The Four Stages Of Human Development

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: How can the still, vegetative, and animate levels of human development be characterized?

Answer: The still level is the period when a person has very small egoism that is not yet awakening him to connect with others. He passively exists in nature, changing virtually nothing around himself, only working the land a little bit with his hands and primitive tools (actually, even this does not exist yet) and getting food for himself. This is the still level of development, meaning that it does not perfect itself and remains at the same level all the time; it’s not growing yet like at the next level.

The vegetative level is characterized by the fact that a person is already “growing,” but as we say, “he’s still a plant.” Meaning, that he still lacks movement, he’s not capable of great achievement or of various transformations. He organizes the space around himself, but like a plant that spreads its roots and takes a little from everything. He conquers something, but in a very limited form since his egoism, his capabilities, are not letting him “swallow” what he has conquered. That’s why it makes no sense to risk, invest efforts, and suffer.

The animate level is first of all the development of technology, meaning that which is outside of man. We begin to develop instruments that help us conquer the world as far as space. This stage began in the Middle Ages with the invention of printing machines and other novelties.

Indeed, the Middle Ages are not a simple level of development. It was quite a busy period conceived in a somewhat internal form. However, when studying the process of evolution we understand that at that time, very interesting, powerful, albeit concealed, conception processes of the next stage were taking place.

It should be emphasized that this wasn’t observed at the previous stages because there is very little difference between the earth and a plant, and their connection is far too strong. They contain each other, they transform into each other, and so on. While there is a huge difference between the vegetative and the animate states: in free will, movement, personal space, space conquering, and so on.

The internal human development carried on according to this. People have literally rushed to conquer nature and areas, and to discover new lands. Everything changed: working the land, farming, occupations, cities, division of people into groups and clans, and so forth. Then, movement for parliament began, for freedom, and so on. Humanity has become more active on all of the levels relative to past states, and this activity has grown more and more.

During the last century, it has reached unity. We have arrived at integration, at egoistic interaction. This has become the presupposition for the conception of the new level, which began to manifest in the middle of the 20th century. The Club of Rome, the academic Vernadsky in Russia, and various international organizations started to notice that a holistic level of nature is being revealed and it influences society accordingly. If we don’t follow it, then we’ll suffer from the imbalance with nature.

Many people at that time started to write and talk about it. Each one on his level: on the level of biology, sociology, political science, mineralogy, social development, or even the economic and financial development (economics and finance are two different functions of man). All of this has been accumulating gradually and has led to the emergence of prerequisites for passing onto the next level. However, the emergence of these prerequisites, like any movement in development, begins with small revolts which are constantly growing until they reach states where it is impossible to stop, to remain in the previous state, and then a new state is born by a leap.
From a “Talk on Integral Education” #12, 12/16/11 

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