Politics > Spiral of Political Maturation > Stage-6: Integrity Emerges in the Transcendentalist Mode

Stage-6: Integrity Emerges in the Transcendentalist Mode

Inner Personal Change

Transcendentalist mode is established when elites start to defect to integrity and pose a challenge to the system.

The Transcendentalist mode will emerge within an atmosphere of spiritual crisis and new possibilities. Remember this is speculative:Closed In dealing with the future, we continue to inquire and assert in an imaginative way using the principles that have served us well so far.

In Stage-5, the political playing field will have been improved in terms of general acceptability through the generation of social pressure. Vested interests will nevertheless still exert much influence.

It is possible that the worst errors, abuse and stupidity in governing may have been restrained in Stage-5, but the belief system about governing during the Conventionalist ethos was minimally modified, if at all. What changed was that people were no longer willing to hand over social power and responsibility to politicians who took the power, and forgot the responsibility while intoning "you can trust us".

To progress, a decisive change in beliefs will be required. It must become reasonable for one person or small group to feel responsible for the functioning of a vast nation.

The Critical Change

Acceptance of personal responsibility for political life is projected to emerge in Stage-6. It replaces a wish to be either dependent or utterly independent. That will require people to look deeply into themselves. Above all, there will be a need to reject habits of entitlement and a refusal to lose identity by submerging in a crowd.


…may become a positive factor, because technology is likely to reduce energy costs and pollution, so enabling easier travel and trade. Recognizing the multiplicity of values and perspectives at close hand increases self-awareness.

Cosmopolitanism may also help weaken the aggrandizing aspect of «the nation», which has so often fostered artificial, arrogant and wrong feelings of superiority. Personal interaction globally should also weaken the grip that national pride and paranoia has on wasteful expenditures for war.

Values & Institutions of the Transcendentalist Mode


Integrating Force:
ClosedPersonal convictions

The emergence of a new concept of «what it is to be a person» is possible. People will become convinced of the need to hold certain convictions dear, so that pragmatism will no longer dominate so easily over principles. The particular convictions chosen will be a matter for each person, and life will then be re-organized around those convictions.

This arrangement increases the number of people who can choose what is right for them, and who have the strength and courage to pursue this. The habit of seeking a direction in life from others will be widely confronted and viewed with disapproval. Fundamentalism may wane, even if the remaining extreme believers coalesce into a countervailing political force.

Socio-political Institution:
ClosedGenuine civic commitment

The notion of a citizenry had existed, but it had little heart or strength. In the UK, for example, the public are «subjects». In Cycle-1, people are treated by politicians as fodder for plans and needing to be deceived for their own good. However, when convictions strengthen, citizenship can become far more meaningful for many.

The idea that people are citizens responsible for their society may be highlighted if some elites defect from their class and claim «integrity» as the reason for refusing to continue political business-as-usual.

As genuine civic commitment increases, previous submergence of the self in ideologies or mindless submission to the flag and to authority will wane. Correspondingly, there will be an increased desire to know and understand what is actually going on in domestic affairs, the economy and foreign relations.

Governance Requirement:
ClosedApplication of ultimate values

The source and power of any ideal is to be found in its constituent ultimate value. Societies vary in both their ideals and the weight placed on any particular ultimate value. Ultimate values are likely to play a large part in further improving the relationship between a society’s government and its citizenry. In this relation, described in Working with Values, the citizenry alone determines ultimate values and alone can judge whether or not they are being upheld.

See more in the next topic.


Personal Benefit:

Social cohesion is built on acceptance of others. Such acceptance gets its strength and authenticity from self-acceptance. The primary benefit from soul-searching will lie in the acceptance of previously rejected and projected elements of the personality, combined with forgiveness.

Projected negative elements drive scapegoating and feed paranoia: potent tools of politicians in earlier Stages. Projection also feeds leadership grandiosity. It feeds wars and enables scapegoating, with anti-semitism as the classic example.

Social Interactions:
ClosedEmpathy and compassion

The necessary spirit for constructive interaction amongst free individuals will be based on empathy, compassion, appreciation and forgiveness. The search for differences to generate conflicts will reduce and lead to recognizing the benefits that come from diversity.

Growth in empathy can alter the use of conviction to project negative elements and generate damaging conflict. Tendencies to define self-boundaries by being hostile, or reassuring oneself by causing fear in others can also be overcome.

Self-acceptance should improve treatment of minorities and the weak in society, and reduce excesses of both punitiveness and permissiveness.

Provision of Knowledge:
ClosedAccounts of psychosocial potentials

The reason most people do not function as well as they can has its root in a poverty of the imagination—not of the intellect or the wallet. Opening the imagination and sharing experiences is part of the challenge of transcendentalism. New ideas will emerge about how people can manage themselves, and manage their lives with others.

More self-awareness and urges for social fulfilment will be strengthened by new technologies that liberate individuals further from the tyrannies of time, place and cost. Increased appreciation of psychosocial factors may enable experimental social groups and new forms of non-utopian communities-of-value.

Personal-Ethical Requirements

Core Value:

An intense focus on the self and what is good for it from a political viewpoint will lead to an awareness that harmony must be the core value. Somehow people with entirely different convictions must be able to draw on each other’s strengths for their own good and the good of all. This is the dream of harmony.

Explicitly recognizing and supporting the mix of viewpoints and values in a society requires affirming a need for harmony. There is also a need for patience as the work of understanding and debating political choices takes place.

Civic Virtue:

The ability to trust leaders must be developed anew. No significant achievement, in the smallest community or in society as whole, is possible without leaders who have the capacity to see, to think, and to communicate clearly to others. These people must display integrity of the highest order. It is necessary to have such leaders at every tier of government and in every nook and cranny of society, and within organizations. Followers also need to be trusted to adhere to personal principles. In this way, integrity spreads as the civic virtue needed by all.

Originally posted: July 2009; Last updated: 11-Apr-2014

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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