• Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration through Communicative Action

    Understanding and Measuring Human Development

The Meaning of the Words in

Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration through Communicative Action

The Model of Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration through Communicative Action is meant to be both a theory of human development and a methodology that accurately measures the stages humans possibly transmigrate from childhood and adolescence to adulthood and old age. Each of the four components within the model`s title has a meaning that is specific and relevant for the idea of human development:

    1. Homeostasis means that development in this model is seen as the reorganization of basic transcendental or universal functions as and within the conscious human body, life, mind, and spirit to sustain viability. It is assumed that humans can respond to their changing environment through growing into a new stage, a new configuration of their being, essence, ideas, and absolute as adaptation to a life world.
    2. Hierarchical means that with each new reorganization of the internal homeostasis, and thus adaptation to one’s environment, body, life, mind, and spirit produce a more hierarchically complex form of their being, essence, ideas, and absolute. The new capacities that arise with this movement are not arbitrary, which means that they cannot be willfully generated by any earlier stage but are completely new and unique responses to the reality perceived by this particular stage.
    3. Integration means that throughout human development the interrelatedness of the homeostatic functions becomes more intricate. With each new stage the network between body, life, mind, and spirit ideally becomes simultaneously more differentiated and interrelated while the various levels learn to adopt to each other more perfectly. In the same way as the internal integration increases, the individual can foster his or her relational intelligence to resonate with the most complex version of the world that can possibly exist for him or herself.
    4. Communicative Action points towards the seeming fact that humans act through communication, in the sense that they expect certain reactions from an environment consistent with their prior expectations. Only if the reaction of the environment is perceived as homomorphic to one`s expectations, communication is experienced as successful and concomitantly maintains a person`s or system`s homeostasis. At the same time development as homeostatic hierarchical integration happens on the basis of communication with the own self that first constructs the perception of dilemma or failure. On the basis of failure body, life, mind, and spirit can generate new insights and accommodate to a new arrangement of the homeostatic functions. Finally, this new equilibrium is self-stabilized through new modes of communicating one`s being, essence, ideas, and absolute to one`s self in a way that for example sustains a semantic of cognitive understanding of, goal attainment in regard to, and happy relationship with the current life world – successful communication.

The Deep Structure of

Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration through Communicative Action

Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration through Communicative Action is the reorganization of four homeostatic functions. Those functions are called adaptation, differentiation, integration and self-thematization. Their reorganization is fractal so that all layers, stages, sub-stages and stage-transitions embrace the quadruplicity of those functions.

Each function can be considered to be a medium for certain forms: Like air that can carry sound and thus transfer auditive information or as light can mirror images and thus transfer visual information, each function serves specific expressions of body, life, mind, and spirit as distinct aspects of your ego-identity.

The homeostatic functions can be divided into different patterns that then can be used to measure development when the patterns` iterations are apprehended. One very obvious is to split homeostasis into two halves and thus uncover a movement often unfavourably described as oscillation between individual and collective stages. However, individual and collective are only certain forms of the primary media of incomplete and complete reciprocation and can lead to severe fallacies in assigning a stage regardless of the high probability for incomplete reciprocation collapsing with an individual point of view and complete reciprocation collapsing with a collective point of view – but oftentimes a collective might be within an individual or the individual might describe a collective that basically is individual or an agent rather than a system.

The First Half of Homeostasis

The first half of homeostasis can be considered to be an expression of a Subjective Spirit in the sense that it is preoccupied with one`s own subjective sense of an external reality and how to act on it. It does not include integration in the sense of fully reciprocating with the subjective point of view and the personal goals and interests of the homeostasis within other persons or as enacted by larger systems and therefore confuse its subjective point of view with objectivity. Accordingly, this first half is considered to enact incomplete reciprocity and includes the functions of Adaptation and Differentiation.

