Dr. Cook-Greuter’s Tribute to Jane Loevinger (2008)

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

A personal tribute to Loevinger,

In October 2008 I had the opportunity to give a keynote address at the Inaugural Integral Theory and Practice Conference, in Concord, California. It felt appropriate that I should be the one to give a tribute to Loevinger, a giant in the field of development theory, since my work is indebted to her in a fundamental way. As we all stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us, it is our responsibility as integral scholars to acknowledge our gratitude for their efforts, unique contributions, and teachings. The awareness and the expression of gratitude for one’s intellectual lineage is in and of itself symptomatic of a seasoned outlook on life and one’s place in the larger scheme of things. Given the integral mandate of manifesting-modeling postconventional values, integrity and intellectual honesty, those calling themselves integral more than others are called upon to appreciate their teachers and mentors both personal and across time.

So let me offer a tribute to the late Jane Loevinger who died in January of 2008 at the age of 89 after a full and productive life. Her theoretical contribution to the social sciences was ground-breaking. More importantly, her influence is continuing as this volume on postconventional ego development illustrates. Her impact on my own development, understanding and research have been pivotal. Pivotal in the true sense. of having turned my life around. Once I discovered the very notion of adult development through its clear and cogent articulation by Loevinger, my goose was cooked.

Finally, I will focus mention an aspect of being a researcher in the contemporary academic scene that Loevinger herself would likely have resisted and frowned upon: For better or for worse, nowadays, the lure of fame and money are becoming a part of the mix of motivations for academics to develop measuring tools, methods and material, and create businesses and dispersion channels for them. Branding issues and marketing have become important aspects of this new trend. Because the boundaries between rigorous academic and commercial applications and uses of theory have become ever more tenuous in our current information saturated / greedy environment, we need to pay attention to trends and possible ethical implications in propagating developmental theory and making claims for its efficacy.

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 2

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

Unlike Loevinger, I don’t believe that applying a developmental perspective outside the research context is inappropriate nor would I restrict the SCT tool strictly to research. I will argue that it does offer a great value as a diagnostic tool. Indeed a careful interpretation of just those 36 sentence completions from a test can give impressive insight into a person’s meaning making. Thus, I am all for the wider dissemination of our growing understanding of adult development. We couldn’t call ourselves integral if we didn’t believe that developmental maturity is a difference among people that makes a profound difference. Awareness of the developmental dimension can support conflict negotiation from individual misunderstanding to global strife. At the same time, I also hope to raise our communal level of awareness of the traps and potential harm that is caused by some of these new trends and boundary crossings. Moreover, there is the intriguing question of whether and to what degree the scholars’ own maturity level can be gleaned in the way they report on their findings and make claims about them.

A personal tribute to Loevinger and her seminal contributions to psychology

The simple facts are that Jane Loevinger was born in 1918 and died in January of 2009. She lived for 89 years and in that time accomplished to change the face of psychology. She contributed both a new theory of development that goes beyond

Jane Loevinger (2.1918 – 1.2008)

Washington University Saint Louis

1970 Measuring ego development 1976 Ego development: Theories

and conceptions

1998 The completion of a life sentence © 2008 Cook-Greuter

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 3

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

Piaget, and a method to investigate adult meaning making that has proven its power over time. Jane also guided many students at Washington University to become better, more rigorous thinkers and researchers.

It gives me true pleasure to acknowledge her in the context of this Festschrift for what she contributed to psychological science at a time, the 1950s and 60’s, and in a place Minnesota, she herself described as the bastion of Dust-Bowl empiricism.1 Loevinger was a smart, precautious, and ambitious pioneer in exploring what interested her at a time when the women’s movement was just in its infancy.

To give the reader a taste of her spunk, I quote from an obituary by Randy Larson “When Loevinger enrolled at the University of Minnesota, she went to Jack Darley for vocational counseling and was told that psychology was ‘too mathematical’ for her. She immediately enrolled in trigonometry and declared psychology her major. Loevinger graduated magna cum laude in psychology at the age of nineteen and a year later earned a master of science in psychometrics, also from the University of Minnesota (1939).“ Her doctoral thesis was a critique of psychometric theory and test reliability. Since no reputable journal would accept it, she self-published it in1957.

