Jul 112012

Last week, I discussed the research of James W. Fowler, a Methodist minister, into the developmental stages of faith. Dr. Fowler built his ideas on the pattern of Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. This is also worth considering.

Dr. Kohlberg found that moral development was revealed by one’s attitudes toward justice and how one reasoned on, and resolved, moral dilemmas. Related research identified justice as a masculine orientation and added caring as the corresponding feminine. At each stage of development, our moral behavior becomes more responsible, nuanced, and predictable.

Young children (and some poorly-developed adults) judge the morality of an action by its immediate consequences. Snatching a cookie or running a stop sign are just fine so long as you are not caught and punished. The focus is on personal benefit without considering ethical standards. Obedience can only be enforced with the threat of punishment.

The next stage is able to consider the needs of others, but only to the point of  deciding how to get what one wants. This is the “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours” attitude of moral relativity.

Adolescents usually begin to judge the morality of a situation according to the expectations of authorities within their culture. They are willing to comply obediently because they are convinced that “it is the right thing.” This rigid morality typically views things very strictly in terms of “black and white.” A “good boy” or “good girl” conforms to accepted social roles. Morality is usually judged by intent and how an action affects relationships.

Some people understand that social order requires voluntary compliance to the standards of their community. They accept that laws must be obeyed and personal sacrifices made because it is their duty. They will stop at all stop signs simply because it is the right thing to do and because it sets a good example for others.

As it becomes obvious that different cultures hold different expectations, laws become regarded as adjustable social contracts within each community. The most important consideration becomes an understanding of “the greatest good for the greatest number of people.” The operation of an effective Democracy requires this understanding and acceptance of compromise as inevitable for the common good.

Eventually, moral reasoning stops being derived from others; it depends on an individual appreciation for ethical abstractions and universal principles. This is not the same as moral relativity. Each person becomes responsible for deciding that he or she cannot march neighbors into gas chambers, no matter what. If a law is unjust, there is an obligation to disobey it. There are fewer arguments about rights, but more empathetic consideration of what is right. This stage is still considered rare.

© 2012, David Satterlee

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Jul 112012

It should not be surprising, in our scientific, technological world, that faith has been subjected to empirical studies and analysis. Hold onto your hat: it turns out that both people and communities of faith develop through a predictable series of stages… or find a comfortable level and stay there.

James W. Fowler, a minister in the United Methodist Church, wrote “Stages of Faith” in 1981 while a professor of Theology and Human Development at Emory University. Additional research has followed. Here is a summary of the results.

Preschool children often confuse fantasy and reality. Their mix of ideas are picked-up, but not fully-developed, from those around them. They may believe in God and the Tooth Fairy, but already know that the guy at the mall is not really Santa.

School-age children begin to use logic and take things very literally. They may strongly and stubbornly hold onto ideas that come from trusted authorities. Their parents may still be insisting on the details of Santa’s visit to every home on Christmas eve.

Teenagers become aware of multiple, conflicting belief systems, but often associate strongly with a single institution and its doctrine. These staunch believers tend to “double-down” against any challenge to the anchors of their faith. They are easily persuaded that exposure to other ideas is dangerous so that they are determined to remain isolated within their community of support.

In young adulthood, with continued exposure to other peoples and their beliefs, some begin a period of critical re-examination of the elements of their faith. They may become disillusioned with their former community and move forward to independently search for a new foundation. Paradoxically, this progressive movement is often criticized as “backsliding.” Many men, especially, become “spiritual but not religious” and stop worshiping in a church.

In mid-life, it sometimes occurs to people that much about life is conflicting, unknown, or even unknowable. Neither faith nor logic fully satisfy. Much has to be taken, at any given time, as a paradox or mystery. Sacred stories and symbols may be a comfort, but not a foundation. Their spirituality may merge with their intent to “live a good life.”

A few older folks reach a point where they feel that life and gratitude, day by day, is sufficient blessing. There is no need to agonize over doubts, carry guilt from past mistakes, or dread what may happen in the next year, or the next moment. These folks may open themselves, within their remaining capacities, to take full satisfaction in the love of, and service to, others. These people may still embrace the formal worship of a specific divinity, but their capacity to love is no longer dependent on any given doctrine.

No developmental stage that serves the needs of the individual and their community is necessarily bad. Still, increasing tolerance always accompanies increasing spiritual development.

