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Abraham Maslow on Religion, Values of Self-actualisers and Peak Experiences
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ABRAHAM MASLOW "What is the good life? What is the good man? The good woman? What is the good society and what is my relation to it? What are my obligations to society? What is best for my children? What is justice? Truth? Virtue? What is my relation to nature, to death, to aging, to pain, to illness? How can I live a zestful, enjoyable, meaningful life? What is my responsibility to my brothers? Who are my brothers? What shall I be loyal to? What must I be ready to die for?" - Abraham Maslow (1964, chap. 7)

Buddha says in the renowned Kalama Sutta that it is proper to doubt, to be uncertain, and not to go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; tradition; scripture; surmise; axiom; specious reasoning; nor upon a bias; nor upon another's seeming ability. But when you know yourselves that some things are bad, blamable, censured by the wise and lead to harm and ill if undertaken and observed, then abandon them.

His main stance is that when you yourselves know certain things to be good; not blamable; praised by the wise; and lead to benefit and happiness when undertaken and observed, then enter on and abide in them.

Buddha also gave his answers to many of the questions Maslow asks. His answers have been around for 2,500 years, really. The good life is explained, even detailed, how to be a good wife, parent, and member of a society too, and so on. In short, Buddha found out and Maslow asked - more than 2,500 years later. [Link]

It is possible that what nitwits and lowbrows come up with together, differs from Gautama Buddha's best intents. It may just as well be said that he repeatedly cautions against much contact with fools, as he defines them. In remarkable ways he has solved a deep problem that many unique and outstanding individuals have struggled with throughout the ages - that of relating to the norms and behaviour of conform group people, who are not as healthy and kind as might be desired.

Now let us lend ear to Abraham Maslow. He found that those who differ from average people are of two kinds, who deviate from the common guys in either valued ways or not-valued ways (plus or minus deviants). As for the large mix of guys between those "poles apart", never feel secure of anything. That's in Maslow's teaching.

Conformised Worth versus Individual Worth

It is perhaps no wonder that people who excel have a better grip on their surroundings and partners than others. Those who master their job, home life and further, have many reasons to be happier than others at the other end of the scale, so to speak, and may soon afford more as well. Such "masters of fate" do not as easily give in to problems and opinions of others. A certain all right self-confidence helps them to see for themselves, seek information in order to solve problems. Where others give in to others and problems, self-actualisers may rather look on problems as challenges to be explored and preferably solved. In such ways and others they handle life a lot better than all who wait to be told what to do - or get stuck in fads, which may be the fate of the common lot.

Apelike conformism wants to look all right, even by dirty tricks, authoritarian ruler techniques, deceptions, verbal abuse, restrictions against deviations, and ruthless conformity measures, such as ostracism. The conformist is a gang person, and may love to look on all who are unlike him or her, as of less worth. There is where prejudice sets in, and it was there in Maslow's youth too. He was mobbed, in other words.

Those who deviate from the average, may do so in both good and bad ways". It is possible to grade it differently, and link up to other terms and ways of seeing the features as well.

A Maslow finding is that there are "plus deviates" and "minus deviates". We relate them to the curve of normal distribution from here. And the lesson is that among those who go their own way, some are more successful than others, and those who succeed better, are standard-bearers of more fulfilling living. However, in conform, average-based schooling, very intelligent youths are neglected. Not a few are mobbed for good grades too. They may get it better in time; there is that hope.

To solve our problems, we may observe them and learn to evaluate (judge) them ourselves.

Distribution of Properties

Gauss curve
Figure 1. A bell-shaped curve related to how traits, intelligence and other such items are distributed.

The data in figure 1 relate to the distribution of IQ scores. See Ronald Jay Cohen and Mark E. Swerdlik's Psychological Testing and Assessment (9th ed, New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018, 95). The figure shows a familiar bell-shaped curve, the curve of so-called normal distribution. The graph has a peak, which represents the average. It is not the peak that Maslow speaks of, however. The curve is symmetrical around the average (also called mean), which is allotted the number 100.

The standard deviation, a statistical measure, determines the dispersion away from the mean. On the figure, one standard deviation equals 15 points on the horizontal scale. In the figure, standard deviations are given away by a series of vertical lines.

