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Maslow's Concepts, Lexicon and Timeline.



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1. An overview of Maslow's ideas and lexicon


The concept of the well-adjusted personality or of good adjustment sets a low ceiling upon the possibility for advancement and for growth. The cow, the slave, the robot may all be well adjusted (Maslow, 1954b, p. 376).

A passive shaping of oneself to one's culture (Maslow, 1954b, p.388).

Adjustment means a passive shaping of oneself to one's culture, to the external environment. But supposing it is a sick culture? Or to give another example, we are slowly learning not to prejudge juvenile delinquents as being necessarily bad or undesirable on psychiatric grounds. Crime and delinquency and bad behavior in children may sometimes represent psychiatrically and biologically legitimate revolt against exploitation, injustice, and unfairness. Adjustment is a passive rather than active process; its ideal is attained in the cow or in the slave or anyone else who can be happy without individuality, even, e.g., the well-adjusted lunatic or prisoner (Maslow, 1954b, p. 338).

An example is the changing attitude of psychologists toward popularity, toward adjustment, even toward delinquency. Popular with whom? Perhaps it is better for a youngster to be unpopular with the neighboring snobs or with the local country club set. Adjusted to what? To a bad culture? To a dominating parent? What shall we think of a well-adjusted slave? A well-adjusted prisoner? Even the behavior problem boy is being looked upon with new tolerance. Why is he delinquent? Most often it is for sick reasons. But occasionally it is for good reasons and the boy is simply resisting exploitation, domination, neglect, contempt, and trampling upon (Maslow, 1962f, p. 7).

Psychology should study the human being not just as passive clay, helplessly determined by outside forces. Man is, or should be, an active, autonomous, self-governing mover, chooser and center of his own life. The so-called stimulus-response psychology has unintentionally created what might be called a Stimulus-Response man, passive, shaped, adjusting, learning. With him should be contrasted the creative, active man, who invents, makes decisions, accepts some stimuli and rejects others, who, in fact, creates his own stimuli. Posing this opposition may help in understanding why more and more psychologists are growing worried about the concept of 'adjustment.' Adjustment, whether to the culture, to other people, or to nature, essentially means being passive, letting oneself be shaped from the outside. It is trying to be what others want, instead of searching for one's real self. From this point of view, psychologists are increasingly beginning to criticize the conception of learning as a passive process (Maslow, 1965h, pp. 31-32).

Adler, Alfred

Maslow attended seminars held by Adler every Friday night at Adler's suite at the Gramercy Hotel, 1934/35. According to Taylor, one of Adler's key influences was giving Maslow "an intuitive picture of the total person in the context of his or her environment" (Taylor, 2009, p. 169).


Maslow's term for a biologically superior and dominant person

American Association for Humanistic Psychology:

In 1963 Maslow helped establish the American Association for Humanistic Psychology.

American Psychological Association:

On July 8, 1966, Maslow was elected President of the Association

Maslow expressed his irritation and frustration with the APA: "I remember how saddened and irritated I was by an official report of a major committee of the American Psychological Association on the future of psychological science. The recommendations were principally methodological: how to be cautious, how to check, how to discover mistakes, how to validate, how to be accurate and precise. Hardly a word was mentioned about the need for creativeness, for new ideas, breaking out of the rut, taking a chance, encouraging uncertainty and exploration. It was all so much like the road maps given out at a gas station, that tell us how to make our way from known place to place. Not a word is given about the no-man's land where there are no street signs and paved roads; not a word about the pioneering and trail-breaking that are necessary before the maps can be made" (Maslow, 1965h, pp. 25-26).

Anti-Semitism in Maslow's life:

To reach this haven [the library], Maslow had to leave the security of his Jewish block and venture through "enemy lines." This necessitated careful planning of escape routes through back alleys and broken wooden fences. If a non-Jewish gang spotted him, they would chase and curse him, hurling rocks at his head (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 3).

He heard teachers speaking contemptuously of him as "that smart Jew," and throughout his youth he was tormented by gangs of anti-Semitic thugs (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 4).

There was an older boy "laying" for me. Whenever he caught me, he would kick and punch me, usually for some reason I do not remember. I think it was because I was one of the first Jews in the school (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 5).

Deeply resentful, Maslow dreamed of "destroy[ing] the priests & the churches that had hurt me so much" (Maslow, 1979, p. 387).

Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron:

Maslow's personal papers are held at the Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron. Includes correspondence, photographs, and unpublished journals and manuscripts.


Maslow was a confirmed atheist early in his life and remained one throughout (Lowry, 1973, p. 19).


-Every baby born is capable, in principle, of self-actualization.

-You should never give up on anyone, ever.

-Man has an instinctoid higher nature. It's possible to grow this or to stunt it. Society can do either (Maslow, B., 1972, p. 113).

