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Can we learn to be critically self-conscious?

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Topic: Can we learn to be critically self-conscious?
Posted By: coberst
Subject: Can we learn to be critically self-conscious?
Date Posted: 17-Apr-2009 at 20:50

Can we learn to be critically self-conscious?


In his book “The Assault on Reason” Al Gore informs me that he concluded after talking to many candidates of both parties in the 2006 election cycle that they had spent two thirds of their campaign funds on thirty second TV ads.


If that is not an indication of a shallow minded irresponsible citizenry I do not know what is. The political candidates recognize that the way to get votes is to follow the Madison Avenue advertising approach of bombarding the citizens with sound bite.


Al goes on to explain that part of the problem rests in an early childhood syndrome called “attachment theory”. Attachment theory is a relatively new theory of development psychology, which states that infants develop very early in their lives an attitude toward their relationship to the world resulting from their relationship in the first year of life with their parents.


Children take on three general attitudes:

The child learns that s/he has significant control of the world because the parents responded consistently and quickly to the child’s needs.

The child develops “anxious resistant attachment” when the parents respond inconsistently to the child’s pleas.

In the worst case the child receives no emotional response to its pleas.


The point I wish to make is that we were all raised in various manners and as a result of that raising we develop deep seated attitudes toward the world that significantly affect the rest of our lives is not recognized by us and then dealt with.


Must we journey through life handicapped by these early attachments developed in the first few years of life? It seems reasonable to me that if we learned to be self-critical we can, probably with difficulty, make significant changes in our life. I think that this process might be what Maslow was talking about when he developed the hierarchy of need.


Abraham Maslow defined a hierarchy of needs to be:

1) Biological and Physiological (water, food, shelter, air, sex, etc.)

2) Safety (security, law and order, stability,

3) Belonging and love (family, affection, community, etc.)

4) Esteem (self-esteem, independence, prestige, achievement, etc.)

5) Self-Actualization (self-fulfillment, personal growth, realizing personal potential, etc.)


This hierarchy made us conscious of the obvious fact that we did not fret about the absence of self-esteem if we did not already have security nor did we worry about security if we did not have water to drink or air to breath.


The pinnacle of needs Maslow labeled S-A (Self-Actualization). In “The Farther Reaches of Human Nature” 1971, Maslow speaks of these needs and he apparently (as far as I know) introduced this new concept S-A as in “mid-stream rather than ready for formulation into a final version”.


Maslow said “The people I selected for my investigation were older people…When you select out for careful study very fine and healthy people…you are asking how tall can people grow, what can a human being become?”


What do you think about self-actualization?

Posted By: Seko
Date Posted: 17-Apr-2009 at 22:12
Hello coberst, you raise an interesting question. First off he paved the way for psychologists to focus on healthy instead of abnormal behaviors. Does his hierarchy hold true? Well, not necessarily but they give us a working formula to base our assumptions on. People can and do meet their needs regardless of the confines of his hierarchy. His rigid structure is not a fixed behavioral mechanism. Like most any subjective theory it is filled with bias, in this case from the man himself and rating one's self-actualizing behavior is not necessarily measured from a standardized system. Also, the definition in and of itself is open to interpretation and clarification.
That being said, we all have human needs. Some needs are more specific and precious to us at various moments in time. As for the traits of Self-Actualization itself, Malsow did give us a clue as to what they are:
  • Acceptance and Realism: Self-actualized people have realistic perceptions of themselves, others and the world around them.
  • Problem-centering: Self-actualized individuals are concerned with solving problems outside of themselves, including helping others and finding solutions to problems in the external world. These people are often motivated by a sense of personal responsibility and ethics.
  • Spontaneity: Self-actualized people are spontaneous in their internal thoughts and outward behavior. While they can conform to rules and social expectations, they also tend to be open and unconventional.
  • Autonomy and Solitude: Another characteristics of self-actualized people is the need for independence and privacy. While they enjoy the company of others, these individuals need time to focus on developing their own individual potential.
  • Continued Freshness of Appreciation: Self-actualized people tend to view the world with a continual sense of appreciation, wonder and awe. Even simple experiences continue to be a source of inspiration and pleasure.
  • Peak Experiences: Individuals who are self-actualized often have what Maslow termed peak experiences, or moments of intense joy, wonder, awe and ecstasy. After these experiences, people feel inspired, strengthened, renewed or transformed.3
In summmary, we try to achieve our potential (open to speculation, of course). How we go about doing that is as varied and personal as each person is different. We can classify those traits that we admire and try to reach a concensus as to the desireability of them.
Of another note - William Glasser also has a theory on psychological developement based on needs as well. His Reality Theory focuses on Power, Love and Belonging, Freedom, Fun and Basic Phsycial needs. The key is to find a balance between all of them. - - -

