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Maslow's Life and Its Problems

"I was awfully curious to find out why I didn't go insane." - Abraham Maslow.

His measured intelligence quotient (IQ) was 195. That's good help.

Abraham Maslow IN A NUTSHELL
Abraham Maslow surveyed

Abraham Maslow TEXT The much influential Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) is best known for his self-actualisation theory of psychology. He argued that sane self-integration should be the prime goal of psychology. Since then, the recent branch of psychology termed Positive Psychology, has recognised Maslow's work: Humanistic theories of human flourishing that Maslow, Carl Rogers, and many others have developed, have been empirically supported in studies by positive psychologists.

Maslow's parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. His father moved from Russia to America. After he was settled there, he asked a Russian female cousin to marry him. They did, and Abraham was the first of seven children. He was an extraordinarily shy, neurotic young man, depressed, terribly unhappy, lonely, and self-rejecting, and said,

"With my childhood, it's a wonder I'm not psychotic. l was the little Jewish boy in the non-Jewish neighbourhood . . . l was isolated and unhappy. l grew up in libraries and among books, without friends . . . My father wanted me to be a lawyer.

But after two weeks at law school Maslow one night came home to his poor father and told him he could not be a lawyer, but that he wanted to study everything. [Pusb xxxvi]

Maslow fell in love with his cousin Bertha. At nineteen he finally got enough nerve to kiss her. She did not reject him. They were married a year later. [Pusb xxxvi]

He studied psychology and Gestalt psychology. He got solid training in experimental research from some very fine experimental psychologists. Maslow accepted a professorship in psychology at Brooklyn College and taught there for 14 years. He inspired his students andwas one of the few professors who cared.

Maslow's mentors at The New School for Social Research in New York included Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, and Margaret Mead. Two other scholars became his close friends as well: the anthropologist Ruth Benedict, and Max Wertheimer, founder of Gestalt psychology. He was deeply inspired by these two. He began keeping a notebook on them, trying to analyse what made them such fine human beings and scholars. He studied them by the contrastive method. Then something dawned on him, and he

realized in one wonderful moment that their two patterns could be generalised . . . There was wonderful excitement in that. l tried to see whether this pattern could be found elsewhere, and l did find it elsewhere, in one person after another . . .

I wanted to make science consider all the problems that nonscientists have been handling— religion, poetry, values, philosophy, art. I went about it by trying to understand great people, the best specimens of mankind I could find. [Pusb xxxviii]

He became head of the psychology department at Brandeis University in Waltham in 1951 and remained there till 1969, one year before he died.

In 1962 he helped found the Association for Humanistic Psychology with a group of colleagues. They included Rollo May and Carl R. Rogers. Maslow was influenced by existentialist philosophers, and contributed himself to humanistic psychology and philosophy.

Through his observations and thinking and output Maslow took part of developing humanistic psychology. Humanistic psychologists believe that behaviourists are overconcerned with the scientific study and analysis of activity, to the neglect of basic aspects of man as a feeling, thinking individual. Humanists tend to believe that the individual is responsible for his life and actions and is concerned with full growth of the individual in the areas of love, fulfillment, self-worth, and autonomy. The Association for Humanistic Psychology lists five basic postulates: "man, as man, supersedes the sum of his parts; man has his being in a human context; man is aware; man has choice; and, man is intentional." Moreover, Humanistic Psychology holds that man, as an individual, is a unique being and should be recognized and treated as such.

But even though Maslow is considered of the leading architects of humanistic psychology, he thought it to be merely a facet of a new philosophy of life, a new conception of man:

l consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional, a preparation for a still "higher" Fourth Psychology, transpersonal, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest. [Pusb xxxix]

That is how far he went. He also spent thought on business management. He found that many successful businessmen had the positive approach to human nature that he advocated in psychology. Managers who treated subordinates with trust and respect created a more supportive, more creative, and more productive work situation. He concluded that "Pure psychology could learn more from real­life work-research than vice versa." [Pusb xxxix]

His major works are Motivation and Personality (1954) and Toward a Psychology of Being (1962). In them he says we have a hierarchy of needs to satisfy as we develop along all right treks. The needs range from basic needs of the body to love, esteem, and self-actualization.

Maslow believed that self-actualizers are the models of health and "paragons of virtues" to get inspired by, and not the rich and the famous or the nobility necessarily. Those who realised themselves got truly healthy in the long process of satisfying their main needs and integrating key parts of their deep-probing self. [Ebu, "Maslow, Abraham H."]

Going for Self-Efficiency Can Take Many Forms

Abraham H. Maslow was a man who dared to listen deeply to himself and to his unwavering belief in the positive potential of the human . . ." - Robert Frager

George Leonard compares Maslow to a few others:

He wrote with none of the dark grandeur of a Freud or the leamed grace of an Erik Erikson or the elegant precision of a B. E. Skinner. He was not a brilliant speaker; in his early years he was so shy he could hardly bring himself to mount the podium . . .

And yet, Abraham Maslow has done more to change our view of human nature and human possibilities than has any other American psychologist . . . His influence, both direct and indirect, continues to grow, [also] in the personal and social lives of millions of Americans .[Pusb xxiv]

Maslow himself thought that "human history is a record of the ways in which human nature has been sold short. The highest possibilities of human nature have practically always been underestimated." [Ibid]

"Maslow's life was dedicated to the study of people that he considered to be psychologically healthy: "indeed, self-actualizing people, those who have come to a high level of maturation, health and self-fulfillment . . . the values that self-actualizers appreciate include truth, creativity, beauty, goodness, wholeness, aliveness, uniqueness, justice, simplicity, and self-sufficiency," writes Robert Frager. [Pusb xxxv].

Maslow concluded:

  • Human beings have an innate tendency to move toward higher levels of health, creativity, and self-fulfillment.
  • Neurosis may be regarded as a blockage of the tendency toward self-actualization.
  • The evolution of a society in which all individuals may reach a high level of self-development without restricting each others' freedom, is natural and essential.
  • Business efficiency and personal growth can go well along together. In fact, the self-actualization process leads an individual to high levels of efficiency. [Pusb xxxv]

In 1968 Maslow saw that the revolution inside psychology that he spearheaded had become solidly established. "It is beginning to be used, especially in education, industry, religion, organization and management, therapy and self improvement . . ." [Pusb xxxv]


Tracking Abraham Maslow

What you come up with when you intently observe the marks and activities of someone who himself watched splendid people in secret and took notes of them - Maslow did - may amount to something even more interesting.