What does such a distribution curve tell of? One suggestion: There are very, very few with an IQ score above 159. Only one out of a thousand score 160 or higher. And on the other end there are very, very few too.

The distribution curve says in its graphic way that an item of a larger group (population) - any such object of attention - is distributed so that most of the items of a large group are clustered around 100, give or take 15 percent. There are rather few items toward the extremes: The farther we go from the theoretical average, the fewer items are found. In short, most people look average, statistically speaking.

What Maslow found, is that moral behaviour seems to be distributed in similar manner, but his pioneering methods of investigation were far too rough to yield exact data. Maslow's findings should be integrated with other data, so that his quite normative findings may become more truly descriptive. That is an aim to strive for, the aim of getting as little dross and bias as possible, by exact and nuanced enough descriptions.

In education one talks of moral development, of stages or levels of moral development. Some such attainments have been described by Peck and Havighurst, and later by Kohlberg. One may theoretize that most people have some "average moral", whatever that may be.

Moral can be viewed from many angles, such as moral development, distribution of forms of moral in a group, for example a subculture. It may be studied in the light of selfishness and other qualities, in order to see what it may relate to and whether moral is expressed or not, and how far. It stands out Maslow chose the latter approach, basically. He investigated a certain kind of people - self-actualising ones - and explored some facets of their functioning in some ways.

A Few Words about Maslow


I think it is now possible to begin to delineate this view of human nature . . . Finding a single label for it is still a difficult task . . . In the past I have called it the "holistic-dynamic" psychology to express my conviction about its major roots. Some have called it "organismic" following Goldstein. Sutich and others are calling it the Self-psychology or Humanistic psychology.

A selection of works of this "third force" is listed in the bibliographies. . . .

It makes sense to speak here of the hereditary, constitutional and very early acquired roots of the individual self, . . . this is "raw material" rather than finished product, . . . potentialities, not final actualizations. (Maslow 1968, 189-90)

The American psychologist and philosopher Abraham Maslow (1908-70) is best known for his self-actualization theory. What Maslow calls integration of the self should be the main goal of psychotherapy, he argues, and: "The word Existentialism . . . had better be dropped. The trouble is that I have no good alternative label to offer (Maslow 1964, Preface)."

Maslow was a main contributor to humanistic psychology, sometimes called the "third force", with its then new ways of perceiving and thinking. To Maslow, humanistic psychology integrates Goldstein's Gestalt psychology and Freud in a scientific spirit (Maslow 1968, preface to the 2nd ed, passim). In his main works he thinks that humans have basic bodily need, safety, love, esteem, and, on top, self-actualization and believe that truly healthy people are self-actualisers, among other things because they work on or excel in integrating various parts in their personality, or self.

There are complements to many neat points and chapters in Abraham Maslow's book Motivation and Personality; some are in his Toward a Psychology of Being, his second main work. Also, summaries of and comments on various findings and ideas by Maslow abound world-wide.

Below are highlights of what he found out about them. He strove to be descriptive. The dictums are from one of his books. He is quoted verbatim.


Religious Values of Peakers

1. Introduction

Eastern versions of peak-and mystic experiences . . . agree that the sacred and profane, the religious and secular, are not separated from each other. - Abraham Maslow, (1964, chap. 4)

It will be helpful here to talk about a pilot investigation . . . of the people I have called non-peakers. In my first investigations . . . I used this word because I thought some people had peak experiences and others did not. But as I gathered information, and as I became more skillful in asking questions, I found that a higher and higher percentage of my subjects began to report peak-experiences . . . I finally began to use the word "non-peaker" to describe, not the person who is unable to have peak-experiences, but rather the person who is afraid of them, who suppresses them, who denies them, who turns away from them, or who "forgets" them. (Ib., chap. 3]

2. Dichotomized Science and Dichotomized Religion

Science and religion have been too narrowly conceived . . . and separated from each other . . . they have been seen to be two mutually exclusive worlds. . . . This separation permitted nineteenth-century science to become too exclusively mechanistic, too positivistic, too reductionistic, too desperately attempting to be value-free. . . . Such an attitude dooms science to be nothing more than technology, amoral and non-ethical (as the Nazi doctors taught us) . . . (Maslow 1964, chap. 2]

Faith, which has perfectly respectable naturalistic meanings . . . in [Erich] Fromm's writings, tends in the hands of an anti-intellectual church to degenerate into blind belief, sometimes even "belief in what you know ain't so." It tends to become unquestioning obedience and last-ditch loyalty . . . It tends to produce sheep rather than men. It tends to become arbitrary and authoritarian. (Ib., chap. 2, emphasis added]

Religious quests, the religious yearnings, the religious needs themselves - are perfectly respectable scientifically . . . they are rooted deep in human nature . . . they can be studied, described, examined in a scientific way . . . the churches were trying to answer perfectly sound human questions. . . . The questions themselves were and are perfectly acceptable, and perfectly legitimate. . .

