May 26, Friday
11:30 – 13:30
Budapest (CEST)

Embodying the Descending Path in Adult Development

IEC Conference: 2023

The idea that development is a “transcend and include” process is a partial-truth that results in significant collective shadow in the integral diaspora—specifically it supports an ascending bias and subtle arrogance in narratives about adult development.  We will see how human development, i.e. all learning, necessarily involves a transcend and *exclude* process. That is, all new mental structures create some degree of shadow or “occlusion,” which later calls to be released, healed, or deconstructed through “descending” processes.  Theories of ego development and spiritual growth must include both ascending processes of complexity-creating vertical development and descending processes of complexity release and un-learning. The Wisdom Skill model, which shows how ascending and descending modes of maturation relate and intertwine, untangles several conundrums and apparent paradoxes in developmental theories.


United States

Tom Murray is Director of Research, Innovation, and Partnerships at STAGES International, is Chief Visionary and Instigator at Open Way Solutions LLC, and is a Senior Research Fellow at the UMass School of Computer Science. He is an Associate Editor for Integral Review journal, and is on the editorial review board of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. He has published articles on developmental theory and meta-theory as they relate to wisdom skills, education, we-space practices, ethics, and epistemology.  He loves improvisational dance and contemplative movement.  More at and