Maslow's teachings

Abraham Maslow
1908 - 1970

Abraham Maslow-pbs.org excerpt;


From 1937 to 1951, Maslow was on the faculty of Brooklyn College. In New York he found two more mentors, anthropologist Ruth Benedict and Gestalt psychologist Max Wertheimer, whom he admired both professionally and personally. These two were so accomplished in both realms, and such "wonderful human beings" as well, that Maslow began taking notes about them and their behavior. This would be the basis of his lifelong research and thinking about mental health and human potential. He wrote extensively on the subject, borrowing ideas from other psychologists but adding significantly to them, especially the concepts of a heirarchy of needs, metaneeds, self-actualizing persons, and peak experiences. Maslow became the leader of the humanistic school of psychology that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, which he referred to as the "third force" -- beyond Freudian theory and behaviorism.

Maslow saw human beings' needs arranged like a ladder. The most basic needs, at the bottom, were physical -- air, water, food, sex. Then came safety needs -- security, stability -- followed by psychological, or social needs -- for belonging, love, acceptance. At the top of it all were the self-actualizing needs -- the need to fulfill oneself, to become all that one is capable of becoming. Maslow felt that unfulfilled needs lower on the ladder would inhibit the person from climbing to the next step. Someone dying of thirst quickly forgets their thirst when they have no oxygen, as he pointed out. People who dealt in managing the higher needs were what he called self-actualizing people. Benedict and Wertheimer were Maslow's models of self-actualization, from which he generalized that, among other characteristics, self-actualizing people tend to focus on problems outside of themselves, have a clear sense of what is true and what is phony, are spontaneous and creative, and are not bound too strictly by social conventions.

Peak experiences are profound moments of love, understanding, happiness, or rapture, when a person feels more whole, alive, self-sufficient and yet a part of the world, more aware of truth, justice, harmony, goodness, and so on. Self-actualizing people have many such peak experiences.

Maslow's thinking was surprisingly original -- most psychology before him had been concerned with the abnormal and the ill. He wanted to know what constituted positive mental health. Humanistic psychology gave rise to several different therapies, all guided by the idea that people possess the inner resources for growth and healing and that the point of therapy is to help remove obstacles to individuals' achieving this. The most famous of these was client-centered therapy developed by Carl Rogers.

Maslow was a professor at Brandeis University from 1951 to 1969, and then became a resident fellow of the Laughlin Institute in California. He died of a heart attack in 1970.

"Human nature is not nearly as bad as it has been thought to be."

Maslow (1968): Some of the characteristics of self-actualized people Although we are all, theoretically, capable of self-actualizing, most of us will not do so, or only to a limited degree. Maslow (1970) estimated that only two percent of people will reach the state of self actualization. He was particularly interested in the characteristics of people whom he considered to have achieved their potential as persons.
By studying 18 people he considered to be self-actualized (including Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein) Maslow (1970) identified 15 characteristics of a self-actualized person.
Characteristics of self-actualizers:
1. They perceive reality efficiently and can tolerate uncertainty;
2. Accept themselves and others for what they are;
3. Spontaneous in thought and action;
4. Problem-centered (not self-centered);
5. Unusual sense of humor;
6. Able to look at life objectively;
7. Highly creative;
8. Resistant to enculturation, but not purposely unconventional;
9. Concerned for the welfare of humanity;
10. Capable of deep appreciation of basic life-experience;
11. Establish deep satisfying interpersonal relationships with a few people;
12. Peak experiences;
13. Need for privacy;
14. Democratic attitudes;
15. Strong moral/ethical standards.
Behavior leading to self-actualization:
(a) Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration;
(b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths;
(c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of tradition, authority or the majority;
(d) Avoiding pretense ('game playing') and being honest;
(e) Being prepared to be unpopular if your views do not coincide with those of the majority;
(f) Taking responsibility and working hard;
(g) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up.
The characteristics of self-actualizers and the behaviors leading to self-actualization are shown in the list above. Although people achieve self-actualization in their own unique way, they tend to share certain characteristics. However, self-actualization is a matter of degree, 'There are no perfect human beings' (Maslow,1970a, p. 176).
It is not necessary to display all 15 characteristics to become self-actualized, and not only self-actualized people will display them. Maslow did not equate self-actualization with perfection. Self-actualization merely involves achieving ones potential. Thus, someone can be silly, wasteful, vain and impolite, and still self-actualize. Less than two percent of the population achieve self-actualization.


                                                       1968  why so long as this idea,taken to get moving?

I have often wondered why "Self Actualizing", hasn't been taught,why it part of everyone's everyday idea of Life?

As Abrabam Maslow developed this back in 60's,Albert Einstein talked of" Liberation from Self" before his death , in his book "Ideas and Opinions" Einstein introduced myself to Ruth Benedict and her book "Patterns of Culture",a book I have owned since mid 90's,seems ironic.Time is a big factor in life,we spend it in a way like the tallest trees,,always growing or we don't.

   This is why One must begin by Knowing self, only seeking Truth, this is why "Nature" is the only for sure "Truth"

Although after reading Einstein's "Ideas and Opinions" back in mid 90's, then reading Ruth Benedict's "Patterns of Cultures",I knew by intuition in away,you might say...."That there is more to Life,then just getting a job,just accepting the status quo, yet How?"

    I was at the time doing good as far as work, yet un-be known to myself, not very mature in many ways,I had already started drinking alcohol routinely. I had begun to write a lot then, just recently going back and looking at some writings I had done then, many have the "Theme of Chaos".

    I was exploring my sexuality, like a blind mouse in away ,starting with "becoming a Cuckold in a relationship with a female I thought I loved,yet looking back, her and I where simply explorers that meet at times of need,her going her way,mine, my way.

    By her being open minded, and agreeing to having sex with another male,for me to see,that re-introduced myself to my identity of my " First Contact ", thus my need to be "Feminine " or in the role of . About this time I began modeling for Life drawing classes, yet my drinking was a part of my life, controllable still yet it was a addiction,just not a problem yet!. Soon I would meet a male whom I could be " Like a Lady" with, it's hard to explain, yet it simply felt "So Right". My girl friend went our separate ways(on good terms,she knew I chose to be feminine),and since I have been in my role as "Lady".-so growth(self-actualizing)

    This was a big part of discovering my "True Self",yet also not so socially accepted, so a life of being secret really began for me, even my modeling was taboo, but being a Fem-male,wishing to be in the female role, this was Tough!

      My friend whom took me as his "Lady friend ",,soon moved on(on good terms)..yet I was in great need of being in "my Lady role", by now, a good way to describe this period of time is "I was in Heat", and believe me,it wasn't difficult to find men to treat me like a Lady! Looking back though I had to go through this period of exploring in order to move ahead- so growth(self-actualizing)

                  I want to note here, a question and paradox,  how can a society put in place the reality of "this is real,and how,what can be done to allow people to flow through these periods of life safer, to gain growth (self-actualizing), yet not get in terrible trouble?(this was on my mind while writing "Terrace" )- growth(self-actualizing)

      Sure my way in todays frame work of social construct is not the "Normal", yet what is normal?, and for whom?

---------------------Everyday,every moment we are growing or not(standing still,being distructive,or simply dying)----------------------------

    I think the idea of the " Indigo Club " in my writing Terrace is a great concept because it accepts a part of Humanity,that is a Reality. One being,we are very sexually beings,in  different ways,shapes and forms, the Indigo Club offers one aspect of reality a new way of Growth, that being, it offers a place for those whom are Androgynous and sexually oriented as female a place to go be with Straight Males whom are willing to treat us like Ladies,..in a safe,clean environment.    Sure this isn't for all,or maybe say 5% of population, yet the other 95% can develop other ways which meet their identity as well.

I very much agree with what Carl Jung says here;
                           “A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”- C. Jung

 excerpt from above link

                                           Maslow (1973) postulated that one main characteristic of self-transcended people is autonomy and independence from culture and environment. They do not need the approval of other people; their opinions are not formed in light of their own immediate circumstances. Maslow held that selftranscendence is reached when a person seeks to further a cause beyond the self and to experience a communion beyond the boundaries of the self (1968). These transcended individuals who reach the top of Maslow’s revised hierarchy typically seek a benefit beyond the mere personal, identifying with something greater than the purely individual self, often engaging in selfless service to others (Koltko-Rivera, 2006). Maslow came to the idea of self-transcendence because he felt that too many theorists defined the Self simply in terms of what other people think or their perception of a person, which he saw as an extreme cultural relativity in which a healthy individuality gets lost altogether. He reasoned that the healthy, fully developed person is characterized by their transcendence of other people’s opinions. Maslow specifically used the term transcendence to differentiate this kind of person from the dichotomization of self and the environment, stating that it was a person freed from the “dichotomous way of thinking” (Maslow, 1968, p. 180). 2