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RETARDATION, also known as Re-evaluation, is one of seven possible goals in life, chosen by a soul before taking birth. Not to be confused with being “abnormal”, Retardation simply means to slow down or rein in. A goal of Retardation drives the personality to retreat from the wider world and focus inwards, to be alone with one’s thoughts and feelings.

A change of focus

To retard simply means to block, decelerate, impede or hold back. Hence, having the goal of Retardation means blocking the hectic pace and intensity of life experiences in some way for the duration of the lifetime.

The goal of Retardation has the opposite effect from that of Growth. The aim is not to expand beyond one’s usual limits or to accelerate to the next level, but to keep oneself reined in, to focus within oneself, introspecting or contemplating, living a relatively isolated, uncomplicated, low-intensity life. So, whereas the focus of Growth is to learn and expand through new experiences, Retardation is used to minimise worldly interactions and to fully focus inward.



Why would a soul ever choose to live a life with this goal? There are various possible reasons.

One might have developed a tendency over numerous lives to become swept up in trivial worldly matters, for example. So being born with a lack of motivation (or even a lack of ability) to engage with the world serves as a way to take a step back and re-tune into oneself.

Another reason would be to spend life in a highly introspective state, less distracted by physical activities — this certainly seems to have enabled Stephen Hawking to focus on his theoretical developments.

Characteristics of Retardation

The key characteristic of this goal is the personality’s desire to be silent, withdrawn, and contemplative, preferably in nature rather than in modern society. And, conversely, the person will likely feel stressed and uncomfortable in modern society or any circumstances that are noisy, fast-paced, and highly interactive.

Those with this goal may have some sort of congenital disability to hold themselves back from ‘normal’ life experiences or to keep themselves reined in with a low level of outside exposure. Autism is one example — a way to engage less and focus inward.

However, many if not most with this goal have no disability at all, just a desire to be silent and contemplative. Think, for example, of how many monasteries are filled with monks and nuns living this path.

Also note that not everyone with disabilities has a goal of Retardation. Physical, mental or emotional disabilities can serve any life goal, or none. My wife, for example, has a physical disability (cerebral palsy) and her goal is Acceptance.

But … that’s offensive!

A lot of people just see the word Retardation and have an immediate reaction (as you’ll see in some of the comments below).

Ironically, psychiatrists looking at real developmental impairments have long faced the same problem. They name a certain condition, the word is picked up by the general public and used as a term of abuse, and then the poor old psychiatrists are blamed for using a term that is offensive. Take the “intellectually impaired”: previous terms for the condition had included cretin, moron, idiot and imbecile — all of which were perfectly innocent and humane at first, before they were co-opted as terms of abuse. The word cretin, for example, derives from an old French word for Christian. This was originally used with perfectly good intent, to emphasise that people with significant intellectual or developmental disabilities were not only real people deserving dignity but also good Christians, incapable of sinning.

But people are in the habit of taking whatever psychiatric or psychological term is currently used to describe a psychological problem and then throw it at anyone who doesn’t agree with them: “You stupid cretin / moron / idiot / imbecile / retard!”

As the abusive meaning becomes more well known than the medical meaning, those who care for people with impairment find it offensive and call for a new, politically correct label. (According to Wikipedia, this constant cycle of changing words is known as the euphemism treadmill.)

Psychiatry constructed the term mental retardation in the 20th century to replace the previous terms like cretinism, all of which had become offensive. By the end of the century, however, “retard” had become a term of abuse and therefore “retardation” is deemed offensive.

So… because of its unfortunate association with those pejorative terms, many prefer to use the word “Re-evaluation” as the label for this life goal. Re-evaluation means taking a pause to review oneself and one’s approach to life. I have no problem with that, except that the word itself doesn’t quite sound like the opposite of Growth/expansion/acceleration. Perhaps a better term for it would be Retreat – implying that it’s about pulling away from the world and into oneself, rather than a stretching out of oneself into the world (= Growth).

[NOTE: The book Archetypes of the Soul, which presents exactly the same channelled teachings in German but from – apparently – a different source, uses the words Acceleration and Deceleration instead of Growth and Retardation.]

Retardation: positive and negative

Positive pole


Negative pole







In the negative pole of Retardation, one retreats completely into a fearful state of withdrawal from the outer world, perhaps seeking oblivion. An example is the condition psychiatrists refer to as “solipsism syndrome” — a state of utter loneliness, detachment and indifference to the outside world, as if nothing existed apart from one’s own mind. If this happens, a way out is to temporarily swing to the opposite goal of Growth and pursue its positive pole of comprehension — to gain some first-hand experience and insight that will help to re-focus on the higher purpose behind one’s desire for silence and solitude.

