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Sorin Sabou

Letter to the Romans, Nicomachean Ethics, and more

Levels of Moral Development

These observations made by K. Dabrowski are about the development of one's emotional dynamism. They show the improvement of our emotions and feelings. Good moral formation forms a morally good person. The main instrument of moral development is improvement of one's emotions.
Level I
- we observe only two dynamisms
- the feeling of togetherness
- external conflict; one's personality is defined, at this level, by one's enemies
- self centered drives (sex, food, ambition)
- three sub levels: persons directed by primitive physiological drives (sex, food), persons directed by self-centered emotional needs (ambition, triumph), self centered individuals who use primarily their intellect to satisfy their goals.
- emotional development at the level of self centered toddlers

Level II
- temporary syntony, external conflict are blended with ambivalency and ambitendency
- problem with the goal or meaning of life
- people who suffer in solitude (artists), people of 'compulsive joiners' (blind followers of the 'boss')

The difference between level 2 and 3. A difference in terms of motivation. A person at Level 3 'sees the light in the tunnel.' The basic set of feelings (empathy for hierachization of values) for making objective distinction between what is right and what is wrong.
You can regress from level 2 to 1 but not from 3 to 2.

Level III
- people emotionally aware of an objective hierarchy of values
- the role of suffering in human development
- shame, guilt, dissatisfaction with oneself, disquietude, maladjustment
- a radical dissatisfaction with one's old self and the suffering it brings about

Levels IV and V
- less radical difference between 3 and 4
- the main difference is reliability
- 5 (Gandhi, Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa)

Emotional development is not a question of dividing people into those who are better and those who are not so good. Emotional development is mostly about an ability to choose one's goals in life in a mature, wise way and an ability to treat persons with dignity that we recognize as due to them
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