Being-cognition (B-cognition) / transcendent cognition:

Holistic and accepting, a higher need, a need to know both oneself and the world

The world perceived in terms of universal values (B-Values)


Hoffman, E. (1988b). The right to be human: A biography of Abraham Maslow. Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher.

Blackfoot Indians:

Ruth Benedict arranged for Maslow to get field experience and in 1938 he spent the summer living with the Blackfoot Indians near Gleichen Alberta Canada.

He abandoned the concept of cultural relativity (the idea that one culture can be understood by comparing it to the norms and values of another). "Maslow's Blackfoot Indian experience had convinced him that a man's personality was by far more important than his class membership" (Taylor, 2009, p. 241).

Those Indians on the reservation were decent people; and the more I got to know the whites in the village, who were the worst bunch of creeps and bastards I've ever run across in my life, the more it got paradoxical. Which was the asylum? Who were the keepers and who the inmates? (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 218).


Love for the Being of another person, unneeding love, unselfish love (Maslow, 1962i, p. 39).


study of ideal conditions; of ends, end-states, peak experiences, of perfection states; of unmotivated and non-instrumental aspects of behavior; of the human being insofar as he is an end in himself and not a means to an end or an instrument (Maslow, 1963c, p. 129).

B-values / Metaneeds / Growth needs:

The B-values turn out to be the meta motivations. It is desirable to make these goals conscious because these are the ideal aspirations of the human being, or it may be said that they are the limits to which the human being approaches but practically never attains (Maslow, 1963c, p. 129).

Important universal values that define one's Being. Self actualized people tend to incorporate more B-Values than those at lower levels.

Deprivation of a B-Value results in a corresponding metapathology

Childhood / childhood abuse:

Both my mother and father were uneducated. My father wanted me to be a lawyer ...

I tried law school for two weeks. Then I came home to my poor father one night ... and told him I couldn't be a lawyer.

"Well, son," he said, "what do you want?" I told him I wanted to study—to study everything. He was uneducated and couldn't understand my passion for learning, but he was a nice man (Hall, 1968, p. 37).

His father, a rather insensitive though not malicious man, asked rhetorically at a large family gathering, "Isn't Abe the ugliest kid you've ever seen?" (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 6).

Maslow eventually developed a positive relationship with his father.

"With my childhood, it's a wonder I'm not psychotic. I was a little Jewish boy in the non-Jewish neighborhood. It was a little like being the first Negro enrolled in an all-white school. I was isolated and unhappy. I grew up in libraries and among books, without friends" (Hall, 1968, p. 37).

As a child Maslow sought refuge in the Kensington branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. At one point he applied for an adult library card and was denied but pointed out that he had read every book in the children's section so they relented and gave him an adult card (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 3).

My childhood and boyhood were miserably unhappy. In retrospect, it seemed so dark and sad a period that I wonder how I accepted it so unquestioningly. I can find no single glance of happiness in all my memories (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 6).

His relationship with his mother was very bitter. She was very superstitious and miserly, keeping a lock on the refrigerator. Maslow related two incidents that highlighted his mother. He had a prized collection of 78 RPM records. After one of his trips to stores, he returned to the house with several sought-after records and laid them out on the living room floor. His mother found the records and ground her foot into them, apparently for his carelessness in leaving them on the floor. In the second incident, Abraham had found two kittens in the neighborhood and was secretly feeding them in the basement. His mother found them and was enraged that he was using one of her dishes—she smashed the kittens into the wall until they both were dead. Maslow eventually sought psychoanalysis to resolve his issues with his mother but this was apparently unsuccessful. "He even blamed the fatal illness of baby Edith on his mother's neglect." Maslow did not attend his mother's funeral. (See Hoffman, 1988b, chapter 1).

Abe was fond of his father—'a very vigorous man, who loved whiskey and women and fighting'—but was scared of him. Since my mother is the type that's called schizophrenogenic in the literature—she's the one who makes crazy people, crazy children—I was awfully curious to find out why I didn't go insane. I was certainly neurotic, extremely neurotic, during all my first twenty years—depressed, terribly unhappy, lonely, isolated, self-rejecting, and so on—but in theory it should have been much worse (Wilson, 1972, pp. 155-156).


What healthy people choose is on the whole what is "good for them" in biological terms certainly, but perhaps also in other senses ("good for them" here means "conducing to their and others' self-actualization"). Furthermore, I suspect that what is good for the healthy persons (chosen by them) may very probably be good for the less healthy people, too, in the long run, and is what the sick ones would also choose if they could become better choosers. Another way of saying this is that healthy people are better choosers than unhealthy people. . . . I propose that we explore the consequences of observing whatever our best specimens choose, and then assuming that these are the highest values for all mankind. That is, let us see what happens when we playfully treat them as biological assays, more sensitive versions of ourselves, more quickly conscious of what is good for us than we are ourselves. This is an assumption that, given enough time, we would eventually choose what they choose quickly. Or that we would sooner or later see the wisdom of their choices, and then make the same choices. Or that they perceive sharply and clearly where we perceive dimly (Maslow, 1962i, p. 159).

