Barry K. Weinhold, Ph.D.
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Most politicians say they want to change the way politics is practiced in this country. This would involve a change in politics is something more dramatic than moving dirt in Washington. What is required is shifting the political landscape to a higher level of consciousness.
The Stages of Consciousness
The research of Harvard psychologist Robert Kegan revealed five progressively more complex orders of consciousness that that can help us understand what needs to happen. Each of the orders are characterized by:
1. a lack of good cause and effect thinking.
2. an inability to understand abstract terms like freedom or human rights.
3. either-or thinking that causes people to play out victim-victimizer dynamics.
4. both-and thinking that helps people to find common ground on important issues.
5. systemic thinking that enables people to change themselves and the world around them.
Kegan’s research shows about 70% of U. S. adults operate at the third order or below, although about half of them have one foot in fourth order consciousness. Our research has shown that people cannot shift from third order thinking to fourth order thinking unless they first understand how their family of origin and their cultural roots have impacted their current values, beliefs and choices.
We found that once people can connect the dots between their current thoughts, feelings and actions and what happened to them when the grew up, they can then connect the dots between the elements in larger human systems such as our political system. They understand how these larger human systems work and are not as easily fooled by the political propaganda designed to keep them voting against their best interests and electing people who do not have their best interests in mind.