NOTES ON ABRAHAM MASLOW

BACKGROUND: Maslow studied with or was heavily influenced by Alfred Adler, Max Wertheimer, Harry Harlow, Erich Fromm, and anthrologist Ruth benedict.

HUMANISTIC OR "THIRD FORCE" PSYCHOLOGY stresses what is positive and hopeful in us. It was in part a reaction against the behaviorists' mechanistic, determanistic emphasis, and the gloomy, destructive character of psychoanalysis with its emphasis on the dark and destructive sides of human nature .

MASLOW'S PSYCHOLOGY: He wanted to develop a psychology that would deal with the best and highest potentials in human nature. He emphasized belongingness, love, affection respect for others, and building self-respect, noting that "all of these are largely outside the money economy altogether; they can be given to the poorest family."

POTENTIAL PRESENT IN ALL AT BIRTH: Stressed that despite unfortunate early experiences, we can change, grow, and become healthy. The potential for psychological growth and health is present in every person at birth.

INNER NATURE. We have an essentially biologically based inner nature that is intrinsic, unchanging, and uniques. It is not evil but rather neutral or good and therefore it is best to bring it out and encourage it. Suppressing it can lead to psychological or physical sickness. It is forever pressing fora actualization but is delicate and easily suppressed by cultural pressure and habit. If it is permitted to guide our life we grow healthy, fruitful, & happy. (Dare I call it "The Force" within us?)

HIERARCHY OF NEEDS. We each have a hierarchy of needs that ranges from "lower" to "higher." As lower needs are fulfilled there is a tendency for other, higher needs to emergy. Maslow's theory states that people tend to fulfill needs in an order of survival, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, self-actualization, and finally spiritual or transcendence needs.

EMERGENCE AND PRESENCE OF NEEDS. As in the Gestalt concept of figure-ground, just one need emerge into the foreground at a given time. Which one deends on which othe have been satisfied.

NEEDS IN THE HIERARCHY INCLUDE:

ESTEEM AND SELF-ESTEEM NEEDS ARE UNIVERSAL. Everyone prefers to feel important, needed, useful, successful, proud, respected, rather than unimportant, interchangeable, autonomous, wasted, unused, expendable, disrespected.

D-MOTIVATION (DEFICIENCY MOTIVATION.) Deficiency motivationoccurs when we lack something and try to meet that lack. We seek the reduction of tension and restoration of equilibrium.

B-MOTIVATION (BEING MOTIVATION) (also called growth motivation) involves the motivation for psychological growth, and developing and fulfilling our potentialities. Being or growth is an intrinsic motive. Gratification brings increased motivation, and heightened excitement and activity. It is a rewarding prodcess for its own sake.

"B-Psychology. . .is, in part, a study of ideal conditions, end-states, peak experiences, ideal conditions of work, play, and social living."

"METANEEDS" ARE THE "BEING NEEDS." Failure to satify them, thought Maslow, is harmful just as is failure to satisfy the lower needs. Frustration of metaneeds produces metapathology.

EXAMPLES OF B-VALUES AND RELATED METAPATHOLOGY: Beauty is a B-value. Vulgarity, loss of taste, restlessness, bleakness are the metapathology. Wholeness is a B-balue; Disintegration is the metapathology. Playfulness is a B-value; Grimness, depression, loss of zest in life are metapathologies.

NEUROSIS is a deficiency need that implies ungratified wishes for safety, love, belongingness, esteem, etc.

DEFENSIVENESS: Can be a healthy characteristic that allows the individual to feel no more pain at a given time than is tolerable.

PEAK EXPERIENCES. Characteristics: Often the whole world is perceived as an integrated and unified whole, that it is all of a piece and we are part of it, belong to it, experienced in a profound and deep way. Nature is more easily seen as being for itself, rather than just put there for hjuman purposes. Perception can be ego-transcending, unselfish. The normal consciousness of time and space can dissolve. The world is seen as beautiful and good. Even bad times in life are accepted more easily. There tends to be a transient loss of fear, anxiety, inhibition, defense and control, perplexity, confusion, conflict, delay and restraint. Sometimes the changes in perspective that occur are enduring.

