Lawrence Kohlberg’s six stages of moral development.

Stage One: Obedience and punishment stage. The sole criterion of right for the person at this stage of moral development is obedience to the will of those in authority or more precisely, those with the power to punish. The primary motivator is doing what is right to avoid punishment.

  • It seems that we essentially started here. That flock of “Sheeple” wandering aimlessly in some far off wilderness in apparent need of a shepherd. The concept of religion serves as a wonderful management tool to motivate the masses. The fear of damnation for example.

Stage Two: Individualism and reciprocity stage. During this stage, deciding what is right is based on the greatest good for the individual making the decision. This stress on the individual own needs or interests includes recognition of the fact that to advance ones own good may mean entering into agreements with others.

  • When you are able to play nice with the other children.

Stage Three: Good boy/nice girl or interpersonal conformity stage. The idea of what is right will be determined by what is expected of you by people close to you or by people generally. Within certain business organizations, there are relatively clear ideas of what makes a good team member.

  • Would someone please help those without proper role models and mentors! Oy Vey!

Stage Four: Social system or Law-and-Order stage. Morality is seen by persons in this stage as a matter of playing ones part in the social system, of doing ones duty, of obeying the rules. Kohlberg’s view is that more American adults are fixated at this stage.

  • Be all you can be buddy. Pray, Pay, and Obey!

Stage Five: Social contract stage. This stage presupposes a kind of philosophical reflection on morality and a growing independence from the actual or concrete rules or duties recognized in a particular society. The basic perspective taken at this stage is to ask the following questions: What is best for everyone on the whole? What could all of us agree to in principal? Some, but not all adults reach this stage.

  • Be afraid, very afraid because most of the natives are looking more and more like cannibals.

Stage Six: Universal ethical principles stage. At this stage, moral decisions are not based simply on what is best for everybody. They are based instead on principles that are chosen freely by the agent, but that the agent would be willing for everyone to live by as well. Such principles as the equality of human rights and respect for the intrinsic dignity of all human beings would be examples of these. Very few persons in our society reach this stage of moral development.

  • Obviously it is very lonely at the top but what a view Brother.