Existential and humanistic psychologists would probably consider a person sick or abnormal in an existential way if he were not concerned with these "religious" questions. (Ib., chap. 2]

3. The "Core-Religious," or "Transcendent," Experience

"Revelations" or mystical illuminations can be subsumed under the head of the "peak-experiences"[1] or "ecstasies" or "transcendent" experiences which are now being eagerly investigated by many psychologists. That is to say, it is very likely, indeed almost certain, that these older reports, phrased in terms of supernatural revelation, were, in fact, perfectly natural, human peak-experiences . . . this kind of study leads us to another very plausible hypothesis: to the extent that all mystical or peak-experiences are the same in their essence and have always been the same, all religions are the same in their essence and always have been the same. (Maslow 1964, chap. 3]

[The one who is] "Materialistic" or mechanistic . . . tends to . . . regard his peak- and transcendent experiences as a kind of insanity. (Ib., chap. 3]

For the compulsive-obsessive person, who organizes his life around the denying and the controlling of emotion, the fear of being overwhelmed by an emotion (which is interpreted as a loss of control) is enough for him to mobilize all his stamping-out and defensive activities against the peak-experience. (Ib., chap. 3]

I suspect also that extremely "practical," i.e., exclusively means-oriented, people will turn out to be non-peakers . . . So also for extremely other-directed people, who scarcely know what is going on inside themselves. (Ib., chap. 3]

Many organization men who tend to rise to the top in any complex bureaucracy, tend to be non-peakers rather than peakers. (Ib., chap. 3]

The paraphernalia of organized religion - buildings and specialized personnel, rituals, dogmas, ceremonials, and the like - are to the "peaker" secondary, peripheral, and of doubtful value in relation to the intrinsic and essential religious or transcendent experience. (Ib., chap. 3]

[An] essential core-religious experience may be embedded either in a theistic, supernatural context or in a non-theistic context. This private religious experience is shared by all the great world religions . . . [T]his intrinsic core-experience is a meeting ground . . . for priests and atheists, for communists and anti-communists, for conservatives and liberals, for artists and scientists, . . . for athletes and for poets, for thinkers and for doers. (Ib., chap. 3]

Both men and women have peak-experiences, and all kinds of constitutional types have peak-experiences. (Ib., chap. 3]

Our findings indicate that all or almost all people have or can have peak-experiences . . . These experiences can come from different sources, but their content may be considered to be very similar. (Ib., chap. 3]

Succeeding upon the discovery of the generality of all peak-experiences there are also "specific" factors in each of the peak-experiences which differentiate them from each other to some extent. (Ib., chap. 3]

4. Organizational Dangers to Transcendent Experiences

For most people a conventional religion, while strongly religionizing one part of life, thereby also strongly "dereligionizes" the rest of life. (Maslow 1964, chap. 4]

I have . . . been able . . . to teach B-cognition and unitive consciousness, to some students. (Ib., chap. 4]

Transcendent experiences seem to occur more frequently in [college] people who have rejected their inherited religion. (Ib., chap. 4]

Words [and intrapersonal symbol actions] can be extremely important in their effects upon the person . . . if he experiences them, truly lives them. Only then do they have meaning and effect. (Ib., chap. 4]

Theologians . . . are more bound by church and dogma. (Ib., chap. 4]

5. Hope, Skepticism, and Man's Higher Nature

My studies of "self-actualizing people" i.e., fully evolved and developed people, make it clear that human beings at their best are far more admirable (godlike, heroic, great, divine, awe-inspiring, lovable, etc.) than ever before conceived, in their own proper nature. (Maslow 1964, chap. 5]