PREREQUISITE FOR ACHIEVING SELF-ACTUALIZATION is at least partial satisfaction of physiological, safety, belongingness and love, and esteem needs.

EMPHASIS ON SELF-ACTUALIZING PERSONS. Maslow believed that to understand psychological health, we should study the psychologically healthiest persons. Metaphor: if we want to understand great athletic performance, we will study Olympic gold medal winners, not average athletes. So he conducted a study of people whom he termed "self-actualizing."

METHODOLOGY in the study of self-actualizing persons (chosen for unusual creativity and contributions to society.) Interviews, free association, and projective techniques with people then living. Did analysies of biographical and autobiographical material with people not then alive.

CHARACTERISTICS OF SELF-ACTUALIZERS

SELF-ACTUALIZERS HAVE WEAKNESSES TOO. "Self-actualizers can at times be silly, thoughtless, stubborn, irritating, vain, ruthless, and temperamental, [and] are not free of guilt, anxiety, shame, worry, or conflict," writes Duane Schultz. However, they display these qualities less often than do most people.

PEAK EXPERIENCES AND SELF-ACTUALIZERS. Times of overwhelming ecstacy, bliss, awe, etc. Some self-actualizers have many peaks of strong intensity and others who have fewer, milder peaks. He called them "peakers" and "nonpeakers." The latter tend to be more efficient and practical in the world. May be leaders or executives. The former tend to be esthetic, mysical, poetic, and religious. More likely to be discoverers and innovators.

SYNERGY (term coined by Ruth Benedict): A situation or society is set up so that when I am pursuing my own self-interest, I automatically benefit you (or everyone else), whether I intend to or not. And you do the same or me.

PERSON AND COMMUNITY/SOCIETY Maslow was interested in self-realization through community. Society should be set up, he held, to maximize synergy. The better person and group are causes and effects of each other, and the better group and society are causes and effects of each other. An increase in intrapsychic synergy in one person is at the same time a move in the direction of increased synergy in others, the team, the organization, the society, etc.

AUTONOMY AND ITS LIMITS "everyone prefers to be a prime mover rather than a passive helper, a tool, a cork tossed about on the waves. This is certainly true, but only for the more mature, more healthy person. Plenty of people are afraid of deciding for themselves. They prefer to be dependent and slavish and don't want to make up their own minds."

EUPSYCHIAN MANAGEMENT: Works where people prefer to be autonomous, to fix what needs fixing, who grow through both delight and boredom, etc.

MEANING AND WHOLENESS IN WORK. All human beings prefer meaningful work to meaningless work. And a person prefers to use all his or her capacities, and resents being treated as just a "part."

CRITIQUE OF AUTHORITARIAN ORGANIZATIONS. Authoritarian management outrages the dignity wof the worker, who then fights back to restore dignity and self-esteem, actively with hostility and vandalism, or passively like a slave, in underhanded ways, with sly and vidious countermeasures. Maslow says, To deal with someone who likes and is used to authoritarian situations, I begin in an authoritarian manner, establish control, and then move in a more democratic direction.

THE BEST MANAGERS increase the health of thw orkers whom they anage, via gratifying both basic needs and the metaneeds.

SCIENCE AND RELIGION are both too narrly conceived and too dichotomized and separated from each other.

SCIENCE has been too mechanistic, positivistic, reductionistic, too desperately trying to be value-free. This attitude dooms science to be mere technology, amoral and non-ethical. A larger science will examine ethics and values, to determine which serve us best, in what ways.

RELIGION too often cuts itself off from facts, knowledge and science, to the point of saying essentially that they have nothing more to learn. Religions too often claim that their founding revelation was complete, perfect, final, and eternal, that they have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing more to learn. Faith can degenerate into blind belief, unquestioning obedience, and last ditch loyalty no matter what that produces sheep rather than men.