And what may you come up with when you track cats or other humans in silence? It depends on your capacity to observe and digest what you see. Both can ge trained. It also depends on how maturely integrated and sane you are, and what you are allowed to "study or spy or do research on". The ability to come close to people or prey often helps. Cats are good at it. This strategy often allows kittens to get it better. Much depends on playmates, though, and over-all conditions and the urban environment as time goes by. We could postulate something interesting right here, but we can also refrain . . . Instead we prefer to refer to books like Manwatching [Mwg] by Desmond Morris.

A great many principles of bird-watching apply too. At any rate, bird-watching is a quite inexpensive activity. The conception of habitat can be very useful in studying humans too, over and above data that modern censuses and gallup polls may bring to light.

Good gear, academic grades and the permissions they tend to bring, could make you welcome in a decent neighbourhood, which in turn helps many, much according to a saying by Sir Winston Churchill: "We form our buildings; afterwards they form us."

Good points often serve human children's needs to get informed about life, and if humans do not create better environments for their children than what nice cats survive and thrive in with ease, there is a task to master for mankind. The teachings of Abraham Maslow hardly meet the tall standards that regulate all-round cat living. Do they suit human beings well enough, then? A wise man has put it in this way: "No." The needs to be on guard and protect one's habitat and oneself are overlooked in Maslow, but not among animals and birds in the wild. The ability to run is good help too, to many.

But try and judge for yourself.

Maslow's Ideas May Be "Spied" Too

Abraham Maslow's legacy can be studied to the end of making good use of it. First we observe calmly and let possible prejudices rest for the time. We let main ideas sink in, and sleep on them. This helps integration with other material inside, and affords more deep-probing sides of us the opportunity to get through to bright awareness some way or other. Comparisons may help you.

There is much you can do in bed too. Some idea kernels may be so hard to ascertain full well that living them for a life-time may not be time enough.

Below are being-values and more as postulated by Maslow. In some environments they should work well, many of them. But there is no guarantee.

  1. Wholeness: unity; integration; tendency to one-ness; interconnectedness; simplicity; organization; structure; dichotomy-transcendence; order.
  2. Perfection: necessity; just-right-ness; just-so-ness; inevitability; suitability; justice; completeness; "oughtness".
  3. Completion: ending; finality; justice; "it's finished"; fulfillment; finis and telos; destiny; fate.
  4. Justice: fairness; orderliness; lawfulness; "oughtness".
  5. Aliveness: process; non-deadness; spontaneity; self-regulation; full-functioning.
  6. Richness: differentiation, complexity; intricacy.
  7. Simplicity: honesty; nakedness; essentiality; abstract, essential, skeletal structure.
  8. Beauty: rightness; form; aliveness; simplicity; richness; wholeness; perfection; completion; uniqueness; honesty.
  9. Goodness: rightness; desireability; oughtness; justice; benevolence; honesty.
  10. Uniqueness: idiosyncrasy; individuality; non-comparability; novelty.
  11. Effortlessness: ease; lack of strain, striving or difficulty; grace; perfect, beautiful functioning.
  12. Playfulness: fun; joy; amusement; gaiety; humor; exuberance; effortlessness.
  13. Truth; honesty; reality: nakedness; simplicity; richness; oughtness; beauty; pure, clean and unadulterated; completeness; essentiality.
  14. Self-sufficiency: autonomy; independence; not-needing-other-than-itself-in-order-to-be-itself; self-determining; environment-transcendence; separateness; living by its own laws.

Source: The Psychology of Being, 2nd ed. p. 83.

Metaneeds and metapathologies

Another way that Maslow approaches the problem of self-actualization is to talk about special, driving needs (Being-needs) of self-actualizers. To be happy, in their lives they appear to need:

  • Truth, rather than dishonesty.
  • Goodness, rather than evil.
  • Beauty, not ugliness or vulgarity.
  • Unity, wholeness, and transcendence of opposites, not arbitrariness or forced choices.
  • Aliveness, not deadness or the mechanization of life.
  • Uniqueness, not bland uniformity.
  • Perfection and necessity, not sloppiness, inconsistency, or accident.
  • Completion, rather than incompleteness.
  • Justice and order, not injustice and lawlessness.
  • Simplicity, not unnecessary complexity.
  • Richness, not environmental impoverishment.
  • Effortlessness, not strain.
  • Playfulness, not grim, humorless, drudgery.
  • Self-sufficiency, not dependency.
  • Meaningfulness, rather than senselessness.

Maslow believed that much of the what is wrong with the world tied in with unfulfilled good drives, that the vast majority of people don't have their basic needs taken relevantly care of!

The strong drives unfulfilled might develop what Maslow called metapathologies. Swindled from or forced to live without these values, the self-actualizer develops depression, despair, disgust, alienation, and a degree of cynicism.

Happy solutions in a life should be marked by attaining to and stabilising higher levels of human potential. It can be done in fair ways.

The value of cultural habits can be questioned

Who is considered great or bright today, may not be thought to be so by those who follow us. As a matter of fact, esteemed brightness is very often culturally determined. Among Taoists of at least ancient China, the sage managed to look silly, to say the least. It's in the Tao Te Ching. In the New Testament we happen to see that really good wisdom is not likely to be recognised by worldlings - or more precicely: God's wisdom looks like foolishness, and vice versa. Thus: let us beware a whole lot, just because it's sensible.

Dr. Abraham Maslow [see the image] was one of the founders of humanistic psychology and a bright chap. They measured his intelligence quotient (IQ) to be 195. But it is no secret any longer that what is measured on tests like that, can be called the outcome of a certain regulated monkey business. The worst part of it may be this: Many men set out to measure something that they lacked good evidence existed as a "thing" in itself. Thus, definitions of intelligence vary, and eventually this one was settled on - to make less of a mess: "Intelligence is what is measured on intelligence tests". It's a circular definition - not good enough. But that's how these things are.

Besides, pretty much that is needed for good and savoury coping is left out. What is measured is more or less the ability to form mental images - that kind of ideas, and apply them as quickly as can be in stereotyped environments that never come close enough to everyday life.

Daniel Goleman of Harvard University has made "emotional intelligence" known too - and lately. The fact is there's room for more additions too.

Our main point here is: It hardly pays to be taken in or dumbfounded. The people they call great ones may not be truly great. And it can be much harder to discern in these waters than you thought of before.

Never expect the great are detected by adherents of a conform environment.

From rags to money - is that good?

It is possible that Existentialism will not only enrich psychology. It may be an additional push toward the establishment of another branch of psychology, the psychology of the fully evolved and authentic Self and its ways of being. - Abraham Maslow

howdy "When in doubt, win the trick." [Edmund Hoyle]

The Bible repeats many times that God's favourites get affluence. The deal of Jesus wasn't exactly like that, but right after he was liften up to heaven, the Holy Spirit and the apostles saw it was all right to make some changes. And then money started accruing under the apostles! Thus, if you mean well, maybe you should have money and try to get it too.

