The Ultimate Guide to Family Values: A Grand Unified Theory of Ethics and Morality

The Ultimate Guide to Family Values: A Grand Unified Theory of Ethics and Morality

by John E. LaMuth, Jay D. Edwards
     
 
The current interest in family values has undergone a significant revival as of late, a trend dramatized by the perceived decline in morals affecting American culture. The traditional descriptions of the family values, however, are typically treated as isolated entities, lacking any meaningful degree of moral connectedness across the board. Fortunately, the dream

Overview

The current interest in family values has undergone a significant revival as of late, a trend dramatized by the perceived decline in morals affecting American culture. The traditional descriptions of the family values, however, are typically treated as isolated entities, lacking any meaningful degree of moral connectedness across the board. Fortunately, the dream of a unified ethical and moral system has finally been realized with the first radical revolution in ethical theory in over two thousand years, as proposed in: The Ultimate Guide to Family Values: A Grand Unified Theory of Ethics and Morality. As its title implies, this new moral system is the first grand unified theory of its type; taking as its foundation the ethical values pioneered in classical Greek philosophy, augmented by the writings of the great Church theologians over the past two thousand years. The distinctive groupings of ethical values defined within this system all appear to be linked on an intuitive level, suggesting a clear sense of underlying cohesiveness.
The key innovation behind this revolution arises as a direct result of the emerging field of Communications Theory, borrowing the crucial concept of the metaperspective (a higher-order perspective upon the viewpoint held by another). According to this conceptual paradigm, the abstract groupings of virtues and values are collectively seen as subsets within this hierarchy of metaperspectives, each more abstract grouping building upon those which it supersedes.
Take, for example, the cardinal virtues (prudence-justice-temperance-fortitude), the theological virtues (faith-hope-charity-decency), and the classical Greek values (beauty-truth-goodness-wisdom). Each of these distinctive ethical groupings is further split into a complex of four subordinate terms, allowing for a precise, point-for-point stacking within the hierarchy of metaperspectives. When additional groupings of ethical terms are further added into the mix, the complete ten level hierarchy of metaperspectives emerges in full detail, partially reproduced in the table immediately below:

GLORY-----------PRUDENCE
PROVIDENCE---------FAITH
GRACE-------------BEAUTY
TRANQUILITY------ECSTASY


HONOR---------JUSTICE
LIBERTY----------HOPE
FREE WILL-------TRUTH
EQUALITY--------BLISS


DIGNITY-------TEMPERANCE
CIVILITY---------CHARITY
MAGNANIMITY-----GOODNESS
LOVE-----------------JOY


INTEGRITY----FORTITUDE
AUSTERITY------DECENCY
EQUANIMITY------WISDOM
PEACE----------HARMONY

This cohesive hierarchy of virtues, values, and ideals proves exceedingly comprehensive in scope, accounting for virtually every major ethical term celebrated within the Western ethical tradition. Indeed, it is easy to gain a sense of the trend towards increasing abstraction when scanning each of the individually depicted columns from top to bottom. Such superficial resemblance, however, can scarcely claim to be the total picture; for it further proves possible to base this hierarchy of family values entirely within a behavioral foundation; namely, the terminology of operant conditioning proposed by the great American psychologist, B. F. Skinner. Through this purely behavioral style of motivational analysis, the higher virtues and values can alternately be viewed as more advanced metaperspectives on the more basic complement of instinctual states (i.e., reward, punishment, appetite, aversion). Through the aid of this scientifically based, motivational foundation, the complete ten level hierarchy of family values finally achieves the degree of validity befitting such a true "technology of behavior." Indeed, this new system proves particularly well suited for introducing moral values to a new generation of youth (who increasingly find themselves at odds with the more traditional value systems).

