Member Group: Hierarchy of Values: Debate & Discussion


How do you know if you’re “positively maladjusted?”

That term, from Kazimierz Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration, appeals to many who question and feel like outsiders.  But outsiders can go off the rails, too.  Arguably, the more time we spend in our heads, the greater the risk that we do so.  That’s why honest, good faith discussion and debate matter so much.  

To stand with confidence in this time of tumult, we have to know what our authentic values are.  That involves prodding what you actually think and why you think it.  In TPD, authenticity isn’t just “being who you already are” and declaring that to be glorious.  On the contrary, it’s a state we achieve through the simultaneously intellectual and emotional work of sorting out the higher path, autonomously.

Others, however, can play an essential role in this process by helping us avoid getting trapped in our delusions.  It works best when they engage in good faith and with respect for where we stand, and we can do that best when we actually know each other.  That’s what this group is for.

What We’ll Do Together

  • Every 2-4 weeks (depending on membership availability and interest—early members will decide how often we start each round), we’ll have a new formal discussion thread for the group to parse.  We’ll center these around major questions in global and national culture.
    • Note: This may be heavily weighted to US culture because of its global influence and because many members are Americans; however, we’re more than happy to parse topics that are more relevant to other countries if we have members in those locations who request the group’s feedback.
  • We’ll choose this central topic by members’ vote, and strongly encourage members to actively participate in this thread.  Those who go three months without participating in the central topic may be removed from the group at the moderators’ discretion.  We want to hear your voices and discourage lurking.
  • We’ll focus these, at least at first, on understanding the schools of thought that led to this cultural moment, including the Enlightenment and why different groups reject that as well as postmodernism and the so-called “successor ideology.”  However, we’ll branch off from that after getting these foundations down.
  • Members are also free and encouraged to start additional threads on questions of interest to them related to the sorting of values, so other group members can assist them in their efforts to refine their personal hierarchies.
    • The purpose here, at least as your founder conceives of it, is not to “win” arguments, but rather, to help individual members become confident and rooted in the Good and the True as far as they can humanly grasp it.
  • We’ll also have two types of periodic, optional-but-encouraged live sessions:
    • Member Social and Check-In: We’ll do this every other month (frequency subject to change based on demand) as a way for members to socialize and get to know each other outside of contentious topics.
    • Furthering the Discussion: Any member at any point may propose a video call if he or she feels that this would be a better way to explore a delicate, complicated, or thorny question.  We’ll schedule these as convenient to the central participants in the exchange, but any group member will be welcome to attend.
  • Since knowing each other is so essential to engaging effectively and in good faith, we’ll also have some getting-to-know-you threads on relevant background topics, though members are encouraged to participate in the Community Square to get to know the rest of the club.

Membership Requirements

You must belong to Third Factor at the Community Member tier to be considered for membership in this small group. You can sign up here, or if you’re already a Subscriber, go to the Subscriptions menu in your account to upgrade to the next tier.

For community members, here are the requirements to join this group:

  • Opting in to the conversation: This is a small group rather than part of our open forum because your leader believes that opting in to this kind of rigorous discussion is essential to doing it well. If you opt in, we assume you have a willingness to engage in sometimes thorny conversations and a pledge to assume good faith.  We also assume you see yourself as a co-participant in the search for capital-T Truth, which is out there, no matter how elusive.
  • Emotional maturity.  This includes a golden mean of confidence and humility, or at least a drive to aspire toward this ideal.  It also includes listening skills, or at least the desire to cultivate them.

Note on the Promotion of Viewpoint Diversity

Especially in today’s world, it’s easy to talk only to people who already agree with us.  There’s a risk of that here, too, since only those who disagree with Third Factor’s more controversial articles tend not to want to pay to join this forum.  We’ll have to counter that the best we can, with self-reflection and devil’s advocacy.

That said, if you have friends of differing political views who you believe would like to engage in good faith, please let us know.  We’d be happy to offer them a trial free pass to come and converse with us.  Contact the group leader (Jessie Mannisto) via DM in the forum for details.