It may pay to note full well that when Jesus had been around and first was evaluated by the learned and the wise in Israel, they called him insane, a blasphemer, a veritable son of the Devil. So maybe you shouldn't critizise much money in the right hands either. What is more, it shouldn't pay to call the Big Boss less than Abraham Maslow.

So -

You should go for all that you or your family truly needs for a savoury life and use it well - it often means carefully. Things often deteriorate unless we have means enough for a good way of life. You have now ample reason to make use of this: the apostles got money enough for their needs. When the Holy Spirit had descended, people came and brought affluence to the first believers. Apostles got food, clothing and were enabled to travel too. Acts mentions it briefly.

Right away you should grasp it: After the changed deal for Gentile Christians - that nearly all of us are - things took other directions than what was inteded for "Jews only" - the deal that Jesus often stood for. Find the substantial evidence in the gospels here and there. They were written that way. Yes, from the time all the apostles and the Holy Spirit decided to ease the way for Gentile Christians (i.e. non-Jew followers), it may not be too bad at all to get affluence and hold on to it steadily. That approach could even work much good. [See Acts 15 and parts of Acts 21 to get many details]

The riches of Abraham, the riches that God promises his own in more than one place in the Old Pact, those riches are not really barred from the non-Jew Christian. For things took another turn. Jesus said his work was strictly reserved for Jews. But the Jewish authorities had him killed. Things changed. The net was cast on Gentiles, so that they could become an offering to the Lord instead. Paul the apostle writes it that way, as you may know. If not, you may have to take the time or trouble to look up.

The roots of the tenet that wealth and means in the right hands is not bad, but akin to many promises of how God of the Bible wanted things to be in the first place. Now, the hard work and smart amassment of money and wealth in the right hands looks is not Calvinistic (Puritan) - it should be looked on as more evangelical or much older - there is ample reason for that.

And there are words that are ascribed to Jesus that may be interpreted in congruence with these points. The lost son lost money - before he became lost, however, God the Father had made him rich.

Make use of your talents - a bad servant didn't increase his master's wealth - that was not good enough, concluded Jesus.

So you see - there are passages that suit the judicious approach. One is often enabled to do better work from that approach to life, whereas the bright pauper may succumb to neuroses if not death in an unsuitable environment. One is supposed to look around and go for a favourable fare. Otherwise your dominant talents may not be welcomed the way the should be, when you bring them out.

Now, it could pay to study the life or doings of someone before you dig down into his phrases and ways of words. The reason why it may pay, is that you gain certain pegs for memory work through it, and maybe much easier access to what frames of references - including aims attuned to conditions - that appeared to be over-ruling in forming this and that bias - or notion.

As with an iceberg, there is much that you don't notice at first glance in meeting it. And with phrases and notions, they often rest on what is taken for granted, or otherwise culturally accepted one way or other. It may not be visible. And yet it is there and works along with the phrases you hear or read.

In this way, there is a fair chance that the major insights or perceptions of very bright fellows may eventually help many. But on the other hand, that value could be rather limited! It depends - doesn't it?

We'll look into this as time permits. And we had better acquire more than one hammer to do it well.

"When the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem begins to resemble a nail". - Abraham Maslow, a bright chap.

No matter what the doctor found out or is referring to here, things are not likely to work that way most of the time. When the only tool you have is a hammer, try to get better equipment instead. That's what Abraham Maslow did himself, in getting good academic schooling. It helped him to grapple with major problems too.

Savoury people at least allow bright guys.


Great ones that don't honour little childen, are likely to be sham

Interest in higher levels of motivation helped Maslow to see, as time went by, that some persons perceive their everyday life realistically, and free from quite unhealthy defensiveness.

Fooled Americans had to prepare for harder times because they were much too open-hearted and welcoming towards morbid, estranging ones, like drug-lovers or associations of thieves - you know.

Good tools have their value insofar as they are needed in our conditions.

It looks great to become good and dear through very meagre efforts, but what if it takes boldness away?

To be expressive is often on top of major inner problems

Flower We can go into three largely expressive books by Dr. Abraham Maslow on these pages, if time permits.

  1. Motivation and Personality, the 3rd edition. [Pusb]
  2. Religions: Values and Peak Experiences; it's on the Internet; [Rel]
  3. Towards a Psychology of Being, 2nd ed. [Zti]

Major content of these three works sum up quite a lot from among his growth-oriented, diversified contributions to the understanding of man in the bigger picture.

"This road can be travelled together by all who are not afraid of truth . . ., but also by individuals of every political and economic persuasion, Russians and Americans, for instance." - Abraham Maslow, in Rel, chap 8. conclusions - [Check]

A persons desires one thing and next another - Maslow first became known for thinking there is an order in the succession of motives.

It often seems as if gross, carnal or stupid whims, cravings and motives get displayed first. That's how it is to be like a child, in some ways. And yet things are not as simple as that anyway. If children are eager for play, there is possibly a deeper need involved or behind it. Mammals play and get helped to play in order to get prepared for their grown-up living.

Humans often play without that view in end, even. There are reasons to assert that playing man, or homo ludens in Latin, often expresses man at his best. Desires and goals change as we grow older. If they don't, something rare may be found. And if they do change, maybe it helps to study such aspects of how people grow up. Then we may get an inkling of what mature life is about - often bearing in mind the mature fruit is in for hard and troubled times because it didn't manage to stay "young and green" and lovely anyway - like minor children.

Being childlike - with an open and friendy attitude, and so on - seems to be a true and deep need, as Hindu teachers indicate. "The Paramahamsa is like a five year old child. He sees everything filled with consciousness." [Ramakrishna, in Tas 207].

On the outlook for good equipment

Flower In the few individuals that have been allowed to blossom into maturity as time with its diversified conditions, stages and platforms roll on, it seems that there is a drive towards more inwards or essential forms of expressions, but this can and should be debated, though. One angle of approach is seen in chapter 17 of the great classic Tao Te Ching, along with major content from chapter 15.

The essence could be: The handy ones don't like to be found out. That's how they preserve themselves among many others.

Anyway, Maslow discovered that persons in whom all lower needs (postulated as lower) are satisfied, a new motive can be observed, the drive for self-actualization - becoming everything that one is capable of becoming.

It may look nice and sound nice, but realism rises above good-looking phrases. And, by the way: "Fine-sounding words are not true, true words are not fine-looking," asserts Laozi. [Chapter 81] He says more on it too.

