Don’t be a Dupe. Be a Critical and Creative Thinker!

George Kneller quoted, “Creativity, it has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to find out what we don’t know. Hence, to think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.” Critical thinking is a very important tool in any creative endeavour. Critical thinking is a friend of creativity, not a foe! CREATIVITY AND CRITICAL THINKING: FRIENDS, NOT FOES!

Critical thinking Critical Thinking, also called critical analysis, is clear, rational thinking involving critique. Its details vary amongst those who define it. According to Barry K. Beyer (1995), critical thinking means making clear, reasoned judgments.

During the process of critical thinking, ideas should be reasoned, well thought out, and judged.[1] The National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking[2] defines critical thinking as the ‘intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.’[3]

One of the main purposes of a good education is to learn to think critically. Critical thinking leads to one of the highest forms of human knowing.

Creative thinking is divergent, critical thinking is convergent; whereas creative thinking tries to create something new, critical thinking seeks to assess worth or validity in something that exists; whereas creative thinking is carried on by violating accepted principles, critical thinking is carried on by applying accepted principles.

Although creative and critical thinking may very well be different sides of the same coin they are not identical (Beyer, 1987, p.35). Critical Thinking vs. Creative Thinking

If you want to save democracy, learn to think like a scientist

Fake news is running rampant on the internet, but blaming social media sites like Facebook for not filtering it out doesn’t address the larger issue at hand. Bogus news isn’t the real problem: The problem is that we undervalue the type of critical thinking needed to spot it. 

We shouldn’t expect a social media site to tell us what is and is not real. We are bombarded with nonsense on a daily basis, and navigating through it is a life skill we must learn. We can’t expect others to do it for us.

A lack of critical thinking and scepticism creates problems beyond politics. It makes us vulnerable to scams and pyramid schemes as well as phoney products like weight-loss drugs and “miracle cures” that are really only as effective as placebos. It leads us to ignore existential threats like global warming and perpetuates harmful conspiracy theories such as the idea that vaccines cause autism.

If there’s overwhelming evidence for something—like man-made climate change—and you don’t believe it, you aren’t being a sceptic, you are in denial. Being sceptical means demanding evidence, not ignoring it.

In this new age of social media, our news is no longer being filtered through major media outlets that have teams of meticulous and principled fact checkers. As a result, empiricism is more important than ever. We all must be trained to navigate through the false information, and we can do that by thinking like scientists.

  • What is empiricism? — Empiricism means a method of study relying on empirical evidence, which includes things you’ve experienced: stuff you can see and touch. Empiricism is based on facts, evidence, and research. Scholars and researchers deal in empiricism. If you believe in the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or Santa Claus, you’re out of the realm of empiricism — there are no facts to support those myths. If you want to get something practical done, or to really know what the deal is with something, empiricism is the way to go.
We must be empiricists, not ideologues
Ideologue —-an advocate of some ideology.
  • What is ‘Ideology’?—-  An ideology is a set of opinions or beliefs of a group or an individual. Very often ideology refers to a set of political beliefs or a set of ideas that characterise a particular culture. Capitalism, communism, socialism, and Marxism are ideologies. But not all -ism words are. Think: cronyism (a system of graft whereby friends unfairly help each other make money.) Our English noun is from French idéologie. The suffix –logy, used with many English words describing theories or doctrines, is from Greek logos “word, reason, speech, account.”

Our ideologies blind us and bias our behaviour. For that reason, we should all be empiricists, not ideologues. Empiricists form their beliefs and opinions about the world based on facts and observation; ideologues, by definition, are uncompromising, dogmatic, and committed to specific principles. They are therefore unlikely to change their views based on new evidence. By self-identifying first and foremost as empiricists, we commit ourselves to a worldview that is shaped by reality.

Unfortunately, we often don’t feel compelled to check the accuracy of something that already aligns with our ideals and worldview. This is bad practice. We must continue to demand evidence—even when the claims in question come from the side that shares our beliefs and values.

A recent Buzzfeed News analysis of Facebook activity found that while 38% of news shared on popular right-leaning Facebook pages was false, so was 19% of the news shared on popular liberal Facebook pages. Given that liberals have also been known to peddle pseudoscience and ignore facts, as can be seen by the anti-vaxxer movement, this should be no surprise.

But how do we all become empiricists without training?

Scientists and researchers are trained to sniff out untruths, but you don’t need to be a scientist to do what scientists do.

