Tag Archives: Maslow

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.

Jung and Maslow

Carl Jung is represented as having believed that we should render the unconscious conscious. This should be done to free ourselves of the former’s power in defining our beliefs and habits.

One of Abraham Maslow’s 13 self-actualizing characteristics is the superior perception of reality. Do we not achieve the latter by learning about and knowing the contents of our unconscious?

Scott Pilgrim and Kumar

What do these characters and their stories–Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World and Harold & Kumar–have in common?

Scott Pilgrim fights for love and self-respect (and, ultimately–arguably…self-actualization!). Kumar, played by Kal Penn, fights for love, too. But what about self-respect?

Kumar doesn’t take himself or mundane aspects of his life that seriously. He’s a romantic genius who prefers a magical, spontaneous sort of life rather than one more ordinary or structured (best friend Harold is more of this flavor).

Scott and Kumar would both do anything for their respective, romantic loves. Scott gets caught up in what everyone around him wants until he happens upon Ramona Flowers at a party. Once he and she meet, he gives his life to them.

Kumar does the same once his love interest Vanessa proclaims her pregnancy (in the less-watched, but nonetheless fun and enjoyable A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas).

Ultimately, Scott and Kumar are both open enough to what life brings that they each meet the love of their lives. Through their adventures, the two realize that self-respect follows from love; and at least for Abraham Maslow, self-actualization would need to follow soon thereafter.

Insight-driven knowledge vs. wisdom

What’s the difference?

Insight-driven knowledge comes about when information acquires meaning for us. 🙂

Such knowledge is wisdom, manifest in a form which we can represent however we so choose!

Wisdom is the unintended byproduct of using our reason courageously. It comes to the self-actualizing person who commits to what Maslow called “expressive behavior”. Such behavior for Maslow was unmotivated and unconscious: acted out purely for itself.

On the other side of expressive behavior is “coping behavior”. Coping behavior is motivated and conscious, acted out only to fulfill some “deficit need” (i.e., D-need). D-needs can only be temporarily gratified.

The wise, self-actualizing person engages in coping behavior only as a mortal, flawed agent. Such a person only behaves as such in the service of their greater expressive behavior.

What are your favorite expressive behaviors?

From Frankl, to Maslow, to Heidegger…

Frankl’s “paradoxical intention” can be paraphrased as follows: let the fulfillment of second-order desires (e.g., accruing wealth) follow only from meaningful living.

This is consistent with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which places self-actualization atop a pyramid of lower-level “deficiency needs” (D-needs). It also follows from his Theory Z–once people achieve a sufficient level of economic security, this theory goes, humans will search for more in life.

What will human persons seek? Specifically, what do human persons aim for (paradoxically or not) once they self-actualize?

Human persons will self-transcend.

Maslow viewed self-actualization and peak experiencing as overlapping more often than not. “B-values”–i.e., Being-values–partially comprise the peak experience.

Environment-transcendence is one out of 14 total B-values. Self-actualization partially involves resistance to enculturation, as well as independence from one’s environment.

While typing and reading about Being and the environment, we could propose the following construct: “being-with-nature”. Being-with-nature follows linguistically from Heidegger’s “being-with-others”, or mitsein in German.

Do we save the natural environment by transcending it or being with it? Is such transcendence not also a being-with? A hierarchical relation is still a relation. Once we add the horizontal, egalitarian level to this, we need to either separate environment-transcendence from being-with-nature or fuse them in some novel way.

Accommodating hierarchy and “heterarchy” as proposed above leads us to a holarchic approach. The holarchic approach fuses these perspectives or approaches.

Thus–holarchically-speaking–we may speak of being-with-natural environment-transcendence!

Of course, before transcending the environment, one should transcend oneself. Maslow wrote that the acceptance of self, of others and nature is a self-actualizing characteristic. Perhaps his order here was deliberate?