Even more significant applications remain in store; most notably, the feasibility of programming the logical consequences of this motivational hierarchy directly into a computer, resulting in the first master program for artificial intelligence (simulated in the ethical realm). Indeed, an entire final chapter is devoted to outlining the logistics involved in implementing at least a skeleton framework of such a (patent pending) artificially intelligent machine.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781929649280
Publisher:
Fairhaven Book
Publication date:
06/28/2002
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
225
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.49(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One Introduction


The decline in morals of the youth of America has become a stirring refrain in media circles across the nation. The establishment generation is quick to lament the perceived deficiencies of those someday destined to inherit the political and economic reins of power. At the forefront is the gradual decline in the Protestant work ethic, as reflected in the increasing erosion of educational and moral standards. A disturbing desensitization to violence is of further concern, the sanctity of human life devalued to the point where public safety is of increasing concern. Although society has always suffered some degree of criminality and lawlessness throughout the ages, its dramatic rise in the youth of America is particularly disturbing especially in light of the leniency traditionally accorded minors. If the media is indeed to be believed, it is almost "square" to be too decent of a youth anymore.
It proves crucial to look back on what has worked so well in the past, for clues to what has gone wrong with the present. In a traditional sense, Western morality is first instilled at the family level, reflected in the familiar folk sayings and maxims of the great folk heroes of the day. More abstract virtues are found within the precepts of orthodox religion, as witnessed in the Western tradition of the Christian virtues, values, and ideals.
The tendency to retreat to an emphasis on family values is a popular theme of late, exalting the extended family unit with its tradition of virtuous behavior. With the rise of the mobile nuclear family, however, the wisdom of striving for such a bygone era is problematic, particularly with respect to the dramatic rise in one parent, welfare-financed households.
The public school system is similarly handicapped in its efforts to provide a strong moral foundation, the strict enforcement of the separation of church and state provisions of the U. S. Constitution presenting a formidable stumbling block to such goals. Indeed, the spiritual overtones traditionally associated with ethical philosophy legally bar any meaningful degree of moral discussion. A strong religious upbringing is still honored as the most direct route to strong moral values, yet legal restrictions to mixing the spiritual and the secular have only appeared to foster the increasingly amoral climate currently seen in today's youth.
Parents are increasingly encouraged to take such matters into their own hands, with recent books on moral development reaching unprecedented best-seller status. Most prominent of these is William J. Bennett's The Book of Virtues, and its follow-up companion volume The Moral Compass. Bennett endeavors to supply a treasury of great moral stories on such timeless themes as loyalty, responsibility, honesty, and courage, but this treatment suffers from the same shortcomings as those that have gone before; namely, treating virtues and values as isolated entities devoid of any underlying sense of connectedness. Indeed, any discussion of individual values in isolation is of only limited concern, if not tied to their intuitive sense of connectedness across the board.
The traditions of organized religion have proven particularly effective in celebrating the fair degree of moral connectedness within the Western ethical tradition. The realm of Christian ethics highlights two of the most prominent groupings of virtues; i.e., the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude) and the theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity). Of even greater import to the Western tradition are the classical Greek values (beauty, truth, and goodness), and the humanistic values (peace, love, tranquility, and equality). Numerous other miscellaneous listings of virtues demonstrate the further potential for grouping together, hinting at the potential for an even wider ranging system of ethics and morality.
One of the key advantages of these traditional moral groupings is their appearance as unifying themes within the major religions of the world. Here the tragedy of the separation of church and state hits the hardest, the fear of any degree of religious favoritism sacrificing issues of such critical concern to the youth of the nation. Although Sunday school and family life fill in the gaps for many a youth, perhaps an equal number are deprived of these crucial insights at the most critical stages in their ethical and moral development. Ideally there should be some method of systematizing the attendant virtues and values into a religiously neutral format, an innovation that could prove exceedingly beneficial to the increasing number of youthful atheists and agnostics.
As they are traditionally taught, the major groupings of virtues and values all seem to be connected on an intuitive level; which, if documented, could serve as the basis for a radically new system of ethical inquiry. Such a grand unification of moral principles has unfortunately eluded the best efforts of theologians and philosophers down through the ages, calling for a radical reinterpretation of the issues at hand. The key to such an innovation resides in viewing the individual as the rightful product of his diverse range of social environments. In addition to the most basic one-to-one style of personal interaction, the individual is typically incorporated into a wide range of group contexts (e.g., family, work, school, etc.), as well as some all-encompassing style of spiritual environment. These various contexts, in turn, merge together as a unified social hierarchy, in keeping with the theoretical principles governing the school of Set Theory. Set Theory is clearly in agreement with this three-way degree of specialization, the unit set, the group set, and the universal set corresponding to the personal, group, and spiritual realms, respectively.
