The Domain of the Human Spirit
Colonel Patrick J. Sweeney, Ph.D., Deputy Head, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, USMA; phone 845-938-5015; email firstname.lastname@example.org
LTC Sean T. Hannah, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Leadership and Management Studies, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, USMA, phone, 845-938-5945; email email@example.com
Professor Don M. Snider, Ph.D., Department of Social Sciences, USMA, phone 845-938-5797; email firstname.lastname@example.org
They had no right to win. Yet they did, and in doing so they changed the course of a war …even against the greatest of odds, there is something in the human spirit—a magic blend of skill, faith, and valor—that can lift men from certain defeat to incredible victory.
Walter Lord, Author
Anyone with experience in close
combat knows that in the face of the paralyzing fear that it brings not all
soldiers, sailors, or airman acquit themselves with the same degree of inner
strength. This is not just a phenomenon
of wars past. By one recent account from
Today the outcome of such close
combat is still determined as it was in ages past, by the will, courage, and
perseverance of the stronger combatants and the society they represent. To prevail, Army leaders need to be
individually strong of spirit, called to their professional service, and
fortified by the support of the American people. Not withstanding the advantages of modern
high-tech warfare, we see no chance of this fact changing in the future. And neither did those who recently redesigned
the developmental processes for the cadets at
Americans also accept this fact,
taking care to enshrine it in their most prominent war memorials. The epigraph above recounts for all visiting
the new National WWII Memorial in
Today, the Army expects all of its Soldiers, and particularly its officer leaders under Commission, to manifest the Warrior Spirit and to adhere to the demands of the Warrior’s Ethos:
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
As noted in the inscription at our nation’s newest memorial, this ethos reflects accurately the expectations of the society the Army Profession serves. In turn, the Academy is vitally concerned with how best to instill such an indomitable, winning spirit in its graduates, a goal pursued by the various developmental activities cadets experience over the forty-seven months they prepare to receive their Commission to lead. And for most, one of those activities is hearing and reflecting on the moral precepts within the Cadet Prayer.
But, from the time in 2002 when the two additional domains of development—spiritual and social—were added to the Academy’s Cadet Leader Development System (CLDS), the challenge has been to create among cadets and their faculty mentors a common understanding and language for development within these new domains. Simply stated, human spirituality is a topic with which many Army Officers simply are not familiar, particularly as it relates to leader development. Regardless of its central role in sponsoring a warrior ethos in the combat zone, it is fair to say that the topic is seldom seriously addressed, even in Army schools. All too often this is because of concerns that it might be misinterpreted as institutional support for religious spirituality with any number of church-state issues attached thereto. Thus, currently neither the Army nor the Academy has such language or other tools of pedagogy for the development of the human spirit.
But it is
not just within the Army Profession that understanding of the human spirit is
needed. A journalist who recently
interviewed the parents of the first
There’s an incredible eloquence and depth in these words….there are certain irreducible elements in a person’s essence that cannot be separated out and conveniently lent to arguments over politics and war. One of the irreducible elements of Major McClure’s life was her belief in the cause, her dedication to the mission. That’s military talk that a lot of people don’t understand, but it’s a point of view that should be draped in honor. I’m not talking about medals or other trappings, but in the honor of being true to one’s self.
In this paper, then, we seek to explain what the journalist labeled “military talk” by presenting very briefly a proposed framework to further understanding of human spirituality and what it means to “be true to one’s self.” This will enable cadets and their faculty and staff mentors to discuss their own development in these newly defined domains. To do that and to seek parsimony, we much narrow the topic of the human spirit very quickly and decisively.
Obviously, the human spirit is an immensely broad subject. The etymology of the word spirit indicates a source in the Latin, spiritus, meaning breath, later moving to the English language via the Old French, espirit, from which we use esprite-de-corps to mean the élan or spiritedness of a military organization. The spirit has traditionally been understood to be the animating force, or the energy within, living beings. It has therefore been strongly linked with the very occurrence of life, distinguishing a living from non-living person. As such, it has perhaps been as much discussed and written about as any subject since antiquity!
We could start by reading Plato’s
allegory of the cave in Book VII of The Republic. Or, we could skip centuries of writings and focusing
only on the Western world start within modernity with the nineteenth and
twentieth century philosophers, such as Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and
Heidegger. Or we could go to the
disciplines of sociology and psychology and pursue thoughts from the same era
We need not range so far afield, however, because the subject of the human spirit and its role in mortal combat has been revived much more recently within the Army’s own professional literature. There one well-respected soldier-scholar concludes that the U.S. Army, at least since WWII, has proceeded under the following hypothesis: “….that all soldiers have human needs and most have spiritual needs broadly defined, and that converting these needs into strengths of will and character is an important part of combat leadership.”
Thus the Army Profession has
historically considered it important to understand how soldiers could
persevere, as at Midway and the
A leader’s spirit provides purpose, direction, the will and courage to determine and do the right thing in the very complex and chaotic environment of combat where life, death, and strategic interests of the country hinge on the leader’s decisions. Leaders who nurture their own and their followers’ human spirit are strengthening and preparing their soldiers to meet the harsh rigors and stresses of combat, enhancing the combat power of their unit, promoting the growth of their followers as humans, and helping protect soldiers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other pathologies. In its published doctrine, then, the Army has recognized the critical importance of developing the human spirit, incorporating it, among other places, into its Well-Being Plan.
In the sections that follow in this paper we will offer a conception of how the human spirit is developed, including a model that explicates the domain of the human spirit, discuss how innate human needs drive the development of the human spirit, and discuss how one’s spiritual development is experienced and manifested.
In doing so, we simplified the complexity of spirituality to establish a common framework; one that can be implemented and utilized across various belief systems. We recognize some limitation to this model as it may relate to any specific belief system, but do hold that this framework represents a basic model of many of the core, innate processes that develop a leader’s spirit. We acknowledge that some individuals, such as those whose moral quest in based on a specific religious faith, may find this model insufficiently complete to encompass their full definition of spirituality. We believe, however, that it is a model to which they can build in additive fashion, thus accommodating it to their own beliefs.
