From Conventional to Post-Conventional

Transitioning from a conventional to a post-conventional stage in moral development is a journey that demands a deeper understanding of ethical principles and a greater willingness to challenge and transcend societal norms. It requires daily philosophical reflection, and in my experience, three practices can facilitate this transition:

  1. Self-Reflection: Start by examining your own moral beliefs and values. Reflect on why you hold certain moral principles and whether they are rooted in societal norms or deeply held personal convictions. Tools like journaling or meditation can be invaluable for self-reflection.

  2. Engage in Ethical Dilemmas: Actively seek out ethical dilemmas and grapple with them. Discuss moral issues with others, read philosophical texts, and watch documentaries or movies that challenge your ethical perspectives. Exposure to diverse viewpoints can stimulate critical thinking.

  3. Explore Post-Conventional Thinkers: Immerse yourself in the writings of philosophers and thinkers who exemplify post-conventional moral reasoning, such as Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, or Jean Piaget. Their works can inspire and offer valuable insights into post-conventional moral thinking.

Lastly, it’s crucial that we contribute to changing the systems to facilitate post-conventional stages. When these systems are in place, less responsibility rests on our individual shoulders.

The shift from conventional to post-conventional moral development is a gradual process that demands time and effort. While it won’t occur overnight, the rewards are substantial: aligning your personal satisfaction and happiness with the greater good. It’s about resolving the inner conflict between what provides instant gratification and what is genuinely ethical.

As I’ve personally experienced, achieving these moments of alignment is incredibly rewarding, and with consistent self-reflection and engagement with post-conventional thinkers, the journey becomes more manageable. So, as you embark on this path, remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint — take pleasure in the process and appreciate the progress you make along the way.