This concept of a three-level style of set hierarchy is actually nothing new, proposed centuries earlier by the great German philosopher, Emmanuel Kant. In his masterpiece, The Critique of Pure Reason Kant outlines an elaborate system of conceptual categories that he considers crucial to the formation of the human intellect: the most notable being the relevant category of quantity, divided, in turn, into the notions of unity, plurality, and totality. In general terms, these concepts equate to the notions of the one, the many, and the absolute; equivalent in the human social sense to the personal, group, and spiritual levels of the power hierarchy.
This three-level style of conceptual hierarchy, although appealing in its simplicity; differs from Set Theory in that complex interactions between individuals do not exist in a vacuum, but rather are dually specialized into either authority or follower roles, respectively. In the personal realm, this amounts to the personal authority and personal follower roles; extending to the group realm as the dual complement of group authority and group representative roles, followed up by the spiritual authority and spiritual disciple roles of the spiritual realm. A brief description of each of these basic styles of authority/follower interaction is definitely in order, for they collectively serve to outline the proposed grand unification of virtues, values, and ideals initially proposed.
The most basic personal style of interaction refers to the one-to-one style of relationship between individuals, such as seen in one's personal friendships. This interplay is typically specialized into either authority or follower roles; exemplified in the case of the master craftsman (who critically depends upon the faithful services of his willing apprentice). A similar scenario further holds true in the case of the hero and his sidekick, or the celebrity and his straightman. Flexibility is certainly the key issue here, the authority and follower roles reciprocating one another, allowing for an equitable style of shared relationship. Indeed, the authority figure depends upon the attentions of his follower (as much as the other way around), leading to an effective balance of power within the personal power realm.
This elementary style of personal relationship, in turn, gives way to the equally pervasive notion of group authority. As previously described, the group set surpasses the unit set in its expansion to a multitude of elements (or class members) within a group context. Personal concerns now become subordinate to this group sense of authority, plenty of followers remaining to continue group authority regardless of whether any individual chooses to defect. In a single stroke the group authority sets himself well above any personal power struggles, an innovation exploited since ancient times as the well established tradition of tribal-based authority.
Group authority, in turn, is susceptible to its own unique form of follower maneuver, in this case that of the group representative. Indeed, the strike potential of the group representative is most fully realized at this level, witnessed in the modern-day trend towards collective bargaining. By organizing as a union collective, the rank and file picks a shop steward to represent them in their dealings with management. The union representative, in essence, informs the group authority that the cooperation and cohesiveness of the labor pool is crucial for maintaining the group status quo. Here again, the group authority and group representative effectively share an equal balance of power in the group power realm.
A similar scenario necessarily holds true for the next higher spiritual level of authority, although this sense of "spiritual" refers to the restricted sense of the term implicit in set theory. Indeed, this universal set surpasses the multiplicity of the group domain for the sum-totality of all such groups within its domain. This universal set is unique in representing the group of all possible group sets, a third-order style of set hierarchy (equivalent to the domain of all of mankind). Just as group authority surpassed the influence of any of its individual members, so this universal sense of spiritual authority overrules the strike power of any of its constituent groups; hence, claiming supremacy over all mankind.
It is true, in practice, that each of the world's religions competes for the preferences of the world's faithful. In theory, however, each religion vigilantly strives to convert all others, lending credence to the ideal (universal) sense of the term. This claim to universality is traditionally made binding through an appeal to a god or a messiah figure. Indeed, this mystical style of sanction dates at least to classical times, when a king could inspire loyalty from his troops in the name of a god of war, far in excess of what he could hope to claim as a mere mortal.
Taking this trend to the limit, even a realm as abstract as the spiritual must (by definition) be susceptible to its own unique form of follower countermaneuver, this time in the role of the spiritual disciple. As a spokesman for the spiritual congregation, the spiritual disciple reminds his authority figure, that without the blessings of the faithful, he (as spiritual authority) will have no one left to minister over. Indeed, witness the power of the apostate or the heretic for influencing such diverse historical events as the Protestant Reformation, and indeed the very founding of Christianity itself.