That inner self-assurance, combined with non-conformism, rigor and modesty were trademarks of her way of being. After a full career as an esteemed professor and researcher in adult development she wrote a final chapter for a book, a swan song really, entitled “Completing a life sentence”. Here is her confession, and I quote:

“Forays into original theorizing is not what I do. I lack the panache to be an original theorist, and the antennae to pick up air borne signals from people. I plot along as a pedestrian, going only where my data leads me. I tried to make a virtue of that necessity, emphasizing the empirical grounding of my conception.

I am haunted still by the question of whether it would not have been wiser and more satisfying to have devoted a career to a more clearly useful endeavor, like curbing juvenile violence.
My somewhat macabre title reflects my experience that the wide interest in the SCT has acted as a confinement, constraining me to work on it. Publication of the revised scoring manual should signal my liberation.” (Hy & Loevinger, 1996)

1 (Westenberg, 1998, p. 349).
©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 4

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

While psychology gained immeasurably through her efforts and pioneering spirit, she herself ended her career as a scientist with some deep regrets. May she rest in peace and know that developmental psychology and those who stand on her shoulders are indeed deeply grateful for the contributions and sacrifices she has made.

It was not just her scientific advances that were impressive. She left an indelible mark on most people who encountered her: tough taskmaster, no-nonsense advisor, even brutal critic was how many experienced her. At the same time, her sincerity, rigor and creativity were an inspiration to those who had the good fortune to apprentice with her as doctoral students or collaborators and sharpen their research skills under her tutelage.

I first heard of Jane’s work in 1979 in a course on Adult Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The theory and its instrument, the WUSCT, had an immediate and powerful impact on me.

I cannot exaggerate the sense of aha! that came when I first encountered her ideas and her language-based assessment tool. Her map of how adults mature and my academic background in Piagetian ideas and in semantics meshed beautifully. Semantics is that branch of linguistics that deals with the evolution of the meaning of words and metaphor over the centuries. My own observation and experience from a psychological perspective that words and their meanings can also change over the course of an individual lifetime suddenly took shape.

I was hooked: I knew I had found a topic that I wanted to pursue as far as I could. Thus, I immersed myself into Loevinger’s writings and learned how to score the test.

I imagined her a giant. So when I heard her lecturing at Harvard for the first time, her diminutive size and her capacity to enthrall the audience despite it struck me. She also impressed with her unusual breadth of knowledge for US professors. She started with Plato, covered the history of developmental thinking since the ancients and expounded on intricacies of statistics and testing at a level of sophistication that was then frankly over my head. When I later saw her preside over a meeting, there was never any doubt who was in charge and what her preferences were. Jane Loevinger reigned supreme.

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 5

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

I first contacted her in 1982, all excited about the emerging hypotheses I had formed by exploring several unusual high-end responses. They seemed intuitively reasonable to me as expressions of a more evolved way of making sense of experience, but they were unscorable with the existing manuals. I had hoped for input and research guidance from her and offered to help her own studies in whatever way I could. Jane made it very clear that a) she didn’t need help, b) that I was either suffering from hubris (her word) in thinking I could understand the later levels, c) that I might be mentally disturbed like others who had tried before to connect ego development to transpersonal aims, and finally, d) that only if I could prove my ideas statistically and get interrater reliability would she even talk to me. In addition, she suggested that I turn my attention to something more doable and useful. Needless to say her words and injunctions shook my confidence to the core, at least initially.

However, I kept looking at the fascinating data I already had. I also trusted my intuition, and decided I would collect more high-end data in order to test my hunches. By 1985, other researchers in the postformal development field including Commons and Kohlberg had become interested in my view of later stage development and measurement while Loevinger steadfastly refused to even consider my ideas. In order to “prove” my hypotheses, I went back to school and wrote a dissertation on the topic of mature, late stage ego development.

Even when I handed her the final draft of my dissertation at her eightieth birthday conference in Saint Louis in 1998, she persisted in wanting nothing to do with my extensions of her work. “Call it your own, she said, just don’t use my name on it.” Draft in hand, she added that she would give it a look while waiting at the dentist for a root canal. Skeptical to the core Jane Loevinger was! All I could do was not burst out into tears and laughter.