The Second Half of Homeostasis

The second half of homeostasis can be called Objective Spirit in the sense that it starts to recognize subjectivity and thus endeavours to mediate between different subjective points of view either through proceedings that generate a functional fit with a larger system or as the modification of communication within a shared sense of interiority. The ability for comparison in this second half can henceforth give rise to objectivity based on a deep intersubjective understanding or even unity in difference. Through a shared set of systematic practices and communicative techniques that are somewhat hermeneutical or discoursive and eventually directed towards upholding a universal concordance of what reality is or rather might be within individuals or systems it manages specualtive and affective integrity. Accordingly, the second half is considered to work by means of complete reciprocity and includes the functions of Integration and Self-Thematization.

The Four Functions of Homeostasis

The four functions in the figure above are depicted in the corners of the square all connected through vertical, horizontal and transverse lines. They resemble the four biological functions of exterior sensory (adaptation), exterior motory (differentiation), interior motory (integration), and interior sensory (self-thematization).

    1. The function of Adaptation was called Identity or identical transformation by the famous pioneers of developmental theory Jean Piaget and Bärbel Inhelder. It is a medium for our cognitive mode that deals with environmental information or the contents of earlier stages and worlds that penetrate our senses or are mindfully apprehended in our interiors. Adaptation is a very practical function that deals with sensory life through observation – it turns an outside into one`s new inside perception. In a dialectical sense it is a thesis based on a categorial judgment that decides about the possibility or impossibility of a communication at a certain time.
    2. The function of Differentiation was called Inversion or the negative transformation by Piaget and Inhelder. It is a medium for character development or goal orientation. The ability to exclude or negate allows to focus on a single hypothesis and thus conduct experiments. Based on the needs and desires of one`s body, life, mind and spirit these experiments are directed to the outside world by guiding our adaptation. It is a sort of speculative and conceptual awareness that wants to decide what comes to existence and what stays non-existent. Thus, it is disjunctive exclusive in its workings and from a dialectical point of view a first negation.
    3. The function of Integration was called Reciprocation or the reciprocal transformation by Piaget and Inhelder and is from a dialectical point of view a sort of second inversion or negation. As a medium it allows an interpersonal mode that is based on the ability to consciously hold identity and difference together. Therefore, it implements comparison as well as mediation between two seemingly exclusive world views – it operates disjunctive comparative with a tendency for archeological and genealogical world views as well as the projection of the past into the future through transitive values. This function oftentimes relies on imaginations and might include a mental quality of resonance or of an outside coming into or even owning one´s interior. From this owning sense of awareness, one again acts towards the outside aware of what is necessary and what is contingent to these necessities.
    4. The function of Self-Thematization was called Correlation or correlative transformation by Piaget and Inhelder. It is a medium for one`s or a system`s internal conscious preoccupation. As an apprehension of life within oneself including both a sense of universality and the corresponding particularity which is the unity of the earlier functions of integration, differentiation, and adaptation. From a dialectical point of view it works as a synthesis that generates the structure of a whole. This whole is an inside that is not distinct from any outside but the mode of generating shared and affective historicity that can sustain a certain mode of homeostasis in a self or a system and thus a shared commonsense reality.

The Layers and Stages of

Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration through Communicative Action

The Model of Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration has provided evidence for the iteration and completion of the homeostatic patterns along sixteen stages each of which can be subdivided into four substages. Therefore, it seems to be the most complete model of human development so far that has both: a theory of growth and correlating measures. We lightly hold the idea that there might be a fifth layer that is holding the „both… and…“ or „neither… nor…“ of the two sides of homoeostasis as an all-perception or as no-perception: the appearance of the self-illumined – or the disappearance into nothing whatsoever of the – clasp that is a set of self-unified polarities along the trajectory of body, mind, life, and spirit. It might be the realm of pure ananda or otherwise the attainment of extinction. The later state is neither touched by eternity nor timelessness as no-time while the earlier would be touched by the hand of timeless eternity as all-time.