THE MASTER SCHEMATIC DIAGRAM OF ETHICAL
GROUPINGS

In summary, this basic three-level hierarchy of personal, group, and spiritual realms; when viewed in terms of both authority and follower roles, finally provides the fundamental conceptual framework for proposing the grand unification of virtues, values, and ideals, as schematically illustrated in Figure one. This master diagram, tentatively termed the "power pyramid," incorporates all of the major ethical groupings described so far, plus an equivalent number of new ones, for a grand total of ten; serving as the basic foundation for the remainder of this book (please refer to the next page). As the captions serve to indicate, the first three levels of this diagram are designated according to the personal, group, and spiritual levels of the power realm, accounting for the most basic groupings of virtues and ideals. The remaining lowermost two levels, however, bring in two hitherto unmentioned categories; namely, the humanitarian and transcendental realms, respectively. Indeed, it is fitting to distinguish this additional complement of levels as uniquely abstract styles of power maneuvers; surpassing the organizational style of structure previously described. A brief description of these latter two levels is definitely in order, for some of the most abstract listings of virtues and values fall under these final two headings.
Although the spiritual realm is clearly the maximum level of organization, in keeping with the traditions of Set Theory; this very sense of chronological time permits the introduction of the even more advanced notion of humanitarian authority into the mix. Indeed, the great theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein defined time as the fourth dimension of the universe, ma-




Nostalgia Guilt
----------------------
Desire Worry
*****************
EGO STATES
(Personal Authority)



Glory Honor
--------------------
Dignity Integrity
**********************
PERSONAL IDEALS
(Group Authority)



Providence Liberty
-----------------------
Civility Austerity
************************
CIVIL LIBERTIES
(Spiritual Authority)



Grace Free Will
---------------------------
Magnanimity Equanimity
***************************
ECUMENICAL IDEALS
(Humanitarian Authority)



Tranquility Equality
------------------------
Love Peace
*************************
HUMANISTIC VALUES
(Transcendental Authority)


____________________________________



Hero Worship Blame
--------------------------
Approval Concern
************************
ALTER EGO STATES
(Personal Follower)



Prudence Justice
-----------------------
Temperance Fortitude
**************************
CARDINAL VIRTUES
(Group Representative)



Faith Hope
----------------
Charity Decency
*********************
THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES
(Spiritual Disciple)



Beauty Truth
-------------------
Goodness Wisdom
***********************
CLASSICAL GREEK VALUES
(Humanitarian Follower)



Ecstasy Bliss
------------------
Joy Harmony
**********************
MYSTICAL VALUES
(Transcendental Follower)




king it seem only fitting that this humanitarian theme would enter into consideration precisely at this fourth-order level of the power hierarchy. Humanitarian authority transcends the spiritual variety by claiming to speak for all generations of mankind, not just the current one; experienced as past traditionalism and/or future potentiality. Its extreme degree of generality precludes its identification with any particular social institution; rather its themes are incorporated into the spiritual (and sometimes political) framework of society as a whole, as they relate to ritualism or conservation.
This extreme sense of the pure power of abstraction, when considered in its own right, serves as the basis for one final innovation in the power hierarchy; namely, the crowning transcendental power realm. Transcendental authority regains the upper hand by transcending the routine sense of concreteness shared in common by all of the lower levels, an innovation which proves essential for accounting for the most abstract listings of values in the power hierarchy. This authority perspective freely enters into the esoteric realm of pure intuition and imagination, forsaking the constraints of ordinary reality for the supreme and incontrovertible realm of pure abstraction. Indeed, this transcendental realm (along with the humanitarian variety) is further specialized into the familiar authority and follower roles (for a grand total of four), which together with the six roles specified for the personal, group, and spiritual levels collectively comprise the master ten-level hierarchy depicted in Figure one.
Although basically only an introductory chapter, a few general observations may be made with respect to the distinguishing features of this schematic format. First, the ten listings of virtues, values, and ideals are organized into dual descending columns of five groupings each; the left column representing the hierarchy of authority roles, whereas the right describes the corresponding follower roles. This dual style of schematic format represents the sum-totality of reciprocating interactions between the authority and follower figures, as the directional arrows serve to indicate. This ten-level hierarchy begins with the most elementary personal realm, followed in turn by the group and spiritual levels, respectively. The remaining lowermost two levels represent the most abstract levels of the power hierarchy; namely, the humanitarian and transcendental levels, respectively, as the underlying captions serve to indicate.
The distinctive groupings of virtues and values listed for each individual level exhibit their own distinctive range of distinguishing characteristics; namely, each is represented as a quartet style of schematic format (depicted as quadrants in a pseudo-Cartesian system). Some of the more traditional groupings (such as the cardinal virtues) are already represented as four-part listings, fitting quite nicely into such a quadrant-style of format. Others (such as the theological virtues) have been supplemented beyond their traditional number in order to achieve this quartet-style of status. Still other groupings are entirely new to this philosophical tradition, yet these too are seen to respect this quartet-style organization of the power hierarchy.
Just as the distinctive authority levels are seen to build in a hierarchial fashion, so the associated groupings of virtues and values further respect this abstract pattern of organization. These are seen to build from the most elementary (e.g., the ego and alter ego states of the personal level) clear on up to the most abstract listings of the transcendental level (i.e., the humanistic and mystical values). Here the power hierarchy can be seen to run the entire gamut of human experience, from the instinctual to the sublime, and everything in between. A brief description of each of these basic ethical listings is certainly in order here, serving as a basic overview of their more detailed treatment in the remaining chapters to follow.