Copyright 2004 Seko

Posted By: Dolphin
Date Posted: 18-Apr-2009 at 13:26
Hmm, I see it more this way.

Self actualization

From Dolphin, the free encyclopedia

  (Redirected from - Self actualisation )">
This article needs additional - citations  for - verification . Please help - improve this article  by adding - reliable references  (ideally, using - inline citations ). Unsourced material may be - challenged  and - removed . (April 2007)

Self-actualisation is a term that has been used in various - psychology  theories, often in slightly different ways (e.g., - Goldstein , - Maslow , - Rogers ). The term was originally introduced by the - organismic theorist - Kurt Goldstein  for the motive to realise all of one's potentialities. In his view, it is the master motive—indeed, the only real motive a person has, all others being merely manifestations of it. However, the concept was brought to prominence in Abraham Maslow's - hierarchy of needs  theory as the final level of psychological development that can be achieved when all basic and mental needs are fulfilled and the "actualisation" of the full personal potential takes place.


 [ javascript:toggleToc%28%29 - hide ]
  • - - 1  - Self-actualisation in Goldstein's Theory
  • - - 2  - Self-actualisation and Maslow's Hierarchy
  • - - 3  - Self Actualisation in Psychology
  • - - 4  - See also
  • - - 5  - Notes
  • - - 6  - References

[ - edit ]Self-actualisation in Goldstein's Theory

According to Kurt Goldstein's book The Organism: A Holistic Approach to Biology Derived from Pathological Data in Man, self-actualization is "the tendency to actualise, as much as possible, [the organism's] individual capacities" in the world. The tendency to self-actualisation is "the only drive by which the life of an organism is determined." - [1]  Goldstein defined self-actualization as a driving life force that will ultimately lead to maximizing one's abilities and determine the path of one's life; compare - will to power .

[ - edit ]Self-actualisation and Maslow's Hierarchy

The term was later used by - Abraham Maslow  in his article, A Theory of Human Motivation. Maslow explicitly defines self-actualisation to be "the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for him [the individual] to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming." - [2]  Maslow used the term self-actualisation to describe a desire, not a driving force, that could lead to realizing one's capabilities. Maslow did not feel that self-actualization determined one's life; rather, he felt that it gave the individual a desire, or motivation to achieve budding ambitions. - [3]  Maslow's usage of the term is now popular in modern psychology when discussing personality from the humanistic approach.

A basic definition from a typical college text book defines self-actualization according to Maslow simply as "the full realisation of one's potential" without any mention of antiquated Goldstein. - [3]

A more explicit definition of self-actualisation according to Maslow is "intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately of what is the organism itself...self-actualization is growth-motivated rather than deficiency-motivated." - [4]  This explanation emphasises the fact that self-actualization can not normally be reached until other lower order necessities of Maslow's hierarchy of needs are satisfied. While Goldstein defined self-actualisation as a driving force, Maslow uses the term to describe personal growth that takes place once lower order needs have been met.

