Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating a theory of psychological health for self-actualization. He was a psychology professor at Brandeis University, Brooklyn College, New School for Social Research and Columbia University.
As one of Maslow’s steps to self actualisation included the description of the personal experience of Reality he called “Peak experiences”, I’ve paraphrased the article, 9 Characteristics of Self-actualized People by Kendra Cherry:
- “Self actualised people tend to accept themselves and others as they are. They tend to lack inhibition, enjoy themselves and are free of guilt. They treat everyone the same way.”
That could be a description of me. I always thought it was just me. I never linked it to my experiences of Reality.
- “A sense of realism” that enables self actualised people “to view things logically and rationally.”
Very much so! The mythomanias on which human cultures, practices and beliefs are based are incredulous.
- A “strong sense of personal ethics and responsibility” “motivates” such people. They have “problem solving skills” and “like helping others improve their own lives.”
Yes, but not the helping other people bit. I developed a discinclination to identify with human beings apart from attending my duties and responsibilities as a human. I long ago decided all humanity could expect from me is Legality, Decency and Honesty. There are more important things afoot than being merely human.
- Frequent “peak experiences”. According to Maslow, “Feelings of limitless horizons opening up to the vision, the feeling of being simultaneously more powerful and also more helpless than one ever was before, the feeling of ecstacy and wonder and awe, the loss of placement in time and space with, finally, the conviction that something extremely important and valuable had happened, so that the subject was to some extent transformed and strengthened even in his daily life …”
“Vision” didn’t come into my experiences, nor did “power” or “helplessness”, which sound suspiciously like human ego-expressions adulterating an experience pure of all humanity (in my experience).
- Non conformist when it comes to other people’s ideas of happiness and contentment.
With a vengeance.
- Value their privacy and enjoy solitude, which is not to say they don’t enjoy the company of others.
But Cherry also suggests here that Maslow thought “taking time to themselves” as being “essential for personal discovery and cultivating individual potential” as if it is a personal determination. This is not true. After the Experience the Experience’s process in charge. It develops the experiencer’s potential, the knowledge of which is something humans are apparently not wired to understand, as yet …
- A thoughtful sense of humour and can laugh at themselves.
I don’t know about “thoughtful”. Spontaneous might be a better word.
- “… a tendency to be open, unconventional and spontaneous”, not confined by social expectations.
Yes, but that can be a lonely, alienating effect.
- ” … they do not see things simply as a means to an end. Their journey towards achieving a goal is just as important and enjoyable as accomplishing the goal”.
This sounds suspiciously like self will. The Experience does not give you a goal, it IS the goal … Deus Sufficit, or, in this case, Reality is enough. I think a Quaker Elder who said to me, “Let go and let God” was nearer the truth of the experience of Reality than this expression of human interference.