Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Fowler's Stages of Faith interview

No one else will be interested in this on any forum, so why not post it here? These are my answers to the research interview shared in the back of Fowler's book. I guess I could do them in separate entries, section by section. First, the bio section.

I was born in December of 1980 in northwestern North Carolina. I have an older half-sister that I never really knew who graduated from high school before I was born. I have two older half-brothers, one of whom moved back to live with his father when I was two. I'm the youngest/only.

Umm - I know that I have Irish and Sioux ancestors and I think that's cool, but I wouldn't say that I really have an ethnic identification - maybe American because my worldview is shaped by having been born and raised here although it's not like I'm all nationalistic and proud of it and go all "USA number one! Kick their ass and take their gas!" Actually, stuff like that makes me want to vomit.

I think that first and foremost, before anything else, I am North Carolinian. And even then I don't really particularly identify with the people - people here are the same as people are everywhere. But the land - oh, the grass and the sky and the trees and the hills and the mountains are part of my soul.

I have no religious identification. And although the rest of the world sees me as white and treats me as white and I do probably have some unconscious privileged white person views somewhere I don't really identify with people who look like me. Class-wise, I guess I'm upper working class. I have a home and plenty of computers and a fast net connection and many many books and some disposable income. If we produced little humans, though - we'd be lucky to not end up homeless due to the expense.

I was in pretty much the same class growing up - my parents were factory workers and my father died when I had just turned seven. I had a home and books and got a computer and a net connection when I was 16. I had everything I needed and got most of what I wanted, but I wasn't terribly spoiled or over-privileged.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I looked up the wikipedia entry on "free will"

I know that wikipedia has its problems, but whatever.

I guess I fall in somewhere on "compatibilism".

It seems like other people apply free will to external as well as internal things. Like if humans have free will that means that they completely choose their external conditions. For example, they would say that if you believe in free will you think that peasants in the fourteenth century chose to live short brutal hard lives and chose to be oppressed by the church and nobility.

I don't think that people create their own external reality. That seems rather silly to me. Plus, if the peasants choose to be oppressed doesn't that mean that the people oppressing them have no free will and can't choose to not oppress the peasants, therefore destroying that whole argument?

I tend to think that's the argument of people who need to feel like they're in control of external things and were probably abused as kids. It seems to posit a world centered around the abused person in which the abusers are just shadowy actors who are controlled by the will of the abused.
Or it could also be the view of the abusers, who see themselves as being in thrall to their victim and feel unable to control their abusive behavior.

I think that external reality is pretty much chaos, formed by random chance as well as the actions and decisions of sentient beings. People don't will their houses to be bombed and their relatives to be killed. Nope, that was caused by a string of things reaching as far back as you want to go. Personally, I stop at the brain of the person who ordered the bombing to start and wonder what happened there. I also look at the people who support the bombing and wonder about the inside of their brains.

And I think that our internal reality does depend a great deal on our genes and brain functions. But I also think that within all that, we have some power over our own minds. But maybe that's something that develops over time. I've been reading a lot of developmental theories lately, and they all seem to have the same pattern. And in that pattern, it takes a while to get to the stage of being able to question your own prejudices and motivations and feelings. Many adult humans - perhaps the majority - never make it to that stage.

So maybe the people who support the bombing just don't have the cognitive and psychological tools to be able to realize that the people on the other side of the bombs are real and have their own families and friends and jobs and desires and loves and lives. Maybe the genes and chemical reactions that lead to what we term "free will" just aren't there.

And then when I look at the person who ordered it - well, that brain is a complete mess.

Maybe that answers my question about the Hummer. Maybe those people are at the conforming stage and don't have the cognitive tools to be able to recognize poisonous cultural messages and advertising or understand the links between their conspicious consumption and the misery of other living beings.

Maybe what we term free will is something that is emerging in humans as our society becomes more complex and we leave our days of hunting and foraging like any other species further and further behind.