The reader will find that, once rightly understood, development of the human spirit is thoroughly manifested in who we are now and who we seek to become; and, as such is also manifest in most of our thoughts and actions. In other words, it is our evolving human essence, from which we cannot divorce ourselves; it will always be an integral part of our being, our actions and our social interactions.
A Definition of the Domain of the Human Spirit
Returning to the definition offered earlier, spirit is defined as, “the vital animating force within living beings; the part of a human being associated with mind, will, and feelings; and the essential nature of a person.” According to this definition, the human spirit influences how one thinks, acts, and feels about life. Thus, the development of the human spirit should form the cornerstone of any leader development program.
To advance our understanding of how the human spirit develops we revisited the literatures of humanist psychology and human spirituality. The humanist psychologists view such development in terms of realizing one’s full potential or self-actualization. To do so people must determine their purpose in life, discover who they truly are, and develop the strength to move away from the expectations of others to pursue activities that will develop the true or authentic-self. Similarly, scholars of spirituality, particularly in college students, view individual spiritual development as the inward quest or journey to find one’s identity, purpose, meaning, truth about the world and life after death, and how to live a life that matters. Integrating the concepts from both literatures, we offer the following definition of the development of the human spirit:
It is an individual’s search to find:
· one’s true-self in terms of core values and beliefs (character);
· meaning and purpose in life to make a difference and thus to make life worth living;
· truth about the world, enlightenment;
· relationships that bring fulfillment, and
· the autonomy to pursue activities to realize one’s full potential.
To discuss the development of human spirit, we focus on identifying the psychological structures and states that comprise an individual’s spirit. Common themes found in both literatures were the following:
· To develop the spirit one must engage in self-reflection and introspection, thus self-awareness is critical.
· Increased self-awareness allows one to solidify their values and beliefs system (character), which forms the foundation of their personal philosophy or world-view.
· One’s evolving world-view is used to determine truth and make meaning out of experiences.
· Spiritual development is the individual’s responsibility.
· One must develop social awareness (empathy and respect) to understand others’ emotions and viewpoints in order to establish positive relationships and further refine one’s world-view.
· An individual must have a strong conviction (faith) that living according to one’s values and beliefs and striving to realize one’s potential will lead to a fulfilling and satisfying life.
Since the development of the human spirit is universal and occurs in all cultures, we accept Abraham Maslow’s proposition that innate human needs drive the process. We will return to a detailed discussion of how such needs do so after we present a model of the domain of the human spirit.
We propose that the domain of the human spirit consists of the psychological components as depicted in Figure 2-1: a world-view, self-awareness, a sense of agency, social awareness, and faith. These components are interrelated and their gestalt fosters the growth of the human spirit. We believe that an understanding of these components and the relationships between them can facilitate cadets’ journeys toward spiritual development while also providing leaders and mentors insights as to how best to contribute to or otherwise facilitate these searches.
But before we proceed, we need to clarify the semantic difference between the human spirit and the complementary terms spiritual and spirituality. While we view the former as a product the essence of which evolves over time, the latter can be viewed as a process or an orientation. Specifically, the human spirit is a leader’s current state as it relates to the components of the framework in Figure 2-1. At any point in time a leader has a certain level of agency, faith, self-awareness, and social awareness. Spirituality, then, can be seen as a leader’s orientation to pursue development and enlightenment within the domain of the human spirit. The term spiritual also describes the developmental processes that leaders pursue to enhance the elements of the human spirit denoted within the diagram. Indeed, such development is a spiritual process and requires a leader to possess adequate spirituality to imbue the seeking of growth in these areas. Thus, spirituality can also be described as the process defined by the interactions between the components of the model, as denoted by the various bidirectional arrows.
We turn now to a description of each of the components:
World-View. A person’s world-view can be understood as the lens through which one views the world. It is an individual’s personal life philosophy that is used to make meaning out of experiences and to provide direction and purpose in life. This complex cognitive framework determines what one attends to, how one interprets information and events, the knowledge and experiences one seeks out, and how one behaves. Not static, but dynamic, a person’s world-view actually influences every aspect of their current life and future goals. Thus, a person’s world-view is the foundation upon which the development of the human spirit rests.
This cognitive framework contains at any point in time an individual’s collection of knowledge and assumptions about how the world operates, truths about the world based on learning and experiences; a system for determining truth and meaning, values and beliefs that one should live by; a vision of a life worth living by making a meaningful contribution; reflections on one’s mortality; and, beliefs about what comes after death. Individuals continuously refine and develop their world-views through the learning of new knowledge, reflection on their own and others’ experiences, introspection on their values, beliefs, and meaning-making system, and by discussing with others topics about their human essence.
World-views are largely shaped through the socialization processes of the mediating institutions of family, school, and church, among others. Parents’ childrearing techniques, the community’s cultural expectations, educational and life experiences, and religious or philosophical practices all play a role in the development of the early world-view of children. The cornerstone of a person’s world-view, as depicted in Figure 2-1, is one’s values and beliefs system or character. This system defines who the person is, what the person stands for, serves as a guide for determining behavior—especially in ambiguous and chaotic situations—and also provides the courage and will to act in accordance with one’s beliefs and values. For most people, adolescence is the time they begin their struggle to discover their own identity and character and to establish themselves as independent and unique individuals. Thus, the college or post-high school experiences are critical periods in which to establish coherent and soundly evolving world-views.
From the military perspective, the soldier’s character provides the physical courage to fight in close combat and the moral courage to act in accord with, and to enforce, the profession’s ethics. One of the main insights that Lord Moran offers in his classic book, The Anatomy of Courage, is that, “a man of character in peace is a man of courage in war.” A strong sense of character provides a person with a sense of continuity and stability in one’s day-to-day life. It is here that the moral precepts of the Cadet Prayer resonate by pointing as a moral compass to future behaviors that all officers must exhibit—e.g., “make me to choose the harder right over the easier wrong and never to be content with a half-truth when the whole can be won.” In Chapter 4, we will propose and discuss in some detail a model for how to develop one’s values and belief system, world-view, and sense of moral agency.
