|President Donald Trump|
Over the past year of watching and listening to Donald Trump I’ve been deeply troubled not only by his words but also, and even more, by the process of his thinking. During my teaching years and later during my years of working with emotionally and cognitively disabled children, I did intensive study of human cognitive and moral development. (studies by Piaget, Erickson, Kohlberg, Fowler, and much later of Ken Wilber) It’s been chilling for me to realize that if I were to place our new president on any of these developmental charts, he would be at or towards the bottom. This is not to say that he is not shrewd. Mostly it is a question of whether he has managed to process and incorporate complexity in all the various areas of life. This leads me to conclude that he is not developmentally human enough for the job of being president of any large company and much less of a country. Of course he can make deals and make money. Anyone at the lowest level of Power/Pleasure/Punishment can do that if that person also has the quality of being shrewd.
In his studies of integral spirituality John has been reading the works of an Indian scholar, protester for justice, and spiritual teacher educated at King's College, Cambridge, England, at the turn of the 20th Century.
About 1910 Sri Aurobindo wrote of the undeveloped mind:
“The intellect of most men is extremely imperfect, ill-trained, half-developed—therefore in most the conclusions of the intellect are hasty, ill-founded and erroneous or, if right, right more by chance than by merit or right working. The conclusions are formed without knowing the facts or the correct or sufficient data, merely by a rapid inference …the process being unsound by which the conclusion is arrived at, the conclusion is also likely to be fallacious. At the same time the intellect is usually arrogant and presumptuous, confidently asserting its imperfect conclusions as the truth and setting down as mistaken, stupid or foolish those who differ from them. Even when fully trained and developed, the intellect cannot arrive at absolute certitude or complete truth … but untrained, it is a quite insufficient instrument, at once hasty and peremptory and unsafe and unreliable. …
“The thinking mind has to learn how to be entirely silent. It is only then that true knowledge can come.”
In grade school some of us learned a prayer that began, “Come Holy Spirit, enlighten our minds...” Perhaps it is time to channel some of the positive energy we saw in recent marches towards prayer for the president (and his staff), that they might grow into their jobs and experience such enlightenment.