THE ELEMENTARY FOUNDATIONS OF THE POWER
HIERARCHY

The most basic personal level of power hierarchy is certainly the most rational jumping off point here, making it seem only fitting that the associated motivational terms would share such similar elementary characteristics. According to level one of Figure one, these are respectively designated as the ego states of the personal authority (guilt-worry-nostalgia-desire) and the alter ego states of the personal follower (hero worship-blame-approval-concern). These groupings appear tailor-made for incorporation into the power hierarchy, graciously adapted from the field of self-help psychology; most notably, the best seller Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Indeed, the intensely personal nature of this self-help field makes its associated terminology particularly effective for specifying the intimate dynamics of this personal power realm. The logical rationale behind their particular assignment, as well as the basic distinction between authority and follower roles, is an undertaking best left for a more detailed treatment in an upcoming chapter.
Although only briefly described, these basic groupings of ego and alter ego states, in turn, serve as the basic foundation for each of the remaining listings of virtues, values, and ideals outlined in Figure one. Indeed, a basic pattern clearly emerges from this diagram; namely, the left-hand column of authority roles is characterized by what are termed the authority ideals: read downwards as the personal ideals, the civil liberties, the ecumenical ideals, and the humanistic values. The right hand column of follower roles, in turn, specifies a parallel trend based in the realm of the virtues; namely, the cardinal virtues, theological virtues, the classical Greek values, and the mystical values. For consistency's sake, the basic authority trend will be examined in its entirety first, followed by an equally comprehensive description of the remaining sequence of follower roles.