Finally, in the interpersonal realm an officer’s world-view is central to their leadership as it provides the cognitive lens through which they experience and make meaning of their and their followers’ experiences. It is this ability to make meaning and communicate that meaning to their followers’ that enables them to provide purpose, motivation and direction amid the stress of combat.
Self-Awareness. Reflection and introspection are the processes individuals use to enhance development of their human spirits. Through reflection and self-examination people gain insights into life’s most informing questions, such as: who am I, what is my purpose in life, what is a life worth living, who do I want to become, what can I believe in, how do I live a life that will make a difference, and how can I be happy? Answers to these pressing introspective questions help form and shape one’s world-view and identity.
Indeed one cannot separate their own self-concept from their concept of the external world. The self-concept is in fact an idiosyncratic “construct” a leader develops over their life-span as they interpret and encode their personal experiences into memory. In essence leaders learn who they are as they interact with and receive feedback from their social environment. It is through dedicated reflection about these experiences that the self with its human essence become “known” to the individual. We argue that in as much as leaders’ developmental experiences contain elements of the spiritual, the more they reflect on these elements the greater will be the growth of their own human spirit. This drive for reflection and self-awareness—to know oneself—is part of one’s spiritual orientation, a part of their spirituality.
Reflection and introspection also allow people to make sense out of their own and others’ experiences and in the process to create new meaning or knowledge, and to help organize and integrate the content of their world-view schemas. Therefore, everyone, especially young adults, should set aside time for reflection, much in solitude, to gain insights on their inner lives. Individuals can use various activities as opportunities to facilitate reflection and introspection: trail running, journaling, sitting in a quiet location, writing a paper on a topic that requires introspection, listening to music, walking, hiking, meditating, biking, dancing, rock climbing, praying, skiing, skydiving, participating in a retreat, watching the sun rise or set, and lifting weights. The type of activity or venue is not important, the keys are solitude and quiet time to reflect and assess one’s inner life.
These periods of reflection and introspection provide people with the ability to question and evaluate components of their world-views which were mostly shaped for them through the early socialization and learning processes. It is through continuous reflection and introspection that individuals gain the ability to step beyond those world-views influenced by parents or society and to self-author their own unique world-views. These processes of enhancing self-awareness provide leaders with a greater understanding of who they truly are, who they want to become, how to determine truth and meaning, and how they should lead their lives. All of this promotes the development of their world-view schemas. Therefore, it is through self-awareness that people gain the ability to chart and focus their quest to develop their human essence.
Such spiritual self-awareness is critical to leadership. Before they can provide value-based leadership and facilitate idealization and inspiration in others, leaders must have a firm grasp on who they are, what their core values and beliefs are, and their self-concept as it relates to their role as a leader. During times of combat, a leader’s self-concept will be challenged as their values, beliefs, needs, and other elements of the self will be strained to make meaning of and reconcile the horrors of warfare. It is only the self-aware and resolute leader who can operate effectively under such challenges and provide the “moral compass” for their followers’ actions.
Sense of Agency. The development of the human spirit is an active, dynamic, and very personal journey that the individual owns. Agency involves assuming ownership or responsibility for one’s own spiritual development and a sense of confidence that one has the ability to successfully guide this developmental quest. Individuals who assume responsibility for such development and actively engage in activities that foster the growth of their spirits tend to live satisfying and content lives. Those who fail to take responsibility for the development of their human spirit are forced to live with the world-views that society shapes for them, which can cause extreme psychological distress.
A sense of agency empowers people to reflect, evaluate, and self-author their own world-view. It provides the autonomy or independence of thought to chart their own path for the development of their spirit and to start stepping away from the expectations of others. In a sense, such agency provides them with some control over their own destiny. Individuals with a sense of agency will actively seek out activities that acquire new knowledge, create new experiences that reinforce or challenge one’s existing world-view, and promote self-reflection and introspection in order to develop and strengthen the human spirit. These empowered individuals will demand the freedom to develop their spirit in the way they see fit. Freedom of thought and action are necessary conditions for one’s sense of agency to grow.
Educational institutions, the Academy included, can better facilitate their students’ sense of agency by providing access to various resources: a broad curriculum that exposes students to topics on the human spirit—comparative philosophy and courses about religions—libraries that are well resourced with diverse materials, multi-faith and multi-philosophical forums for exchanging ideas, opportunities for community service, quiet places for reflection, and physical fitness facilities that offer a wide variety of athletic pursuits. Perhaps most importantly, they should also provide faculty who are able to aid students in their journeys regardless of the path. Educators can also give writing assignments such as essays or journals that require students to reflect and evaluate the content of experiences as they relate to their world-view. Such faculty should encourage and respect the free exchange of questions and ideas relating to the human spirit in the classroom as students learn of the world beyond their own experiences.
However, educational institutions and faculty must keep in mind that spiritual development is an individual journey; therefore, they must be very careful not to promote one path of spiritual development over another. They should recognize that a majority of college students will use religious practices as a primary, but perhaps not sole, vehicle to develop their spirits. A national study conducted in 2003 by the University of California found that over two-thirds (74,073) of the 112,232 college freshmen surveyed sought some sort of religious practice to develop within the domain of the human spirit. Other students may anchor the development of their spirit in the pursuit of various philosophies. Students will more than likely use a combination of activities to promote the development of their spirit. The important point is that the willingness of institutional leaders to provide freedom, resources, and activities to facilitate the journeys of all students does enhance the students’ sense of agency. Conversely, without such institutional support the growth of such agency can be thwarted.
Social Awareness (empathy and respect). Social awareness is important to the development of the human spirit because without respect and empathy a person will have trouble forming connections with other people and ideas and, in turn, this will hinder the ability to form new relationships and to gain new knowledge about diverse cultures and ideas. Without such experiences there can be little broadening or refinement to one’s world-view.