Throughout history, human nature has been sold short primarily because of the lack of knowledge of the higher possibilities of man. (Ib., chap. 5]

6. Science and the Religious Liberals and Non-Theists

Liberal religions and semi-religious groups exert so little influence even though their members are the most intelligent and most capable sections of the population. (Maslow 1964, chap. 6]

Another consequence of accepting the concept of a natural, general, basic, personal religious experience is that it will also reform atheism, agnosticism, and humanism. (Ib., chap. 6]

7. Value-Free Education?

According to the new third psychology, the far goal of education - as of psychotherapy, of family life, of work, of society, of life itself - is to aid the person to grow to fullest humanness, to the greatest fulfillment and actualization of his highest potentials, to his greatest possible stature. In a word, it should help him to become the best he is capable of becoming, to become actually what he deeply is potentially. What we call healthy growth is growth toward this final goal. (Maslow 1964, chap. 7]

No subject matter is a sacred and eternal part of any fixed-for-all-time curriculum, e.g., of liberal arts. (Ib., chap. 7]

Clarity of end-values makes it very easy to avoid [hopeless] mismatchings of means and ends. The better we know which ends we want, the easier it is for us to create truly efficient means to those ends. (Ib., chap. 7]

8. Conclusions

It is . . . possible . . . to accept . . . the empirical spirit and empirical methods. (Maslow 1964, chap. 8]

Knowledge . . . though it is relative to man's powers and to his limits . . . can yet come closer and closer to "The Truth" that is not dependent on man. (Ib., chap. 8]

Theologians, and sophisticated people in general, define their god, not as a person, but as a force, a principle, a gestalt-quality of the whole of Being . . . the "dimension of depth," etc. (Ib., chap. 8]

The teaching of spiritual, ethical and moral values definitely does (in principle) have a very basic and essential place place in education, perhaps ultimately. [Mod Maslow 1964, chap. 8] Spiritual, ethical, and moral values need have nothing to do with any church . . . they are the common core of all churches, all religions, including the non-theistic ones. (Ib., chap. 8]

Spiritual, ethical, and moral values . . . should be the far goals of all education, as they are and should be also the far goals of psychotherapy, of child care, of marriage, the family, of work, and perhaps of all other social institutions. (Ib., chap. 8]

Education must be seen as at least partially an effort to produce the good human being, to foster the good life and the good society. (Ib., chap. 8]

Appendix A: Religious Aspects of Peak-Experiences

A clear perception (rather than a purely abstract and verbal philosophical acceptance) that the universe is all of a piece and that one has his place in it - one is a part of it, one belongs in it - can be so profound and shaking an experience that it can change the person's character and his Weltanschauung. (Maslow 1964, App A]

Normally we perceive everything as relevant to human concerns and more particularly to our own private selfish concerns. In the peak-experiences, we become more detached, more objective, and are more able to perceive the world as if it were independent not only of the perceiver but even of human beings in general. The perceiver can more readily . . . more easily refrain from projecting human purposes upon it. In a word, he can see it in its own Being (as an end in itself) . . . see more truly the nature of the object in itself. (Ib., App A]

Many people find [a peak-experience] so great and high an experience that it justifies . . . even living itself. Peak-experiences can make life worthwhile . . . They give meaning to life itself . . . I would guess that peak-experiences help to prevent suicide. (Ib., App A]

In the peak-experiences, not only is the world seen as acceptable and beautiful, but . . . the bad things about life are accepted more totally than they are at other times. (Ib., App A]

[Maslow got hundreds of answers to "How does the world look different in peak-experiences?" The answers could be boiled down to a quintessential list of characteristics . . . They are "about the same as what people through the ages have called eternal verities, or the spiritual values, or the highest values, or the religious values." (Ib., App A]

B-cognition in the peak-experience is . . . more humble . . . than normal perception is. It is . . . more able to hear. (Ib., App A]

[There is a] willingness to accept [death], possibly even a happiness with it. (Ib., App A]

In peak-experiences . . . there tends to be a moving toward the perception of unity and integration in the world. The person himself tends to move toward fusion . . . . and away from splitting, conflicts, and oppositions. (Ib., App A]

Peak-experiences have immediate effects or aftereffects upon the person . . . Lesser effects could be called therapeutic . . . very great to minimal or even to no effects at all. (Ib., App A]

