Many people have written about the stages of human life. Erik Erikson described eight life stages ending at ages 1, 3, 6, 11, 18, 35, 64, and beyond; virtues, respectively, are: trust, autonomy, purpose, competence, fidelity, intimacy, contribution, and integrity. People who don’t navigate the stages have problems. Erikson seems to suggest a path of self-governance. Every child should be coached by someone familiar with these stages or better.
Not that it’s better, James W. Fowler’s book, Stages of Faith, describes a less chronological maturing with ranges, depending upon chronology of maturing, as follows: age 3 to 7, school-age to adolescent or adult, adolescent to adult, late adolescent to adult, usually mid life, and rare maturity. My descriptors for the stages are: innocence, gullibility/indoctrination, conflict, encounter, resolve, and integrity/oneness. As indicated by the ranges, some persons never surpass Stage 2, gullibility/indoctrination. However, a characteristic of someone in Stage 6 is that they appreciate peaceful people in any stage at any age in any country. Probably, Mother Teresa, who is said to have claimed doubt in the Christian god just before death, reached Fowler’s Stage 6.
In terms of self-governance, it seems many people, who live that long, progress through all of Erikson’s stages. However, some people merely accept a faith without developing it and thereby on Fowler’s scale stay in an early to mid stage throughout adulthood. Thus, many people remain in conflict against people of differing faiths. However, the end stage by both Erikson and Fowler, is a state of peace toward humankind, or collaborative authenticity, and it requires open-mindedness; psychological maturity; ultimate freedom; self-discovery.
It is time to demonstrate that only just citizens are of “We the People of the United States” as defined by the preamble. Our generation has the chance to establish for the first time on earth just civic governance by justly governed citizens. Our country is in the citizens’ hands, but just citizens must either cooperate with just citizens or continue to submit to domestic force.
If the reader has noticed that this essay has not mentioned the ethnic bread-basket that is the USA, it is not an oversight. An overarching culture of a civic people (ACP) is achievable, and establishing that culture is the objective of this blog.