a fairly young age (early teenage years) and so will largely have forgotten what Kegan3 even is or feels like. A potential downside is that INTJs will get stuck in Kegan4 being so familiar with their elaborate systems that no other way of being seems plausible.)

Kegan5 drops the averaging. Dropping the averaging allows one to build/contain more than one identity. And doing that allows one to understand complex interactions such as group dynamics. To illustrate with a political metaphor. Kegan3 votes red or blue according to the color of their shirt. If they have to explain their position they can repeat some slogans from their surroundings but if you ask "how", they'll get that confused look on their faces and repeat another slogan. Kegan4 will have some elaborate theory for why they vote and will be able to explain their "how" using words like freedom or solidarity. They will, however, struggle to understand why someone would take a different position than their own---the only possible reason must be faulty thinking... and hey this can be solved with debate that somehow brings the other person over as if this was some kind of scientific proof. Kegan5 will be able to identify not just with "both sides" but several sides and more importantly how all those sides become just two sides, i.e. it's possible to see how the parties form. Being able to hold multiple identities/ideologies mentally also makes it possible to communicate in way that is appealing to Kegan4s from "both sides" because of the mental awareness of what would appeal to both sides and what would not. At Kegan3, party is everything. At Kegan4, party is something that represents one's interests. At Kegan5, parties are an artificial construct.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed May 22, 2019 9:35 am

Temperament and gender are also artificial constructs to the extent that they can be altered by taking drugs or self-aware engaging in behaviors likely to alter bio-chemistry. Thus, one can try to puzzle out why we seem to live in a cultural era of heavy intake of drugs such as Prozac and Ritilin. IOW, what type is everybody attempting to be more like through these mechanisms and why?

I agree with the note on experience/age being key. My current indulgence is binge watching "Mad Men"*, and I keep trying to puzzle out which characters are most like "characters" I have been or known. I think finding yourself, or putting yourself, in and out of a variety of different roles through life is even more likely to alter perspective than "travel." Simple example would be something like observing the behavior of an ESFJ mother of an INTP child vs. the remembered experience of being the mother of an INTP child as an ENTP. One of the amusing things about a well-written show with developed characters, such as "Mad Men" is that you are able to observe all the different types of women interacting in relationship with the set, but somewhat maturing, character of Don Draper.

Obviously, this is also why reading great works of literature can be very helpful in "level jumping." Psychology is descriptive, but literature is immersive.

*I also highly recommend Netflix production of "Sex Education."

intellectualpersuit
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by intellectualpersuit » Wed May 22, 2019 12:30 pm

It always comes back to the grind, I just gotta do it. Though laying out what exactly to do will decrease number of hours required, so thank you all very much!

This has always been my reason for doing drugs, to alter perspective so that I can have more experiences to work from and to keep me from getting stuck in a rut. What sucks is when the drug becomes the rut.

CS
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by CS » Thu May 23, 2019 2:38 pm

I started reading A guide for the perplexed (Schumacher) and am already frustrated with it.

He starts with the examples of the lack of reliability of maps and then talks about how people do silly things, using fasting and other examples of ridiculous behaviors.

Well, fasting, and well as not eating meat and dairy together actually have physical benefits (fasting- reduces insulin resistance, resets the immune system, iron interferes with the absorption of calcium) so they are not totally irrational, although the reasons presented for the average person to take those actions might be.

Perhaps it could be seen as a Kegan 5 (?) person setting up the system so all the Kegan 3s get the benefits, even if the 3s don't understand the real reason for why they are expected to follow the rules. Example: "You threes, go fast because God said so...", meanwhile the population gets healthier in general, which the 3s can then attribute to God.

Perhaps the 5 didn't fully understand the reasons either, they just noticed the effects. And decided to make it a rule for everyone.

Anyway, it is irritating to see the author make the same sort mistake he is ranting about (in a sense. He is calling something nonsense without understanding everything that underlies it).

I'll read the rest of the book and see what there is to see.

edited for grammar.

mathiverse
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by mathiverse » Fri May 24, 2019 11:59 am

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

It didn't occur to me that Please Understand Me 1 & 2 would be related to reaching Kegan 4. I have read both, but mainly from the point of view that I wanted to learn about myself and interact better with others. Can someone explain why they suggest those two books? From what viewpoint do they relate to Kegan 4?


@jacob

Why do you think there are a lot of Kegan 4 people on these forums? It don't really understand the reasoning for that assumption. (ETA: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you may have mentioned before that you think people need to be Kegan 4 to adopt ERE. Why do you say that?)