Firstness – Body and Sensual Being:

The first four stages of early childhood develop the function of adaptation or identity. It is the development of a field of pointing within the sensual sphere based on perception that is passive nevertheless selectively generating a self-thematization as the unity of sense impulses and the perceiving body. There is an imposition of substance on the pure phenomenal stream.



The infant is starting to coordinate its reflexes into single perceptions of what is. These are temporal series, which connect different phases of an action or perception however, they do not produce external events that the baby experiences as independent. The baby is relying on the symbiosis with the caregivers and slowly adds positive and negative connotations to sense-impressions.



The baby has a differentiated physical core self and acquires a magical view of what it can do by using actions on objects in the world. It lives in a world of means-ends relations and experiences pleasure based on achieving changes within the sensory realm. Too, the baby starts to adopt strategies from the caregivers to create relaxation and perceives them as somewhat separate.



The baby starts to understand the relationship between perception, action and causality thus starting to experiment with different combinations under different circumstances. Too, it develops autonomous capacities like a sensory memory, pointing, and independent movement and becomes self-actualizing with its perspectives within the sensual realm.



The baby is enabled to make certain sensual events last and starts correlative action. It is arbitrating perception, action, and causality into single words or the imitation of a caregiver. Thus, it experiences a unity with the sense world and might confuse itself with imitated experiences. Too, spontaneous insights come in as representations from the next tier.

Secondness – Life and Concrete Essence:

The second layer of four stages brings concrete agency or ego activity into being that makes the world appear as resistance. It is the tier that functions as differentiating thus shaping one`s essence based on a body armor and what we represent in the concrete visible world ending in the unity of life and the agent’s actions.



The toddler is starting to both recognize itself in the mirror and name him- or herself as “me”. The agent steps out of the sense world and adapts to it from a new identity using the physical being as tool. There is an early identification of concrete traits as one`s individuality or person as well as good and bad behavior while everything is animate.



The approximately four-year-old starts to get goal oriented towards the sensual world trying to achieve sequences of actions and following plans. Accidental outcomes thus change towards deliberation as well as differentiation allows for collaborative play where roles e.g. in the sandbox are assigned. Here the child adapts a magic view of being able to realize its concrete dreams.



At elementary school age the child learns concrete operations and starts to think about intentions not only actions. He or she can start to engage in standardized games like counting-out rhymes and learn to stick to rules and eventually starts to strive for actualizing rules and gain social status through collecting concretes. Agency might get informed from the dream world.



During adolescence, the fourth stage emerges as a correlative function that brings together a person’s agentic relation to the world and the larger concrete life or zeitgeist. The individual here is living his or her essence within a concrete collective while projecting and introjecting collective standards and causalities through formal operations and receiving intuitions from the mind.

Thirdness – Mind and meaningful Ideas:

The third layer brings integration to fruition. It is the mediating interpretation or the subject between the senses and one`s concrete essence. It generates and thematises the difference between actual and possible and thus generates meaning and conscious evolution eventually resulting within the unity of self and world or inside and outside within the experience of an individual or systemic soul.



The Self-Aware persons steps out of his or her concrete essence and into a first subjective dimension oftentimes referred to as soul that enables wisdom or expertise. Wisdom here means that one generates an abstract identity that can hold together the senses and the concrete essence within a guideline for good, practical, or knowledgeable living like Confucius or Lao Tzu did.



The conscientious stage uses differentiation for self-optimization as well as achieving goals that serve one`s concrete community. They combine several abstractions into a set of virtues that can guide them or their organizations. The magic powers of their intellect help to collaborate through abstract roles and figure out the middle way between polarities.



The integrative person tends to, through historical analysis and comparison, criticize unilateral power and develops a worldview of autonomy in mutual dependence. They tend to define a state of systems or personality from which self-actualization can interpenetrate with reality and align with transitive values; oftentimes they report an eternal, infinite hermeneutical ocean.