We must create tests

When scientists want to understand how reality works, they devise experiments to test their questions. If they want to know if a specific treatment works—for example, if a certain diet makes people healthier, or if a particular medicine is effective—they design a study that will determine whether or not a hypothesis is true. If the hypothesis is supported, it becomes the reigning explanation while it continues to be tested further. This is an ongoing process that should continue until almost no uncertainty remains.

Derren Brown, a famous British magician and mentalist (think David Blaine, but more focused on mental tricks) is an expert at appearing to have psychic abilities. He is also a sceptic who exposes those who try to claim they have them for real. In an interview with prominent evolutionary biologist and outspoken sceptic Richard Dawkins, Brown describes a simple test that he has suggested to non-empiricists in the past.

“I think it feels unfashionable to talk to people about the importance of evidence, of testing things,” Derren said to Dawkins. “A friend of mine, who’s a psychic, told me she puts crystals in her plants and they grow better. So I said, well you’ve got loads of plants—have you ever put two in the same window? Maybe just put crystals in one and not the other?”

This anecdote illustrates just how easy it can be to start testing your beliefs.

It is also important to teach children to demand evidence and think critically from an early age. A few months ago on the Late Late Show with James Corden, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson told a wonderful story about the way he and his wife gave their child a lesson in critical thinking.

After their daughter lost a tooth, they told her that they heard if you put a tooth under your pillow, the tooth fairy visits. That night the little girl did just that, and Tyson swapped the tooth for money while she slept. The next morning, after their daughter had shown them her gift, they asked her a question that prompted her to think sceptically. “How do you know it was the tooth fairy?” they asked, to which the daughter replied, “Oh no, I don’t know, I just know that there’s money here.”

With her curiosity stirred, their daughter began setting traps for the fairy—for example, foil on the floor to hear when it arrived—and when those didn’t work, she and her equally suspicious schoolmates thought of a test. The next one to lose a tooth would put it under their pillow—without telling their parents.

The next day, when the tooth did not turn into money, the children worked out that their parents were the perpetrators of the hoax. This doesn’t mean that you should crush all the magical beliefs that children have—it only means that you should teach them to question. As adults, we must do the same to set a good example. When something sounds outlandish or simply incredible, we must investigate. Without conducting our tests in controlled settings, it can be difficult to make any definite conclusions. But these steps will still likely help us identify many bogus claims without stepping foot inside a lab.

We must encourage others to be empiricists

It is often said that we should let people believe whatever they want as long as they aren’t hurting others. “Ignorance is bliss,” as some say. However, we can no longer ignore the fact that when people don’t think critically, it actually harms others. When candidates who peddle false information get elected into office, they are more likely to also ignore crucial evidence when making decisions or policy. Do we want the person making decisions concerning climate change to be someone who ignores all the data that’s been carefully collected by scientists? That’s a recipe for catastrophe.

We must, therefore, encourage our friends to think critically and to test things. When they make claims or decisions that ignore the evidence, they should be confronted. We speak up when someone we love has an addiction or some chronic bad habit. We should feel a similar moral obligation.

Lastly, we all must all demand that our celebrities, influencers, and politicians also think critically and refrain from making claims that ignore evidence. Spreading lies and misinformation to millions of people can have some serious real world effects. Conservative or liberal, there’s just no excuse for it. Consistency is crucial.

Scientific advances come from critical thinking and curiosity. Science is also successful because it is self-correcting. When new evidence doesn’t support our previous conclusions, they must be abandoned and replaced by evidence-based assertions. Good science is also consistent in its methods; so that opinions and biases do not get in the way of logic and measurement. We do not get to pick and choose which rules to follow. Instilling these principles in society will bring about progress.


Critical thinkers:

  • Try to understand and then describe what someone claims;
  • Determine the merit of those claims by applying criteria; and
  • Rationally justify their criteria (explain their reasoning process).

If the criteria are good ones, then a critical thinker can discriminate mere opinions and false beliefs from true facts and verifiable knowledge. Critical thinkers can determine false or unverifiable claims and can tell you why. Just because someone else writes something or says something does not mean it is true or has merit.

To be a good writer, critical thinking is essential. If you need some help with your writing, here’s an inexpensive and excellent resource:

Booth, W. C., Colomb, G. G., & Williams, J. M. (2008). The craft of research (3rd. Ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Turabian, K. L. (2013). A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, And Dissertations (8th. Ed.). The University of Chicago Press.

