Stages Of Self-Development

Genesis of the Self
Commentary On Self Continued

George Herbert Mead informs us that a fully developed self must pass through three stages. Meaning is not required for behavior during the preparatory stage when an infant begins to imitate the behavior of other people. The imitatative act is simply
mimicking another person’s behavior. Meaning becomes a very important part of
behavior in Mead’s play stage of self development for it is at this level where
the child intentionally takes on the role — mother, teacher, cowboy, etc. — of
some significant other. The third stage of self-development or game stage is the
“completing” stage of self. This is the stage of self-development when one
becomes aware of many of societies socially defined roles. Meltzer informs us:

“This sort of situation is exemplified by the game of baseball–to use Mead’s
own illustration: Each player must visualize the intentions and expectations of
several other players. In such situations the child must take the roles of
groups of individuals as over against particular roles. The child becomes
enabled to do this by abstracting a `composite’ role out of the concrete roles
of particular persons. In the course of his association with others, then, he
builds up a generalized other, a generalized role or standpoint from which he
views himself and his behavior. This generalized other represents, then, the set
of standpoints which are common to the group.” (Meltzer l959, p. 16.)

As far as the socialization process is concerned (and we are all a product of
that process), Mead’s stages of self development represent a comprehensive
analysis of how we grow into the person we have a chance to become. And, it
follows from this analysis that if we are to endure in this crazy world where
“one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor”, we must continue to shuffle
(mentally, if not physically) from one social role to another. Role taking, at
the very least, expands our sense of sympathetic introspection as it provides us
with the skills that become very important in the conflict resolution process.
But, I would argue, in the genesis of self, there is more going on then Mead’s
description of role taking. We are most definitely a product of the
socialization process, but we are also more than this process and Mead himself
acknowledges “this in addition to” aspect of ourselves when he introduces the
concept of the “generalized other.”


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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3 Responses to Stages Of Self-Development

  1. eof737 says:

    ღ˚ •。* ♥ ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛★* 。 ღ˛° 。* °♥ ˚ • ★ *˚ .ღ 。*˛˚ღ •˚ ˚…Sending sprinkles of Love to You: Happy Mother’s Day! ˚ ✰* ★˚. ★ *˛ ˚♥* ✰。˚ ˚ღ。* ˛˚ ♥ 。✰˚* ˚ ★ღ ˚ 。✰ •* ˚ ♥

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      The sprinkles are really nice. Thanks. Happy Mother’s Day right back at you. It was a so, so, Mother’s day here, my daughter and son didn’t make it home. Mika is working in St. Louis, Mo. and Mathew was recently employed in a good job in Detroit (his first job). The kids couldn’t make it home, but I’m so happy that they are both doing well that those sprinkles make me feel all tingly inside. Take care.

  2. bwinwnbwi says:

    In the critical disjuncture between self and self-knowledge not only will we find the answer to quantum questions—the rift of nothingness that both separates/connects particles to waves (~~b), we will also find the answer to what identifies both a person’s biography and the social/psychological mechanism for the inner restructuring of experience into self and other—the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self (the ~bb of b~b~bb), and with this knowledge be able to also answer questions like: (1) Why Uncertainty-Oriented Persons Have A Tendency Not To Be Prejudiced, Bigoted, Opinionated, Or Sexist? And why (2) persons who engage in persistent private self-consciousness activity – evaluative self-appraisals, will be the same persons who are able and willing to deal with self-inflicted cognitive tensions, discords, variances, contrarieties, and uncertainties, and, these same persons will be the persons most likely to hold tolerant attitudes towards racial and ethnic minorities as well as maintain a respectful sensitivity toward persons with physical disabilities—these questions inspired the writing of my thesis.

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