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Coaching to a Las Vegas State of Mind

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Perry proposes that this multiplistic stage is common among young adults who are first exposed to a world that is expanding in size and complexity – they are seeing the multiple images on the wall of their cave. This sense of betrayal is likely to remain if the young adult is provided with minimal support and finds very little that is to be trusted in the world. We certainly see an abundance of multiplicity in our current world – along with the dualistic perspective. Perry is optimistic, however, with regard to the capacity and willingness of many adults to move beyond multiplicity, especially if they are fortune enough to live in a supportive and trusting environment.   Perry suggests that this transition is to a relativistic perspective.  We now see that within a specific community there are certain accepted standards with regard to truth and reality. We can appreciate the fact that other communities adhere to different standards than our own. While adhering to a relativistic perspective, we are likely to avoid making any value judgments regarding competing versions of the truth. We live in the cave and sit back to witness (perhaps even savor) the multiple images on the wall and multiple interpretations of these images. We go to Las Vegas and enjoy the sites, living vicariously and with enthusiasm in each of the simulacra.

Unfortunately, we can’t live forever in this suspended state of relativism. As mature and responsible adults we have to make decisions and take actions. Perry identifies this fourth perspective as commitment-in-relativism.   We recognize that there are alternative standards operating in various communities, but also recognize the need to pick a specific standard and base our life around this standard. We might change our standard over time and might be able to live in a different community and embrace their standard while living there, but come back to our base of commitment. Perry notes that this fourth perspective will look very much like dualism to other people (who are themselves dualists or multiplists). After all, if one is making commitments, then isn’t this deciding that there is a right and wrong answer and a truth that is stable and confirmable? The ongoing challenge of those with a commitment in relativism perspective is to recognize that this misunderstanding will often occur and that a clearly articulated rationale must be offered to other people for the decisions being made and actions taken.

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