An “epicycle” is an ancient Greek astronomical term that was used to explain the apparent retrograde motion of planets as see from Earth (they appeared to move backwards sometimes). Everyone assumed that planets had circular orbits, and it would take centuries to learn that they are elliptical. Something similar occurs in human development, where the self engages in behaviors abandoned long ago on it’s way towards new, more complex, and better ways of making sense of itself and the world. I began noticing this in my clients years ago, and the term “developmental epicycling” kept coming to mind, because this apparent regression to old behaviors (“retrograde behaviors”) only makes sense when you realize that it is a natural aspect of growing into a new self.
Integral Bypassing is when you falsely believe that you are “2nd Tier” because you have read the books of Ken Wilber or of other integral authors. One easily risks arrested development when engaged in Integral Bypassing, as Wilber discovered when he began getting letters and other forms of feedback (see “One Taste”) that revealed a number of his readers falsely believed that they didn’t need a practice because they were simply reading his books. This was a hope beyond hope; it literally flew in the face of what he was writing about – practice, practice, practice!
With the Integral Theory conference coming up, I thought I would try to participate from afar by tilling some soil to help anyone who shares my perspectives on walking our talk about levels of development. Continue reading