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Socialized Consciousness and Self-Authorizing Consciousness

            Robert Kegan is known for his works in developmental psychology, one being his 1994 book, "In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Times." In his book, Kegan provides his theory of adult developmental growth, describing each stage of a person's consciousness, how we think and understand. Taylor (2008) refers to Kegan's definition of values of the Socialized Consciousness model as "I know what's right, generally because my parents, religion, or cultural group have shown the correct way. I may be polite in acknowledging others' values, but I really know that what is Good is what I have been taught and believe " Whereas under Self-authorizing consciousness, values are defined as "I have questioned my beliefs and assumptions and find I do not have to accept everything I was told. I often evaluate ethical questions in terms of the situation. Instead of being absolute, values may be "situational, " meaning it's not a simple black-and-white decision. ".
             I distinctly recall the beginning of my adult development transition from socialized consciousness to self-authorizing consciousness; I realized I had never questioned where my feelings toward gay men had originated, much less, if they were warranted. My transition began in January 2003, four months after a camp staff reunion where a close friend of more than twenty years, Chris, revealed to me he was gay, Chris told me he had always been attracted to me. You may be able to imagine my shock, it wasn't that he was gay; I had always "assumed " he was. The shock was that he told me that he was attracted to me. I was speechless, I had been married for twenty-two years, a father of four and my career was sailing along nicely. The biggest question I had for myself was, "what signals or behaviors had I ever given to lead him to be attracted to me? ".
             To reflect on how I came to characterize myself being of socialized consciousness as a forty-six year old, I must look back to the communities that I "grew up " in and the unquestionable effect they had on my social contract.

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