Take advantage of your education and learn something. Be a critical thinker. Don’t be a dupe. Source

Reference and note for above:

Jeff Foxworthy. (2015). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 9:48 a.m. EST, April 8, 2015, from

Leaders are expected to take right decisions after considering various facets of a given problem – just like an expert jeweller looks at a diamond. Logic looks at problems as a coin with just two sides whereas critical thinking is all about looking at the same problem as a diamond with multiple facets. Source

The fact is that a leader needs a fine balance of emotion and rationality to succeed. They need to connect with their people using emotion and decide what is best for them using rational thought. Critical Thinking is the connecting link between emotions and intelligence.  Source

Critical thinking is an antidote to cognitive biases. When we think critically, we recognise our own assumptions, evaluate arguments and draw conclusions. Source

The truth is that conflicts if managed well, are an opportunity to understand better, get to the root causes, introspect, improve and learn. A well-managed conflict often leads to improved clarity, better relationships and win-win situations.  Source

There is a difference between creative thinking and creativity. Creative thinking is the process of ideation (thinking). Creativity is about bringing that idea to life (execution). Source

If communication is defined as a meaningful exchange of information, thoughts and feelings between two living creatures, critical thinking is the engine that provides this meaning. Source

Employers look for employees who reinforce their creativity by showing certain characteristics in the selection process:

  1. Able to look spontaneously beyond the specifics of a question (78 percent).
  2. Respond well to hypothetical scenarios (70 percent).
  3. Able to identify new patterns of behaviour or new combination of actions.
  4. Integrate knowledge across different disciplines.
  5. Show ability to originate new ideas.
  6. Comfortable with the notion of “no right answer”.
  7. Fundamentally curious.
  8. Demonstrate originality and inventiveness in work.
  9. Show ability to take risks.
  10. Tolerant of ambiguity.
  11. Show ability to communicate new ideas to others.


Standards should serve as a flexible framework to meet the academic, social, emotional, and vocational needs of diverse learners and NOT a forced march to meet the data-driven demands of standardised tests.

Rather than rating and sorting students according to a common and narrow set of testable academic skills, we should be celebrating and cultivating uncommon talents and divergent thinking in our classrooms.

As Arnold Dodge explains, schools should be honouring and uplifting the creative “characters” in their classrooms…

Many of our schools have become dry, lifeless places. Joy and spirited emotions have been replaced by fear, generated by masters from afar. These remote overseers — politicians, policy-makers, test prep executives — have decided that tests and numbers and drills and worksheets and threats and ultimatums will somehow improve the learning process…

When a student does well on a reading test, the results tell us nothing about how well s/he will use reading as a tool to learn larger topics, nor does it tell us that s/he will be interested in reading at all. What it tells us is that s/he is good at taking a reading test…

With the battle cry “College and Career Ready,” the champions of standardisation are determined to drum out every last bit of creativity, unpredictability, humour, improvisation and genuine emotion from the education process in the name of useful “outcomes.”

The self-righteous and powerful, if they have their way, will eliminate from schools kids who have character — or kids who are characters, for that matter…

But there is another way. If we believe that children are imaginative creatures by nature with vast amounts of talent waiting to be mined, and if we believe that opening children’s minds and hearts to the thrill of learning — without competition and ranking — is a healthy approach to child development, then we are off to a good start…

William Glasser, M.D., studied schools for over 30 years and in his seminal work, The Quality School, he outlines five basic needs that all human beings are born with: survival, love, power, fun and freedom.

How many policymakers today would subscribe to having fun or experiencing freedom as a goal of our educational system?

Just think of the possibilities if they did. Kids actually laughing in school and not being punished for it.

Students feeling strong enough to talk truth to power and not being silenced. Youngsters feeling free to write with creativity and originality without being ridiculed for deviating from state test guidelines.

And that’s before we even get to love.

Think of the characters that would emerge from such an environment.

Comedians, orators, raconteurs, revolutionaries, magicians, clowns, young people with agency and drive, having fun, not afraid to take risks or make mistakes. Not afraid to be children…

Reference: Critical Thinking vs. Creative Thinking


The Road Less Travelled…..

Morgan Scott Peck (May 22, 1936 – September 25, 2005) was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author, best known for his first book, The Road Less Travelled, published in 1978.



The Road Less Travelled Image source



“The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth”,

Morgan Scott Peck M. Scott Peck talked about the importance of discipline. Peck argues that these are techniques of suffering, that enable the pain of problems to be worked through and systematically solved, producing growth. He argues that most people avoid the pain of dealing with their problems, and suggests that it is through facing the pain of problem-solving that life becomes more meaningful.

