Hope and a Post-Truth World

I am sick of divisiveness. If you are too, I’d like to share a concept with you. It isn’t a cure. It won’t transform society in the blink of an eye so that everyone gets along. It won’t fundamentally shift reality to make our current disagreements irrelevant. All that it will do is offer a new perspective on reality and perhaps provide a bit of hope. For now, that will have to do until time, technology, or the Divine brings about the change we need.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11602
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I was ready to learn something new - until I came to this:

I realized this promoter is just too immature to teach me anything. If my spiritual experience depended on the election of yet another politician (well, not in Trump’s case) I wouldn’t admit it. I realize Trump is used as a pinata for everything from the Coronavirus to the current nor-easter; but, Trump, having left a mature man with “nothing to hang his faith on” is going a tad too far. I hope this “Spiral Dynamics” is able to fix faith problems as well.

Might I suggest, faith doesn’t depend on national elections, even when the winner is a scoundrel, who parses his words and doesn’t know “what the meaning of is - is”, after being caught using the Oval Office for personal gratification. Now, that was faith shaking - faith in the integrity of the office of the presidency as it’s represented by the “office” of the leader of the country. “Get a room” would not be appropriately meant to be the Oval Office. So, there are a lot of “faith shaking” events in this world, but I think, at this point, we all know where the cure can be found.

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The election of Trump didn’t shake my faith. A perceived failure in my faith community did. Those in my faith community that I looked to for moral guidance in the conservative, community-focused categories of loyalty, authority, and sanctity (described by Haidt) seemed to show more loyalty to political party than church, acquiesced to authoritarian rhetoric over standing up for biblical authority, and excused immoral activity rather than maintaining standards of purity.

While spiral dynamics is a necessarily simplified map of individual and societal development, it helped me recognize the failures of my own postmodern perspective, offered insight into my conservative friends’ attraction for an authoritarian leader, and reminded me to include the good and transcend the bad at each stage.

I hope my immaturity doesn’t keep you from exploring spiral dynamics.

We should have known that the SDA congregation, as a whole, doesn’t care that much about politics, other than a focus on Sabbath restrictions. I’m several years your senior, and remember well the days when it didn’t matter who ran for president, as long as the Republican won. This brought an expected opposite reaction by the younger generation, who have now taken up the same attitudes of thoughtless pushback. What I find immature is the automatic assumption that “my side” is obviously the correct intellectual side, and the opposition must be ignorant Trumpers - thoughtless partisanship. Things are never that “black or white”.

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I agree that things are never that “black or white.” It is challenging to see the positive aspects of those whose outlook differs from ours. After my temper tantrum over my communities’ embrace of Trump, exposure to spiral dynamics helped me understand where conservative friends were coming from, appreciate some of the positive things they contribute, and realize that their identification with Trump has a lot to do with the failings of postmodernity.

In short, you correctly identified immaturity in my reaction against conservatives and spiral dynamics helped me mature. All of us have room to grow and that’s what spiral dynamics is all about.


Very gracious response. Thank you. We all keep learning until we finally close our eyes.

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Brother Reading - yours is an excellent “tantrum” indeed…it perfectly reflects my chagrin at the “Love of Trump” I discovered among fellow believers. I too found this love at first inexplicable, outrageous. But your final comment nailed the situation, the roots of attraction of Trump run deep into the revulsion felt by a huge swath of Americans at the aggressively godless waters we find rising around us.

So I will correct you on this, that besides the fact that Trump is a natural showman of the stripe of George Barnum or Buffalo Bill Cody, his success doesn’t have “a lot to do with the failings of postmodernity.”, it has everything to do with the monumental failings of postmodernity.


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