@7w5

Any literature recommendations?
Last edited by mathiverse on Fri May 24, 2019 12:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

mathiverse
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by mathiverse » Fri May 24, 2019 12:06 pm

@daylen

Your description of Kegan 4 is pretty interesting and it's different from what I would have described Kegan 4 as. Your description seems unrelated to someone's level of consciousness. I typically think about Kegan 4 as being about how a person understands something in their life (as in from what viewpoint) and how they make the decision (as in considering what factors) which doesn't necessarily involve seeing analogies from one discipline to another. Your description sounds more like getting good at general systems thinking which I thought you could do at any level. Is that a wrong assumption? I don't really know how to ask the question to clear up my misunderstanding, but I guess how did you come to the understanding that Kegan 4 was about that?

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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by jacob » Fri May 24, 2019 12:13 pm

@mathiverse - Just based on observation and the fact that there's a lot of INTJs here and that random INTJs tend towards Kegan4 by construction. INTJs in particular very quickly (early teenage years) moves to an internally generated worldview that is not founded on social proof unlike, say, SJs. In MBTI terms, for any type, higher Kegan# reveal more personal experience with tertiary and inferior functions. All this takes time to develop/experience and so there are no strong correlations between MBTI and Kegan#. Rather, they complement each other.

If I may venture a hypothesis, I think INTJs in particular can have a hard time moving on from 4->5 because the overdeveloped strength in Ni/Te voids any concern for developing Fi and Se aspects of themselves much less the remaining four [unnamed] functionals. I think ISTJs might be similarly challenged going from 3->4. It's not impossible either way... just more of a hurdle.

daylen
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by daylen » Fri May 24, 2019 1:05 pm

@mathiverse

My description above was more along the lines of "identifying" Kegan4-like behavior. Being able to integrate principles from seemingly different "fields" is not something a Kegan3 would be able to do. Systems-like thinking is more of a Kegan4 thing because it requires an awareness of how the underlying "logic" of a particular system generalizes to many "similar" systems. Here is one "measure" of the difference between Kegan3 and Kegan4: What is the correlation between what a person hears/reads and what a person says/writes? The reason I put measure in quotation marks is because this all depends on what unit of abstraction you are working with.. Letters? Word components? Words? Ideas or memes? Abstract systems? Ideologies?

It appears to me that Kegan4 "creation" is much like fleshing out the details of a specialized ideology based on atomic abstractions, principles, or models. At Kegan3, you are not aware of what "model" you are using to make sense of reality. A Kegan3 has many dispositions or isolated preferences for what they want, but they cannot see how they are all related to a small handful of basic models. A Kegan4 understands the principles upon which they base their dispositions, but they do not see how their particular set of principles is just one tree in a forest of possible sets.

The journey to Kegan5 feels a bit like collecting several of these ideologies, abstract systems, personalities, or lifestyles. Eventually, some of these ideologies may be used to form a "basis" that "spans" a space of possible ways to live (all with new sets of assumptions or principles). Pardon the mathematical underpinnings. The validity of a particular decision at this level is based on a dialectic [that is subconscious] between two or more whole "ways of seeing and making sense of everything".

Many INTP's, like INTJ's, also tend to choose their own personalized principles early in life (independent of what the dominate ideology being chanted around them is). The accuracy of their Ti system largely depends on how well developed their Ne is (how many principles they have considered). INTP's are prone to deluding themselves into thinking they "have it all worked out" and that no new information is needed, so their systems may be somewhat more detached from the details of implementation. This is mostly informed speculation on my part.

intellectualpersuit
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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by intellectualpersuit » Fri May 24, 2019 2:28 pm

If the subconscious of the Kegan5 is a dialectic between ideologies, then wouldn't this be the consciousness of the Kegan6? Where maybe the subconscious is an ideology for determining the best ideology to span the space. +1 for speculation

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Re: Reaching Kegan Level 4

Post by jacob » Fri May 24, 2019 2:34 pm

It would ... but what would that look and feel like? Such a person would have instant solutions to all diplomatic issues in the world not only in terms of identifying the issues but also in solving them. It's easy enough to apply the Hegelian constructor to see what it looks like in theory but it's hard to grok it in practice. It's similar to how a mathematician can easily imagine what things look like in 3D but would be hard pressed to imagine/intuit anything but the simplest objects (lines, planes, spheres, and cubes) in 4D and beyond thus having to resort to technical manipulations.

Maybe add this to reading list https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flatland

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