© 2012, David Satterlee

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May 312012

Most of us have heard the phrase “sustainable development” and perhaps a little about United Nations and other initiatives related to sustainable development such as Agenda 21 and the Earth Charter.  Some of our communities are exploring these principals in the hopes of heading off, or at least moderating, future catastrophes.

The concept of organized sustainable development is described by critics as a massive international conspiracy to deprive you of individual and commercial rights. Yep, that’s pretty much how it is. This threat is so outrageous that I thought I would take this opportunity to speak out [with tongue firmly in cheek] in defense of UN-organized and UN-sustainable development.

[Our] people are guaranteed freedom and liberty.  These should not be trampled on, limited, or regulated regardless of consequences to others. We should be allowed to do whatever we want.

All natural resources are given by God to man to own, subdue, and have dominion over (Genesis 1:28).  Further man was given the physical and mental powers to accomplish this. This same scripture instructed him to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth – with no mention of limits.

Automobiles, the open road, and cheap gasoline are as quintessentially American as baseball and apple pie. A gas guzzling vehicle is not only larger and safer for its occupants but a public symbol of status and achievement. Free public roads are the right of every citizen. We should all have unlimited choice to live, work, play, shop, commute, and just drive around at will.

Trees are for lumber; just ask the long-missing inhabitants of Easter Island. They left behind mysterious rock statues, but no growing wood. Trees are also for burning; and when trees become scarce, one can always make more children to go out and forage for sticks.

Insecticides and pesticides are good for crops and lawns – to say nothing of bees, frogs, birds, fish, and shallow wells. But, who needs all that buzzing and chirping anyway? And do we really need water? I never drink water anyway ‘cause there’s plenty of beer.

We have lots of coal and it’s cheap, so we should be allowed to use as much of it as we want to generate as much electricity as we want. Never mind acid rain, millions of children with respiratory problems, or atmospheric heat retention from rising carbon dioxide levels.

Besides, I’m okay now and I don’t give a rip about my grandchildren or anybody else either. Speaking of which, I also don’t care about neutering pets, soil erosion, toxic waste, or even famine. Other people have those problems, not me… so far.

©2012, David Satterlee

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Apr 102012

I was discussing the concept of  “developmental levels of worldview” with a friend. She keep wanting to imagine that my description of a hierarchical, predictable sequence of developmental stages suggested increasing “smartness” or “betterness.” I was having trouble getting across the ideas that any worldview stage is perfectly fine so long as it serves the needs of your current circumstances and does not oppress others.

Eventually, I suggested that progressive developmental levels was like a progressive experience of elephants:
[This does not accurately represent my belief system; it’s just an imaginary hierarchy of experience.]

  • What’s an elpherbunt? (simply no clue)
  • I have heard of elephants.
  • I have read a story about elephants. (unable to independently anticipate the experience of an elephant’s subsonic rumbles)
  • I have seen an elephant at the circus.
  • I have watched elephants at the zoo. (the most common limit to likely developmental stages)
  • I have lived with elephants in the wild. (few people would even imagine that anything more was possible)
  • I have memories of being an elephant.
  • I have always been an elephant. (few elephants would even imagine that anything more was possible)
  • I am the race memory of all elephants.
  • I Am that I Am. (God’s description of himself in Exodus)

Each stage is adequate for the needs of certain individuals in certain circumstances.

At each stage, some greater [effort or] involvement has been achieved to have had a larger understanding.

At each stage, it is difficult to explain the experience adequately to some who has not been there.

At each stage, it is difficult to imagine the richness of knowing involved in additional stages.

I’m not suggesting that all of these stages are actually plausible for an individual. But, then again, how could you actually be certain of that unless you were I Am?

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Feb 082012

Source: Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy by Bill Clinton
Abstracted from pages 120, 121

First at, we have to get money flowing. Recessions created by financial crashes usually take longer to get over, five to ten years or more, than business-cycle recessions, because banks are reluctant to lend, businesses are reluctant to borrow, corporations are reluctant to hire, and consumers are reluctant to spend.

The good news is that we know where the money is in our distressed economy. And there’s lots of it. Banks have more than $2 trillion in cash reserves uncommitted to loans. And businesses of all sizes have about that much uncommitted to investment.

