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human  relations  line

Melissa's Myriad

Thoughts on Human Relations

This page starts off with three paragraphs on one of my "soapboxes". Then it ends with an excerpt from some Open System/Closed Systen notes.

human  relations  line

Sometimes I find myself wondering, "Why won't people just get along with each other?" We all have the ability to collaborate and live peacefully. However, generally speaking, the human race has been finding things to argue, fight, and hold prejudices about since the dawn of time. The issues can be anything......race, religion, gender, money, neighborhoods, clothing style....the list could go on. It never ceases to appall me--how some people can justify their slander, viscous verbal attacks, or even murders and wars, on the basis of their hate and prejudice.

Some of those conflicts are caused by well-intentioned people who have incorrect information. Much of it is caused by a willingness to be greedy, selfish, prideful or just plain thoughtless. It would be a better life for all of us if we would rise above those behaviors--to control the primal urges of dissension, and use our intelligence to reason and work together for the benefit of all involved. Not only that, but to also use our skills, talents and resources to help each other.

The diversity of peoples and cultures brings a wonderful variety to our lives. Yet when it comes right down to the core, we all have some similarities. For example, all of us are imperfect. Everyone one has their flaws, weaknesses, their "Achilles heal"......from the rich to the poor, the Christian to the atheist, or from the black to the white. To balance those weak spots, everyone has their strengths, talents, their "special somethings" they excel at. I think it would be extraordinary if people concentrated more on using their strengths to collaborate, balance, and help each other. We will not reach our highest potentials by tearing each other down, but by building each other up.

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Below is a sample of my notes on human relations. Whether one agrees or disagrees with this material, it is a topic worthy of contemplation. The course instructor was Dr. Al Holst. To the best of my knowledge, he developed his lectures from readings by Lawrence Kohlberg, J. Salk, Stephen R. Covey, and others. This page shows only a fraction of the discussions. I did not attempt to post my entire set of lecture notes in detail!

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According to Lawrence Kohlberg there are three stages of moral reasoning. Each level has two stages:

Level 1: Preconventional (avoiding punishment and getting rewards)

  • Stage 1: obedience to authority to avoid punishment
  • Stage 2: satisfying one's own views, at the expense of others

Level 2: Conventional (emphasis on social rules)

  • Stage 3: approval from others is more important than a specific reward; conformity
  • Stage 4: obeying the laws; being a dutiful citizen

Level 3: Postconventional (emphasis on moral principles)

  • Stage 5: rules of society exist for everyone's benefit; a legal point of view
  • Stage 6: general universal principles govern right and wrong; human dignity

Those three stages of moral reasoning fit into three levels of human functioning: competition, cooperation and collaboration.

1. Competition: People functioning at this level are at moral reasoning stages 1 and 2. Emphasis is on litigation, dependence, and control.

2. Cooperation: People functioning at this level are at moral reasoning stages 3 and 4. Emphasis is on negotiation, independence and contracts.

3. Collaboration: People functioning at this level are at moral reasoning stages 5 and 6. Emphasis is on consensus, interdependence and commitment.

People functioning in Competition and Cooperation also have a Closed System mentality. People functioning in Collaboration have an Open System mentality.

The Closed System is marked by a win/loose orientation. There is prejudice, punishment and praise at work in this system. [Prejudice is defined as: A willingness to believe those things which are negative and false. There are six levels of prejudice: 1) Believing, 2) Talking, 3) Avoiding, 4) Excluding, 5) Assault, verbal and/or physical, 6) Killing ]

The Open System is marked by a win/win orientation. There is love, discipline and encouragement at work in this system. [Love is defined as: A willingness to believe those things which are positive and true. There are six levels of love: 1) Believing, 2) Talking, 3) Seeking out those who need you, 4) Including them, 5) Stroking, verbal and/or physical, 6) Growth ] People functioning in this system can identify with these statements: 1) At any moment, at any time, a person is doing the very best they can. 2) Regardless of how well they are doing, they want to do better.

See the Levels of Human Functioning Chart

Lawrence  Kohlberg  line

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