With the discoursive stage a window to the absolute opens while people recognize how integration is uphold through the discursively constructing nature of our minds and systems. People here experience their universal humanness and perceive other individuals as growing into it. Thus, they create complex mental systems like Kant, Habermas, or Sartre to foster this development.

Fourthness – Spirit and absolute Truth:

The fourth layer is the self-thematization of four developmental tiers. It builds up on the perception of integrated opposites through the mind of the earlier layer and looks at the quality of different unities between different subjects and worlds eventually leading up into a perspective where the universal is constructing all there is by unifying across the polarities and separations within body, life, and mind making everything a conscious discourse of the all with the all.



The consensus-aware person can apprehend the self-thematizing or autopoietic systems of the earlier layer as a gestalt. The person identifies with consciousness itself apprehending these systems generating their consensus between opposing poles across different tiers as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel did in The Science of Logic, Clare Graves in The Neverending Quest, Ervin Laszlo`s Systemsview of the World, Niklas Luhmann in Social Systems and Aurobindo in his musings on the Isha Upanishad.



Autological means to self-consciously be self-differentiation that enacts universal maps throughout the earlier tiers and shows the resolution of polarities in unfolded paradoxes natural to human development. Ken Wilber`s Sex, Ecology and Spirituality, Adi Da`s Aletheon, Aurobindo`s writings between 1914 and 1926, Ervin Laszlo’s Integral Vision of Reality, Hegel`s Encyclopedia, Georg Simmel`s Sociology and Luhmann`s 1990s writings can serve as examples for this stage.



The Cosmotheantric integrative mode enables the Overmind cosmic consciousness to see both simultaneously: paradoxes across polarities like insides and outsides or self-reference and reference from others as well as the movement and communication of the all across several tiers within a self-actualizing total-painting perspective. This reality is entered in Wilber`s Integral Spirituality or The Mother by Aurobindo and culminates in the 1939 and 1940 revisions of The Life Divine.



Co-Gnosis experiences itself as the self-thematization of universals behind four tiers or perspectives like body, mind, life, and spirit that unfold themselves as a unity woven out of multiple separately unfolded paradoxes. This perspective gives rise to a sense of all identity with a kind of identity conflict the structure of which can be creatively reimagined into the all. One can find expressions of it in Wilber`s The Religion of Tomorrow and Aurobindo`s The Supramental Manifestation.

The Assessment of Development through

Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration through Communicative Action

Developmental models rely on different kinds of metrics. Basically one can say that the Model of Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration is one of the domain general models of human development. We don`t use specific categories or themes derived from one domain of development like morals, faith or ego-development rather the deep patterns that seemingly underlie each and every stage sequence. They have been carved out by an archeological method as well as the correlation of multiple models and metrics and are now applied to determine layers, stages, substages and transition steps.

Foundational Fields for Assessing Development

Measuring development with the Model of Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration focusses on an analysis of communicative action by looking at four fields humans generate with languages, the field of pointing, the lexical-conceptual field, the symbolic-syntactic field, and the thematic-rhematic field:

    1. The field of pointing is made up of changing objects that come up with each new stage. A newborn has only sensual objects and reflexes while an average adult in the western world has ideas, thoughts, and complex emotions. Knowledge of those objects can help to see whether or not a person is including all functions of homeostasis or is only using objects of an earlier or later stage and thus might life with allergies or addictions towards certain stages or functions. Besides that, it helps to correlate with other models that expect the expression of certain objects to get a score at a certain stage.
    2. With lexical-conceptual field we describe the fact that each field of pointing is conveyed through words and concepts. To measure development, one needs an understanding of those words and concepts. Too, the lexical-conceptual field can point towards blind spots and learning opportunities of a person especially in respect to the current zeitgeist`s discourse at a certain stage.
    3. From the symbolic-syntactic field the lexical-conceptual field is infused with individual as well as cultural meaning that is transported through a grammatical structure of a sentence or a text. The symbolic-syntactic field is most indicative of typological differences as well as the phase of a stage a person is at. Though each language has its own set of grammatical rules there is an underlying universal grammar that is intrinsic within any system even if expressed only in a degenerate form. However, assessing this field is always driven by interpreting symbolic meaning and thus it is the most vulnerable point within each assessment.
    4. Within the thematic-rhematic field all three earlier layers are contained. Through this field each tier can enact a new theme and with each stage a new rheme within the themes at hand, a novel information that is added to the tier`s theme. The thematic-rhematic field is most indicative of the stage a person is at. The first tier has one theme, that of adaptation, and maximally four rhemes, one for each function of the homeostat. With each stage within the layer the next function gets integrated into the overall homeostasis of a layer and thus releases and integrates the functions of the earlier layers. The fourth tier then has four themes, those of adaptation, differentiation, integration and self-thematization, as well as maximally four rhemes, one for each stage within it.
Validity Judgments that Enable Assessments

