The Hierarchy of Psychological Development:
The transition from the false self (the ego, image, or trauma-induced identity) to Our True Self
Traumatic experiences when we are young divert us from the natural cumulative course of psychological growth, from infancy to adulthood. The more traumas we experience, the more we evacuate from the human qualities that sense the traumas, feel the pain of their impacts, and obsessively think about what happened. We lose our humanity as a result, descending the evolutionary ladder. For example, if our animal body motivates the majority of our decisions, we are in the Animal Stage. When the ups and downs of our environments control our lives, we function like a Vegetable. When we have evacuated so completely from our humanness that we no longer grow, change, or have choice, we exist as a Mineral. Minerals fiercely defend against their humanness or violently attack it, having concluded that it is to blame.
The Animal Stage
Focus—"MY" world! Theme—"I choose the physical realm as my playground, which I ably explore, engage, and enjoy. When threatened, I respond instinctively with fight, flight, or freeze reactions."
Children who are deprived of the truth of heart and mind, or are punished for expressing these truths, become stuck in the Animal Stage. (Those who are chronically and ruthlessly tormented, are more likely to regress to the Vegetable or Mineral Stages.) Comparable to psychological preschoolers, Animals take steps beyond role play and storylines, the mode of keeping up appearances. However, they are too pre-occupied with physical survival and pleasure seeking to give the developing soul much attention. Animals prioritize their physical being, relating predominantly through physical means. They assign cause, whether what harms or helps, to the various aspects and events of our physical world, so they direct their efforts to physical activities.
The “Let the Good Times Roll” Animal: Rex is a fun-loving fellow—always finding something to laugh about, no matter what is going on. He greets everyone with a big smile and a strong hug, before he tells a few jokes. He makes fun of folks who take life “too seriously.” When they are disheartened by the crime, corruption, or any other “mischief” that people fall prey to, he pats the downcast on the back, saying, “That’s just the way people are!” He acts on his physical impulses, so he assumes everyone else does too. When these folks invite him to meetings that address community issues, he declines, unless food is served. “Life’s too short!” he states, while winking at his girlfriend and holding his martini glass high.
Animals tend to be social creatures. They bring gaiety and playfulness to any table. They are pleasant companions until you approach one of their wounds, when they may attack without warning or disappear without a word. Quick to forgive and forget, they usually return as if nothing happened. Although they can offer their comforting presence during your emotional ordeals, they cannot emotionally accompany a person through such challenges to every developmental journey.
Animals learn best through action, particularly when a game is made out of the information. They can be good workers, willing to contribute a lot of time and effort to a project, as long as they feel appreciated and are duly rewarded. They seek physical methods of healing, unable to grasp how anything immaterial might work.
The Animal uses the workings of the physical world as a defense against human emotions. Learning to admit, express, and respond to these emotions and the reality that provokes them would evolve him into the next developmental stage.
More often than not, some devastating circumstance is required before Animals become willing to leave the fun and frolic of the Animal Stage. Something must happen to convince them that the instincts and experiences they’ve relied on to keep them and their offspring physically alive are not enough. Something must increase their need to such an extent that their attention is beckoned beyond the physical world. Something must startle them into finally admitting and expressing the full range of feeling in their no longer defended hearts.