Thus, the quest to develop the human spirit requires people to develop the social skills necessary to establish positive relationships with others. Respect for others is the first social skill one must develop. Respect is simply recognizing and acknowledging that others have the right to hold different values, beliefs, and customs and that one must, without giving up one’s own beliefs and values, show them due consideration and be open to learn from alternate views. This form of toleration is bedrock to democratic pluralism, the Constitutionally founded form of government that the Army Profession defends. Respect also entails the ability to appreciate others and their beliefs, without immediately judging them as being inferior because they differ from one’s own. Showing respect for others’ views communicates that they are acknowledged, valued, and accepted as humans, which sets the conditions for positive interactions and learning from each other.
Moreover, to truly understand others an individual must have the empathic ability to place oneself in the shoes of others and view the world through their lens. Social-awareness enhances empathy by increasing the person’s capability to recognize emotions in others. Empathy allows one to see the situation as others see it, to feel the emotions that others feel, and to experience the motivational forces that compel behavior as others experience these forces. This is a daunting challenge for all for us! But a person can use these insights into others’ perspectives to expand and refine one’s own world-view and to develop positive relationships that communicate understanding, acceptance, and care for others.
Such social awareness is central to effective military leadership. We discussed at the beginning of this chapter the importance of the human spirit in facing the perils of combat while behaving within the demands of the warrior ethos. To be able to do so, leaders must be aware of, accepting of, and able to leverage and draw upon the diversity of their followers’ inspirational motivations, their human spirits. Indeed, we suggest that such leadership should be seen and valued as a form of unit combat power.
Faith. Faith is defined in Webster’s Universal Encyclopedic Dictionary as “something that is believed especially with strong conviction; allegiance to duty or to a person; a firm belief in something for which there is no proof; complete trust; or fidelity to one’s promises.” Such faith is critical because it provides the direction and will to persist in the continuous, often arduous, journey of life and the trust and hope that the journey will produce a life worth living.
Simply stated, faith is what keeps us going, and it is defined by the object in which we place such hope for a successful, meaningful life. For many Soldiers and cadets such faith will be grounded primarily in one of the world’s religions, but that is personal choice simply to be respected by all. And not all individuals will so choose; as mentioned earlier, many college-aged individuals place their faith in several objects at once during the intense interactions between higher education and spiritual awareness and growth.
For the purposes of this discussion, then, the kind of faith that we are interested in is intrapersonal, it is a person’s confident belief in and commitment to a life-long quest to develop and to live in accordance with one’s values and principles—to be true to self as was Major Megan McClure. Otherwise, what motivation wills us to live and strive, or even more, to serve others? As the epigraph to this chapter reminds us, such faith was an element evident in the indomitable spirit of those who won the Battle of Midway.
At the intra-personal level, then, such faith provides a strong sense of conviction or expectancy that living by one’s own values and principles; continuously refining knowledge of the inner-self through reflection and introspection; striving to develop one’s full potential by seeking out new knowledge and experiences; working for noble pursuits that have a positive impact for others; developing positive relationships with family, friends, and associates; and, appreciating and respecting others will result in enjoying the experiences of truth, happiness, fulfillment, and if one so believes, other non-worldly rewards such as eternal life.
Thus, the kind of faith we are addressing here keeps the person stepping forward to develop their essence, to seek truth, and to do well in the world because they firmly believe that it is the right thing to do.
For the Army Officer in particular, such faith works in the same way except that it does so within the context of the profession’s service to the American people. Such faith provides officers the courage to behave according to one’s values and principles and the profession’s ethic in the face of bureaucratic pressures to do otherwise; to seek growth experiences that stretch capabilities instead of “playing it safe” with the next assignment; to explore and understand new cultures despite initial discomforts; to engage in self- reflection and introspection even when it is painful; to join a noble and prosocial profession such as the Army instead of pursuing financial wealth; to focus on the good in the world when the info-media focuses on the negative; and to continue to strive to have a positive influence when others do not seem to value or appreciate one’s efforts.
In sum, we suggest that these five components, as diagramed in Figure 2-1, provide the needed model for understanding the domain of the human spirit. With this model explained, we now turn to a discussion of the innate human needs that drive the processes within the model.
As we mentioned earlier, people from every culture are engaged in the quest to develop their essence, so it is logical to accept the hypothesis that innate human needs drive the development of the human spirit (see left side, Figure 2-1). In his theory of human motivation, Abraham Maslow proposed that the following hierarchy of basic human needs, from lowest to highest, drive the development of the human spirit:
· physiological (survival needs),
· safety, or security (control and predictability),
· belongingness and love (affiliation),
· esteem (efficacy & respect),
· to know and understand (curiosity & insights),
· to experience the aesthetic (order, symmetry, & closure), and
· self-actualization (reaching one’s full potential).
It is in striving to satisfy these innate needs that the development of the human spirit occurs. According to Maslow’s theory, lower level needs must be satisfied before a person will experience the motivation to meet higher order needs. If an individual is working to satisfy higher order needs and a lower order need is threaten, the person will re-direct efforts to meet the lower order need.  So we turn now to a discussion of how an individual’s striving to meet these needs contributes to the development of the psychological structures and states that we earlier posited comprise the domain of the human spirit.
Need for Safety. Beyond survival, a person’s need for safety compels them to develop world-views or personal life philosophies to be able to understand and predict the environment around them. We see two aspects of the safety need: physical and psychological. The physical aspect of the safety need is met when people feel safe, secure, and protected against threats from criminals, nature and its disasters, and anything or anyone who could do them harm. We cannot imagine a physical context wherein this need is more salient than that of combat. From the psychological aspect, people feel safe when they have a means to organize the world into an orderly and predictable manner so that unexpected, unmanageable, and dangerous things are less likely to happen. Thus, they seek innately a sense of control over the events of life.
