Views on Self-Actualizing

A few excerpts from:

"Actualizing Tendency: The link between person-centered and experiential psychotherapy and interdisciplinary systems theory"

by Jürgen Kriz University of Osnabrück, Germany

The core concept “actualization,” which is discussed in this paper, is called self-organization in the interdisciplinary discourse of modern systems theory. This refers to the phenomenon that a system need not be “formed,” “ordered” or “structured” by an “organizer” integrating the elements into an organized whole. Instead, given an appropriate environment, it will unfold itself in an orderly way due to inner structural possibilities. This emergence of selforganized order in the form of a dynamic pattern can, to a great extent, be treated mathematically in the same way as the phase transition of already established patterns into new and more effective or better adapted patterns (due to change in the environment). Without going into details (see Kriz, 2006), it is obvious that the latter phenomenon is more relevant for psychotherapy which typically means the change of a symptomatic or at least problematic pattern (in the processes of perceiving, cognitive and emotive processing,

and expressing by acting and behaving). In particular, the interdisciplinary approach of Synergetics by Haken (1978, 1983) provides a conceptual basis and framework for facilitating cooperation between those psychologists and natural scientists who are interested in understanding complex autonomous (but not isolated or immune) processes of self-organized order. It is fascinating how much this notion and world-view of modern interdisciplinary systems theory corresponds with the thought of the Gestalt psychologist Kurt Goldstein who, after his emigration to the USA, became more famous as an organismic theorist. Goldstein’s fundamental book The Organism (1939, German edition 1934) appeared more than three decades before theories of self-organization became an important subject in the natural sciences. Goldstein coined the term “self-actualization” in order to refer to the self-organizing processes of an organism (because “self-organization” was not a common term at that time). In contrast to the classical dichotomy of imposing order from outside or developing order only from inside, Goldstein stressed the crucial point that self-actualization does not mean that the organism is immune to the events and forces of the external world. Conversely, for the organism, the environment is both a source of supplies and disturbances. The tasks are determined by the “nature” of the organism, its essence, which is brought into actualization through environmental changes that act upon it. The expressions of that actualization are the performances of the organism. Through them the organism can deal with the respective environmental demands and actualize itself (Goldstein 1939, p. 111). And, therefore, the healthy organism is one “in which the tendency towards selfactualization is acting from within, and overcomes the disturbance arising from the clash with the world” (p. 305).-Jürgen Kriz 

Dąbrowski,   Rejected Abraham Maslow's description of self-actualization (Dąbrowski was a personal friend and correspondent of Maslow's). Actualization of an undifferentiated human self is not a developmental outcome in Dąbrowski's terms. Dąbrowski applied a multilevel (vertical) approach to self and saw the need to become aware of and to inhibit and reject the lower instinctual aspects of the intrinsic human self (aspects that Maslow would have us "embrace without guilt") and to actively choose and assemble higher elements into a new unique self. Dąbrowski would have us differentiate the initial self into higher and lower aspects, as we define them, and to reject the lower and actualize the higher in creating our unique personality.

                                                 The following is a view of reality I found at SOTT.net

America is the only nation brought forth by a set of beliefs, and those beliefs, captured so eloquently in our founding documents, are some of the most powerful and inspiring ever conceived. We consider this to be the land of the free, where the individual is supreme and nothing prevents us from going as far as our talents can take us. That image of America - that "brand" - is incredibly strong.

However, there's a very large gap between that long-held image and the reality of America today. What was once a government built for the people is now a government run for the rich and powerful, one that throws the people under the bus whenever their interests differ from those of the corporate and political leaders who run the show.

And living in one world (the corrupt) while stubbornly believing you live in another (the ideal), despite mounds of evidence, causes a distinct kind of stress, often called cognitive dissonance

   Psychologists suggest that when people are in a state of cognitive dissonance, they'll search for a way to resolve it, either by rejecting one view or the other as either wrong or unimportant. If you're a smoker looking at the link between smoking and cancer, for example, you'll either quit smoking or decide that the research is biased, wrong, or doesn't apply (in other words, that you're smart enough to quit before the long-term damage is done).