By 2000, my dissertation and some others of my papers had drawn Ken Wilber’s attention. He already admired her as a seminal contributor to the field of adult development psychology. More than anybody else, he appreciated the fact that her theory was grounded in empirical evidence. Since I had followed her approach to expand the theory, he included my amendments both theoretical and in terms of the measure. Other theories which include later stages tend to be idealistic upward glances,

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 6

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

i. e. projections of the theorists. My current status as an “authority “ is partially due to Ken’s influence in advocating for Loevinger’s and my extensions and partially to my own decision to change from being a private, independent scholar to becoming a teacher and advocate for the developmental perspective.

But let me turn back to how this came about and focus on Jane Loevinger’s pioneering accomplishments and contributions to the study of adults.

Trailblazer in women’s studies and pioneer in psychometrics.

It has been a long-standing and pervasive myth in psychology that all the foundational adult development research was done exclusively with men. Carol Gilligan cemented the myth, when she published her famous feminist critique of Larry Kohlberg’s theory of moral development in 1982 in a book aptly titled “In a different voice.” Let me set the record straight. It is an undisputed fact that Loevinger did all her original research on adult development with women and about women. She published her first article on the topic of woman’s experience and differences of meaning making in 1962.

As mentioned earlier, Loevinger became an expert in statistical inference and introduced Bayes theorem as a novel method to the field.

Think of psychometrics in this way: It is the effort to turn qualitative data into quantitative information. Loevinger was your quintessential psychometrician and empiricist. She believed in the power of data to tell a story and was suspicious of mere theorizing especially when it came to complex human behavior. In her view, it is a psychometricians’ charge to translate qualitative phenomena into quantitative results “in ways that maximize comparison and efficiency and minimize observer bias.”

In general, psychometricians in adult development are of two different persuasions. The first group focuses on meaning making, worldviews and theories of the self. They study how different people interpret similar life experiences differently. They study what it is like to be you as a unique individual and what the patterns of change are among human beings in general. Especially now where the lifespan is twice as long as only a hundred years ago. We happen to have a lot more time in which to develop and mature. The second group, the cognitive proponents, create their theories by having people

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 7

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

solve specific tasks or problem sets at different levels of task complexity. They are fascinated with reasoning and pronounce that meaning making cannot be assessed.

Loevinger was interested in meaning making. By using a semi-projective sentence completion test and a rationalized manual, she meant to overcome some of the problems of other measures then in use.

  1. The 36 sentence stems on the SCT (the stimuli) are the same for allrespondents.
  2. People’s sentence completions are a spontaneous expression of their ownperspectives and current meaning making structure. Language — because it is such an unconscious habit for most people — helps us observe meaning-making- in-action. Meaning making theory looks at the way people express their ideas, not what the ideas are per se. It looks for how people hold their values, not what these are because one can hold the same values but act upon them in ways that stem from very different ego levels.
  3. Rater bias is less likely because responses are matched against stringently validated and updated manuals.
  4. Rating at least up to early postconventional levels can be accomplished without the rater himself or herself being a complex reasoner.On the other hand, the creation of rationalized manuals is very much dependent on

the insights of those who originally interpreted and “rationalized” the sentence completions. It also depends on the quality of the data used. Loevinger and her team had very little data at the high end of the scale. Thus, the first manual edition introduced the Integrated stage (E9) cautiously and offered only a few examples. Loevinger herself admitted that her Integrated stage was just an rich combination of responses possible at earlier stages. In the 1996 revision, Hy and Loevinger omitted examples for the Integrated level altogether because they still felt they didn’t have enough data and couldn’t really describe what the difference was between the Autonomous (E8) and the Integrated (E9) level.

Loevinger’s introduction of Bayes’ theorem to decide the transition points between stages was a stroke of genius and very audacious back in the late fifties, early sixties. Bayes’ theorem weighs rare responses at the extremes of a scale as more diagnostic of

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 8

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

the person’s capacity than more common ones in the middle of the distribution curve. Perhaps the easiest way to describe the underlying complex reasoning is as follows:

If you go to your doctor and complain about a headache, there could be innumerable causes for it. If you also complain about a fever, the options narrow somewhat to infection as a general culprit. If you tell the doctor that you also have a sore throat and spots all over you, suddenly it is quite likely that you deal with one of several infectious diseases such as measles. The type of spots make the diagnosis of the underlying illness possible on sight. Loevinger treated rare low and high end responses in just such a way as symptoms. You needed only very few responses at the high end to be deemed capable of that kind of world view and therefore to be rated at that level. In the intervening years, and with reams of new data in our data base, the situation has changed. Bayes’ theorem is no longer a viable solution and other statistical methods including Rasch analysis have been developed to demonstrate the possibility of discrete stage sequences.