A leader gains a sense of control over such events through the establishment of the world-view schema, enabling prediction and sound expectation as to what is coming. As stated earlier, this schema contains knowledge and assumptions about how the world operates, a values and beliefs system, ideas about one’s role or purpose in the world, and a vision of who the person is striving to become. Thus, a world-view schema provides the ability to reasonably predict future situations, how others will act and how they will react, providing a sense of control and predictability in life.
Need to Belong and Be Loved. The innate affiliation need manifests itself with the desire to connect to something, or someone, outside and more powerful than the self. The key to meeting this innate need is the individuals’ ability to transcend self and subordinate their own self-interests. This transcendence involves the humbling realization that one is but a small actor in the universe and that a connection with a more powerful force can empower, enrich, and inspire one’s life. The source of this connection could be an individual, a group, a supreme deity, an idea, a philosophy, or a calling to vocation such as the officer’s calling to the Army profession.
This innate desire to connect with someone or something more powerful than the individual serves an adaptive function because it contributes to one’s sense of safety through physical and psychological support and also serves to enhance one’s world-view by being a source of new knowledge and inspiration for one’s life purpose. Being loved, valued and accepted by others re-affirms one’s perceptions of self-worth and also contributes to feelings of wholeness. Thus, individuals’ need to seek connections with people, groups, ideas, or deities outside of their selves help shape and develop their human spirits.
The military profession has long recognized the empowering benefits of a greater sense of confidence, safety, and purpose gained from meeting soldiers’ innate need for affiliation. This is why the U.S. military places such great emphasis on unit heritage, maintaining unit integrity, promoting selfless service and teamwork, and demanding loyalty in terms of taking care of your buddy and the unit.
For example, a soldier who has established positive relationships (connections) with other members in the squad has eight other people looking out for his safety and sharing the burdens of combat, which boosts his sense of confidence and safety and also greatly increases the soldier’s probability of survival. In addition, the connection with others provides a social support network to look out for his physical safety helping the soldier deal with the fears and stresses of combat.
Through this social network a soldier can learn new knowledge about how to deal with stress; express fears and other emotions; receive understanding, acceptance, and validation for emotions experienced; learn combat survival techniques; and, most important, learn new ways to make meaning out of traumatic events. The collective meaning-making that takes place in social networks tends to enhance soldiers’ world-views. So, by forming these connections with other soldiers and the group, each soldier gains a greater sense of confidence in their own and the unit’s ability to successfully complete the mission and survive.
Soldiers who fail to make connections with others tend not to last long in combat zone. They either succumb to stress or they are injured or killed early in their tours because they are not fully connected to the social support system in the unit. Most importantly, these connections between soldiers serve as the primary source of motivation for them to fight. This is why cohesion continues to play such a critical role in individual and unit performance in combat.
Need for Esteem. The innate need for esteem plays a significant role in the development of a person’s sense of agency and also impacts the development of one’s world-view. Maslow proposed that the innate need for esteem entailed two interrelated components: self-esteem and gaining the esteem of others. Self-esteem consists of a person’s need to feel that one has the ability to act independently to achieve life goals and to handle life’s challenges. Thus self-esteem is very important in the development of a sense of agency. Individuals who feel confident that they can chart and master their own life journeys are more likely to assume the responsibility for developing their human spirit. They will actively seek out and engage in activities that will promote the development of their world-views.
On the other hand, people with low self-esteem are more likely to have a lesser sense of agency regarding the development of their human spirit because they do not feel that they have the ability to control their destiny. Individuals with low self-esteem are more apt to let society and others influence the development their human spirit.
Receiving the esteem of others in terms of praise, recognition, status, and appreciation provides external verification of one’s abilities and worth to others. This validation of one’s value to others enhances self-esteem and the sense of agency and facilitates positive emotions and human flourishing. In addition, being valued by others provides individuals with the sense that they are important and their presence in the world makes a difference, which bolsters faith in their developmental journey and their evolving world-views. Soldiers must not only be imbued with such personal esteem, but also pride and esteem in their unit, which promotes cohesion and collective sense of purpose.
Need to Know and Understand. The innate human need to know and understand significantly contributes to the development of a person’s world-view and need for safety. Individuals’ curiosity and desire to seek out and learn new knowledge helps them gain a greater understanding of how the world works and how people live in it, which adds to the complexity of their own world-view. In turn, a more complex world-view helps them to perceive more orderliness, meaning, and predictability in both themselves and the world, thus contributing to a greater sense of safety.
The innate need for knowledge and understanding also contributes to individuals’ motivation to engage in self-reflection and introspection with the hope of discovering insights about themselves. This increased self-awareness helps people answer life’s pressing questions concerning identity, purpose, a worthy contribution, and how to achieve happiness. Lastly, the need for knowledge and understanding plays a role in promoting a sense of agency in people to develop their own essence and inner strength. Such people will likely attribute their knowledge seeking behaviors to internal states, thus providing the perception of agency or self-directed development. Particularly during stressful times such as combat, leaders and their soldiers must find a level of coherence, hence heightening the innate need for understanding.
Need for Self-Actualization. Self-actualization is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy. The need for self-actualization contributes to the growth of the human spirit by motivating people to develop themselves to become “who they must be” in order to have a life that is meaningful and makes a difference. Carl Rogers, a noted humanist psychologist, proposes that the need for self-actualization is the “mainspring of life” that propels people to seek out activities that cause them to grow, mature, and become autonomous in their quest to reach their full human potential. According to Rogers, to achieve self-actualization a person must: (1) determine his purpose in life; (2) live a responsible, moral, and self-restrained life (positive values and beliefs system); (3) be confident to initiate change to promote growth and independence (agency); (4) engage in reflection to develop one’s self-awareness (introspection); (5) form connections to sources outside of the self (affiliation); and, (6) learn to enjoy the simple pleasures of life (achieving happiness). Thus, according to the views of both Rogers and Maslow, the innate drive towards self-actualization would develop a person’s full human potential and, as well, one’s human spirit.