But what happens if you can't resolve the two?

For most of us Americans, resolving our cognitive dissonance would mean either accepting that we're impotent and living futile (and feudal) lives, or rejecting our lifestyles and actively fighting the rot in the system. If we're not willing to do either of those, the dissonance stays - and eats at us.

People carrying this kind of ongoing, underlying stress find ways of coping with it; in America we're doing it with self-medication, compulsive behaviors and distractions. Consider the following examples of the way we cope with the ever-present stress in our lives:

Drugs - Our country is awash in drugs, both legal and illegal, that keep us numb. In 2014, there were 245 million prescriptions filled for opioid pain relievers. The number of deaths from drug overdoses has risen from around 30,000 in 2005 to 64,000 in 2016. And communities across the country are being devastated by the opioid epidemic, as explained in this in-depth reporting by Cincinnati.com.
  • Drinking - People don't only use drugs to self-medicate; drinking does the trick as well, and we're doing a lot more of it than we used to. According to a new study in JAMA Psychiatry, overall drinking in the US increased by 11% between 2002-13, while high-risk and problem drinking rose even higher: high-risk drinking rose by 29.9%, while problem drinking rose by 50%.
  • Mental Illness - In 2015, 17.9% of adults held a diagnosis for a mental disorder, while a 2010 study found that 46.3% of children ages 13-18 had a mental disorder at some point in their young lives, and the majority of those adults and children are given prescriptions. This includes a dramatic increase in ADHD diagnoses for children: According to SharpBrains, "Among children aged 5 to 18, between 1991-92 and 2008-09, rates of ADHD diagnosis increased nearly 4-fold among boys - from 39.5 to 144.6 per 1000 - and nearly 6-fold for girls - from 12.3 and 68.5 per 1000 visits."
  • Obesity - If drinking and drugs aren't your thing - or even if they are - more of us are coping with stress by overeating, and it's showing up on our waistlines. From 1990 to 2016, the average percentage of obese adults increased from 11.1% to 29.8%; when you add in the number of people who are overweight but not obese, it rises to more than two in three adults.
  • Sleeping problems - Sleep has a significant impact on our physical and mental health, and in America we're not getting enough of it: The CDC states that 50-70 million American adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder.
  • Media Usage - Is there any better distraction from life's problems than media? We certainly spend a lot of our time being passively entertained: In 2016, Americans consumed an average of 10 hours of media per day, compared with 7.5 hours per day globally. Nielson reports that lower income adults spend much more time with media than do affluent adults, with adults in households with include under $25,000 watching 211 hours/month of television, versus 113 hours/month for adults in households earning $75,000 or more. (The trend is similar across other media as well.)
  • The Disease of Debt - According to the New York Fed, household debt reached a new peak in the third quarter of 2017, at $12.8 trillion. Part of our debt problem comes from the compulsive shopping we do as a distraction; the other results from denying the reality that our wages aren't keeping up with the increase in the cost of living, meaning that we use debt to plug the gap rather than reducing our living standards to align with our reality.
  • We're collectively doing so much damage to ourselves, solely to protect our psyches from the reality that the America that used to be is no longer the America we have. And who does that help? As you can see from the points above, it doesn't help us: Instead, it helps the rich and powerful who are subverting the system. They're corrupting everything this country once was, and by willfully refusing to acknowledge that reality, we're inadvertently helping them to do it.

    The best thing we can do - for our mental and physical health, as well as for our country - is to open our eyes to what America has become, not what we wish it still was. It's time to face reality and take action.
  • Transhuman / wikipedia

    Transhuman or trans-human is the concept of an intermediary form between human and posthuman.[1] In other words, a transhuman is a being that resembles a human in most respects but who has powers and abilities beyond those of standard humans.[2] These abilities might include improved intelligence, awareness, strength, or durability. Transhumans sometimes appear in science-fiction as cyborgs or genetically-enhanced humans.