Though Loevinger started out looking at woman and their lives, eventually the SCT and her theory were based on thousands of tests that came from people of all walks of life: Men and women, and the whole range of adult ages and professions. Also important in looking at her career is the fact that she liked to work with teams of researchers throughout her prolific life. Thus the resulting Scoring Manuals were the labor of many people’s insights and sensibilities, not just her own. Her original team was made up of women. They gathered sentence completions in multiple cycles and tested and refined the preliminary manuals repeatedly before they came out with their first official, rationalized manual in 1970. Unlike Graves’ limited participant pool (college students and a few professors) and a single question prompt, Loevinger’s 36 item sentence completion test elicits rich and varied data that can be explored and compared in many ways.

Then in 1976, Loevinger published “Ego development: Conceptions and theories” her ground-breaking opus and a classic to this day. In it, she summarized the lineage of the concept of ego development since ancient time. She also offered the construct of ego as the master trait or the central force in meaning making. She reported on her empirical research methods and findings as well as on the work of people whose

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 9

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

thinking and exploring of human nature she had studied, incorporated or built on in her writings. Loevinger postulated a theory of nine distinct levels adult development that is more subtle and differentiated than any stage theory that came before. It covers 3 preconventional, 3 conventional and 3 postconventional stages.

Along with other critics, Loevinger sided with John Stuart Mill (1962)2 who asserted that, I paraphrase, human beings seek growth and spiritual perfection for their own sake (p. 7) as a natural expression of being human… and without another source than his own inward consciousness…. This is in stark contrast to the then still common Freudian view that man’s main motivators are the pleasure principle and self-interest.

Model of scientific humility For those who aspire to write like a scientist in a clear, concise, and coherent voice, Loevinger is an exemplary guide. Unlike many of today’s writers, she was always careful not to make unsubstantiated claims. She was scrupulous about testing the validity and reliability of whatever she studied. And she never exaggerated what her measure could do as is so often the case in today’s commercially-driven environment. Indeed she spelled out the limitations of the WUSCT along with its advantages. It would seem necessary for anyone who wishes to be considered as an ethical and self-aware researcher to do likewise. That is to spell out the specific parameters and scope of research and application, to know and be explicit about the limits of a given study or psychometric approach, and to reveal the potential biases and preferences of the scholars involved.

Ego development theory is one of the major and enduring theories of how human beings make sense of their experience in increasingly complex, integrated and individuated ways. For Loevinger (1976) the ego is a master trait, an organic unity akin to what Ken Wilber used to call the self-system. It represents that aspect of meaning making that creates a coherent story about the self and one’s place in the world. The ego continuously metabolizes experience from both within and without. Needing to digest and explain experience seems to be a fundamental human process which continues as long as there is consciousness. Though the emphasis in ego development

2 Mill, J.S. “Bentham.” In M. Warnock (Ed.), John Stuart Mill: Unilitarianism, (…) together with selected writings of Jeremy Bentham and John Austin. Cleveland: World Publishing Company, 1962. Originally published in 1838)

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 10

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

is on the individual interior or the upper left in Wilber’s four quadrant model, Loevinger never leaves any doubt that the individual interior is in ongoing interplay with the other quadrants: Human beings across the globe develop in human communities, learn and grow through the tutelage of others, share a local culture, language, values and history and live in describable systems of specific personal, geographic and historical life circumstances and social structures that influence their experience and possible self- stories.

Interior Individual Exterior Individual

Interior collective Exterior collective

In my own view based on the work of Loevinger, Fingarette, and Funk’s 3 , the synthetic function of the ego is not just another thing the ego does, it is what the ego is. Whenever we cannot make sense of experience, anxiety arises and the ego scrambles to make-up a story that will diffuse the anxiety. For the ego the need to be able to tell a coherent story is a matter of being or non-being, a matter of life or death.