In the positive pole of Retardation, one enjoys retreating to a simpler way of being that is deliberately slow-paced, introspective, and contemplative, such as a monastic or pastoral lifestyle. This provides ample time and space for inward reflection.

* “Atavism” is a term used in the social sciences to describe a return to the past — reverting to a more “primitive” lifestyle such as our ancestors lived, rather than keeping up with the modern world.

Retardation: some famous examples

Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking
Helen Keller
Helen Keller

Goal: the driving force of the personality





The Michael Teachings


32 thoughts on “Retardation

    • If the underlying meaning of your question is, “Do you believe that anyone born with a handicap deserves no sympathy, support or compassion because, after all, they chose it,” then no.
      Do I believe that SOME handicaps are courageously chosen as means to drive one’s life in a specific direction? Yes. *But* note that not all handicaps necessarily serve *this* life-goal, i.e. a life of of inwardly-focused re-evaluation. Some handicaps can just as powerfully serve a life goal of growth, providing a challenge to be triumphantly overcome, or a life goal of acceptance, providing a means to shine despite the limitations and daily difficulties, thereby serving as an inspiration to others.

      Do I believe that *all* handicaps are deliberately chosen by the individual? No. There is always room for unplanned accidents, from the moment of conception onwards. It goes with the territory.

  1. Could a person have this goal even if they have no mental or physical disability? If so, how would it manifest for someone who appears to be fit and healthy? I have been reading these goals and considering that this could be me.

    • Yes, one could be generally fit and healthy with this goal. The main feature would be a constant urge to retreat from the world. I’m imagining someone who was ‘born’ to live in a monastery or hermitage, where their life could be devoted to quiet inner reflection with the minimum of external disturbance. The monkish, contemplative life would be where they feel most at home.

    • Thanks for the reply. This makes sense. I haven’t read through all goals yet, just was curious about this one. Good site by the way – clear explanations, lots to think about.

    • Barry,

      I had a Michael Channel tell me that I was born with the Goal of Growth, and I feel this is accurate. However, I believe I had a breakdown-slash-midlife-monad at age 29 (Now I am almost 32), and since that time I have definitely been living with a strong Goal of Reevaluation (even though I am just now getting a name for this). Is it possible that I can live the rest of my life in Reevaluation? I am not handicap, per se, though I do have some problems with sensory integration that cause me overwhelm and fatigue, among other problems. (Though I understand a person can be well and able-bodied and still be in the goal of reevaluation). … My other question is, what type of Service would be most appropriate for a highly-sensitive person such as myself with the goal of reevaluation? … Aside from being HSP, with some Sensory Processing problems, I am also introverted, and a 5th-level Old Soul (with 10 previously completed cycles), and I also identify with such labels as ‘intuitive’, ’empathic’, ‘indigo’, & ‘2nd-wave volunteer’ … To give you a brief character outline in aiding any suggestion you may have for me.

      Thank you-

    • Hi

      A lot of people have a crisis around 28 – the “Saturn return” life period in astrological terms. I doubt that it was your 4th monad, unless you’re planning to die at 56! (Only kidding – if we plan a full life with all the monads, it will be as long as we allow it to be.)

      The goal of Growth is probably the toughest to live with in that it is intense and filled with “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” as Shakespeare put it. Until, that is, we grow enough to get on top of it – which in my case at least started at the 4th monad (35-45) and has just reached fruition (I’m 53). Before then, it’s a roller coaster ride which will be just as you cunningingly planned it in your pre-life plan.

      When growth gets too intense and overwhelming (i.e. the negative pole), we are naturally prompted to swing to the opposite goal of retardation/reevaluation/deceleration. In other words, we need time out to rest, regroup and assimilate the story so far. This, I presume, will be where you are at the moment – taking time out before diving back in.

      If we don’t take time out now and then, we can get lost in the overwhelming intensity and confusion of life, and then suffer some kind of “imposed” time out – in my case, chronic fatigue syndrome.

      Being highly sensitive presumably reflects the fact that you’re an older soul with emotional Centering – being quietly empathic and receptive. Are you also a Scholar? I can’t really give any advice on an appropriate form of service without a sense of your essence role and casting, so do feel free to say more.


    • Thank you for this reply; it is helpful!

      I don’t know (or care) when I will die; in the happiest of ways, of course. Lol. But I do actually hope that I will stay in Reevaluation.

      My QHHT hypnotherapist did mention that it was around the time of a Saturn return, too.

      I did come down with illnesses, too, by the way. Extreme fatigue and other debilitating symptoms that are now starting to resolve ~ seemingly because of energy medicine, life-style changes, and new understandings I have been learning (such as soul age) that have been healing. As well as some nutritional things that are seemingly helping as well, to some degree. But energy medicine has been a life saver.

