Friday, May 20, 2022

SQ - Levels of moral development

Practically all human problems (except natural disasters) can be understood, at least partially, as problems of consciousness.

McIntosh, Steve. The Presence of the Infinite . Quest Books. P.225

The purpose of the psychoanalytic method is to make the unconscious and the subconscious conscious. Jung believed this to be true at the cultural level as well as at the individual level. Therapists who work from interpersonal and systemic models also believe this to be true of long term committed relationships and in high functioning families.

So if Steve McIntosh is right and practically all human problems can be understood as problems of consciousness, why don’t we have and use more models of the stages of consciousness? If we had such models perhaps we could discard our dependence on the DSM.

If you are curious, integral philosophy and psychology describes such models.

One model I have found very helpful is Kohlberg’s model of moral development which is based on preconventional, conventional, and post conventional viewpoints. The conflict most often seen in psychotherapy is the struggle between the preconventional and the conventional. People stuck at a preconventional level of morality are described as lacking empathy and compassion while people at the conventional are described as anxious and obsessive being codependent and people pleasers. People at the post conventional level are often seen as wise and mature and more mentally healthy.

I have never heard a sermon preached on the stages of moral development although there is plenty of research now on these stages and how they develop. This would be useful information of people seeking to further grow in their spiritual life.

It would seem that most UUs are at a post conventional stage of moral development but they quickly regress to the conventional stage when confronted with conflict and disagreement. The spiritual teachings and practice most helpful at the post conventional stage of moral development is not the Golden Rule but the Platinum Rule.

The Platinum Rule is "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them." To enact this rule and practice it assumes that the actor knows what values, beliefs, opinions, and practices the other has. This knowledge is based on curiosity and interest and empathic understanding.

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