3 Fingarette H. (1963). The self in transformation. New York: Harper & Row.
Funk, J. (1994). Unanimity and disagreement among transpersonal psychologists. In M. Miller & S. Cook-Greuter (Eds.), Mature thought and transcendence in adulthood: The further reaches of adult development (pp. 3-36). Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 11

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

In ego development theory, each ego stage is thus conceived of as an idealized interpretation of what it is like to be a well-functioning human being at a given altitude. Each level tells a more adequate, complete and coherent self story than the one before. At the very late ego stages, one begins to see through this self-perpetuating move. Under optimal conditions, one may come to experience a different, non-ego attached way of being that appreciates the identity formation function of the ego, but isn’t swayed by it.

Loevinger’s most highly developed stage, the Integrated level, is rarely described in her work and is, by her own admission, ill-defined. It attempts to portray self-actualized persons who have permanent, objective, integrated and highly complex self-identities. Because of this emphasis on permanence and stability, Loevinger’s theory cannot account for people who develop a dynamic, fluid self-experience and who question the very assumption of the permanent object world and the permanent self.

The response “I am – finally, in the long run, mostly unfathomable, but I enjoy the process of trying to fathom”…made no sense in Loevinger’s definition of a mature self- identity and could not be scored with her criteria. And yet this single response launched my own inquiry into ego development and the later stages. What she did predict and emphasize was that more highly developed people are not necessarily better adjusted or happier. What later stage development does allow is for a richer, more intense experience of the range of human aspirations and suffering with less attachment and privileging of any one experience over another.

Lasting impact

Despite her vast and deep knowledge of the field of psychology and her seminal contribution to constructive developmentalism, Loevinger did not feel she could add much to theory. We know that Ken Wilber among many others recognizes her for the lasting influence on developmental theory she has had. Creating a road map of adult growth that is still relevant today is surely a rare and powerful contribution to psychology. Moreover, the test continues to produces novel data which, in turn, inspires contemporary scholars to pursue new research and new applications.

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 12

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

Loevinger’s research and her theory of ego development continue to enrich the basic understanding and apprenticeship of every new generation of students of psychology. Those who want to explore what it means to be a growing human being do well to learn from this pioneer of our field.

Her work and the test have been translated into many languages and used in very distinct cultures. In general, the test has helped to confirm the universal evolutionary trend in human consciousness. Hy an Loevinger recognized this in their 1996 updated edition of the scoring manual. By then, women’s consciousness raising had profoundly influenced what women believed about men, careers and raising families as well as men’s ideas about women. Male and female subjects’ responses in the 1990s were different from those in the 1950s and 60s. As culture and awareness evolve, so must developmental theory and its tests. What were once unique, daring, and rare post- conventional responses, have now become common and predictable, and thus, by definition, conventional ones.

I believe that it is the mark of a truly developmental measure that it evolves along with the changing zeitgeist and that it be explicit about its own temporality. Loevinger was a purist in many ways, and did not want the test altered, expanded, or used outside of research conditions. The cultural currents have shifted. The sentence completion test is being tweaked, adapted, reconfigured in all kinds of ways. It is being disseminated and used in a manner, in contexts and for purposes Jane Loevinger would surely have frowned upon. Thus, I will now turn to some novel challenges that face all of us in the developmental research field as we engage with the commercial application of her work: For Loevinger this was simply not a conceivable and morally acceptable possibility.

It has become part of the academic profession to not only do research and publish, but to create enterprises to disseminate and market one’s research and measures. In a article in the June issue 2008 of Integral Review, Sara Ross offers a paper entitled “Using Development Theory: When not to play telephone games.”4 It cleverly exposes

4 Ross, S. Using developmental theory: when not to play telephone games, Integral review – June 2008, vol.4, No.1

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 13

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

some of the less than desirable side effects from the dissemination and proliferation of developmental theory.

Ross documents how a progressive dilution can happen when we write for non- academic audiences in a sincere attempt to share our insights. It is a formidable challenge to write simply and concisely about the complex matter of development in such a way that the fundamental ideas are retained in their complexity. Unless we are vigilant, mistakes and misinterpretations are inevitably introduced and dispersed. When people pick up some piece of theory here or there on the information highway and blog and write about it from their place of understanding, things can quickly get very warped and misinformation multiplied.