      After writing my comment I thought – Oops I should have said my Role! 😛 I feel happy to share that info. Thank you.

      I am a Sage, with a disincarnate Priest ET. At first I thought I was a Priest, but then I realized, oh, wait, I’m a Sage 🙂 And sure enough the chart said so too. I also have a Server Casting (very, very fitting for me). Between the Priest and Server influences I imagine this is why I feel called so heavily to serve & inspire people (as best as I am personally able to, of course). I played with the idea of possibly having some artisan in me because I am an artist at heart, but I think this could be for other reasons. And Server casting definitely makes sense for me. My task companion is a disincarnate artisan, though. And my husband is an artisan (you know how artisans and sages can play together). 🙂

      I am actually Physically-Centered, too. (not moving centered). This fits me very, very well, too. … But I have read that fluid roles, such as sage, can be emotional. And I think I am perhaps in the Emotional Part of the Physical Centering. Sages can also have a well developed intellect, and I am a huge reader, always reading. This could have to do with other things, such as a goal of growth, or being a sage, or being an Idealist slid to skeptic … or other things…

      And that brings me to my next things. I am in aggression mode, with an idealist attitude, with the goal of growth. However, I feel my over leaves have switched or slid. I am now living life, and have been for several years now, as a persevering skeptic with the goal of reevaluation. This I feel strongly about, I am mostly in my new over leaves, and have been for years. (You can see how someone who is aggressively seeking their ideals while trying to grow ~ could burn out. and I did; when my 3rd child was almost 3yrs old).

      I agree that it is all set up pre-life, btw. This is a personal revelation, or an intuitive understanding, that I was given before reading that other’s had this theory, too. I knew deeply, at my lowest low, that I had planned it all to help myself, and it was unfolding at perfect timing. I knew that.

      Other Chart info is:
      Cadre/Entity: 7/3 (Humor, Compassion) – very accurate for me.
      Male/Female: 41/59
      Frequency: 47
      Chief Obstacle: Impatience
      Body Types: Martial, secondary Lunar
      Needs: Freedom, Adventure, Expansion
      Life Quadrant: Knowledge
      Truth Orientation

      Thanks so much, Barry!

    • Wow such interesting information, did you find all of this information about yourself thru hypnotherapy?

  2. Very informative! I have been trying to figure out if I am under this goal or Contentment..I have no handicaps other than severe migraines that have kept me out of society since I was a child but I honestly love it, not the migraines, but the hiding away part. I plan on someday soon living out in the country and rarely have to see anyone. But with Contentment, I see a lot of characteristics that fit me as well and things seem to go my way as I do lead a very simple life and don’t require much, but I also suffer from many anxieties and depression so Contentment seems to give people an easier life, I’ve had a very hard life. Does that usually seem to be the case? THanks

    • Thanks Tricia,
      Sorry to hear about your hard life, especially the migraines.
      With regards to identifying the relevant goal, one way to look at it is, imagine it’s your dying day and you look back at your life. What would find more frustrating or regretable? —
      • Not living a relaxed, easy-going, happy-go-lucky life with lots of R&R
      • Not living a deeply quiet, constrained, introspective or contemplative life.
      It’s also possible that you set out with one but – for your own reasons – adopted the other later in life, which can and does happen. We can switch between attitudes and modes quite easily, though usually returning to our preferred choice by default.

  3. Your views are pathetic and sad. Evil incarnate. The reason the world needs a return to spiritual values and to learn from others is because of views like yours. I am feeling to angry to express what I wish you…

    • Hi Ryan,
      I’m not sure what you imagine my views are, but my aim with this whole website is clear and simple: to present frameworks for better understanding self and others, both psychologically and spiritually. I know from experience, and from the feedback I get, that this understanding can vastly improve our empathy and compassion towards others, as well as our own self-awareness and self-acceptance. But if all you see is, say, judgement or disparagement of those with a goal of Retardation/Re-Evaluation, then I guess either you haven’t read the article itself or else we are simply on very different wavelengths.

  4. While I was reading this entry on your bolg, I immediately thought, “Boy I can hardly wait to read the comments on this one!” and pretty much the response was as expected. The mistake many people make, maybe it’s a “westernised thought” pattern, is that they can’t seperate observations or ideas from judgements and reactions. Fear, is what it is, fear of being penalised for something unavoidable. They read something like “retardation could be a spiritual choice”, then mix up the context of spirituality definitions of “choice” with completely static capitalist values and slogans about “choice”, then dash off to add cultural judgements and the accompanying punishment/reward cycle that we’re told MUST be attached to every choice. Within the context of spirituality, things can just be, there doesn’t have to be judgement, or “consequence”, for that matter.

    • Exactly.