THE AUTHORITY IDEALS

The first mentioned sequence of authority ideals begins with the most basic "group" level of authority, as represented by the provisionally termed class of "personal ideals" (glory-honor-dignity-integrity). The personal designation of this grouping might appear to represent somewhat of a misnomer, although more properly viewed as ideals in a group sense (according to such a group authority perspective). Indeed, these personal ideals are seen to build in a direct fashion upon the ego states of the personal authority. For instance, the group authority might gloriously act in a nostalgic fashion, or honorably act in a guilty fashion. Similarly, he might also dignifiedly act in a desirous fashion, or worrisomely act with integrity. Indeed, it becomes abundantly clear that this elementary listing of ego states effectively serves to support and modify the more abstract listing of group ideals.
These four personal ideals are all seen to derive from classical Latin roots, highlighting the ancient Romans enduring fascination with the heroic tradition of group leadership. This classical tradition of group authority invokes many symbolisms of royalty and nobility, as particularly reflected in the medieval traditions of the knightly coats of arms; i.e., the circle of glory, the honor point, the cap of dignity, and the animal symbolisms of integrity. Guided by these lofty heraldic symbolisms, the noble knight rightfully aspired to such regal themes (befitting such a leader among men.
The next higher spiritual level of authority rates a similar ethical treatment, designated for the original class of terms provisionally termed the "civil liberties" (providence-liberty-civility-austerity). Each of these themes was prominently featured in the founding of the United States, collectively celebrated in the precepts of the Declaration of Independence. Indeed, this revolutionary document invoked Divine authority as one of its central premises, proposing the universal rights of man in order to overrule the tyrannical edicts of King George III of England. Although this designation of civil liberties suggests more of a political context, further analysis clearly demonstrates the deep spiritual underpinnings of these themes, each of which was worshipped as a classical deity in their own right; e.g., Providentia, Libertas, Civitas, and Auster. In this more advanced context, providence is viewed as the spiritual counterpart of glory, whereas liberty exhibits a similar correspondence to honor. In similar fashion, civility amounts to a spiritual refinement of dignity, whereas austerity exhibits a similar correspondence to integrity.
This universal theme of spiritual authority, in turn, serves as the basic foundation for the even more abstract realm of humanitarian authority (rooted in the novel concept of historical time). This enduring quality of humanitarian authority is clearly represented in its respective listing of motivational terms, provisionally termed the "ecumenical ideals" (grace-free will-magnanimity-equanimity). The traditional significance of these ecumenical ideals certainly fits a common stereotype; namely, timeless themes consistent with such a grand humanitarian perspective. Although somewhat loosely associated with spiritual concerns, a careful examination clearly reveals their true humanitarian significance, as highlighted in the long tradition of ecumenical councils down through the ages (when generational issues were alternately brought into focus).
This grouping enjoyed particular prominence during the Protestant Reformation, when according to the basic tenets of Martin Luther: "For it is by grace ye are saved, through faith." Indeed, these ecumenical ideals clearly add a more enduring historical dimension to the more limited focus of the civil liberties of the spiritual tradition. For instance, grace imparts a more enduring humanitarian significance to providence, whereas free will assigns more of a historical perspective to liberty. Similarly, the remaining themes of magnanimity and equanimity extend a similar traditionalist mindset to the more elementary spiritual qualities of civility and austerity.
The crowning transcendental level of the power hierarchy effectively rounds out this stepwise description of the authority roles. As stated earlier, the transcendental authority perspective formally appeals to the idealized realm of pure abstraction, overruling the power leverage of any of its subordinate authority levels. The crowning transcendental grouping of humanistic values (peace-love-tranquility-equality) rightfully enters into consideration here, ideal abstractions befitting such a lofty transcendental focus. Each of these terms fits the grand traditions of this supreme level; ideals tuned to realms wholly transcending ordinary experience. The humanistic designation was deliberately selected to signify the universal and free form nature of this grouping, alluding to the abstract style of Romanticism born of the Renaissance era.
In keeping with their supreme level of abstraction, the humanistic values traditionally date at least to classical times, each worshipped as an abstract deity in its own right; e.g., Pax (peace), Cupid (love), Quies (tranquillity), and Aequitas (equality). These classical considerations eventually carried over into the Christian era, in turn, serving as the supreme inspiration for many popular modern movements, such as the New England Transcendentalists and the war protest generation of the 60's.