Self-actualization is central to the identity of an officer and their development as a leader. We can refine discussion of the self-concept by noting that leaders tend to envision both their current self, but also a more distant possible self which they would like to become—their actualized self. It is through envisioning, most likely by the existence of a role model, and making lucid the “gaps” between the current and possible-self that leaders will enact goal-directed motivation to develop and achieve that possible self. It is through such processes that the Army- and Academy-sanctioned identity and roles of an officer will be internalized.
In as much as leaders and their followers envision a possible-self with higher capabilities for faith, agency, self-awareness, social awareness and empathy—a stronger human spirit as depicted in Figure 2-1—they will have greater drive toward development in these areas. Returning to our earlier semantic differentiation, we suggest that this drive and its developmental manifestations will be experienced as a heightened sense of spirituality.
In the last portion of this chapter, and in the appendices that follow, we present various emotional, cognitive, and behavioral indicators of how the development of the human spirit is manifested and experienced. The purpose is to assist cadets and their mentors to recognize and assess the development of the human spirit as they proceed through the forty-seven month experience at the Academy. Indeed, we believe this list should serve as a rudimentary “road map” to chart the development of the human spirit and as milestones to chart their progress toward their possible-self. Research has shown that development will occur through vicarious learning such as observing role models and via modes of imagined experience—having followers imagine themselves successfully engaging in positive spiritual behaviors and achieving their own envisioned possible-self.
More than likely multiple indicators from each one of the three areas will apply; and the more indicators that do apply, the greater the progress.
Emotional Indicators. Development of the world-view manifests itself in feelings of safety, orderliness, and peace. The growth of a more complex world view provides individuals with a greater ability to predict and make meaning out of their experiences. Thus, events do not surprise and /or shock them as much as in the past and individuals no longer feel naïve regarding how the world operates. The cornerstone to one’s feelings of safety and peace is the feeling that one has the correct values and beliefs (character) to function effectively in the world and to live a life that makes a difference. As individuals see progress becoming who they want to be and realizing their potential, they experience a sense of well-being and contentment with life. Furthermore, individuals experience their sense of agency developing when they feel a sense of empowerment to self-author their own values and beliefs and to control their journey to develop their potential. Individuals feel they own and have control over their destiny because they have the capability to create the lives they seek. Growth in social awareness manifests itself with feelings that one has the ability to read and understand other people, see the world from their point of view, and make positive relationships with them. Such individuals feel a greater sense of respect and appreciation for human life and also a greater sense of compassion towards others. They feel that others now enrich their own lives and aid them in their journey to develop their essence.
Growth in self-awareness manifests itself in feelings that one is getting to know and understand oneself better. Such individuals are not afraid to reflect on and evaluate their inner lives because they feel increasingly comfortable with who they are and what they want to become. Finally, they experience their faith developing when they feel a strong conviction that living a life based on one’s values and belief’s is right and will lead to fulfillment even in spite of social pressures to live otherwise.
Cognitive Indicators. Individuals know that their world-view is developing when they generally understand how the world operates, accepting the existence of both good and evil. They become more open to, and not threatened by new ideas, experiences, cultures, and beliefs. They develop a thirst for knowledge. Such individuals increasingly consider their own values and beliefs when making decisions because their need to maintain integrity to self outweighs the desire to meet the expectations of others. When this occurs, individuals have the autonomy to control their journey to develop their human essence.
Moreover, such individuals know they are developing their self-awareness when they regularly reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, their life goals, and the progress they are making towards developing their potential. They question and evaluate their values and beliefs because they want to know truth. They reflect on experiences to make meaning out of them and evaluate the implications for their world-view. The cognitive indicators of social awareness entail a greater understanding of people and willingness to view others as individuals without prejudice towards groups. One also develops a greater understanding of the frailty of human nature resulting in a greater sense of compassion and desire to help others (altruism). Individuals understand and accept that others have a right to have different view-points, values, and beliefs, and that just because these views are different, they are not necessarily wrong or bad.
Cognitive indicators of the development of one’s sense of agency are thinking routinely of activities to develop the spirit, monitoring progress of the journey, and making adjustments as needed. Individuals know and accept that they are fully responsible and largely in control of their own spiritual development. As discussed earlier in the emotional indicators, they feel a sense of autonomy to step away from the expectations of others and pilot their own journey with an increasingly strong belief, or faith, that the quest to develop the spirit will lead to a meaningful, noble, and fulfilling life. Such a person more and more lives a principle centered life, even in the face of social pressures to do otherwise, because this is the right thing to do to be true to self.
Behavioral Indicators. Individuals know that their world-view is developing when they find themselves behaving in a more authentic manner based on their own values and beliefs. They engage naturally in activities that promote learning about new subjects, people, and cultures, such as reading about or experiencing different philosophical and religious beliefs in a search to find truth. They realize their sense of agency is growing the more they engage regularly in activities that help realize their full potential. Likewise, their self-awareness is growing when they make time routinely to engage in reflection and introspection, particularly of their experiences, values, beliefs, and goals in life. This can take the form of journaling, documenting life visions and goals, carrying-on internal, positive dialogues with themselves, praying, or meditating on life questions.
Behavioral indicators of a developing social awareness are treating all people with respect, engaging in volunteerism to help others, cooperating with difficult people, being more understanding and forgiving of others, less judgmental, and more tolerant of other’s weaknesses. This greater social awareness is also manifested in the formation of positive and cooperative relationships. Lastly, the main indicator of the strengthening of an individuals’ faith is the more consistent, daily striving to live a value based life, taking action to follow one’s developmental journey despite the arduousness of the task—more often doing “the harder right rather than the easier wrong,” as noted in the Cadet Prayer.
By applying a model for the domain of the human spirit, we believe cadets and the Academy’s faculty and staff can achieve a needed level of commonality in understanding and language regarding the development of the inner self. Individuals can understand what psychological components and states are involved and how they interact as they develop (see again Figure 2-1). These tools will provide the ability to tailor individual developmental efforts, targeting specific components of the human spirit and using applicable indicators to track progress.