The book consists of four parts.
In the first part, Morgan Scott Peck examines the notion of discipline, which he considers essential for emotional, spiritual, and psychological health, and which he describes as “the means of spiritual evolution”.
The elements of discipline that make for such health include the ability to delay gratification, accepting responsibility for oneself and one’s actions, a dedication to truth, and “balancing”.
“Balancing” refers to the problem of reconciling multiple, complex, possibly conflicting factors that impact on an important decision—on one’s own behalf or on behalf of another.
In the second part, Morgan Scott Peck addresses the nature of love, which he considers the driving force behind spiritual growth. He contrasts his own views on the nature of love against a number of common misconceptions about love, including:
  • that love is identified with romantic love (he considers it a very destructive myth when it is solely relying on “feeling in love”),
  • that love is related to dependency,
  • that true love is linked with the feeling of “falling in love”.

Morgan Scott Peck argues that “true” love is rather an action that one undertakes consciously in order to extend one’s ego boundaries by including others or humanity and is therefore, the spiritual nurturing—which can be directed toward oneself, as well as toward one’s beloved.

In the third part, Morgan Scott Peck deals with religion, and the commonly accepted views and misconceptions concerning religion. He recounts experiences from several patient case histories, and the evolution of the patients’ notion of God, religion, atheism—especially of their own “religiosity” or atheism—as their therapy with Morgan Scott Peck progressed.

The fourth and final part concerns “grace”, the powerful force originating outside human consciousness that nurtures spiritual growth in human beings. In order to focus on the topic, he describes the miracles of health, the unconscious, and serendipity—phenomena which Morgan Scott Peck says:

  • nurture human life and spiritual growth,
  • are incompletely understood by scientific thinking,
  • are commonplace among humanity,
  • originate outside the conscious human will.

He concludes that “the miracles described indicate that our growth as human beings is being assisted by a force other than our conscious will” (Peck, 1978/1992, p 281).

He described four aspects of discipline:

Delaying gratification:
Sacrificing present comfort for future gains.
Delaying gratification is the process by which pain is chosen to be experienced before pleasure. Most learn this activity by the age of five. For example, a six-year-old child will prefer eating the cake first and the frosting last. Problematic students are totally controlled by their impulses. Such youngsters indulge in drugs, get into frequent fights, and often find themselves in the confrontation with authority.
Acceptance of responsibility: Accepting responsibility for one’s own decisions. Morgan Scott Peck states that it is only through taking responsibility and accepting the fact that life has problems, that these problems can then be solved.
He argues that Neurosis and character disorder people represent two opposite disorders of responsibility. Neurotics assume too much responsibility and feel responsible for everything that goes wrong in their life, while character disordered people deny responsibility, blaming others for their problems. Peck writes in the Road Less Traveled that “It is said ‘neurotics make themselves miserable; those with character disorders make everyone else miserable’” (Peck, 1978/1992, p38). Peck argues that everyone is neurotic or character-disordered at some time in their life, and the balance is to avoid both extremes.
Dedication to truth: Honesty, both in word and deed.
Dedication to the truth represents the capacity of an individual to modify and update their world view when exposed to new information discordant with the old view. For example, a bitter childhood can leave a person with the false idea that the world is a hostile and inhuman place. However, with continued exposure to more positive aspects of the world, this existing worldview is challenged and needs to be modified to integrate the new experiences. Peck also argues that dedication to truth implies a life of genuine self-examination, a willingness to be personally challenged by others, and honesty to oneself and others.
Balancing: Handling conflicting requirements. Morgan Scott Peck talks of an important skill to prioritise between different requirements – bracketing. Morgan Scott Peck considers the use of these interrelated techniques of discipline as paramount if the difficulties and conflicting requirements of life are to be dealt with and balanced successfully.
According to Morgan Scott Peck an evil person:
  • Is consistently self-deceiving, with the intent of avoiding guilt and maintaining a self-image of perfection.
  • Deceives others as a consequence of their own self-deception.
  • Projects his or her evils and sins onto very specific targets (scapegoats) while being apparently normal with everyone else (“their insensitivity toward him was selective” (Peck, 1983/1988, p 105)).
  • Commonly hates with the pretence of love, for the purposes of self-deception as much as deception of others.
  • Abuses political (emotional) power (“the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion” (Peck, 1978/1992, p298)).
  • Maintains a high level of respectability, and lies incessantly in order to do so.
  • Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterised not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness).
  • Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat).
  • Has a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury.
Most evil people realise the evil deep within themselves but are unable to tolerate the pain of introspection or admit to themselves that they are evil. Thus, they constantly run away from their evil by putting themselves in a position of moral superiority and putting the focus of evil on others. Evil is an extreme form of what Morgan Scott Peck, in The Road Less Travelled, calls a character and personality disorder.