One is left with few options. None of them are especially attractive. One can hold new discoveries much closer to one’s vest. Definitely not a mature attitude. One can sometimes write a rebuttal or a correction or require an author who was less than rigorous to revise a submission. One can try to respond to a blog, though chances are slim that one even hears about the source of an error in the first place. With the global traffic of ideas and multilingual readers, there is no way we can control what is moving across cyberspace. Thus, often acceptance of the effects of the telephone game is the only practical approach once data is released. It is however each ethical researcher’s responsibility to not contribute to this malaise by what is in one’s control: One can be conscientious about what gets claimed as to applicability. One can avoid only citing sources that support one’s position and meanwhile dismiss or ignore counterarguments, alternative methods, or critics. One can reveal the limits of one’s approach und knowledge, and one can be vigilant of the motives of those who would carry the work into the world for predominantly commercial reasons.

Another trend, one that has been around for a long time, and one that I find especially wide-spread and insidious is the misuse of statistics. It’s the kind of reporting of numbers that a) makes a fact out of something that is at best a hypothesis to be tested, or b) reporting that confuses causation with correlation.

Let me offer a concrete example that continues to inform the attitudes and assumptions about effective leadership today.

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 14

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

The original article5 was published in a minor trade publication. There was an initial longitudinal study of 10 pre-selected companies. They were attempting to transform themselves based on changing market conditions. The 5 companies with CEO’s at pre- Autonomous levels did not introduce successful strategies, while the 5 companies with Autonomous (E8) or higher CEO’s carried out many experiments and were overall successful at transforming themselves. The conclusion of the paper is that it takes Autonomous leaders to lead a company successfully through turbulent times. Since this has been, so far the only study published of its kind6, it got cited and repeated so many times, that its conclusion has become an accepted fact. First Autonomous leaders were associated with better outcome, now they “cause or ensure” them. Today many advocate that companies who want to be successful at transformation are well advised to hire people at level E8 or higher for leading positions.

A third issue that arises with the intertwining of research and commerce is the following. Many authors and their followers tend to exaggerate the benefits and the scope of their approaches and measurements. Sometimes the first generation of disseminators is still fairly careful about claims. However, once the enterprise is in the hands of others or has morphed into franchises, claims are being made that this approach or measure is the sine-qua-non of all existing measures of that type. “Our” xyz can do it all. Whether the originators really believe these claims themselves or whether it is an inevitable outcome when more cautious text lands in the hands of the PR folks, the effect is similar. Exaggerated claims are being made to gain market advantage. This is so for good commercial reasons. The buyers of tests and coaching approaches, for instance, care about the scope of applicability and the certainty with which claims are being made. In a competitive test market, the glitziest brochures and the most global assertions often win out over more modest and accurate claims. What can we then do as producers of such tools?

It behooves us as scholars to be aware as much as possible when we fall pray to such overstating tendencies in ourselves or when those who work with our materials start to do so. Unless we nip these tendencies in the bud, and continuously encourage

5 Rooke, D. (1997) Organizational transformation requires the presence of leaders who are Strategists and Magicians. Organisations and people. 4:3

6 The same study has been reported in different places. ©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 15

A tribute to Jane Loevinger

our collaborators to accurately represent our theories and tools, damage is done to research, and in the long run to the whole developmental field. The old marketing adage to underpromise and to overdeliver remains a valid mandate and an ethical stance we can follow. All tools have limitations. They work best when tailored to specific needs and situations. It behooves us to know our “wares” well enough to spell out their strength and limitations at the source. But enough of warnings. Loevinger had the self-critical capacity and humility not to over-generalize and over-promise. On the contrary, she is beyond par in her rigor and honesty, and a beacon to all those who follow her in striving to be responsible scientists/practitioners.

Now that I have given homage to Jane Loevinger, the originator of adult ego- development theory, I like to conclude with opening all of this up into a more simple and appreciative space. From a late stage or Unitive perspective, these movements and perturbations are just ripples on the surface of the large ocean of experience. Integrity, modesty and ethical behavior are aspects of being mature scientists. As they say, we need to walk the developmental talk.

To conclude let me share a poem by Laotse It expresses beautifully what each individual can come to realize towards the end of ego development.

Laotse on Words (~6th century BC)

Existence is beyond the power of words To define: Terms may be used
But are none of them absolute.
In the beginning of heaven and earth there were no words,

Words came out of the womb of matter;
And whether a man dispassionately sees to the core of life Or passionately sees the surface,
The core and the surface are essentially the same, Words making them seem different

Only to express appearance.
If name be needed, wonder names them both: From wonder into wonder existence opens.

©April 2009 Cook-Greuter 16