With diligent application of such tools we believe that at least five outcomes are feasible, all clearly supporting the development of commissioned leaders of character for the Army:
· An increased self-awareness by each leader, most often enhancing the ability to understand and to self-author the values and beliefs that define their character;
· An evolving world-view or personal life philosophy that seeks truth and justice, appreciates diversity, and continuously seeks out new experiences and knowledge to promote growth;
· A growing social awareness that fosters respect for others’ view points and the ability to see and understand the world from eyes of others, an attribute critical to understanding subordinates, allies, and enemies;
· An empowered sense of control and responsibility for one’s own being, existence, and development, thus fostering inner strength and fortitude, and;
· A sense of conviction or faith that one is part of a noble profession, providing intrinsic motivation to service and a fulfilling life as an officer.
We have outlined spirituality as a central facet of an officer’s existence and a key driving force in the behavior and meaning-making systems of both leaders and followers—especially under conditions that most try the human spirit, such as close combat. Development of the human spirit must therefore be recognized as inextricable to any leader, or leadership, development program. We propose such development should be purposive and that it can be by application of this model.
As stated earlier, the military requires its members to have a strong inner strength to withstand the stresses and rigors of combat and also to achieve psychological well-being; therefore, it is absolutely imperative for military leaders to understand how to develop their own human spirit and facilitate the moral journeys of their soldiers toward full development of the Warrior Spirit.
Bing, “American Military Performance in
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 John M.
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Wong, “Combat Motivation in the Iraq War,” in Don M. Snider (project director)
 Headquarters, Department of the Army, Field Manual 22-100, Army Leadership (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1999), 2-2.
A. Resick, Stress and Trauma. (
 Carl R. Rogers, On Becoming a Person, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1961), 164-181, and Abraham H. Maslow, Motivation and Personality, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1954), 80-96.
 Jon C. Dalton, David Eberhardt, Jillian Bracken, and Keith Echols, “Inward Journeys: Forms and Patterns of College Student Spirituality,” Journal of College and Character, Vol. VII, No. 8 (Oct 2006), 1-21.
Christopher Peterson and Martin E. P. Seligman, Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, (
 Maslow, 80-97.
 Maslow, 94.
 Fiske, S.T., and Taylor, S.E., Social Cognition, (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1984), xx-yy; and, Lord, R.G., and Foti, R.J., “Schema Theories, Information Processing, and Organizational Behavior,” in H.M. Sims and D.A. Gioia (eds.), The Thinking Organization: Dynamics of Organizational Social Cognition, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1986), 20-48
94, and William McCoy, Under Orders: A
Spiritual Handbook for Military Personnel, (
to Leader Institute, Be-Know-Do:
Erikson, Identity: Youth and Crisis,
(New York: Norton, 1968), xx-yy, and
 Lord Moran, The Anatomy of Courage, (NJ: Garden City Park, Avery Publishing Group, 1987), xii.
 Dalton, et al., 1-21.
 Rogers, 164-165, and Dalton, et al., 1-21
 Rogers, 164-165, and
 John F. Kihlstrom, Jennifer S. Beer, and Stanley B.
Klein, “Self and Identity as Memory,” in
Mark J. Leary and June P Tangney (eds.),
Handbook of Self and Identity, (
 Arthur Schwartz, “Growing Spirituality During the College Years.” Liberal Education, Vol. 87, No. 4 (2001): 30-35.
 Robert Kegan, The Evolving Self, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), xx-yy.
 Ibid., 170-172.
 Ibid., 33.
 Maslow, 92.
 Carney Strange, “Spirituality at State: Private Journeys and Public Visions,” Journal of College and Character, Vol. II (2006): 1-7.
 Dennis Holtschneider, “All the Questions: Spirituality in the University,” Journal of College and Character, Vol. VIII, No. 1 (2006), 1-3.
 Higher Education Research Institute, “The Spiritual Life of College Students: A National Study of Students’ Search for Meaning and Purpose,” (2004), 4, retrieved November 13, 2006, from http://www.spirituality.ucla.edu/spirituality/reports/
 Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence, (New York: Bantam Books, 1995), 96.
 Ibid., 34, and Goleman, 100.
 Maslow, 80-98.
 Ibid., 80-84.
 Ibid., 87.
D. Parks, Big Questions, Worthy Dreams:
Mentoring Young Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith, (
 Stouffer, et al., 142-149.
 Roger W. Little, “Buddy Relations and Combat Performance,” in M. Janowitz (ed.), The New Military: Changing Patterns of Organizations, (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1964), xx-yy.
 Franklin D. Jones, “Traditional Warfare Combat Stress Casualties,” in The Surgeon General, Textbook of Military Medicine: War Psychiatry, (Washington, DC: Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 1995), 38.
 Stouffer, et al., 179.
 Maslow, 90.
 Ibid., 91.
 Daryl J. Bem, “Self-perception: An Alternative Interpretation of Cognitive Dissonance Phenomena,” Psychological Review, 74, (1967), 183-200.
 Ibid., 91-92.
 Ibid., 164-166.
 Robert G. Lord and Douglas J. Brown, Leadership Processes and Follower Self-identity, (NJ: Hillsdale, Erlbaum, 2004), xx-yy.
 Albert Bandura, Self-Efficacy: The Exercise of Control, (New York, New York: Freeman, 1997), xx-yy, and Kazdin, A. E., “Covert Modeling—Therapeutic Application of Imagined Rehearsal,” in J. L. Singer and K. S. Pope (eds.), The Power of Human Imagination: New Methods in Psychotherapy - Emotions, Personality, and Psychotherapy, (New York: Plenum, 1978), 255-278.
 The work of Abraham Maslow was the primary source used to develop the categories of indicators outlined below and in the appendices to the chapter.