Look into the expression "becoming everything that one is capable of becoming". Jainist metaphysics asserts that the inner essence of man is able to develop much like that. And we have to say stop to developments that make for ruins. One should steer out of ruins, traps and dangers, and ahlt on the road that leads into these things. That's in the art of living.

Great stupidity hardly pays. And stupid is as stupid does. Did you consider that you can harm yourself by much friendliness shown on unworthy "comrades"? It often happens. That observation is at the heart of my critique of Maslow's "be-open" attitude. He didn't postulate that much in the life depends on circumstances, conditions we're inside, and associates. In many buildings it doesn't pay to play well, due to crabby neighbours. It has to be reckoned with in real life.

But in the theoretical system of Abraham Maslow, these things are overlooked. Instead he endorses an openness that may lead right into ruin if your neighbours don't love you, no matter how good and loveable you happen to be. Let's face it. This is a major problem - and it has been a rather typical American one till recently.

"Don't harm yourself, your playmates, and valuable things," my own little children were taught. It's often as easy as that. A lot of handling difficulties may get solved one way or another through such a steering principle. Like the bridle of a horse it may not look much, but see all the pounds of horse it is capable of managing with minimal efforts.

Interestingly, this sort of principled upbringing is akin to the essence of a tenet of Kurt Lewin. "There is nothing as practical as a good theory." [Psr 21]

And yet, it doesn't rule out a splendid insight by a former British Lord: "Earlier I had six theories of upbringing and no children. Now I have six childen and no theories of upbringing."

We take it that he speaks of a development. And we have to adapt to our conditions and to our ability. If that leads to a discarding of many former theories, OK. IF it leads to development of better or saner ones, the inability to grasp a theory for the time, can be good and dear.

Round- up

Late in life Maslow described characteristics of human peak experiences and effects they can have.

Flower As a matter of fact, very many theories in science and on raising humans, have been discarded with time and progress. When Abraham Maslow had done his life-work, he felt angry with other theorists, and meant that most of their theories had to be abandoned. He thought he knew best by then. Did he? Not in all respects. His theoretical system didn't allow for needed, general adaptations devised to make the best out of living in too cramped conditions, underneath too bad neighbours, stupid and morbid associates, and associations of burglars - Maslow overlooked the need for bulwarking that runs well. And most people get much troubled by enemies in the neighbourhood too, if such ones get friendly welcomes.

One more thing: The method of noting and presenting items that the British MENSA member and psychologist Tony Buzan has made well-known in many quarters, is much greater help than the ways of Dr. Maslow. Put in other words: The linear presentation ways of Maslow are not likely to be highly effective in contrast with the organic (mind-mapping) ways that Tony Buzan show us.

Much depends on the effectiveness of one's study methods and how material is presented. There is reason to hope that you might eventually outrun Maslow one way or other by learning and using the cognitively helpful, general ways of study and presentation that Tony Buzan has made popular. The University of Stockholm recommends at least an assorted sample of them. [Mum; Tor]

It could seem we have tackled not a few of Abraham Maslow's "blind spots" already. He has written things from his childhood that do show he would have been helped by just what we have tried to pinpoint here.


Small values if the main values of Jesus are made thin or thought lightly of

Lo It's not ideal to succumb to this and that culturally served value or value system. the ideal is to inspect such items a long time before committing oneself to any of them. "Look before you leap (British proverb)".

Maslow became a well-educated man. There are many alternatives to that - some may be far better even if you don't feel that way now.

We also think Maslow illustrates the value of good company. Good company counts. For the lack of it most persons succumb to much that may grow to become much unwelcome.

The value of cultural values

Flower Abraham Maslow was born on April 1, 1908, in Brooklyn, New York. He was an Aries - that means the sun was in the star sign called Aries at the time. If we go further along this line of information, we might come up with a full-looking chart of the sky at the time of his birth. The question is whether we have been careful in that quest, despite all the careful, meticulous strides that went into the doing. For example, Tibetans would ascertain Abraham Maslow was born to be a rat - as in Tibet they use that symbol for the first star sign, not a ram.

Someone may ask: "How is the rat in Chinese astrology? Is the description similar to that of the sheep in Babylonyan astrology? Will both of these symbols describe persons like Abraham Maslow? - and one twelfth of mankind, more or less?"

It's easy enough to find decrees (what "they" say here and there concerning facets of such things, but what may elude one in so doing, is perhaps the overlooked Maslow - how he himself really seemed to be as a unique individual that even could change as time went by - along with many lessons.

Often it helps to ask oneself what sort of information is really useful (relevant) for a short biography. Is it? In some cultures, just as in India, the answer is yes. In our parts of the world that answer may be laughed at and ridiculed in universities and many other places.

His parents were Russian-Jewish immigrants. His father was a barrel maker who had moved to the United States from Russia as a young man. After becoming settled, he wrote to a female cousin in Russia, asking her to come and marry him. She did.

Maslow was the first of their seven children, an extraordinarily shy, neurotic young man, depressed, terribly unhappy, lonely, and self-rejecting. He has summed it up:

"With my childhood, it's a wonder I'm not psychotic. I was the little Jewish boy in the non-Jewish neighbourhood. It was a little like being the first Negro enrolled in the all-white school. I was isolated and unhappy. I grew up in libraries and among books, without friends.

Both my mother and father were uneducated. My father wanted me to be a lawyer. . ..

I tried law school for two weeks. Then I came home to my poor father one night. . . and told him I couldn't be a lawyer.

"Well, son," he said, "what do you want?" I told him I wanted to study - to study everything. He was uneducated and couldn't understand my passion for learning, but he was a nice man". (. . .)

Maslow's love of learning, combined with his tremendous raw intelligence, made him a brilliant student. (Years later his IQ was scored at 195, the second highest measured at that time.) [Pusb xxxvi]

Here we happen to notice: "Even if brought up in cramped conditions, sensible self-searching and higher education may eventually improve on your lot in life." It happened to Abraham Maslow - agree?

And it seems fair to say that theories that are fostered and held, tend to reflect proclivities of those that uphold them. Some are authoritarian, others not. The latter may more easily find genuine friends in suitable conditions, and may more easily get destroyed by the hidden warfare of mean ones.

But, as the Bible says, there is a time for everything. So in a good life there is hopefully a time for personal interests and growth too. Look around and see how many there are around you that live up to ideals like those of Maslow. They may be few and far between. Interest in higher levels of motivation led Maslow to the study of self-actualized people, who differ from most people in:-

  • being unusually healthy psychologically;
  • having marked ability to free themselves from stereotypes;
  • perceiving everyday life realistically and accepting it without [great] defensiveness.
  • Self-actualizing people appear to have, or to have had, "peak experiences" of insight, joy, or intense awareness.

