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Old 04-23-2009, 08:35 PM   #1
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The meaning of community (M. Scott Peck)

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The four stages

Peck postulates that there are four stages of human spiritual development:

Stage I is chaotic, disordered, and reckless. Very young children are in Stage I. They tend to defy and disobey, and are unwilling to accept a will greater than their own. Many criminals are people who have never grown out of Stage I.
Stage II is the stage at which a person has blind faith. Once children learn to obey their parents, they reach Stage II. Many so-called religious people are essentially Stage II people, in the sense that they have blind faith in God, and do not question His existence. With blind faith comes humility and a willingness to obey and serve. The majority of good law-abiding citizens never move out of Stage II.
Stage III is the stage of scientific skepticism and inquisitivity. A Stage III person does not accept things on faith but only accepts them if convinced logically. Many people working in scientific and technological research are in Stage III.
Stage IV is the stage where an individual starts enjoying the mystery and beauty of nature. While retaining skepticism, he starts perceiving grand patterns in nature. His religiousness and spirituality differ significantly from that of a Stage II person, in the sense that he does not accept things through blind faith but does so because of genuine belief. Stage IV people are labeled as Mystics.
Peck argues that while transitions from Stage I to Stage II are sharp, transitions from Stage III to Stage IV are gradual. Nonetheless, these changes are very noticeable and mark a significant difference in the personality of the individual.
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Community building
In his book The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, Peck says that community has three essential ingredients:

Inclusivity
Commitment
Consensus
Based on his experience with community building workshops, Peck says that community building typically goes through four stages:

Pseudocommunity: This is a stage where the members pretend to have a bon homie with one another, and cover up their differences, by acting as if the differences do not exist. Pseudocommunity can never directly lead to community, and it is the job of the person guiding the community building process to shorten this period as much as possible.

Chaos: When pseudocommunity fails to work, the members start falling upon each other, giving vent to their mutual disagreements and differences. This is a period of chaos. It is a time when the people in the community realize that differences cannot simply be ignored. Chaos looks counterproductive but it is the first genuine step towards community building.

Emptiness: After chaos comes emptiness. At this stage, the people learn to empty themselves of those ego related factors that are preventing their entry into community. Emptiness is a tough step because it involves the death of a part of the individual. But, Scott Peck argues, this death paves the way for the birth of a new creature, the Community.

True community: Having worked through emptiness, the people in community are in complete empathy with one another. There is a great level of tacit understanding. People are able to relate to each other's feelings. Discussions, even when heated, never get sour, and motives are not questioned.


M. Scott Peck - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-23-2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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Is this about My Neighborhood, My Country, the world, or FYM?
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Old 04-23-2009, 08:50 PM   #3
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The entirety of human spiritual development summed up in just a few sentences and four simple catagories? That is very tidy. What have I been fretting about? I had no idea it was so obvious.
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Old 04-23-2009, 08:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by yolland View Post
Is this about My Neighborhood, My Country, the world, or FYM?
Well, indeed.
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:04 PM   #5
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At risk of sounding self-indulgent (my apologies), I see a lot of Stage IV in myself. I mention this only because I'm struck by that description of "enjoying the mystery and beauty of nature," and I've generally described my religious beliefs as more "mystical," for lack of a better term.

I also wanted to comment, because I'm struck by the fact that Stage III (no faith) precedes Stage IV (genuine belief), while it succeeds Stage II (blind faith). I know that many of the people I know see Stage III as the ideal for society, while Stage IV would be seen as a step "backwards" into religiosity.

Just a personal observation, and I'd be interested in others' thoughts.
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:20 PM   #6
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See. This is why we need "community organizers."
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Old 04-23-2009, 09:28 PM   #7
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I am at around a 3.8, trending upwards. No-one who listens to music intensely can avoid certain conclusions, in my experience.
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Old 04-23-2009, 11:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by melon View Post
I also wanted to comment, because I'm struck by the fact that Stage III (no faith) precedes Stage IV (genuine belief), while it succeeds Stage II (blind faith). I know that many of the people I know see Stage III as the ideal for society, while Stage IV would be seen as a step "backwards" into religiosity.

Just a personal observation, and I'd be interested in others' thoughts.

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Stage II is the stage at which a person has blind faith. Once children learn to obey their parents, they reach Stage II. Many so-called religious people are essentially Stage II people, in the sense that they have blind faith in God, and do not question His existence. With blind faith comes humility and a willingness to obey and serve.
The problem is when a "Stage II" person is your supervisor and she's leaving it all up to God to sort it out.
She has a tendency to let God work things out when I'm sitting there fuming and can't understand why my opinions and views are not considered. If I go above her head, there isn't much chance of resolving anything, because her Manager just doesn't want to deal with the minor dept issues. Meanwhile she is getting run over and I'm catching all the work - fallout.
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