An example of dualism in my life would be my unquestioning adherence to the idea that I had to do well in school. Regardless of how others performed, my success was expected. It was probably not until high school that I reached a level of multiplicity that allowed me to realize that not everyone held the same expectations for themselves. Sadly, relativism did not fully take shape until my 20s! It was then that I was able to understand that, though others may hold different beliefs, neither their beliefs or mine were “better.” For example, while working at the Social Security office a couple of years ago, I was exposed to fa culture that, before, I had only been able to form an opinion of through stereotypes and the experience of others. However, through this exposure, I was able to form my own, more informed understanding.
The first “marker event” that I could think of that could have a significant impact on young people as they move into the multiplicity stages is their first significant relationship. While there are certainly different ways to engage in relationships, there is hardly a “correct way,” and teens will be bombarded with various teachings claiming to be the best way, but will soon learn that it is something they will have to figure out for themselves. The second event would be the transition from high school to college, where they will face many situations that will make them question the “correctness” of their own belief systems. While they may have similar encounters during their teen years, college will expose them to a far wider variation of opinions and belief systems.