In Toward a Psychology of Being [Zti], Maslow described the characteristics of such experiences and the effects they have. But let us listen to Dr. Rudolf Steiner from half a century earlier or so instead - he found out lots of things that could eventually support major theories of Maslow's - or the other way round as you please.

"Courage is needed in order to perform this shift from mere passive praying towards a real, active prayer, that amounts to taking up the element of divinity in our will. This transition . . . to inner activity, . . . from distrust in humans towards trust in humans, is what has to live as enthusiasm in your hearts and souls". - Rudolf Steiner. in

If things only were as simple as that. But they're not. Many persons don't even come near deserving trust. A lamb had better not trust the big bad wolf also. But first things first:

The kiss that doesn't promote a great boost, may be too bad -

Flower At nineteen Maslow finally got up enough nerve to kiss his cousin Bertha. He was amazed and delighted that she did not reject him. Her acceptance and love was a tremendous boost. They were married later.

In 1928, Maslow transferred to the University of Wisconsin. There he majored in psychology. And he received solid training in experimental research from some well-known, experimental psychologists. A primate researcher, Harry Harlow, became his major professor. Harlow was among those who were drawn to the unusually bright young man. He taught and inspired him, and also helped him to get jobs. Such things often help. [Pusb xxxvi-xxxvii]

If it doesn't help to get much high-status help, what helps?

Good for the lab, but not for the real world of concealed motives - may come close to being simplistic

Flower Maslow's first position after he had become a doctor, was as a research associate for Edward Thorndike. Maslow was impressed with the potentials of behaviorism, its over-optimistic belief that scientific psychology could be used to train anybody to be anything - "doctor, lawyer, or Indian chief." That was the sermon view of Dr. John Watson. Maslow came to see the strict behaviorist approach to life had major limitations, or drawbacks.

"The beautiful program of Watson . . . its fatal flaw is that it's good for the lab and in the lab, but you put it on and take it off like a lab coat. . .. It does not generate an image of man, a philosophy of life, a conception of human nature. It's not a guide to living, to values, to choices. It's a way of collecting facts upon facts about behavior, what you can see and touch and hear through the senses.

But behavior in the human being is sometimes a defense, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication.

If you treat your children at home in the same way you treat your animals in the lab, your wife will scratch your eyes out. My wife ferociously wamed me against experimenting on her babies." [in Pusb xx]

One should let one's nice wife get her say. At times it feels unwelcome because it's good.

The bet is a popular student teacher is open, friendly and perhaps more caring than usual

Flower Maslow also believed that Freudian theory provided a major contribution to human understanding, especially in the central role of sexuality in human behavior. At Columbia University, back in 1936, he caused a controversy by interviewing college women about their sexual lives. At that time, US research on sexuality was unheard of; Kinsey's investigations began two years later. Maslow found that sexual activity was related to "dominance," a trait he had studied in Harlow's primate lab.

Maslow next became a professor in psychology at Brooklyn College. He taught there for 14 years. He inspired his students as one of the few professors who cared visibly or enough. The students deeply appreciated his loving concern. Maslow was one of the most popular teachers there.

His mentors at The New School for Social Research in New York included Alfred Adler, Erich Fromm, Karen Horney, and Margaret Mead. Two other great scholars became Maslow's close teachers and friends: the anthropologist Ruth Benedict and Max Wertheimer, founder of Gestalt psychology. Maslow was deeply inspired by the the two. Not only were [xxxvii] they bright and okay scholars as well as warm, caring, mature human beings. Maslow now tried to fiend out what made them such marvellous friendly beings and scholars.

"My investigations on self-actualisation were not planned to be research and did not start out as research. They started out as the effort of a young intellectual trying to understand two of his teachers whom he loved . . . wonderful people. lt was a kind of high-IQ devotion. I could not be content simply to adore, but sought to understand why these two people were so different from the run-of-the-mill people in the world. These two people were . . . my teachers after I came with a Ph.D. from the West to New York City . . . lt was as if they were not quite people, but something more than people. My own investigation began as a prescientific activity. I made descriptions and notes on Max Wertheimer and I made notes on Ruth Benedict. . . . I realized in one wonderful moment that their two patterns could be generalized. I was talking about a kind of person, not about two noncomparable individuals. There was wonderful excitement in that". [in Pusb xx]

Bright individuals are often on the outlook for patterns to steer on top of, or to regulate this and that by.

The value of good poets - they seem to derive bright inpirations from realms above the heads of the mere or vain patriots

Flower At the beginning of World War II, Maslow was moved to tears by a patriotic parade.

"The tears ran down my face. I felt we didn't understand - not Hitler, nor the Germans, nor Stalin . . . We didn't understand any of them. (. . .)

I wanted to prove that human beings are capable of something grander than war and prejudice and hatred.

I wanted to make science consider [major problems or findings of ] religion, poetry, values, philosophy, art.

I went about it by trying to understand great people, the best specimens of mankind I could find." [in Pusb xx]

In 1951, Maslow left Brooklyn College to move to the newly established Brandeis University. He became the first chairman of the psychology department, deeply committed to the university's growth and development. Maslow remained at Brandeis till 1969, a year before his death. During this period he refined his ideas, moving toward a better or more comprehensive theory [xxxviii] of human nature.

In 1962 he helped found the Association for Humanistic Psychology with a group of eminent colleagues, including Drs. Rollo May and Carl Rogers.

In continuing to explore the farther reaches of human potential, Maslow also inspired the founding of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. He wrote of these two psychologies:

"I have come to think of this humanist trend in psychology as a revolution in the truest, oldest sense of the word, the sense in which Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Freud, and Marx made revolutions, i.e., new ways of perceiving and thinking, new images of man and of society, new conceptions of ethics and of values, new directions in which to move.

This Third Psychology is now one facet of a . . . new philosophy of life, a new conception of man, the beginning of a new century of work. . ..

I should say also that I consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional, a preparation for a still "higher" Fourth Psychology, transpersonal, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest." [in Pusb xx]

Hope for managers, at least good ones

Along with other notable psychologists (Carl Rogers, Rolly May and others), Maslow advanced "the third force" in psychology, as an alternative to behaviorism and psychoanalysis. He also took to studying management.

Flower Maslow also became interested in the world of business. In the summer of 1962 he became a visiting fellow to Non-Linear Systems, an innovative, hightech California corporation. He saw that his theories were relevant to business management and that there were many self- actualizing people in industry. He found that many successful businessmen were employing the same positive approach to human nature he was advocating in psychology. He was pleased to discover that managers who treated their subordinates with trust and respect created a more supportive, more productive, and more creative work situation.