Since banks can lend, conservatively, $10 for every dollar they have in reserves, U.S. banks have the capacity, in theory, to end the entire global recession. Companies could invest their cash in new products that would increase hiring today or in research and development that would increase employment today and even more in the future.

Unfortunately, banks are reluctant to lend, and loan demand is weak. As for the big companies, many executives have decided, at least for now, not to invest in future growth but to buy back their stock instead, increasing earnings per share and, in the process, earning bigger bonuses for top management, once again widening the gap between themselves and their own employees and doing nothing to put American back to work.

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Oct 182011

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Jan 182011

by David Satterlee

Source: “Pursuing Human Strengths,” Martin Bolt, Preface

The weakness of psychology, during its short history as a science, has been its primary focus on human weaknesses rather than on human strengths. That began to change dramatically when Martin Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association. Seligman leveraged his research on learned helplessness and hopelessness into a new focus on learned optimism and happiness.

A primary focus of positive psychology is on human strengths, a core set of virtues. The intent is to study, measure, and understand these strengths so that they can be purposefully developed, increasing both subjective and objective psychological well-being. Continue reading »

Jan 032011


The Emotions of Transformation

By David Satterlee (With appreciation to Susan Cook-Greuter)

The language, concepts, and vocabulary that people use forms the filter through which they see and understand the world. At higher levels of development, you become aware of this process. You are more-able to stand back and observe, not just everything else with dispassion, but your own actions, reactions, emotions and motives as well. You can enter the ego and see that you are playing this game or that game and be a genuine witness to your own struggles.

At first, you feel suspicious of this new perception. You don’t understand it well enough to defend it. It feels threatening and disturbing. Your foundation of assumptions has begun to crumble. You become aware of more of your mental processes such as creating explanatory stories and drawing conclusions. You begin to question all of the stories that you have previously created to explain things. But gradually you become more comfortable with the process of watching your mind at work.

Once you can begin to see yourself reaching the limits of previous understandings, struggling with inadequate ideas, and struggling to sort things out in a new way, there is a joyful satisfaction, an uplifting glow as you feel yourself transcending a critical cusp. You feel a little more vital, alert, and awake; saying: “AHHH.” Something totally “else” has opened to you. The struggle has ended as you allow yourself to flow into it. There is a new calmness in being able to watch everything happen and being able to choose to engage or not engage. A new faith emerges that you can remain grounded, without feeling threatened, trusting and accepting without proof, that most things are just fine, the way they have to be, where they are, what they are becoming, at this time.

As age advances toward death, there is a greater sense of holding, rather than moving. Although the prospect of death, like a premature loss, can still be frightening, there arises a curiosity and a mild anticipation. Although the prospect of dying produces a personal regret, it is inevitable and necessary. Another premature loss, becoming senile before dying, seems an even greater, tragic, and more dreadful threat. The body should drop away when the” self” departs. In any event, your departure will be only a minor adjustment in a cataclysmic universe rumbling with emergent potential.

At one stage, you struggle to understand and analyze increasing complexity and higher levels of perspective. You begin to see regular patterns of structure and how objects and ideas relate to each other. In another stage, you begin to see regular patterns in the dynamic flows of information and relationship. With an increasing grasp of complexity, the details begin to drop away, leaving pulsing clouds of being that, from a broader perspective, reveal new objects, structures, and patterns. The realization occurs that you are but a minor mote in a minor mist at the minor end of a minor domain. The realization occurs that, standing as a witness beyond all that is within, you are not separate from that which seemed within or without; you flow with the totality of all flow. Nothings flows without your flowing as well. You are flow. Flow is.

Copyright 2011, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.

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Dec 242010

Stages of Consciousness and Culture

The 19th century German philosopher, Georg Hegel, noted that conflict enables transformation to higher states of organization. This idea was reinforced by research in the 20th century; particularly in Developmental Psychology. These states have developed sequentially through human history as increasingly organized world views—for both individuals and cultures.

As we develop through childhood we experience this transformation and change as our thoughts and feelings become more complex. Developmental psychology demonstrates that this kind of staged development continues through adulthood. Leading researchers have supported this concept of developmental stages: Jean Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Jane Loevinger, Abraham Maslow, and Robert Kegan.