This impressive description of the hierarchy of authority ideals, although clearly unprecedented in scope, in turn, sets the stage for the description of the parallel trend based upon the follower roles: a sequence proving equally formidable in both extent and tradition. Just as the authority trend was seen to build in a direct fashion upon the ego states, so the corresponding follower sequence takes its origins from the alter ego states, beginning with the well-established tradition of the cardinal and theological virtues.
These two basic categories of virtue have collectively enjoyed a long and distinguished place of honor in the Western ethical tradition. As their names imply, the theological virtues (faith-hope-charity-decency) are restricted to the spiritual disciple role, whereas the cardinal virtues (prudence-justice-temperance-fortitude) by default, represent the group representative role. Indeed, this latter listing of cardinal virtues, directly serves to initiate this higher order style of follower trend; their name deriving from the Latin "cardos" (hinge), based upon the profound belief that all higher virtues hinge upon these basic four. The cardinal virtues, in turn, exhibit direct parallels to the more elementary alter ego states, as indicated in the strict correspondence between these two basic listings; e.g., prudent-worship, just-blame, temperate-approval, and fortitudinous-concern.
This tradition of the cardinal virtues was first prominently described by the Greek classical philosopher Plato in his fanciful dialogue The Republic. Indeed, these cardinal virtues were the major focal point for this early work, promoted as the proper rules of conduct governing the behavior of representative groups within Plato's ideal conception of the Greek city state.
The even more abstract listing of theological virtues (faith-hope-charity-decency) build in a hierarchial fashion upon this basic foundation in the cardinal virtues. The great church theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas viewed the theological virtues as divinely inspired, in direct contrast to the more elementary character of the cardinal virtues (which he considered natural predispositions within the social realm). Befitting their exalted status, the theological virtues are recurrent themes in New Testament scripture; particularly acknowledged by St. Paul (1 Co:13) as the ideal moral principles governing the virtuous conduct of a true disciple of Christ.
Although this designation "theological" originally applied only to the first basic three, the addition of the fourth related theme of decency effectively modifies this grouping into a form compatible with its rightful entry into the power hierarchy. This traditional shortfall in the full complement of theological virtues appears to account for the great insight missed across the ages; namely, the theological virtues represent the higher spiritual analogues of the cardinal virtues, just as the latter were seen to be based in the alter ego states. Here we see the prudent-faith or the blameful-hope for justice professed by the spiritual disciple; along with the temperate sense of the charitableness, or fortitudinous sense of decency germane to the discussion.
This convincing style of spiritual disciple perspective, in turn, extends to a realm even as abstract as the humanitarian; in the guise of a role that must respectively termed be "the representative member of humanity." More properly termed the philosopher's maneuver, it favors the prestige involved in speaking for all generations of humanity (not just the current one). In essence, the representative member of humanity reminds the humanitarian authority of his formal sanction from humanity, lest the latter lose his authority in such matters. Indeed, the humanitarian authority perspective was seen to be more of a policy-making strategy than any immediate style of power maneuver. The humanitarian follower, accordingly, maintains the option of rejecting humanitarian policy; hence, maintaining a reciprocal balance of power in the power realm.
The traditionally revered listing of classical Greek values (beauty-truth-goodness-wisdom) rightfully enters into consideration here (the major groupings of virtues already accounted for at the lower levels). Indeed, this notion of value invokes precisely such a humanitarian focus, the immediate sense of virtue now supplanted by the timeless quality of value. Indeed, the classical Greek values date to most ancient of times, celebrated by Plato as the pure forms (or essences) that endure beyond the inherent variability of the physical world. Each of these values was accordingly worshiped as an abstract deity in its own right; e.g., Venus (beauty), Veritas (truth), Bonus Eventus (goodness), and Sapientia (wisdom). Indeed, this classical sense of value represents the supreme fulfillment of the trend previously begun with respect to the hierarchy of cardinal and theological virtues. Here we see the humanitarian perspectives of a beauteous-faith, a just-hope for the truth, a charitable sense of goodness, or a decent sense of wisdom.
Even a level as abstract as the transcendental, must (by definition) be invested with its own unique form of follower countermaneuver; in this case that of the transcendental follower. Despite this extreme level of abstraction, it still proves possible to distinguish a corresponding listing of ethical terms, provisionally termed the "mystical values" (ecstasy-bliss-joy-harmony). Although the particulars of this grouping are scarcely warranted at this juncture, suffice it to say they encompass the enigmatic realm of religious mysticism (tuned to realms wholly transcending ordinary experience). Indeed, this crowning level of terms effectively closes out this nameable region of the power hierarchy, although it even proves possible to speculate upon the existence of an even broader, supernatural extension to the power hierarchy: an issue best left to a more detailed analysis of the mystical realm in Chapter 10.