The conception of heaven that emerges from the peak-experiences is one which exists all the time all around us, always available to step into for a little while at least. (Ib., App A]

In peak experiences, there is . . . a real self . . . a real person. (Ib., App A]

Those persons who have the clearest and strongest identity are exactly the ones who are most able to transcend the ego or the self and to become selfless, who are at least relatively selfless and relatively egoless. [A paradox] (Ib., App A]

The peak-experiencer . . . becomes more a psyche, more a person [fit for] the "higher life" . . . In this sense, the unmotivated human being becomes more god-like.) (Ib., App A]

During and after peak-experiences [people] feel lucky, fortunate, graced . . . this can go over into worship, giving thanks . . . leading to an impulse to do something good. (Ib., App A]

Self-actualizing persons resolve the dichotomy between pride and humility by fusing them into a single complex superordinate unity. (Ib., App A]

The "unitive consciousness" is often given in peak-experiences, i.e., a sense of the sacred glimpsed in . . . the worldly [too]. (Ib., App A]

Appendix B. The Third Psychology

Humanistic Psychology, primarily oriented toward the whole of psychology, stands for respect for the worth of persons, open-mindedness as to acceptable methods, and interest in exploration of new aspects of human behavior. [Mod Maslow 1964, App B]

It is concerned with topics like love, creativity, self, growth, organism, basic need gratification, self actualization, higher values, being, becoming, spontaneity, play, humor, affection, naturalness, warmth, ego transcendence, objectivity, autonomy, responsibility, meaning, fairplay, transcendental experience, peak experience, courage, and related concepts. (This approach finds expression in the writings of such persons as Allport, . . . Fromm, Goldstein, Horney, Maslow, . . . Rogers, . . . certain of the writings of Jung, Adler, and the psychoanalytic ego psychologists, and existential and phenomenological psychologists. [Mod ib., App B]

Appendix C. Ethnocentric Phrasings of Peak-Experiences

The mystic, trying to describe his experience, can do it only in a local, culture-bound, ignorance-bound, language-bound way, confusing his description of the experience with whatever explanation of it and phrasing of it is most readily available to him in his time and in his place. [Mod Maslow 1964, App C]

Another way of understanding this phenomenon is to liken the peak experiences to raw materials which can be used for different styles of structures, as the same bricks and mortar and lumber would be built into different kinds of houses by a Frenchman, a Japanese, or a Tahitian. (Ib., App C]

I take the generalized peak-experience to be that which is common to all places and times. (Ib., App C]

Appendix D. What is the Validity of Knowledge Gained in Peak-Experiences?

Another kind of self-validating insight is the experience of being a real identity, a real self, of feeling what it is like to feel really oneself, what in fact one is. (Maslow 1964, App D]

A single glimpse of heaven is enough to confirm its existence even if it is never experienced again. It is my strong suspicion that even one such experience might be able to prevent suicide . . . and perhaps many varieties of slow self-destruction. (Ib., App D]

Joy . . . can be experienced and feels very good. (Ib., App D]

The history of science and invention is full of instances of validated peak-insights and also of "insights" that failed. At any rate, there are enough of the former to support the proposition that the knowledge obtained in peak-insight experiences can be validated and valuable. (Ib., App D]

Another kind of cognitive process which can occur in peak-experiences is the freshening of experience and the breaking up of rubricizing . . . This kind of "innocent perception" is described . . . (Ib., App D]

Peak-experiencers often report something that might be called a particular kind of abstract perception, i.e., perception of essence, of "the hidden order of things, the X-ray texture of the world, normally obscured by layers of irrelevancy". (Ib., App D]

[You should note a] factor of being "worthy of the experience," of deserving it, or of being up to it . . . [even] "deserving" of more difficult truths. (Ib., App D]

Taoistic perception [can diminish] the effect of the perceiver upon the percept. Therefore, truer knowledge (of some things) may be expected. (Ib., App D]

Realizing that the knowledge revealed was . . . ready to be perceived, if only the perceiver were "up to it," ready for it . . . is a change in perspicuity . . . not a change in the nature of reality or the invention of a new piece of reality. (Ib., App D]

Appendix E. Preface to "New Knowledge in Human Values"

The "neurosis of success". People can struggle on hopefully, and even happily, for false panaceas so long as these are not attained. (Maslow 1964, App E]