Whether or not the judgment of validity that is put into an assessment is accurate strongly depends on person assessed. This person must commit him- or herself to certain ethical standards that correlate with speech act theory`s validity claims and the four fields of communicative action:

    1. The person must use a text to reveal truth, which means to only mention the objects he or she is really aware of and concerned with.
    2. The person must show appropriation of a cultural consensus of concepts and words that can thus be – even if just vaguely – understood by the assessor.
    3. The person best operates with a symbolic-syntactic authenticity that resembles his or her interior psycho-socio-emotional constitution and processes.
    4. The person eases up the process with faith into the universal structure that wants to self-express itself through him or herself and not try to be any particular stage at all.
Process of Assigning a Stage Score

The following chart shows the process of assigning a score to a person. The assessment works with any verbal communicative action, whether written or stated, but, too, has some solid measures for communication by body language and the activation of energies within the body, life, mind, and spirit of a person.

Examples for Measuring the Extremes of Development

By this process the Model of Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration can measure the apparent extremes of human development by interpreting the symbolic-syntactic field and by dissecting the interplay of themes and rhemes in a sentence.

On the one side of theses extremes speech begins with birth. The first layer of body and sensual being develops mono-thematic language which means an infant`s use of language is restricted to the use of single syllables and ends in onomatopoetic statements, verbalizations that imitate and give substance to sensual phenomena like the German notion of “Wau Wau” for a dog at the 1.4 Rapproching Stage:

„[First Theme as “Dog” [First Rheme as Syllable “W” W]  [Second Rheme as Syllable “au” au] [Third Rheme as Syllable “W” W] [Fourth Rheme as Syllable “au” au]“.

Too, the 1.4 Rapproching Stage can name single words that are involutionary givens from the adult realm and learned through imitation of sound in correspondence with sensual causality like pointing towards an object.

On the other side of these extremes speech seemingly culminates in its hierarchically integrated complexity within fourthness, which means that we start to see four themes expressed at the 4.1 Consensus-Aware Stage that include one rheme or information. Those notions can be the description of a phenomenon across four tiers like here in a sentence by Aurobindo from the interpretations of the Isha Upanishad:

[First Rheme as Identical transformation in a “Process of Being Manifested” [Fourth Theme as Self-Thematization within “Modification of All” All cause and result are merely the evocation of a latent and potential shape or condition of things] [Third Theme as Integration  from which all springs, a “Memory” out of the previous condition or status in which it was latent,] [Second Theme as Differentiation as “Force with Distinct States” by some particular movement of a Conscious Force which is progressively passing from status to status] [First Theme as Adaptation as “Identical Manifestation” and thus manifesting in form all that it holds in itself in being]].