Yes, Maslow's abstract theories were actually put to the test in the marketplace. Maslow's journals from that period offer lessons.

"Maslow's contribution to management was a big one," says Peter Drucker (famous for his own management theories). "He pointed out that you have to have different personnel policies for different people in different situations for them to be truly effective."

Maybe so. Another appraisal:

"Imagine if you were to build organizations designed to allow the vast majority of people to self-actualize, to discover and draw upon their true talents and creative passions . . . Then imagine if the organization were to revolve around those self-actualized individuals. The outcome would be nothing short of a Copernican revolution . . . The potential [can be] enormous." - Jim Collins, author of Built to Last, quoted by Jeffrey L. Seglin

Stepwise ascent

Toward the end of his life, Maslow went further and inaugurated what he called the fourth force in psychology.

Flower ABRAHAM MASLOW'S so-called fourth force was the transpersonal psychologies. Taking cues from such as Eastern philosophies, some of these systems investigate such things as meditation, higher levels of consciousness, and even parapsychological phenomena.

To arrive at interests of that sort, there is to be gratifications of a fairly low row of lesser needs first; it could take a life-time. Maslow's pyramid of needs gives a rough idea of how to advance and administer cultural progress, among other things. His thought in the matter has been widely adopted, also by NGOs (non-governmental organisations):

Abraham Maslow's Pyramid of Needs

Figure. 1. Abraham Maslow's postulated hierarchy of needs in pyramid form

First, the five steps or levels of the pyramid is a staircase of solid needs that seem to operate in many persons if not all of them, if given good nurturing for a long time. The steps that Maslow postulated, are read from bottom and up, with (some degrees of) Self-actualisation at the top:

  • Self-actualisation desires and yearnings. (Being-needs)
  • Esteem hankerings.
  • Social yearnings.
  • Safety adherence.
  • Physiological, steady competence needs.

The first four of these stages he called deficit needs, or D-needs. If someone that operates on these levels gets things he need and full well, he ceases feeling anything about it. This implies the motivating effects stop through being truly tackled.

Maslow came to see these four first needs as survival needs, basically, and they are needed to maintain health on the way on and up into the highest own-source-linked level. Even ordinary love and esteem are seen in that light, as means to keep one's health somehow. Operating fairly and squarely at the middle level where SOCIAL AND AFFILIATION NEEDS are at full play, a person can be happily married and have jolly good friends both at work and elsewhere. If so, there tends to be a deep yearning for accomplishing 'things' adjoined to the next level of ESTEEM NEEDS. As a supervisor one should be considerate in that respect; it could do well.

Given fair chances, there are persons that evolve into sensing their own needs. On some levels it is helped by others that recognise some of their predominant achievements.

A poor manager may simply guess and take a shot at what motivates an individual at any time, whereas someone who looks at Maslow's theory and grasps several ground rules tries to understand (a) what motivational step a persons is likely to fit into; (b) thinks that advancement is through one step (or level) at a time; (c) and no level is to be skipped on the way to higher levels.

To that end some managers ask or interview, estimate during or after the interview, and choose satisfactory courses of activities to tackle or get into.

There are many outlets on each level. To realise the usefulness of these hierarchically arranged levels and adjust motivators and rewards accordingly, could reduce lack of thriving and wasted efforts, for example.

Maslow suggested that we can ask people of their “philosopy of the future”-- what their ideal life or world would be like - and get significant information as to what needs they do or do not have covered. Maybe so. After the lower needs have been reasonably met or nourished, these rungs of the ladder seem to get fixed for long, although neglect or abuse may make them dwindle, so to speak.

On top we find being needs with growth motivation in contrast to deficit motivation. ON the self-actualising level there is an individualised strive to fulfill certain potentials. For that reason persons devote themselves to fulfilling some potentials they get aware they have, instead of striving for money, money, mone and so on (the lower needs).

But if lower needs are unmet, an individual can't fully devote himself or herself to fulfilling the self's potentials.

Self-fulfillers may arrive at different perceptions of means and ends. They may be centred in solving problems, in reality-handling and may be very independent of their surroundings, even surprisingly so. The may be found to be simply accepting at large, even of culture, and spendidly fresh in their thinking in the realm of philosophy. Their sense of humour may be developed. It is to be expected -

Thanks to Maslow it may get easier to motivate workers, but easy-looking, steady surface manipulation through this line of thinking is far from the real significance of it, though. It is a tool for self-help, self-adjustment and things like that, since the higher stages rise into autonomous activity. Being met with harshness and severity on the way upwards is not good for that process. Only a small percentage of the world's population is truly, predominantly, self-actualizing. Maslow at one point suggested only about two percent. If so, that's too little.

"Have been asked over and over again what got me to go to Non-Linear systems . . . One thing was the slow realisation that my theories, especially of motivation, were being used and put to the test in the industrial lab rather than in the experimental lab. [Earlier] I couldn't figure out how to test motivation theory and SA [self-actualisation] theory in the lab. They relieved me of this guilt and freed me forever from the lab . . . Non-Linear is one big lab and one big experiment.

I gave up my simple notion that management psychology was simply the application of pure psychology. Pure psychology could learn more from real-life work-research than vice versa. Life psychology had better be tested in life-labs. The chemistry lab and the test-tube experiment are lousy models for human life research. [in Pusb xx]

On the road to thinking fit for a "motel"

Flower That summer in California, Maslow and Bertha were driving along the California coast for a vacation. They made much slower progress than they had planned, and it got dark as they were driving through Big Sur. They pulled over into what seemd to be a motel. They found a group of people in an old lodge, all reading Maslow's new book, Toward a Psychology of Being.

The Maslows had pulled off into Esalen Institute as that "first growth centre" of its kind was just about to open. Esalen's cofounder Michael Murphy had just read Maslow's new book and enthusiastically bought copies for the staff. He and Maslow soon became friends. Maslow's ideas became a major influence on Esalen and on the whole human potential movement.

Maslow's goodwill tried by the Gestalt psychologist Fritz Perls during Maslow's first Esalen class

Flower Being much of an intellectual, Maslow gave his first Esalen workshop two years after Esalen began. The Institute had by then gained a national reputation for running encounter groups and other intense, emotionally charged workshops. Maslow's weekend was far from that, it was purely intellectual.

Several of the Esalen staff members, interested in his ideas, sat in on his talks and discussions. In the middle of Maslow's first evening talk, Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy and enfant terrible of Esalen, got bored with the lack of emotional action. He began crawling toward an attractive woman across the room, chanting "You are my mother; I want my mother; you are my mother." Maslow left the room. He felt upset and offended as he shut himself in his cabin that night and thought through some of the differences between his own approach and the experiential emphasis prevalent at Esalen. Before daybreak came, he had completed the outline of a classic article contrasting Appolonian control with Dionysian abandon.