    Different topics,on Humans evolving

    Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development

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    Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development constitute an adaptation of a psychological theory originally conceived by the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. Kohlberg began work on this topic while a psychology graduate student at the University of Chicago[1] in 1958 and expanded upon the theory throughout his life.

    The theory holds that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behavior, has six identifiable developmental stages, each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than its predecessor.[2] Kohlberg followed the development of moral judgment far beyond the ages studied earlier by Piaget,[3] who also claimed that logic and morality develop through constructive stages.[2] Expanding on Piaget's work, Kohlberg determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice, and that it continued throughout the individual's lifetime,[4] a notion that spawned dialogue on the philosophical implications of such research.[5][6] -wikipedia

    Loevinger's stages of ego development

        Jane Loevinger's stages of ego development 'conceptualize a theory of ego development that was based on Erikson's psychosocial model', as well as on the works of Harry Stack Sullivan, and in which 'the ego was theorized to mature and evolve through stages across the lifespan as a result of a dynamic interaction between the inner self and the outer environment'.[1] Her theory is significant in contributing to the delineation of ego development, which goes beyond fragmentation of trait psychology and looks at personalities as meaningful wholes.[2] 

    Loevinger describes the ego as a process rather than a thing.[6] The ego is viewed as the frame of reference (or lens) one uses to construct and interpret one's world.[6] This contains impulse control and character development, with interpersonal relations, and with cognitive preoccupations, including self-concept.[7] Sullivan (1958) 'had proposed four levels of "interpersonal maturity and interpersonal integration": Impulsive, Conformist, Conscientious, and Autonomous'.[8] Developing over time from that initial framework, Loevinger completed a developmental model including nine sequential stages, each of which represents a progressively more complex way of perceiving oneself in relation to the world. Every stage provides a frame of reference to organize and give meaning to experience over the individual's life course. 'Since each new ego stage or frame of reference builds on the previous one and integrates it, no one can skip a stage...One has not yet acquired the interpersonal logic'.[9]

    As the adult ego develops, Loevinger considered, a sense of self-awareness emerges in which one becomes aware of discrepancies between conventions and one's own behavior. For some, development reaches a plateau and does not continue. Among others, greater ego integration and differentiation continue.[10] Loevinger proposed eight/nine stages of ego in development,[11] the six which occur in adulthood being conformist, conscientious-conformist, conscientious, individualistic, autonomous, and integrated. The majority of adults are at the conscientious-conformist level. 

    Loevinger conceived of an ego development system that would closely resemble moral development but be both broader in scope and utilize empirical methods of study.[3] Loevinger started by creating an objective test of mothers' attitudes to problems in family life, which she called the Family Problems Scale.[3] This first test did not yield the expected results, but Loevinger noted a strong similarity between authoritarian family ideology and the concept of authoritarian personality being developed at UC Berkeley in the early 1960s.[4] Loevinger noticed that the women who scored at the most extreme ends of the authoritarian scale also tended to be the most immature. These women would tend to agree with such statements as "[a] mother should be her daughter's best friend" while at the same time endorsing punitive behavior. Additionally, Loevinger observed that a liberal, non-authoritarian personality was not the opposite of a high authoritarian personality. Rather, anomie, a disorganized and detached social style was the opposite of the high authoritarian, evidencing a curvilinear relationship.

    Loevinger theorized that this was because the Authoritarian Family Ideology' scale was not measuring just authoritarianism but some broader concept which weighed heavily upon all the other constructs she measured. By combining this theoretical framework with Sullivan and Grant's interpersonal maturity continuum, she created the concept of ego development.[5] From this new concept, Loevinger then developed the Washington University Sentence Completion Test, which remains the primary method of determining ego development on Loevinger's scale.