People that have reached self-actualisation are characterised by certain behaviors. Common traits amongst people that have reached self-actualisation are as follows: - [5]

For Goldstein it was a motive and for Maslow it was a level of development; for both, however, roughly the same kinds of qualities were expressed: independence, autonomy, a tendency to form few but deep friendships, a "philosophical" sense of humor, a tendency to resist outside pressures and a general transcendence of the environment rather than a simple "coping" with it. - [6]

[ - edit ]Self Actualisation in Psychology

Self actualization resides at the top of - Maslow's hierarchy of needs  and is considered a part of the humanistic approach to personality. The humanistic approach is one of several methods used in psychology for studying, understanding, and evaluating personality. The humanistic approach was developed because other approaches, such as the psychodynamic approach made famous by - Sigmund Freud , focused on unhealthy individuals that exhibited disturbed behavior. - [3]

The humanistic approach focuses on healthy, motivated people and tries to determine how they define the self while maximizing their potential. - [3]

Stemming from this branch of psychology is Maslow's hierarchy of needs. According to Maslow, people have lower order needs that in general must be fulfilled before high order needs can be satisfied. As a person moves up Maslow's hierarchy of needs, eventually they will reach the summit—self actualization. - [3]  Maslow's hierarchy of needs begins with the most basic necessities deemed "the physiological needs" in which the individual will seek out items like food and water, and must be able to perform basic functions such as breathing and sleeping. - [7]  Once these needs have been met, a person can move on to fulfilling the "the safety needs", where they will attempt to obtain a sense of security, physical comforts and shelter, employment, and property. - [8]  The next level is "the belongingness and love needs", where people will strive for social acceptance, affiliations, a sense of belongingness and being welcome, sexual intimacy, and perhaps a family. - [9]  Next are "the esteem needs", where the individual will desire a sense of competence, recognition of achievement by peers, and respect from others. - [10]  Some argue that once these needs are met, an individual is primed for self actualization. Others argue that there are two more phases an individual must progress through before self actualization can take place. These include "the cognitive needs", where a person will desire knowledge and an understanding of the world around them, and "the aesthetic needs" which include a need for "symmetry, order, and beauty". - [3]  Once all these needs have been satisfied, the final stage of Maslow's hierarchy—self actualization—can take place. - [11]

[ - edit ]See also"> - Psychology portal

[ - edit ]Notes

  1. - ^  Goldstein 1995
  2. - ^  Maslow, 2006 - Theories of Human Motivation
  3. - - b - - d - - f  Gleitman and Reisberg
  4. - ^  Maslow 1987
  5. - ^  Gleitman and Reisberg 2004 and Maslow, 1969
  6. - ^  Reber
  7. - ^  Gleitman and Reisberg 2004 and Maslow 1969
  8. - ^  Gleitman and Reisberg 2004 and Maslow 1969
  9. - ^  Gleitman and Reisberg 2004 and Maslow 1969
  10. - ^  Gleitman and Reisberg 2004 and Maslow 1969
  11. - ^  Gleitman and Reisberg 2004 and Maslow 1969

[ - edit ]References


Am not I Dametas? Why, am not I Dametas?

Posted By: Parnell
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 11:02

The original position is a central feature of John Rawls's social contract account of justice, “justice as fairness,” set forth in A Theory of Justice (TJ). It is designed to be a fair and impartial point of view that is to be adopted in our reasoning about fundamental principles of justice. In taking up this point of view, we are to imagine ourselves in the position of free and equal persons who jointly agree upon and commit themselves to principles of social and political justice. The main distinguishing feature of the original position is “the veil of ignorance”: to insure impartiality of judgment, the parties are deprived of all knowledge of their personal characteristics and social and historical circumstances. They do know of certain fundamental interests they all have, plus general facts about psychology, economics, biology, and other social and natural sciences. The parties in the original position are presented with a list of the main conceptions of justice drawn from the tradition of social and political philosophy, and are assigned the task of choosing from among these alternatives the conception of justice that best advances their interests in establishing conditions that enable them to effectively pursue their final ends and fundamental interests. Rawls contends that the most rational choice for the parties in the original position are the two principles of justice. The first principle guarantees the equal basic rights and liberties needed to secure the fundamental interests of free and equal citizens and to pursue a wide range of conceptions of the good. The second principle provides fair equality of educational and employment opportunities enabling all to fairly compete for powers and prerogatives of office; and it secures for all a guaranteed minimum of the all-purpose means (including income and wealth) that individuals need to pursue their interests and to maintain their self-respect as free and equal persons.

