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Farther Reaches of Human Nature by Maslow - Electric Pages
books made me

Electric Pages
Date: 2005-09-17 20:04
Subject: Farther Reaches of Human Nature by Maslow
Security: Public
Tags:a_h_maslow, psychology
The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (1971)
by Abraham H. Maslow
407 pages
Penguin Arkana

This is a collection of papers that Maslow was editing into a book at the time of his death. Most of them were left basically as they were when they were published seperately, leading to a bit of a scattered reading experience. I knew of Maslow strictly from his needs hierarchy, explained dryly by various disinterested teachers, so it was interesting to read his thoughts first-hand. Maslow had the unique idea that, instead of studying the sick, as most psychologists and other doctors do, he would take a look at the healthiest, happiest, and most successful people, and see what they had in common, why they had succeeded where the vast majority of people fail realizing their potential. So most of this book is focused on self-actualization, specifically through a humanistic view.

I think I got a lot out of reading this book, but Maslow's style and personality sometimes annoys. A lot of this is 'educated guesswork' and just personal intuition and feeling, though I suppose as he had a PhD he needed to dress it up as science 'to be verified later'. So yeah, interesting thoughts, but I don't think I quite agree with the overall picture, or the entire vision Maslow paints.

pg.7 - On the whole I think it fair to say that human history is a record of the ways in which human nature has been sold short. The highest possibilities of human nature have practically always been underrated. Even when "good specimens," the saints and sages and great leaders of history, have been availible for study, the temptation too often has been to consider them not human but supernaturally endowed.
pg.17 - But finally, and perhaps most important of all, if we love or are fascinated or are profoundly interested, we are less tempted to interfere, to control, to change, to improve. My finding is that, that which you love, you are prepared to leave alone.
pg.26 - Facts often opoint in a direction, i.e. they are vectorial. Facts just don't lie there like pancakes, just doing nothing; they are to a certain extent signposts which tell you what to do, which make suggestions to you, which nudge you in one direction rather than another. They "call for," they have deman character, they even have "requiredness"...I get the feeling frequently whenever we get to know enough, that then we know what to do, or we know much better what we do.
pg.29 - Getting along well within one's inner world may be as important as social competence or reality competence.
pg.31 - To say it very bluntly and unequivocally, one absolutely necessary aspect of this self-awareness is a kind of phenomenology of one's own inner biology, of which I call "instinctoid," of one's animality and specieshood. This is certainly what psychoanalysis tries to do, i.e., to help one to become conscious of one's animal urges, needs, tensions, depressions, tastes, anxieties.
pg.32 - I had not realized sufficiently that in most neuroses, and in many other disturbances as well, the inner signals become week or even disappear entirely and/or are not "heard" or cannot be heard. At the very extreme we have the experientially empty person, the zombie, the one with empty insides.
pg.33 - Neurosis is by contrast a very hopeful kind of thing. It means that a man who is frightened, who doesn't trust himself, who has a low self-image, etc., still reaches out for the human heritage and for the basic gratifications to which every human being has a right simply by virtue of being human. You might say it's a kind of timid and ineffectual striving toward self-actualization, toward full-humanness.
pg.35 - If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life. You will be evading your own capacities, your own possibilities.
pg.38 - Thus it is certainly demonstrable that we need the truth and love it and seek it. And yet it is just as easy to deomnstrate that we are simultaneously afraid to know the truth. For instance, certain truths carry automatic responsibilities which may be anxity-producing. One way to evade the responsibility and the anxiety is simply to evade consciousness of the truth.
pg.43 - In fact, I would go so far as to claim that these B-Values[Being-Values] are the meaning of life for most people, but many people don't even recognize that they have these metaneeds.
pg.49 - People selected as self-actualizing subjects, people who fit the criteria, go about it in these little ways: They listen to their own voices; they take responsibility; they are honest; and they work hard. They find out who they are and what they are, not only in terms of their mission in life, but also in terms of the way their feet hurt when they wear such and such a pair of shoes and whether they do or do not like eggplant or stay up all night if they drink too much beer. All this is what the real self means. They find their own biological natures, their congenital natures, which are irreversible or difficult to change.
pg.50 - The people we call "sick" are the people who are not themselves, the people who have built up all sorts of neurotic defenses against being human.
pg.56 - I may go so far as to say for the educational enterprise: What's the use of teaching facts? Facts become obsolete so darned fast!
pg.62 - The greatest cause of our alienation from our real selves is our neurotic involvements with other people, the historical hangovers from childhood, the irrational transferences, in which past and present are confused, and in which the adult acts like a child.
pg.64 - Becoming more courageous makes it easier to let oneself be attracted by mystery, by the unfamiliar, by the novel, by the ambiguous and contradictory, by the unusual and unexpected, etc.
pg.66 - Creativeness is therefore systemic; i.e., a whole--or Gestalt--quality of the whole person; it is not added-to the organism like a coat of paint...it is the opposite of dissociation. Here-now-allness is less dissociated (split) and more one...Part of the process of integration of the person is the recovery of aspects of the unconscious and preconscious, particulairly of the primary process (or poetic, metaphoric, mystic, primitive, archaic, childlike).