Continue reading »

Dec 112010

Quoted (with minor edits) from: " Spiral Dynamics and the Palestinian-Israel Conflict" and interview between Jeff Salzman and Don Beck. 1 of 4 in integral Profiles: Don Beck. Ref: http://integrallife.com/node/47929

"A healthy blue culture addresses the problems created by red. Each of the systems depends on the others. You have to think within the flow of the systems. There is read egocentric, lack of impulse control, lack of focus, lack of moral compass, then we know it produces a place like Afghanistan and some of our inner cities.

"In Palestine we studied what is next for red. A Palestinian red-purple is not going to be able to form a stable separate state. So, one of our purposes was to elevate a version of blue:" sacrifice self now to obtain later."

Continue reading »

Dec 112010

Adapted from: " Spiral Dynamics and the Palestinian-Israel Conflict" and interview between Jeff Salzman and Don Beck. 1 of 4 in integral Profiles: Don Beck. Ref: http://integrallife.com/node/47929

Second tier (yellow) interventions, while still having access to green sensitivity and inclusive values, are more "holistic," but tend to be less into sensitivity and more into results and design. While green believes that the highest level of caring is in saying, "I like you, I love you, let’s join hands and hearth. " Yellow interventions seek to assist people to find their natural habitat.

Continue reading »

Sep 252010

Self Improvement – Mastering the Vision Thing

Personality types – your approach to work

How do you interact with those around you? How do you see yourself? How do you resolve problems? If you understand these things about your personality, you can make more progress with less confusion. You will engage your creative energies consciously and constructively. Consider some typical psychological models:

Hero – The explorer, decision-maker, adventurer, leader, servant of humanity.

Showman – The entertainer, artist, master of perception, imaginative creator.

Warrior – The persistent achiever, master of focused concentration, craftsman; powered by aggressive energy.

Scholar – The eternal student, wise teacher, steward of knowledge, compassionate nurturer.

“Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig.”
-Marcus Aurelius 

Life and love as art

Life should be rich, full and satisfying. Life is our gift to enjoy. Life is our obligation to produce and serve. Life should be lived with style and grace; it is its own art. When you create something, make it appealing as well as functional. Your extra effort is an act of love for yourself, your Creator and your society.

“We have come to think of art and work as incompatible, or at least independent categories and have for the first time in history created an industry without art.”

“The vocation, whether it be that of the farmer or the architect, is a function; the exercise of this function as regards the man himself is the most indispensable means of spiritual development, and as regards his relation to society the measure of his worth.”
-Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

“To love is to transform; to be a poet.”
-Norman O. Brown

“The secret of art is love.”
-Antoine Bourdelle

“The art of life, of a poet’s life, is, not having anything to do, to do something.”
-Henry David Thoreau

“… a first-rate soup is more creative than a second-rate painting.”
-Abraham Maslow

The entrepreneurial personality

Do you have what it takes to run your own business? There are some personality traits that are common to entrepreneurs.

A representative of the Kravis Leadership Institute at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, explains about entrepreneurs: “They have a high need for achievement. They have a high tolerance for ambiguity and are comfortable adding their own structure to ambiguous situations. They usually have a single vision they do not swerve from, and they believe they control their own destinies.” Entrepreneur, February 1996, p. 30.

“Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”
-Albert Einstein

“I call intuition cosmic fishing. You feel the nibble, and then you have to hook the fish.”
-Buckminster Fuller

Decide to be Manager

Anything less than achieving “manager” leadership level in a network marketing plan is haphazard. It’s OK to be a distributor, but both the commitment and the rewards are limited. The big jump in responsibility (and financial reward) comes with being a manager. It takes planning to stay a manager.

The first step up the “ladder of success” is deciding that you want to be a manager. This is an important commitment. You want to start out well balanced and firmly committed. Once you begin climbing and you take others along with you, your responsibilities increase. You will want to plan first and know what you need to do.

Learn how to become a manager. Go back and read the marketing plan brochure and the distributor manual. Ask your sponsor or their manager for advice.

Learn how to stay a manager. One company ran a statistical analyses of their computer records and found that managers with 10 or more active distributors rarely had problems staying managers.

“No one knows what he can do until he tries.”
-Publilius Syrus

“One comes to be of just such stuff as that on which the mind is set.”