His perspective on love (in The Road Less Travelled) is that love is not a feeling, it is an activity and an investment. He defines love as, “The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth” (Peck, 1978/1992, p85). Love is primarily actions towards nurturing the spiritual growth of another.
Peck seeks to differentiate between love and cathexis ((psychoanalysis) the libidinal energy invested in some idea, person or object). Cathexis is what explains the sexual attraction, the instinct for cuddling pets and pinching babies cheeks. However, ‘cathexis’ is not love. All the same, true love cannot begin in isolation, a certain amount of cathexis is necessary to get sufficiently close to be able to truly love.
Once through the cathexis stage, the work of love begins. It is not a feeling. It consists of what you do for another person. As Morgan Scott Peck says in “The Road Less Travelled”, “Love is as love does.” It is about giving yourself and the other person what they need to grow. It is about truly knowing and understanding them.

The four stages of spiritual development

Morgan Scott Peck postulates that there are four stages of human spiritual development:
Stage I is chaotic, disordered, and reckless. Very young children are in Stage I. They tend to defy and disobey, and are unwilling to accept a will greater than their own. They are extremely egoistic and lack empathy for others. Many criminals are people who have never grown out of Stage I.
Stage II is the stage at which a person has blind faith in authority figures and sees the world as divided simply into good and evil, right and wrong, us and them. Once children learn to obey their parents and other authority figures, often out of fear or shame, they reach Stage II. Many so-called religious people are essentially Stage II people, in the sense that they have blind faith in God, and do not question His existence. With blind faith comes humility and a willingness to obey and serve. The majority of good, law-abiding citizens never move out of Stage II.
Stage III is the stage of scientific scepticism and questioning. A Stage III person does not accept things on faith but only accepts them if convinced logically. Many people working in scientific and technological research are in Stage III. They often reject the existence of spiritual or supernatural forces since these are difficult to measure or prove scientifically. Those who do retain their spiritual beliefs, move away from the simple, official doctrines of fundamentalism.
Stage IV is the stage where an individual starts enjoying the mystery and beauty of nature and existence. While retaining scepticism, he starts perceiving grand patterns in nature and develops a deeper understanding of good and evil, forgiveness and mercy, compassion and love. His religiousness and spirituality differ significantly from that of a Stage II person, in the sense that he does not accept things through blind faith or out of fear but does so because of genuine belief, and he does not judge people harshly or seek to inflict punishment on them for their transgressions. This is the stage of loving others as yourself, losing your attachment to your ego, and forgiving your enemies. Stage IV people are labelled as Mystics.
Morgan Scott Peck argues that while transitions from Stage I to Stage II are sharp, transitions from Stage III to Stage IV are gradual.
Nonetheless, these changes are very noticeable and mark a significant difference in the personality of the individual.

Community building

In his book “The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace“, Morgan Scott Peck says that community has three essential ingredients:

  1. Inclusivity
  2. Commitment
  3. Consensus

Based on his experience with community building workshops, Morgan Scott Peck says that community building typically goes through four stages:

  1. Pseudocommunity: In the first stage, well-intentioned people try to demonstrate their ability to be friendly and sociable, but they do not really delve beneath the surface of each other’s ideas or emotions. They use obvious generalities and mutually established stereotypes in speech. Instead of conflict resolution, pseudocommunity involves conflict avoidance, which maintains the appearance or facade of true community. It also serves only to maintain positive emotions, instead of creating a safe space for honesty and love through bad emotions as well. While they still remain in this phase, members will never really obtain evolution or change, as individuals or as a bunch.
  2. Chaos: The first step towards real positivity is, paradoxically, a period of negativity. Once the mutually sustained facade of bonhomie is shed, negative emotions flood through: Members start to vent their mutual frustrations, annoyances, and differences. It is a chaotic stage, but Peck describes it as a “beautiful chaos” because it is a sign of healthy growth. (This relates closely to Dabrowski’s concept of disintegration). This stage is often a time of unconstructive bickering and struggle. And it is no fun at all. Yet it is crucial to move through this stage if we are ever to find the kind of community connectedness we long for.