On the other hand it can be the expression of a unity in quadruplicate form like in this passage from Hegel`s Science of Logic:

“[First Rheme as Unity of “Good as not Being Good“ [Fourth Theme as Self-Thematization of “Phenomenon of Good” The realized good is good by virtue of what it already is in the subjective purpose in its idea;] [Third Theme as Integration from which “Existence Comes” the realization gives it an external existence,] [Second Theme as Difference that is made through “Being External” but since this existence has only the status of an externality which is in and for itself null,] [First Theme as Adaptation the “Phenomenon Realization is” what is good in it has attained only an accidental, fragile existence, not a realization corresponding to the idea]”.

At the late 4.4 Co-Gnostic Stage, like in this modification of Sri Aurobindo`s thought, there are multiple of these earlier complex notions intertwined and unified: “It is that we are mind, psychic, vital, physical jumbled together when we take an outside view, while the inside view reveals that all four as introspection, self-analysis, close observation and disentanglement are distinct modes of the universe, and thus each member is already placed with its separate place and function, all directed by a central being, and simultaneously it is that we can act upon these discrete entities in a way that, through dissection, unifies and reconstructs them in unique manners”. The sentence contains four themes as well as rhemes and it is mentioning four developmental tiers. By this the construction rests on an overarching unity between the poles of individual and collective each of which includes a minor unity. These minor unities again consists out of an unfolded paradox:

“[Overarching Unity between Opposites of “Individual and Collective” [First Minor Unity between “Inside and Outside” [First Theme and Rheme as Paradox of “Separate Layers Jumbled Together” It is that we are mind, psychic, vital, physical jumbled together when we take an outside view,] [Second Theme and Rheme as Paradox of “Inside view Reveals no Inside but the Universe” while the inside view reveals that all four as introspection, self-analysis, close observation and disentanglement are distinct modes of the universe,]] [Second Minor Unity between “Being Placed or Passive and an Ability to Act or Be Active” [Third Theme and Rheme as Paradox of “Individuality and Central Control” and thus each member is already placed with its separate place and function, all directed by a central being,] [Fourth Theme and Rheme as Paradox of “Realness and Constructed Nature” and simultaneously it is that we can act upon these discrete entities in a way that, through dissection, unifies and reconstructs them in unique manners]]]”.

The Benefits of Assessment through

Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration through Communicative Action

The Model of Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration seems to be the most complete model of human development so far. It can both explain the development along the trajectories of the hitherto known models with the latest stages ever described those of Sri Aurobindo and Ken Wilber. However, it cannot only explain those developments rather measures up to the heights both authors have expressed in their writings.

Since the model is not only based on data selectively gathered through prior developmental assessments like almost any other model but, too, derived from the archeological analysis of several hundred authors and authors` life works it is deeply anchored in the lived reality of at least five domains of knowledge: Philosophy, Psychology, Spirituality, Sociology and Business Administration. Besides that the model has been as thoroughly as possible correlated with at least two docent other conceptions of adult development including the works of Clare Graves, Jean Piaget and Bärbel Inhelder, Margaret Mahler, Hein Werner, Daniel Stern, Michael Commons, Kurt Fischer and Theo Linda Dawson, Lawrence Kohlberg, James Fowler and Heinz Streib, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Ken Wilber, Sri Aurobindo, Adi Da Samraj, Jane Loevinger and Susanne Cook-Greuter, William Torbert, Robert Kegan and Otto Laske, Jenny Wade, William Perry, Erik Erickson, and others. The combined wisdom of the five knowledge domains and the correlated models integrates with the high granularity offered by the interplay of layers, stages, sub-stages, and transitioning steps within the Model of Homeostatic Hierarchical Integration. This allows to boost one`s communicative action and tailor extremely specific developmental feedback to a person in their respective field of interest.

Besides conventional developmental feedback the homeostatic functions applied in sentences point at spiritual states at a certain stage, allergies and addictions towards certain aspects of homeostasis or the stage trajectory that has already been lived, as well as typological specificities, like explicated in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, can be recognized. Together with an analysis of objects conveyed in a person’s speech acts and the applied concepts one gets a rich and unique view that transcend the limitations of classical measures for mystical states, developmental stages, typological differences and practical knowledge.