Greatly acknowledged - what next?

Flower To be greatly acqknowledged is - unfortunately - much of a "ware-on-some-predominant-market" sort of thing. Markets can differ, we can differ. It boils down to: "Influence is a tricky subject", at least for now.

Now, Abraham Maslow's work was in part looked on as revolutionary and controversial - i.e. it was fit for US culture and great-looking contacts in general some decades ago, at the very least. Yet, in 1967 he was elected president of the American Psychological Association. Colleagues acknowledged Maslow's influence even while they objected to his innovations in theory and methodology.

In 1968 Maslow was given a grant that enabled him to write much as he pleased. He left Brandeis and went to California. There he died of a heart attack in 1970.

A great reputation is often had by less that great notions - it happens the world over

Flower There has been reason to affirm that Maslow could have learnt the value of bulwarking against intruding offenders in time, instead of turning over-positive in its wake. And what is more, the great teachers he felt inspired by in the first place - many of them were refugees. And a refugee may harbour a deep desire to make others stretch out welcoming hands in an open-ended gesture.

But the Israelites could not hope to stay in the land that flowed with milk and honey without fighting for it in the first place, and next make others rather unwelcome in it!

Be that as it may. There can be many sides to an issue. Without a firm hold and foresight enough to bulwark better, many folks succumb to vile ones. The United States of today and yesterday offers many interesting examples.

Here are a few titbits from Abraham Maslow's last diary entry, on May 7, 1970.

"Somebody asked me the question . . . How did a timid youngster get transformed into a (seemingly) "courageous" leader and spokesman? How come I was willing to talk up, to take unpopular positions, while most others didn't?" [in Pusb xx]

He didn't rule out a firm sense of realism when he answered he'd learned a lot from studying self-actualising persons and their ways of living, and their metamotivations. He had made such deep "things" his own as he developed. So he said. In congruence with his major summary - his last one, maybe you too have to learn to respond emotionally to the gross and grave injustice; and to meanness, unmasked lies and outright untruths; to bland and not so bland hatred and violence of human encounters; or to the simplistic answers around. There are times when it feels unmanly not to make a (good enough) stand and talk up. "Even a rabbit's got to do what a rabbit's got to do". Maslow:

"What the kids and the intellectuals - and everybody else too - need is an ethos, a scientific value system and way of life and humanistic politics, with the theory, the facts, etc., all set forth soberly. . .. So again I must say to myself: to work!" [in Pusb xx]

One more citation:

"It is as if Freud supplied to us the sick half of psychology and we must now fill it out with the healthy half." - Abraham Maslow [Check]

Now, if you ask us here, we have to say: "Maslow was good. But look around and see if you won't find things (ideas) and men that work better right where you live. Such men may not feel a dire need to walk in hats.


Abraham Maslow's legacy: Titbits

After-effects of peak experiences

Below are dominant themes from the book Toward A Psychology Of Being by Dr Abraham Maslow]. He writes:

[As for] after-effects upon the person . . . I have no controlled research data to present. I have only the general agreement of my subjects that there were such effects, my own conviction that there were, and the complete agreement of all the writers on creativeness, love, insight, mystic experi-ence and aesthetic experience. On these grounds I feel justified in making at least the following affirmations or propositions, all of which [could be] testable.

  1. Peak-experiences may and do have some therapeutic effects in the strict sense of removing symptoms. I have at least two reports—one from a psychologist, one from an anthropologist— of mystic or oceanic experiences so profound as to remove certain neurotic symptoms forever after. Such conversion experiences are of course plentifully recorded in hurnan history but so far as I know have never received the attention of psychologists or psychiatrists.
  2. They can change the person's view of himself in a healthy direction.
  3. They can change his view of other people and his relations to them in many ways.
  4. They can change more or less permanently his view of the world, or of aspects or parts of it.
  5. They can release him for greater creativity, spontaneity, expressiveness, idiosyncracy.
  6. He remembers the experience as a very important and desirable happening and seeks to repeat it
  7. The person is more apt to feel that life in general is worth while, even if it is usually drab, pedestrian, painful or ungratifying, since beauty, excitement, honesty, play, goodness, truth and meaningfulness have been demonstrated to him to exist. [All so far: p. 101]

"Such aftereffects of esthetic experience, creative experience, love experience, mystic experience, insight experience, and other peak-experiences are preconsciously taken for granted and commonly expected by artists and art educators, by creative teachers, by religious and philosophical theorists, by loving husbands, mothers and therapists and by many others. [p. 102]

Who is of great value? Here are rather simple characteristics

MANY may ask themselves who among the renowned "great or big guys" are truly good. Humanist psychologist Maslow sought out hallmarks, and we will show many of them. You will get 16 points. On top of that you may make your own check-list if you like. From the list markings it could be possible to make out the ones with a benigh profiling of themselves. It could happen.

What are peak experiences? They are experiences that are closest to oneself at one's peak, or best - roughly said.

Below Abraham Maslow considers. We have abbreviated a well-known text to highlight central issues. What stands out could be very central issues in experiences that intertwine a lot.

"It will be apparent . . . that all the "separate" characteristics following are not really separate at all, but partake of each other in various ways, e.g., overlapping, . . . [This is of] "holistic analysis" (in contrast to atomistic, or reductive, analysis) . . . I shall be describing in a holistic way, not by splitting identity apart into quite separate components which are mutually exclusive, but rather by turning it over and over in my hands . . ., seeing it now in this organisation (as a whole), now in that. Each "aspect" discussed can be ["turned" in the light of] other "aspects."

  1. Sane integration: The person in the peak-experiences feels more integrated [and] also looks that way, e.g., less split, more at peace, more one-pointed, more harmoniously and efficiently organised with all his parts functioning very nicely with each other, more synergetic.

  2. Fusing dimensions: As he gets to be more purely and singly himself he is more able to fuse with the world, with what was formerly not-self, e.g., the lovers come closer to forming a unit rather than two people, the I-Thou monism becomes more possible (. . .)

    That is, the greatest attainment of identity, autonomy, or selfhood is itself simultaneously a transcending of itself, a going beyond and above selfhood. The person can then become relatively egoless.

  3. Savoury peaking: The person in the peak-experiences usually feels himself to be at the peak of his powers, using all his capacities at the best and fullest. In [Dr. Carl R.] Rogers' nice phrase, he feels "fully functioning." He feels more intelligent, more perceptive, wittier . . . He becomes like a river without dams.