We are faced with . . . widespread exploitation . . . The cure for this disease is obvious. We need a validated, usable system of human values . . . we can believe in and devote ourselves to. (Ib., App E]

Appendix F. Rhapsodic, Isomorphic Communications

I gradually began to assume that the non-peaker was a weak peaker rather than a person lacking the capacity altogether. (Maslow 1964, App F]

It is necessary to be a bit of an artist oneself before one can understand a great artist. (Ib., App F]

The classical psychoanalysts would now be willing to admit, I think, that care, concern, and agapean love for the patient are implied, and must be implied, by the analyst in order that therapy may take place. (Ib., App F]

If you want to study ducks and to learn all that is possible to know about ducks, then you had better love ducks. [Abraham Maslow, Rvl, App F]

To change the person and to change his awareness of himself . . . make him become aware of the fact that peak-experiences go on inside himself. (Ib., App F]

Appendix G. B-Values as Descriptions of Perception in Peak-Experiences

A list of the described attributes of reality when perceived in peak experiences, or as a list of the irreducible, intrinsic values of this reality.

  1. Truth: honesty; reality; (nakedness; simplicity; richness; essentiality; oughtness; beauty; pure; clean and unadulterated completeness).
  2. Goodness: (rightness; desirability; oughtness; justice; benevolence; honesty); (we love it, are attracted to it, approve of it).
  3. Beauty: (rightness; form; aliveness; simplicity; richness; wholeness; perfection; completion; uniqueness; honesty).
  4. Wholeness: (unity; integration; tendency to oneness; interconnectedness; simplicity; organization; structure; order; not dissociated; synergy; homonymous and integrative tendencies).

    4a. Dichotomy-transcendence: (acceptance, resolution, integration, or transcendence of dichotomies, polarities, opposites, contradictions); synergy (i.e., transformation of oppositions into unities, of antagonists into collaborating or mutually enhancing partners).

  5. Aliveness: (process; not deadness; dynamic; eternal; flowing; self-perpetuating; spontaneity; self-moving energy; self-forming; self-regulation; full-functioning; changing and yet remaining the same; expressing itself; never-ending).
  6. Uniqueness: (idiosyncrasy; individuality; singularity; non comparability; its defining-characteristics; novelty; quale; suchness; nothing else like it).
  7. Perfection: (nothing superfluous; nothing lacking; everything in its right place; unimprovable; just rightness; just-so-ness; suitability; justice; completeness; nothing beyond; oughtness).

    7a. Necessity: (inevitability; it must be just that way; not changed in any slightest way; and it is good that it is that way).

  8. Completion: (ending; finality; justice; it's finished; no more changing of the Gestalt; fulfillment; finis and telos; nothing missing or lacking; totality; fulfillment of destiny; cessation; climax; consummation; closure; death before rebirth; cessation and completion of growth and development; total gratification with no more gratification possible; no striving; no movement toward any goal because already there; not pointing to anything beyond itself).
  9. Justice: (fairness; oughtness; suitability; architectonic quality; necessity; inevitability; disinterestedness; non-partiality).

    9a. Order: (lawfulness; rightness; rhythm; regularity; symmetry; structure; nothing superfluous; perfectly arranged).

  10. Simplicity: (honesty; nakedness; purity; essentiality; succinctness; [mathematical] elegance; abstract; unmistakability; essential skeletal structure; the heart of the matter; bluntness; only that which is necessary; without ornament, nothing extra or superfluous).
  11. Richness: (totality; differentiation; complexity; intricacy; nothing missing or hidden; all there; "nonimportance," i.e., everything is equally important; nothing is unimportant; everything left the way it is, without improving, simplifying, abstracting, rearranging; comprehensiveness).
  12. Effortlessness: (ease; lack of strain, striving, or difficulty; grace; perfect and beautiful functioning).
  13. Playfulness: (fun; joy; amusement; gaiety; humor; exuberance; effortlessness).
  14. Self-sufficiency: (autonomy; independence; not needing anything other than itself in order to be itself; self-determining; environment-transcendence; separateness; living by its own laws; identity). (Ib., App G]

Appendix H. Naturalistic Reasons for Preferring Growth-Values Over Regression-Values Under Good Conditions

Growth is more in accordance with fulfilling [R.] Hartman's definition of the "good" human being . . . Regression and defense, living at the safety level, is a way of giving up many of these "higher" defining characteristics for the sake of sheer survival. ("Bad" conditions can also be defined circularly as conditions which make lower-need gratifications possible only at the cost of giving up higher-need gratifications.) (Maslow 1964, App H]

Hartman, R. "The Science of Value," in New Knowledge in Human Values, ed. A. H. Maslow. New York: Harper & Bros., 1959.

