Stage 6 - Universalising Faith
Stage 6 is a very mature stage, hardly ever reached (Croucher, 2010). It is rather a teleological extension of the theory than an empirically grounded phenomenon (Elifson & Stone, 1985, p. 31). In the case of Paulo Coelho’s life, “universalising faith” was reached with regard to selected aspects during Coelho’s sixties (2007-2016).
The Sixties (2007-2016)
At Stage 6, a person turns to love towards each and every person, altruistic values and self-sacrifice (Hughes, 1997, p. 2). Coelho turned to love in his sixties, writing about it as a greater concept in “The winner stands alone” (Coelho, 2008a) and referring to “love as an act of faith in another person” in “Manuscript found in
Accra” (Coelho, 2013a). Coelho (2013a, 2013b) increased his awareness and grew with the new consciousness about love and its importance in human beings, as well as in his own life: “Love is only a word, until someone arrives to give it meaning. Don’t give up. Remember, it’s always the last key on the key ring that opens the door.”
The data analysis does not show that Coelho is viewed as a whole person, regardless of social class, nationality, gender, age, political ideology, race and religion, as is usually the case, according to Fowler and Dell (2004), during Stage 6. Coelho is still defined as a Brazilian writer.
Furthermore, at this stage, the individual identifies with the “whole of others”. Loyalty becomes a “principle of being” and relatively few individuals claim this stage of vision and faith-related action, such as Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Theresa of Calcutta (Elifson & Stone, 1985, p. 31). In these terms, Coelho did not reach Stage 6. He was rather driven by political ideologies, as shown, for example, in his reaction to the Brazilian government’s decision to invite selected Brazilian writers to the Frankfurt book fair (Deutsche Presse Agentur, 2014). Coelho threatened not to attend the book fair, instead of reacting with greater love and understanding for the other, as required at Stage 6 of the FDT (Fowler, 1981). His reaction was judgemental and politically motivated, but his creative works of the period include an increase of greater, unconditional love, spirituality, faith and belief. The creative works, however, do not show that God and love became a grounded principle in Coelho’s daily life itself. Burnell (2013, p. 149) emphasises that Stage 6 is marked by the “decentration of the self” and the ability to see the world from various perspectives (Burnell, 2013, p. 149), which Coelho did not show in terms of the Frankfurt book fair situation. His reaction did not emanate from God’s love and justice (Fowler & Dell, 2004, p. 32); he rather showed his solidarity and his anger about the injustice of the selection processes regarding the writer’s invitations.
Focusing on the writing itself, it is based on the love of writing (RTL, 2014), but it is not a selfless act and service - it is rather a measure to reconstruct the self in the world and to make an impact on world transitions, guiding them in a certain direction.
To conclude, Coelho started in his sixties to turn towards Stage 6; however, it does not seem to be adjustable to his ideas of justice and injustice and his personal message to the world to live an individualised dream and contribute to good. His message does not contain selfless social service to the world, which is required at stage 6.