  3. Emptiness: In order to transcend the stage of “Chaos”, members are forced to shed that which prevents real communication. Biases and prejudices need for power and control, self-superiority, and other similar motives which are only mechanisms of self-validation and/or ego-protection must yield to empathy, openness to vulnerability, attention, and trust. Hence this stage does not mean people should be “empty” of thoughts, desires, ideas or opinions. Rather, it refers to emptiness of all mental and emotional distortions which reduce one’s ability to really share, listen to, and build on those thoughts, ideas, etc. It is often the hardest step in the four-level process, as it necessitates the release of patterns which people develop over time in a subconscious attempt to maintain self-worth and positive emotion. While this is, therefore, a stage of “Fana (Sufism)” in a certain sense, it should be viewed not merely as a “death” but as a rebirth—of one’s true self at the individual level, and at the social level of the genuine and true Community.

  4. True community: Having worked through emptiness, the people in the community enter a place of complete empathy with one another. There is a great level of tacit understanding. People are able to relate to each other’s feelings. Discussions, even when heated, never get sour, and motives are not questioned. A deeper and more sustainable level of happiness obtains between the members, which does not have to be forced. Even and perhaps especially when conflicts arise, it is understood that they are part of positive change. According to Morgan Scott Peck, true community emerges as the group chooses to embrace not only the light but also the darkness and brokenness in each other’s lives. We are accepted for who we truly are – who God sees us as – not who we pretend to be. It is at this point of radical acceptance, that an extraordinary amount of healing begins to occur.

    Cartoon Crowd, Doors in Emptiness : Stock Illustration

    True Community

The four stages of community formation are somewhat related to a model in organisation theory for the five stages that a team goes through during development. These five stages are:
  1. Forming where the team members have some initial discomfort with each other, but nothing comes out in the open. They are insecure about their role and position with respect to the team. This corresponds to the initial stage of pseudocommunity.
  2. Storming where the team members start arguing heatedly, and differences and insecurities come out in the open. This corresponds to the second stage given by Morgan Scott Peck, namely chaos.
  3. Norming where the team members lay out rules and guidelines for interaction that help define the roles and responsibilities of each person. This corresponds to emptiness, where the community members think within, and empty themselves of their obsessions in order to be able to accept and listen to others.
  4. Performing where the team finally starts working as a cohesive whole, and to effectively achieve the tasks set off themselves. In this stage, individuals are aided by the group as a whole, where necessary, in order to move further collectively than they could achieve as a group of separated individuals.
  5. Transforming This corresponds to the stage of true community. This represents the stage of celebration, and when individuals leave, as they invariably must, there is a genuine feeling of grief, and a desire to meet again. Traditionally, this stage was often called “Mourning”.

It is in this third stage that Morgan Scott Peck’s community-building methods differ in principle from team development. While teams in business organisations need to develop explicit rules, guidelines and protocols during the norming stage, the emptiness stage of community building is characterised, not by laying down the rules explicitly, but by shedding the resistance within the minds of the individuals.


Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing. — Warren Bennis, Ph.D. On Becoming a Leader

Characteristics of true community

Morgan Scott Peck describes what he considers to be the most salient characteristics of a true community:
  1. Inclusivity, commitment and consensus: Members accept and embrace each other, celebrating their individuality and transcending their differences. They commit themselves to the effort and the people involved. They make decisions and reconcile their differences through consensus.
  2. Realism: Members bring together multiple perspectives to better understand the whole context of the situation. Decisions are more well-rounded and humble, rather than one-sided and arrogant.
  3. Contemplation: Members examine themselves. They are individually and collectively self-aware of the world outside themselves, the world inside themselves, and the relationship between the two.
  4. A safe place: Members allow others to share their vulnerability, heal themselves, and express who they truly are.
  5. A laboratory for personal disarmament: Members experientially discover the rules for peacemaking and embrace its virtues. They feel and express compassion and respect for each other as fellow human beings.
  6. A group that can fight gracefully: Members resolve conflicts with wisdom and grace. They listen and understand, respect each other’s gifts, accept each other’s limitations, celebrate their differences, bind each other’s wounds, and commit to a struggle together rather than against each other.
  7. A group of all leaders: Members harness the “flow of leadership” to make decisions and set a course of action. It is the spirit of community itself that leads, and not any single individual.
  8. A spirit: The true spirit of community is the spirit of peace, love, wisdom and power. Members may view the source of this spirit as an outgrowth of the collective self or as the manifestation of a Higher Will.

Source: Wikipedia articles.