It looks as if the non-pathological baby put into free-choice situations, with plenty of choice, tends to choose its way toward growth rather than toward regression (61). In the same way, a plant or an animal selects from the millions of objects in the world those which are "right" for its nature. (Maslow 1964,App H]

Very important as a source of data to support the biological basis of choosing growth over regression is the experience with "uncovering therapy" or what I have begun to call Taoistic therapy. What emerges here is the person's own nature, his own identity, his bent, his own tastes, his vocation, his species values, and his idiosyncratic values. These idiosyncratic values are so often different from the idiosyncratic values of the therapist as to constitute a validation of the point, i.e., uncovering therapy is truly uncovering rather than indoctrination. (Ib., App H]

Human children do not choose discipline, restraint, delay, frustration, even where this is "good for them." Free choice "wisdom" seems to work only or mostly as of the immediate moment. It is a response to the present field or current situation. It does not prepare well for the future. The child is "now-bound"; and while this may be no handicap in a very simple, preliterate society, it is a terrible handicap in a technologically advanced society. Therefore, the greater intelligence, knowledge, and foreknowledge of the adult is necessary as a control upon the child. (Ib., App H]

The definition of "good conditions" for human beings has characteristics in addition to those generalized ones listed above, e.g., availability of benevolent elders to be dependent upon, and (in a complex society) plenty of brotherly others who can be counted on to do their part in the division of labor. (Ib., App H]

The "good culture" must supply the higher-need gratifications as well as the lower-need gratifications. . . . it is necessary to develop a comparative sociology of healthy and rich cultures in order to understand fully all the social implications of the definition. (Ib., App H]

Appendix I:

The woman seen in . . . the world of deficiencies, of worries and bills and anxieties and wars and fears and pains, is profane rather than sacred, momentary rather than eternal, local rather than infinite, etc. Here we see in women . . . they can be bitches, selfish, empty-headed, stupid, foolish, catty, trivial, boring, mean, whorish. (Maslow 1964, App I]

If the woman is seen only as . . . unearthly beauty, as on a pedestal, as in the sky or in Heaven, then she . . . can't be played with or made love to. She isn't earthy or fleshy enough. (Ib., App I]

The whole madonna-prostitute complex . . . in which sex is impossible with good and noble and perfect women, but is possible only with dirty or nasty or low women. (Ib., App I]

Learn the delights of being fused with each other, of being friendly, affectionate, loving partners, or the like. (Ib., App I]

The good man, the most desirable we know . . . must be able to see [woman] come down to earth without getting shocked. The truth is she also goes to the toilet, and she also sweats and also has belly aches and gets fat and so on. (Ib., App I]

The ceremony of puberty, which we make nothing of, is extremely important for most primitive cultures. When the girl menstruates for the first time and becomes a woman, it is truly a great event and a great ceremony. (Ib., App I]

If we lose our sense of good fortune, then we have lost a very real and basic human capacity and are diminished thereby. (Ib., App I]

It might be desirable if we could teach our young men to think of their penises, for instance, as phallic worshipers do, as beautiful and holy objects, as awe inspiring, as mysterious, as big and strong, possibly dangerous and fear inspiring, as miracles which are not understood. If we can teach our young men this, not to mention our young women, then every boy will become the bearer of a holy thing, of a sceptre. (Ib., App I]

Perceptions and awarenesses should be able to help any male and any female to experience the transcendent and unitive. (Ib., App I]


Abraham Maslow on Religion, Values of Self-actualisers, Peak Experiences, Literature  

Cohen, Ronald Jay, and Mark E. Swerdlik. 2018. Psychological Testing and Assessment. 9th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

Maslow, Abraham. 1964. Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences. Columbus: Ohio State University.

⩓. 1968. Towards a Psychology of Being. 2nd ed. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

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