So essentially - I guess I believe in a sort of free will that emerges on materialistic principles. It's not a soul or a divine spark. It's in our genes and brain chemistry. And I guess I think of it more as a capability to feel empathy for beings other than yourself or the group that you identify yourself with and to make ethical decisions about both actions and internal beliefs and thought systems based on that than as the capability to decide whether you stand up for 10 more seconds or go ahead and sit down on a chair.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ego Development

What led to me rediscovering this page is trying to register so I could reply to someone else's post and then realizing that I already had an account.

Anyway, lately I've really been into ego development. I started with Dabrowski and then Kohlberg and then I found Spiral Dynamics and Cook-Greuter and all that. Oh, by the way - the Clare Graves vision of SD is really quite useful but Ken Wilber is a cult leader stuck in orange (as are most of the people who post on integral sites - come on, their definition of "second-tier" is "hates green and really sees the value in orange") and most of the Wilber stuff is crap.

So the post that I replied to is this one, on The Mouse Trap.


I had been wanting to take the sentence completion test but obviously $300+ is a bit steep. And this little mini-version of it just finally solidifed what I'd been thinking all along.

Oh, and a little more Googling turned up a book on Google Books named Measuring Ego Development. It features more examples of sentence completions. I think it's from the 70s. Good lord, I am so happy that I wasn't born until 1980. The examples drip with extreme sexism and rigid gender roles, even in responses that are supposedly at the highest end of development.

The book mentions a lot of people at the higher levels being in psychotherapy. Maybe that's why - it's hard to deal with a world created by people at lower stages of development.

Anyway, I guess the point is - well, I don't care if people see this as bragging or not. All signs point to me being at the "integrated" stage. Yeah - the one that the book says is so rare that it can be eliminated for practical purposes. The one that is supposedly reached by less than 1% of adults in the US. But if that number was from Loevinger's research in the 70s - does she have more current information that would include numbers from people like me who grew up in a much freer and less oppressive and repressive society?

I've seen that figure in relation to myself before - like the letter from Duke about my SAT score in 7th grade being in the "top half of the top 1%." And in fifth grade my school gave me an individual IQ test and the results came back "often working at college level and above" "has the ability and temperament to go far with her life."

So in the last couple of years I've been researching intellectual giftedness, and using those things as criteria to guess where I fit in - guess what?

My husband refers to me as his "statistical anomaly", and I guess it's true. But the thing is - I can't really talk about it. I need to talk about it. I need to understand it. But when I try to talk about it - first of all, it's impossible to find a community in which it would be appropriate and accepted. I've been trying to find "integral" forums, but they're almost all the orange masquerading as second tier boring selfish materialistic capitalist yuppie crap. And the few threads that seem interesting were posted in 2006 and last replied to in 2007. I guess I missed the fad by a year or two?

So I try on the forums that I already hang out on, but it threatens the fragile egos of all the conformists on the gifted forum and/or bores them the way that their threads about activities for SAHMs bore me and on Sims 2 forums I get flamed and my stories get downrated.

I tried a Buddhist forum once. Yeah - that didn't work either.

It's just - I always assumed I was normal, so I held humans up to my standard. And now it's really sort of starting to settle in that I am very much the opposite of normal and I need to talk about that if I'm ever going to be able to accept humans.

I don't know, I really need to go back to work.

OMG, I looked at Measuring Ego Development closer and apparently it's a revised edition from 1994! Damn. I'd still like to see something more recent, though.

You know, maybe I should actually make a go of this.

I would like to find some green and gold layout and background type stuff, with maybe a sort of tree theme?

But I don't think I could do the whole educational blog thing, where I link studies and articles and stuff and talk about it. So yeah. I think this would just be a sort of my observations about life thing. Rather like my blog on the Sims 2 site. Which hey, some people read that. I even got the occasional guestbook signing from some little kid who said that my blog made them think about prejudice.

I will think and explore layout options. Maybe I could actually make something out of this.

What do you do when you need to check on a pizza in the oven but there's a cat in your lap who is very emphatic about not wanting to get up?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wow, has it really been a year?

LOL at continuing to update. Oh well, maybe one day when I feel like it.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Well - we'll see if I can customize this and make it all pretty and continue to update it and hey, who knows, maybe one day I'll have some readers.