  4. Godlike top outlets: A slightly different aspect of fully-functioning is effortlessness and ease of functioning . . . working . . . "comes of itself." Allied to this often is the feeling of grace . . . that comes with smooth, easy effortless fully-functioning, when . . . functioning at [one's] best, [perhaps with] godlike gaiety (humour, fun, foolishness, silliness, play, laughter) which I think to be one of the highest B-values [Being-values, i.e. 'top values'] of identity.

  5. A creating centre: The person in peak-experiences feels [himself as the] responsible, active, creating centre of his activities and . . . perceptions. He feels more like a prime mover . . . He feels himself to be his own boss, fully responsible . . . with more "free will" . . . [And he] also looks that way to the observer . . . It is often possible to spot this great moment—of becoming responsible—in therapy . . . in education, in marriage, etc.

  6. Free from blocks: He is now most free of blocks, inhibitions, cautions, fears, doubts, . . . self-criticisms, brakes. . . .

  7. Simple, guileless and spontaneous: He is therefore more spontaneous, . . . more innocently behaving (guileless), . . . more natural (simple, relaxed . . .), more uncontrolled and . . . "instinctive," unrestrained . . .

  8. Perceiving and relating better: He is therefore more "creative" in a particular sense . . . His cognition and his behaviour . . . can mould itself in a non-interfering, Taoistic way . . . less . . . rehearsed . . . It is therefore relatively . . . purposeless, unstriven for, . . . undriven, since it is emergent . . . and doesn't come out of prior time.

  9. The individual flair looms up: All this can be phrased . . . as the acme of uniqueness, individuality or idiosyncrasy. If all people are different from each other in principle, they are more purely different in the peak-experiences. . . .

  10. Free of conditionings: In the peak-experiences, the individual is most here-now . . ., most free of the past and of the future in various senses, most "all there" in the experience. For instance, he can now listen better . . .

  11. Great purity stands out through independent fares based on a non-grasping identity: The person now becomes more a pure psyche . . . becomes more determined by intrapsychic laws rather than by the laws of non-psychic reality . . . there is simultaneously a letting-be of the self and of the other . . . I can grasp the non-self best by non-grasping, i.e., by letting it be itself, by letting it go . . . just as I become most purely myself when I emancipate myself [while] insisting on living only by the laws and rules intrinsic to me. When this has happened, it turns out that the intra-psychic (me) and the extra-psychic (other) are not so terribly different after all, and certainly are not really antagonistic. It turns out that both sets . . . can even be integrated and fused.

  12. The highest rise to rich gladness of heart, into humour and above id-hankerings: Non-striving or non-needing [can be looked on] as the centring-point (or centre of organisation) . . . and with certain delimited meanings, the person in the peak-experience becomes unmotivated (or undriven), . . . it makes similar sense to describe highest, most authentic identity as . . . non-wishing, i.e., as having transcended needs . . . He just is. Joy has been attained (. . .)

    I find this a very illuminating base for the theory of godlike humour . . .

  13. "The rhapsodic poet can begin": Expression and communication in the peak-experiences tend often to become poetic, mythical and rhapsodic, as if this were the natural kind of language to express such states of being. . . . The implication for identity theory is that more authentic persons may . . . become more like poets, artists, musicians, prophets, etc. [Especially "etc." (Joke)]

    [A note: "Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds." P. B. Shelley.]

  14. Have only good items to ensure the good completions you are after: All peak-experiences may be fruitfully understood . . . on the paradigm of the Reichian type of complete orgasm, or as total discharge, catharsis . . . From these examples [one] should be able to understand phenomenologically how important completion is . . . [Good completion] seen out in the world is perfection . . . [Here] we come to the edge of the problem of how the good person and the good world make each other. . . . only peakers can achieve full identity (. . .)

    We may also have a clue here to the puzzling finding that many people report their peak-experiences as if they were somehow akin to (beautiful) death . . .

  15. Homo ludens or integrator is playful, and aspires little: I very strongly feel that playfulness of a certain kind is one of the [costly] values. One of the most important (reasons) is that it is fairly often reported in the peak-experiences . . . and also can be perceived (. . .)

    [Costly] playfulness [can have] a cosmic or a godlike, good-humoured quality . . . It could as easily be called happy joy, or gay exuberance or delight. It has a quality of spilling over . . . It is existential in the sense that it is an amusement or delight . . . and the largeness (strength) of . . . transcending the dominance-subordinance polarity. . . . It is simultaneously mature and childlike.

    It is final, Utopian (. . .)

    It is in itself an integrator, as beauty is, or love . . .

  16. Beauty-apperceptive and grateful: People during and after peak-experiences characteristically feel lucky, fortunate, graced. A not uncommon reaction is "I don't deserve this." Peaks are not planned or brought about by design; they happen. We are "surprised by joy" . . . The reaction of . . . the sweet "shock of recognition" are very frequent.

    A common consequence is a feeling of gratitude (. . .)

    Very often this feeling of gratitude is expressed as or leads to an all-embracing love for everybody and everything, to a perception of the world as beautiful, and good (. . .)

Finally, it is quite probable that we have here the theoretical link to the described facts of humility and pride in self-actualising, authentic persons. (. . .)

Such people resolve the dichotomy between pride and humility by fusing them into a single, complex, superordinate unity (. . .)

The goal of identity (self-actualisation, autonomy, individuation, [Karen] Horney's real self, authenticity, etc.) seems to be simultaneously an endgoal in itself, and also a transitional goal, a . . . step along the path to the transcendence of identity. . . . Put the other way about, if our goal is the Eastern one of ego-transcendence . . . of leaving behind self-consciousness and self-observation, of fusion with the world and identification with it . . . then it looks as if the best path to this goal for most people is via achieving identity, a strong real self, and via basic-need-gratification rather than via asceticism.

Perhaps it is relevant . . . [Now, ] my young subjects tend to report two kinds of physical reaction to peak-experiences. One is excitement and high tension ("I feel wild, . . . like yelling out loud"). The other is relaxation, peacefulness, quietness, the feeling of stillness. . . . What this means I don't know."

[Abraham Maslow: Toward a Psychology of Being 2nd ed. p. 101-14]

[NOTE: You may want to add to the list. Why not "solid distancing"; "of benign deals"; "ascertaining expertlike"; or "having fit items at its best" as well?]


Abraham Maslow, learning theorist, Literature  

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Tor: Buzan, Tony. Speed Reading. Rev. ed. London: David and Charles, 1988.

Uy: Buzan, Tony. Use Your Head. Harlow: BBC Active / Pearson, 2010.

Zwm: Herrigel, Eugen. Zen i bueskytingens kunst. Oslo: Gyldendal, 1971. (Zen and the Art of Archery. New York: Pantheon Books, 1953 and later editions)

Harvesting the hay

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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