Appendix A: Emotional Indicators of Development of the Human Spirit
Indicator Component Innate Need
You feel a sense of safety, peace, orderliness,
and understanding in life. World-view Safety
You feel that you are on the right path in life. World-view Self-actualize
You feel that you have a greater ability to make Know and
meaning out of your experiences. World-view Understand
You feel that your vocation contributes to your
sense of purpose in life. World-view Self-actualize
You feel that you have created a good and true Know and
set of values and beliefs to guide your life. World-view understand
You feel a sense of confidence to interact with
people from different cultures. World-view Safety
You feel driven to seek out new knowledge & World-view Know and
You feel that you have the power to achieve your
goals and dreams in life. Sense of Agency Esteem
You feel that you control your journey to
develop your spirit. Sense of Agency Esteem
You feel that you are making progress towards
becoming the person you would like to be. Sense of Agency Esteem
You feel a sense of curiosity for and excitement Know and
about learning. Sense of Agency Understand
You feel that you have the power to author your
own values and beliefs and not have society or
others dictate them for you. Sense of Agency Esteem
You feel that others accept you for who you are. Social-awareness Affiliation
You feel connected to and understood by others. Social-awareness Affiliation
You feel that others respect, value, and trust you. Social-awareness Esteem
You feel a greater sense of self-control. Self-awareness Safety
You feel more integrated as a person. Self-awareness Know and
You feel that you have a greater understanding Know and
of who you are, your purpose, and direction in life. Self-awareness understand
You feel that your values and beliefs are right and
will lead you to a fulfilling life. Faith Self-actualize
You feel commitment to living a principle
centered life and developing your potential. Faith Self-actualize
Appendix B: Cognitive Indicators of Development of the Human Spirit
Indicator Component Innate Need
You possess a greater understanding of how
the world operates. World-view Safety
You have more realistic expectations about World-view Safety
What is coming your way.
You are more open to new ideas, different Know and
cultures, and different belief systems. World-view Understand
You consider your own values & beliefs when
Making decisions regarding behavior. World-view Safety
You have less need to impose control in
relationships with others. World-view Safety
You have a sense of curiosity about the world. World-view Know and
You think of activities to develop your spirit. Sense of Agency Self-actualize
You refine your developmental plan frequently
to ensure that the direction of your life is on track. Sense of Agency Self-actualize
You have autonomy to develop your own
values and beliefs. Sense of Agency Esteem
You believe that you have the ability to control
your own journey to develop your spirit. Sense of Agency Esteem
You believe that you are capable and
talented enough to accomplish your life goals. Sense of Agency Esteem
You believe that others have the right to hold Social Awareness Know and
differing views and that different does not mean Understand
incorrect or bad.
You have a greater understanding of how others Social Awareness Know and
and groups operate in the world. Understand
You have the ability to read peoples emotions. Social Awareness Know and
You understand that all humans have needs for Know and
being valued, accepted, and respected. Social Awareness Understand
You can place yourself in others’ perspectives Know and
when making decisions. Social Awareness Understand
You have fewer negative evaluations (prejudices) Know and
towards groups of people. Social Awareness Understand
Since all humans have value, you are more
compassionate in your dealing with others. Social Awareness Affiliation
You accept others who differ from you and
do not judge them because they are different. Social Awareness Affiliation
You are open to questioning and evaluating Know and
your own values and beliefs. Self-awareness Understand
You periodically reflect and evaluate your
values, beliefs, and life goals to ensure they
they are true and lead to a life worth living. Self-awareness & Self-actualize
You possess a greater understanding of who you Know and
are and who you want to be in the future. Self-awareness Understand
You believe that your developmental journey will
produce a meaningful, noble, and fulfilling life. Faith Self-actualize
You continue to consider your values and beliefs
when deciding what is right even when others Know and
are encouraging you to do otherwise. Faith Understand
You are optimistic about realizing your full
human potential and creating a satisfying life. Faith Self-actualize
You look at obstacles and set-backs in life
as a means to grow and become stronger. Faith Esteem
Appendix C: Behavioral Indicators of Development of the Human Spirit
Indicator Component Innate Need
You act in accordance with your beliefs and
values to do the right thing. World-view Safety
You are more authentic with dealing with others. World-view Safety
You seek activities to learn new knowledge. World-view Know and
You associate with diverse people. World-view Know and
You engage others in discussions about the Know and
meaning and purpose of life. World-view Understand
You feed your passion for learning. World-view Know and
You write out goals and objectives for a plan
to develop your human spirit. Sense of Agency Self-actualize
You actively seek out and engage in activities
that develop your spirit (mediation, prayer,
self-reflection, new experiences, etc). Sense of Agency Esteem
When confronted with situations you cannot make
meaning of, you seek out new knowledge or Know and
talk to friends, parents, or mentors to help. Sense of Agency Understand
You look for and take advantage of opportunities to Know and
gain exposure to differing view points. Sense of Agency understand
You take advantage of the opportunity to study Know and
abroad. Sense of Agency Understand
You make time for reflection and introspection. Sense of Agency Know and
You regularly evaluate your values & beliefs and Know and
life goals to ensure they are true. Self-awareness Understand
You periodically reflect on your progress in Know and
developing your full potential. Self-awareness Understand
You keep of journal of your inner thoughts. Self-awareness Know and
You reflect on new experiences to determine
meaning, lesson learned, and assess your Know and
strengths and weaknesses. Self-awareness Understand
You attend retreats to get in touch with the inner Know and
self. Self-awareness Understand
You join groups that have noble purposes. Social Awareness Affiliation
You associate with people for who they are and
not what they can do for you. Social Awareness Affiliation
You treat all people with respect and dignity. Social Awareness Affiliation
You act in the best interest of the group and
its members. Social Awareness Affiliation
You volunteer your time or give money to
help others. Social Awareness Affiliation
You work hard to establish positive relationships
with others, especially family and friends. Social Awareness Affiliation
You actively listen to understand others and learn. Social Awareness Affiliation
You show more kindness towards others. Social Awareness Affiliation
Your behavior demonstrations more tolerance of
others because of your greater appreciation for
the frailty and vulnerabilities of being human. Social Awareness Affiliation
You are more forgiving of others. Social Awareness Affiliation
You strive to develop your full potential
because that is the path to satisfaction, happiness,
and well-being. Faith Self-actualize
You live your life in accordance with your values
and beliefs. Faith Safety