I mentioned yesterday that if you have been following this blog for a while, you know that if Jane and Jim have shown up the Panic Sisters will be deplaning soon. It is the start of another Presidential election cycle and last time, I cooked up the characters of the Panic Sisters and Jane and Jim to help explain what was going on. I learned a lot in the last cycle, which is why I have started much earlier this time – beginning with Baumeister and now moving through stages of development. One must have a core understanding of how stages work and where people have gotten stuck in order to begin to understand what is getting ready to happen – the extremes of both paranoia and idealism that will rain down on us all as the election cycle gets in full gear.
It will come from both sides. The Republican side would have you believe that the Democrats would have us all holding hands with the Taliban and singing “kum by yah” while driving us into poverty by making sure that every penny is spent recklessly on social programs for illegal immigrants. The Democrats want you to believe that the Republicans will ban all freedoms, require us all to wear electronic tracking bracelets, piss off the world and dig a deep hole of debt through military expenditure and refusal to tax the rich that will drive us in to bankruptcy.
Again, the kernel of truth exists in both sides. But the kernel does not fully support the deception built around it and cannot survive unless – more people choose to remain in that state of Synthetic- Conventional beliefs that allows one to ignore/become incapable of seeing anything beyond the moment and only then, if it applies to you. People in this state rely upon the group to tell them what to believe.
For those of you who were not with the blog during the last cycle the Panic Sisters have a tendency to…well…panic. Every headline is a turning point. Every article remains unread. They are all reaction and no response. They are…noisy turtles…firmly tucked in their shell but loudly decrying everything and never poking their heads out to check and see. They are trying to board the plane as I write; only they have been caught up at the security checkpoint. One for causing a fuss about the invasion of privacy of the new scanning technology and the other, for causing a fuss about the new scanning technology and its potential to cause cancer. They always make it through, huffing, puffing and sighing at how the world is conspiring to destroy the American way of life.
Jane and Jim (and Mark, too) are already here. Seated on the plane are: Elias Doright, a fine upstanding, generous and caring man who is on just about every mailing list for every cause in the world; Justine Justme, an extremely flexible young woman who is constantly changing her diet to take advantage of the latest revelation of what essential mineral she is missing that will prolong her life, inhaling essential oils, sweating in artificial rooms on sticky mats in unusual positions and is in a state of constant distraction her mind is so busy with thinking good thoughts and praying rightly to bring change in the world; and – Sister Mary Tribe (no relation, but people often confuse us) who is always placed in a position of trying to explain it all but knows for a fact, that there are no answers to be given.
By the way, Mark’s last name is Spark, and if you read yesterday’s blog I bet you can figure out what role he will play in the little drama over the coming year.
So what can you expect? More nonsense from me about writing, my endlessly fascinating life (lol) and the adventures of the Mad Kitten combined with a steady and growing commentary on things as they are revealed during the cycle. You’ll be seeing more of newsy.com appearing in the blog again and I will also be distilling, encapsulating and putting forth explanations about how we have come to function as a society and as individuals as I plod through my new library of hideously expensive books. Just as a side note, I find it interesting to discover that our most accessible and defining works on character, society, ethics and morality are either printed at a cost that makes them inaccessible, or not even printed and distributed in the USA.
And examples – example after example after example. Grace Independent is getting ready to ride again, this time as a video podcast that will also be distributed on iTunes and sundry other places. There, you will be seeing more about the ins and outs of character and moral development particularly as it relates to our ability to form and sustain relationships. And Blood, Soul and Purpose is creeping closer to a publication date.
A good time will be had by all. Just to end the past few blogs, here are the three stages that come after the Synthetic-Conventional one. The following is taken from the newsletter for Developmental Psychology from Mesa College.
Individuative – Reflective State
This is the stage when an individual is developing in two major ways. The self, previously defined from the perspective of a member of a group, “no longer depends on one’s roles or meaning to others.” Also as an individual, one’s individual world view changes, becoming distinct from views held by others. One reflects on the symbols learned in the past and translates those symbols into concepts and ideas. This is a ‘demythologizing’ stage. For some adults this stage can be precipitated by changes in primary relationships, such as divorce, the death of a parent or children growing up and leaving home. Or it can result from the challenges of moving, or changing jobs. For most this change comes with the natural occurrence of leaving one’s childhood home and forming one’s first adult life structures.
A stage 5 person is so comfortable with their place in the grand scheme of things that they are more interested in what is true than what they believe, understanding that the two might be dissimilar. They try to see from any wise perspective and are constantly creating a woven tapestry of belief. They let reality speak for itself regardless of its impact on them.
This person trusts that the “known” is out there and takes the initiative to discover it.
“Religiously it knows that the symbols, stories, doctrines and liturgies offered by its own or other traditions are inevitably partial, limited to a particular people’s experience of God and incomplete. Conjunctive faith, therefore, is ready for significant encounters with other traditions than its own, expecting that truth has disclosed and will disclose itself in those traditions in ways that may comlement or correct its own.”
One in stage 5 is willing to be converted by other ways of thinking. This does not mean that the person is wishy washy or uncommitted to one’s own truth tradition. Conjunctive faith’s “radical openness” to other traditions comes from the belief that “reality” cannot be held entirely in one tradition and spills over into many traditions.
“The new strength of this stage comes in the rise of the ironic imagination ¬ a capacity to see and be in one’s or one’s group’s most powerful meanings, while simultaneously recognizing that they are relative, partial, and inevitably distorting apprehensions of transcendent reality. ” (Fowler)
People that move on to stage six overcome the cynicism of stage 5 and endeavor with everything that they are to become the reality they hope for. They wear out their lives in this pursuit through action. These are people who are often martyred by the people they hope to help.
Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa are some that Fowler mentions (pg 203). They had visions to which they have committed their total beings. In this stage, the concept of relevant irrelevance has great importance.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s ministry illustrates this powerfully. Mother Teresa, a foreign-born nun in her late thirties, head of a girl’s boarding school, was going on retreat. As she traveled through the city she became overwhelmed by the sight of abandoned persons, lying in the streets, left to die. Some of these forgotten people were already having their not yet lifeless limbs gnawed by rodents. Under the impact of those grim sights, she felt a call to a new form of vocation- a ministry of presence, service and care to the abandoned, the forgotten, the hopeless. In a nation and a world where scarcity is a fact of life, where writers and policy makers urge strategies of ‘triage’ to ensure that resources are not ‘wasted’ on those who have no chance of recovery and useful contribution, what could be less relevant than carrying these dying persons into places of care, washing them, caring for their needs, feeding them when they are able to take nourishment and affirming by word and deed that they are loved and valued people of God? But in a world that says people only have worth if they pull their own weight and contribute something of value, what could be more relevant?
c.2011. Cassandra Tribe. All Rights Reserved