      I spoke to a lovely guy just the other day who (to me) clearly has this goal. There’s nothing “subnormal” about him, but he asked me, “Why does everyone assume I’m a monk?” – which he isn’t. But looking into his eyes I could see that he was intentionally “on retreat” – introspective, pensive, reflective, with no desire to take on the complexities of a busy life in the modern world, just a sense of wanting to be in nature and within himself, alone with his thoughts. A perfect example of this goal, I think, and when I described it to him he agreed.

  5. Insightful. Ptsd could change a persons soul path. As well peer pressure to conform to a Christ figure where one is lacking in a family unit. Regression breeds a more defined view from one persons perspective but as well imprisons possibly. “Soul prison”. So perhaps a “retard” is really a prisoner of social expectations. Looking for a path to freedom.

  6. comments always ruin the article.. I don’t care what ignorant people have to say. clearly im here for the author.. Everyone else has their pseudo-intellectual opinions they ignorantly cling to… so, I suppose i’m writing to say. clear the comments section. I enjoy this website without seeing confrontational, negative, arrogant comments.

  7. Hi Barry,

    It’s very interesting – as your every article.
    I just thought of something – and maybe it’s just total rubbish – but I thought about all these goals in life as a natural cycle in a process of reincarnation..

    For example – a person who just starts incarnating process might be born with a goal od Dominance (after all at first we learn to satisfy our basic needs, like hunger, often by fighting for food and at the cost of others). (Maybe karmic debts life murder or rape can happen on this level.) Then after a number of lifetimes we might learn that this path is really harmful to others, so we want to ‘pay for our sins’ by choosing the goal of Submission. Then being submissive might have caused a person some issues and doubts about the values in their lives, so the person becomes withdrawn from the life to look inside themselves and to re-evaluate their life, so they choose the goal of Retardation, during which they might decide that their values are really important for them, but they don’t want impose them on others (like in Dominance path), so they choose Rejection. Rejection is not so great because of spending the life alone, so the person learns eventually Acceptance for others and for what the life is, then Contentment with their live and with people around and the Growth occurs 🙂
    Could it…? Or maybe I’m just totally blabling now 😉

    • Hi again

      As far as I have leaned and understood, there is no set sequence to the adoption of goals (or any other overleaves). It’s entirely a matter of individual soul choice, preferences and growth challenges in the planning of each life.


  8. I’m an energy healer who stumbled on this site while searching info for a severely disabled client. Barry, this is fantastic work. Your chart reminds me of the tree of life, and clearly explains the karmic desires to explore and learn about dominance vs. submission, growth vs. retardation, etc. which ultimately leads to the total balance of all experiences in life, at the center of relaxation.
    As a student of A Course in Miracles, Cayce Readings, and much more, this chart of your fits in so well. Apparently we all chose which “movie to watch tonight” in order to pursue our personal goals. Next lifetime we may all choice a different movie/lifestyle. All is involved with choosing LOVE or FEAR in every situation. you will always get more of what you focus on, so more fear thoughts create more desire to better understand fearful events and thoughts. The opposite is true for loving thoughts, which bring us back toward the center of your chart.
    Many thanks. Keep up this good work, even if it attracts hate mail from those who don’t yet understand.
    Note to all who follow this sort of thinking: Know you are loved, even if you disagree.

    • Hi William
      Many thanks for the lovely feedback. Indeed, every life is a choice, or set of choices, and within each life that’s pretty much all we ever do – make more choices. We experience all the dualities until in the end we are equally comfortable with both sides of any of them.

  9. Hi,
    I am reading this article late but I feel good I stumbled upon it. I believe in possibilities and open myself to any theory proven or otherwise. I like the proposition of soul choosing the personality it will embed.
    I have a 6 year old son who is mentally retarded. Our worries our growing with his age. The whole world is putting such kids and adults on interventions. The above derivation questions it, I question it basis this theory. If it is an avatar chosen by them why meddle?

    I don’t know if my son’s soul chose to stay silent but he is growing violent, it could be due to the ways we and the world works with him. Everyone wants him to act normal, for all we know he is acting normal but gets frustrated in his bid to meet expectations forced on him.

    A question: What should we do, should we let him be. He can’t carry out day to day activities doesn’t understand his good and bad. He can’t communicate or express, he is turning frustrated and rageful.

    I was searching for monasteries who can admit or adopt such kids and that’s when I found this article.


  10. I think this is my goal, but I don’t want it to be my goal. I’m sick of being behind everyone and having a boring life. I also hate having aspergers traits. I can’t die like I am.

  11. Excellent article! I stumbled on this article when I was searching for articles on the mentally retarded. I have a 37yr old mentally retarded brother. Also read Pitru dosha of Hinduism. It explains why mentally retarded children are born. In India people do ‘tharpanam’ to appease dead ancestors.

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