THE POWER PYRAMID HIERARCHY

In summary, this purely introductory description of the ten level hierarchy of authority roles, aimed to provide a suitably comprehensive overview, a mere glimpse of the more detailed analysis to follow. At the heart of this system lies the unified power hierarchy depicted in Figure one, a confluence of reciprocating authority and follower roles spanning the entire ten level hierarchy of personal, group, spiritual, humanitarian, and transcendental power roles. In tribute to this dramatic scope, I take the liberty of designating this cohesive power hierarchy the "power pyramid," in allusion to the exponential expansion of total membership at each succeeding level. This term is purposely suggestive of the pyramid money schemes of the late 1970's, when profits were realized by recruiting from an ever broadening base of prospective investors. This figurative metaphor (perhaps more than any other) reflects such a reciprocating sense of struggle within the perpetual power realm.
Although this hierarchy of authority levels emerged as a direct outcome of Set Theory, the true elegance of this system is seen in the respective listings of motivational terms, intriguing in their formal, four-part pattern of organization. Each of these respective listings of virtues and values shows an intimate degree of reciprocity with its respective authority or follower role across the board. Of even further significance, however, is the high degree of cohesiveness seen for hierarchically linked sequences of motivational terms themselves, such as seen in the case of the cardinal virtues, the theological virtues, and the classical Greek values. This pattern scarcely proves to be an isolated phenomenon, for it effectively repeats itself across the entire ten-level span of the power hierarchy.
For instance (returning to Figure one), within the left descending column (representing the authority roles), the upper left quadrant of motivational terms (read in descending order) yields the sequence of nostalgia-glory-providence-grace-tranquility. All five terms share a positive style of past-directed focus, stressing the theme of past notable achievements. The same quadrant in the right-hand column of follower roles yields the related motivational sequence of hero worship-prudence-faith-beauty-ecstasy; themes that all appear to reciprocate the authority role through a reinforcement of such past-directed (nostalgic) perspectives.
A parallel circumstance further holds true in the case of the adjacent (upper right-hand) quadrant of Figure one. The respective authority roles yield the related sequence of guilt-honor-liberty-freewill-equality: themes all sharing a similar past-directed focus (although now designating a more submissive sense). The corresponding follower roles further cement this observation (e.g., blame-justice-hope-truth-bliss): a hierarchy mirroring that based upon hero worship, with the exception that negative reinforcement is now called into focus.
The remaining lower two quadrants of the power hierarchy are further amenable to such an ingenious style of analysis, an undertaking scarcely warranted at this juncture (in light of the purely introductory nature of this chapter). The reader is encouraged to defer judgement at the present time, these additional trends dealt with in even greater detail in the main body of the book.
It indeed proves particularly amazing that these motivational trends should exist at all, each lining up so perfectly within its respective quadrant of the power hierarchy. Certain of these sequences appear somewhat more convincing than others, although these discrepancies can be explained in terms of the variations in their commonly held meanings. This grand scale organization of the power hierarchy is certainly its major selling point, its perfect symmetry and cohesiveness far too intricate to have risen solely by accident. Indeed, these ten main motivational groupings turn out to be the skeleton framework for an even broader system of terms, covering virtually the entire range of emotionally charged language. In this expanded sense, the power pyramid aims fulfill the dreams of so many philosophers that have gone before; namely, the long sought after Rosetta stone to the complexities of the human mind. Stay tuned for many exciting sequels and future releases to come!

THE BEHAVIORAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE POWER HIERARCHY

In conclusion, this cursory style of introductory chapter endeavored to provide a brief (yet convincing) overview of the entire power hierarchy (certainly warranting further detailed investigation). Each individual level of the power hierarchy will be assigned to its own unique chapter, with the exception of the following chapter (which examines the personal authority and personal follower levels together). Indeed, it is at these most basic (personal) levels that the basic rationale behind the quartet-style organization of the power hierarchy is finally addressed, fully explainable in terms of the behavioral terminology of conditioning theory.
The psychological discipline of Behaviorism has consistently been devoted to the study of such instinctual styles of goal-seeking behaviors, an undertaking uncannily suggestive of the more abstract focus of the virtues, values, and ideals. The father of modern Behaviorism, the late B. F. Skinner, attempted a similar correlation of ethical and behavioral principles, in his quest for an all-encompassing technology of behavior. In his masterpiece, Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971) Skinner examines the behavioral correlates of a wide range of motivational terms (such as freedom and dignity) although with somewhat limited success. With the aid of the power pyramid hierarchy, however, this motivational style of the analysis can be carried to its logical conclusion, incorporating virtually every major term espoused within the Western ethical tradition.
Indeed, it proves particularly effective to view this ethical hierarchy as rooted directly in behavioral principles and terminology, as suggested in the elementary nature of the ego and alter ego states. The science of Behaviorism accordingly serves as the rational jumping off point for such a grand undertaking, as outlined in the detailed chapter to follow. A brief history of the behavioral movement is definitely in order, for herein lies the keys to understanding the distinctive instinctual foundations of the entire unified power hierarchy.

End Chapter One

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >