Category Archives: humanistic

Self-actualizing well-being

Self-actualization for Maslow consisted of 12-13 characteristics. These were:

  1. Superior perception of reality
  2. Increased acceptance of self, of others and of nature
  3. Increased spontaneity
  4. Increase in problem-centering
  5. Increased detachment and desire for privacy
  6. Increased autonomy, and resistance to enculturation
  7. Greater freshness of appreciation, and richness of emotional reaction
  8. Higher frequency of peak experiences
  9. Increased identification with the human species
  10. Changed (improved) interpersonal relations
  11. More democratic character structure
  12. Greatly increased creativeness
  13. Certain changes in the value system

PERMA well-being defined by Martin Seligman, Ph.D. consists of positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement.

When we put the above two models together, we can learn to be well as we actualize. In an individualistic democracy, we can live spontaneously, taking solace in our independence and objectivity. We can focus on building meaningful and intimate relations with others (item #10) whom we accept as we do ourselves. We can achieve superior understandings of reality and solve important problems. We can reach the highest levels of rich, positive emotion (appreciation being one such state of being) through the elusive and mystical peak experience. We can engage in our own evolution as our values–and hence, our characters–change. And we can find meaning in creative endeavors that set our spirits free, igniting our souls with passion that leads us to our ultimate purpose.

Plato’s cave and Buddhist suffering

Plato used his allegory of the cave to demonstrate man’s attachment to the ideal forms. After spending his life in a cave, coming to the surface and seeing the sun was a new kind of experience.

In Buddhism, it is said that desire is at the root of human suffering.  What if the desire for perfection–i.e., for life to take on the shape of Plato’s forms–is an example of this?

Perhaps proving the Buddha’s noble truth #4, that we can overcome suffering, consists in shedding our fantasy of becoming ideal humans. Assuming this, transhumanism and posthumanism may go too far!