"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.

Posted By: coberst
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 11:52

I think that the area in which Western society fails most egregiously is in the matter of an intellectual life after schooling.  We have a marvelous brain that goes into the attic after schooling is complete and is brought out only occasionally on the job or when we try to play bridge or chess.

It appears to me that the fundamental problem faced by most Western democracies is a lack of intellectual sophistication of the total population. Our colleges and universities have prepared young people to become good producers and consumers. The college graduate has a large specialized database that allows that individual to quickly enter the corporate world as a useful cog in the machine. The results display themselves in our thriving high standard of living, high technology corporate driven life styles.

We are excellent at instrumental rationality and deficient at developing the rationality and understanding required for determining normative values. It seems to me that our societies are not prepared intellectually for the demanding task ahead. The only solution seems to be a change that will significantly increase the intellectual sophistication of the society as a whole. We need a rising tide of intellectual sophistication and Self-Actualization might be the way for our adults to add an intellectual life to their acquisitions.


To get an idea about S-A you might examine - You can do a Google and find other sites that you might find more interesting.

Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 12:03
My dear coberst,
It must be so wonderful to have so much to teach, and so little to learn. I do wish that all of my thoughts had coalesced, years ago, to the point where I did not need to take into account the opinions of others. O that I had the wisdom that you gained years ago. Yet here I wait, foolishly responding to the unenlightened who have failed to grasp what was apparent to me. I should really just start copying and pasting my responses from previous threads in this forum. Yes! That's a wonderful idea!

Posted By: Parnell
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 12:10
Somewhat inspired by this ( - ) article I read today, what do you think the future holds for Africa? Time and time again the world has felt let down by its leaders, who at the start of their reigns always look so progressive and dynamic, but turn out deeply flawed and corrupted as time goes on.
I suppose the real debate is whether the world economy can actually sustain a developed Africa? Is it even possible for all of the world to enjoy a reasonable standard of living, when we are so used to transferring our manufactures abroad, in order to keep the cost of our imports ludicrously low? Will something have to give, a new economic theory perhaps, that can see both a global balance in living standards associated with equitable economic performance?

"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.

Posted By: Seko
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 14:55
Don't worry Ako, Coberst is taking us to a higher plane. If we read enough of his copy/paste pseudo intellectualism we too can soon self-actualize our potential. 

Copyright 2004 Seko

Posted By: Akolouthos
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 16:36
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Don't worry Ako, Coberst is taking us to a higher plane. If we read enough of his copy/paste pseudo intellectualism we too can soon self-actualize our potential. 
Is this the way I ascend to the astral plane? And here I've been reading New Age junk for years when the answer was right before me! LOL
Seriously though, it's a pity. Some of the stuff posted is pretty good, and he makes some keen observations. I just wish we could all discuss it without having another prefabricated post thrown back in our faces.

Posted By: Omar al Hashim
Date Posted: 20-Apr-2009 at 07:58
Originally posted by Dolphin Dolphin wrote:

Hmm, I see it more this way...

Ha ha Dolphin & Parnell, the CoC applies to you too. We've discussed cobersts posts & decided that they aren't plagerising
Originally posted by coberst coberst wrote:

I think that the area in which Western society fails most egregiously is in the matter of an intellectual life after schooling.  We have a marvelous brain that goes into the attic after schooling is complete and is brought out only occasionally on the job or when we try to play bridge or chess.

It appears to me that the fundamental problem faced by most Western democracies is a lack of intellectual sophistication of the total population.

I don't think this is just true for western societies, I think this is true for all human societies. I think that to some point that alot of the population aren't even interested in intellectual life, and to be honest, half of those who do end up in their own weird little funny world (or maybe all of us do, depending on which half you're looking from)

"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
~ Heraclius, Roman Emperor

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