pg.67 - For many confused scientists and philosophers, the equation, the concept, or the blueprint have become more real than the phenomenological reality itself.
pg.82 - A good deal of his energy is taken up with it and so he is apt to get tired just simply controlling himself. It is a source of fatigue. But he can manage, and get along by protecting himself against the dangerous portions of his unconscious, or against his unconscious self, or his real self, which he has been taught to regard as dangerous. He must wall off everything unconscious.
pg.87 - The conscious must become strong enough to dare friendliness with the enemy.
pg.88 - And then it becomes possible for one's civil war to end This is precisely what happens in people that I call self-actualizing. The simplest way to describe them is as psychologically healthy people.
pg.89 - The most mature people are the ones that can have the most fun.
pg.89 - Common sense means living in the world as it is today, but creative people are people who don't want the world as it is today, but want to make another world. And in order to be able to do that, they have to be able to sail right off the surface of the earth, to imagine, to fantasy, and even to be crazy, and nutty, and so on.
pg.90 - In the early stages of creativeness, you've got to be a bum, and you've got to be a Bohemian, and you've got to be crazy.
pg.95 - We must become more interested in the creative process, the creative attitued, the creative person, rather than in the creative product alone.
pg.102 - [on peak experiences]They are not hallucinations; they are not merely emotional states, lacking cognitive reference. They are reported as illuminations, as true and verdical characteristics of reality which previous blindness has hidden from them.
pg.105 - Is becomes the same as ought. Fact becomes the same as value. The world which is the case, which is described and percieved, becomes the same as the world which is valued and wished for. The world which is becomes the world which ought to be.
pg.106-What we have learned is that ultimately, the best way for a person to discover what he ought to do is to find out who and what he is, because the path to ethical and value decisions, to wiser choices, to oughtness, is via "isness," via the discovery of facts, truth, reality, the nature of the particular person. The more he knows about his own nature, his deep wishes, his temperament, his constitution, what he seeks and yearns for and what really satisfies him, the more effortless, automatic, and epiphenomenal become his value choices. Many problems simply disappear; many others are easily solved by knowing what is in conformity with one's nature, what is suitable and right. (And we must also remember that knowledge of one's own deep nature is also simultaneously knowledge of human nature in general.)...
Do you want to find out what you ought to be? Then find out who you are! "Become what thou art!" The description of what one ought to be is almost the same as the description of what one deeply is.
Here "value," in the sense of telos, of the end toward which you are striving, the terminus, the Heaven, exists right now.
pg.116 - You don't mind exerting strength if you are sure of yourself. Sure knowledge means sure ethical decision. Certainty in the diagnosis, then, means certainty in the treatment.
pg.126 - Since spontenaity is difficult, most people can be called "human impersonators," i.e., they are "trying" to be what they think is human, rather than just be what they are.
pg.161 - As Emerson said, "What we are, that only can we see." But we must now add that what we see tends in turn to make us what it is and what we are.
pg.168 - When you get a new model, a new paradigm, a new way of percieving, new definitions of the old words, words which now mean something else, suddenly, you have an illumination, an insight. You see things in a different way.
pg.171 - There are signals from inside, there are voices that yell out, "By gosh this is good, don't ever doubt it!" This is a path, one of the ways that we try to teach self-actualization and the discovery of the self. The discovery of identiy comes via the impulse voices, via the ability to listen to your own guts, and to their reactions and to what is going on inside of you.
pg.173 - Children i nthe usual classroom learn very quickly that creativity is punished, while repeating a memorized response is rewarded, and concentrate on what the teacher wants them to say, rather than understanding the problem. Since classroom learning focuses on behaviour rather than on thought, the child learns exactly how to behave while keeping his thoughts his own.
pg.177 - Finding one's identity is almost synonymous with finding one's career, revealing the altar on which one will sacrifice oneself.
pg.202 - This deep assumption in so many of us that what we wish for, what we yearn for, what we like, what tastes good, is probably not wise, not good, not correct. But the appetite and other free-choice experiements indicate, on the contrary, that it is more likely that we enjoy what is good for us, at least with fairly good choosers and under fairly good conditions.
pg.219 - There are all sorts of games cooked up to cover the truth, but the truth is that the average American citizen does not have a real friend in the world.
pg.230 - Gratified basic needs just simply cease to exist in a certain sense, at least in consciousness.
pg.232 - But we should, according to motivation theory, never expect a cessation of complaints; we should expect only that these complaints will get to be higher and higher complaints.
pg.280 - But for peak-experiencers and transcenders in particular, as well as self-actualizers in general, mystery is attractive and challenging rather than frightening.
pg.293 - Ideally, one also discovers one's fate; it is not only made or constructed or decided upon. It is recognized as if one had been unwittingly waiting for it.
pg.311 - Not only are we passively value-deprived into metapathology by the environment; we also fear the highest values, both within ourselves and outside ourselves.
pg.314 - The spiritual life is then part of the human essence. It is a defining-characteristic of human nature, without which human nature is not full human nature. It is part of the Real Self, of one's identity, of one's inner core, of one's specieshood, of full humanness.
pg.322 - Perhaps his thrilling to nature will one day be understood as a kind of self-recognition, or self-experience.
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