… and then you get letters …

Once you have achieved “Manager” status, you’ll realize that you certainly didn’t do it alone. Your distributors will teach you more than you ever taught them. And, you’ll get letters like this (real) one:

Dear [Manager],

I’d like to take the time to thank you for being a great manager and a good friend and for all of the good things I’ve learned from you. You are why I am where I am today. Last month I ranked 2nd among recruiters (Area Managers). I have 7 first line managers and 2 second line managers. I have been invited to Convention again this year, all expenses paid. My husband and I have been invited to [the president’s] house for dinner next Saturday night and to a special photo session before the Awards Banquet. I am very excited but also overwhelmed by all of this. I still don’t know why. I do nothing but educate my people and it just makes my organization grow. Again, I’d just like to tell you and [your spouse] ….

Thank You

Cast your bread upon the water

“Casting your bread upon the water” is a reference to the scripture at Ecclesiastes 11:1. It refers to the rewards of exceptional generosity. Bread is the “staff of life.” When you are willing to part with something valuable, your generosity will be repaid. (As long as we’re on the subject, compare Luke 6:38.)

Lillian from Bakersfield, California, says “Caring and giving genuine service is like casting bread upon the water: it always comes back. I just keep going at the business of helping people to better health, and I keep talking about the benefits of the business. There always seems to be people who want to hear more.”

One of the most valuable things we have to share with others is our time and attention. Time is stuff of which our lives are made.

“He who would accomplish little must sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much; he who would attain highly must sacrifice greatly.”
-James Allen

Time: Use it or lose it

Every moment that is wasted is time you will never get back.

Take advantage of every available opportunity to advance your purposes. Feel free to share the Nature’s Sunshine philosophy with just about anyone you meet. Share your success with others and help to enrich their lives.

Make time to relax and enjoy the rest that you have earned – and then get right back to work doing good and enjoying every minute of it!

“I was so full of sleep at the time that I left the true way.”

“Sed fugit interea, fugit inreparabile tempus. (But meanwhile it is flying, irretrievable time is flying.)

“Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them.
-Dion Boucicault, London Assurance (1841)

“No time like the present.”
-Mrs. Manley, The Lost Lover (1696)

I see (I. S.E.E.) what I should do

Integrity – the things that you choose to do should not conflict with your best values. Your actions should have purpose and meaning. They should be responsible and honest.

Service – Your actions should build up and create rather than destroy or take. Contributing to the welfare of others out of love will make you stronger and “make the world a better place.” “Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only for our own happiness, but that of the world at large.” Mahatma Gandhi

Enjoyment – When you find joy in doing what you love to do, your life will flow. Your creativity and enthusiasm will bring success. It is a gift that we can rejoice and do good and see good for all our hard work.

Excellence – If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Why commit to doing something if you don’t care enough about it to be persistent, determined and see it through to a conclusion you can remember with satisfaction?

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Help for a hurting world

If your neighbor was lost and confused and you knew how to solve his problem, wouldn’t you speak up? Who really is your neighbor? The world is filled with people who know that they’re getting progressively less healthy. They are confused and frightened. They don’t know where to turn and they don’t like it. You can help. You’ve tried something that worked for yourself and your family and you can tell them about it.

At one NSP convention, the Senior National Manager shared his philosophy with the attendees when he pointed out that “There’s a hurting world out there. Who is going to help them? If not me, who? If not now, when? If not, why?”

“Today … we know that all living beings who strive to maintain life and who long to be spared pain – all living beings on earth are our neighbors.”
-Albert Schweitzer

“When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.”
-Joseph Campbell

Draw a treasure map

If you haven’t been somewhere before you may need good directions and a road map to get there. When you have a goal to reach, decide how you want to get there and plan your route ahead of time. Follow your map and you will find your treasure.

Verlyn tells distributors to map out a plan. “Draw a ‘treasure map’ – things you’d like to have or accomplish within one year’s time. Don’t quit until you accomplish them. Don’t just dream… also have it come true! Decide you can do it, then do it with enthusiasm. If you can get on fire about what you are selling, others will feel your excitement.”

We start from the foundation of our values. This allows us to develop a vision of where we want to go. When we commit to that vision, we have goals. Next we develop a strategy to guide us in achieving our goals. We commit to specific tactics; the things we must do next. If the things we do are truly consistent with our values, then we will be happy and feel productive.

“Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.”

Copyright 1996, 2010, David Satterlee

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, which essentially says that you are free to share the work under the conditions that you attribute it fully, do not use it for commercial purposes, and do not alter it.