What is Development?
Published 10 Apr 2017
While almost every person is in favour of development, not many people could easily or quickly specify what development is. The term itself evokes in mind the association with a growing fullness of human existence, the development of potential powers, and constant tendency in the direction of perfection and excellence. Thus, development can be defined as a natural process, closely associated with progress and movement towards better things.
Human beings are not perfect, but they are always on the way to become excellent in all respects. Each generation since the human race appeared has members that are much better than their forefathers. Development, thus, can be called as a process “upwards” – the growth of human possibilities. Development allows people rise from the lowest to the highest, enabling them, at the same time, to determine at each stage of their development how much is achieved.
Development may be compared and contrasted with simple growth of living plant. Consider, for example, a seed. It contains within it some possibilities of development. In the appropriate soil and under good conditions its development will follow normal stages of growth, and this seed will develop into the perfect, beautiful flower. What is true of this seed is true of the child at birth. Both for a plant and human being there is normal development, a possibility of full and perfect progress. However, there is one difference. The flower may become perfect at the expense of the neighbouring plants, while for the human being, this method of development is destroying (Lerner 89).
The development of the human soul and mind is a function of the development of other human beings. Therefore, from individual development humans are driven on to social development, and consequently, to the development of the whole human civilization.
For human beings to develop, they must constantly grow, and an essential part of their development must lie in their mutual relationships and evolution. This is a distinguishing characteristic of the development of the human world. Harmony between moral and intellectual evolution is a basis for the highest stage of human development.
- Lerner, R. M. Concepts and Theories of Human Development. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahwah, NJ, 1997.