To average the choices of good and bad choosers, of healthy and sick people is useless. Only the choices and tastes and judgments of healthy human beings will tell us much about what is good for the human species in the long run (Maslow, 1962i, p. 143).

One cannot choose wisely for a life unless he dares to listen to himself, his own self, at each moment in life (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 46).

Concepts, evolution of:

In the summer of 1928, Maslow (age 20) read at some essays by John B. Watson. He had an intellectual awakening and had a vision of the possibility of developing a science of psychology based upon behaviorism and this led him to study psychology (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 33).

[Maslow later said these ideas about behaviorism unraveled with the birth of his first child.] When my first baby was born, that was the thunderclap that settled things. I looked at this tiny, mysterious thing and felt so stupid. I felt small, weak, and feeble. I'd say that anyone who's had a baby couldn't be a behaviorist (Hall, 1968, p. 56).

If you treat your children at home in the same way you treat your animals in the lab, your wife will scratch your eyes out. My wife ferociously warned me against experimenting on her babies (Maslow, 1979, pp. 1059-1060).

After briefly working with William H. Sheldon, Maslow studies primate behavior with Harry Harlow. Found dominance was related to sex and domination related to maleness. Dominance had more to do with inner confidence than with physical strength.

Maslow felt his work was inferior (He went into the library one day, extracted his dissertation, and threw it out of the window; he even tore out the file card (Wilson, 1972, p. 185) but his work was well received and led to several publications. Maslow loved the primate experimental setting and would have been happy to stay there permanently but no job opportunity was available (he felt in part because he was Jewish).

Maslow went on to Columbia as a Carnegie fellow where he interviewed primarily females and asked about their sexual behavior (led to several publications). Very significant because it was one of the first psychological studies done using normal subjects and because Maslow's interview technique would become important in his work on self-actualization. He preferred to work with women partly because he found males unreliable in their information about sexual behavior.

Maslow believed that based upon his primate work "knew as much about sex as any man living" and believed that if he could somehow improve sexual life by 1% he could improve the whole species (see Hall, 1968). Maslow worked with Alfred Kinsey (referred his students to Kinsey as subjects) but eventually Kinsey fell out with him over Maslow's criticisms of Kinsey's methodology. Maslow's interviews preceded Kinsey's by two years and may have inspired Kinsey.

Maintained there was a fundamental continuity between human sexuality and primate sexuality (Nicholson, 2008). "In general it is fair to say that human sexuality is almost exactly like primate sexuality with the exception that cultural pressures added to the picture, drive a good deal of sexual behavior underground into fantasies, dreams, and unexpressed wishes" (Maslow, 1942, p. 291).

Sexuality was directly related to dominance. Highly dominant women were more likely to masturbate, sleep with different men, have lesbian experience, and so on. There was a closer correlation between these things—promiscuity, masturbation, etc.—and dominance feeling than between these things and sex-drive. A medium-dominance or low-dominance woman might have a high rating for sex drive, but her sexual experience was usually limited. Low-dominance women (who were difficult to get into the study group) tended to think of sex as being mainly for child-bearing; one low-dominance woman who knew she could not bear children refused sex to her husband, even though she had a strong sex drive. Low dominance women tend to think of sex as disgusting, or as an unfortunate necessity for producing children, to dislike nudity and to regard the sexual organs as ugly. (High dominance women usually like seeing, touching and thinking about the penis, and regard it as beautiful.) . . . High dominance women like dominant males, and prefer unsentimental, even violent, lovemaking—to be swept off their feet rather than courted. She wishes to be forced into the subordinate role. . . . The low-dominance women tended to be shy and distrustful about men, while still wanting children; they were found to prefer low-dominance males, 'the gentle, timid, shy man who will adore at a distance for years before daring to speak' (Wilson, 1972, p. 190).

In 1938 Maslow spends the summer with the Blackfoot Indians in Gleichen Alberta. This led to fundamental perceptions about human nature—he saw these individuals as primarily determined by their personalities and not by their cultural or class membership. He considered these individuals superior to anyone he had never met.

Maslow said he would be happy to have continued on his work on sexuality and had planned further studies using prostitutes but he had a profound emotional experience in 1941 when he witnessed a military parade. He decided to turn the rest of his life-focus to developing a testable theory of human nature. He could not understand Hitler or Stalin as he had the deep conviction that man's inner core was fundamentally good/positive.

In the 1930's, he had been profoundly influenced by his friendships with Ruth Benedict and Max Wertheimer, and considered these two people to be categorically different than anyone else he had met (superior human beings). He decided to seek others who also represented "the best specimens of mankind" and this led to his work on self-actualization. Maslow used several terms including "good human beings" but adapted Goldstein's term self-actualization. This work began to appear in print in 1943.

In 1947 Maslow had a heart attack and went to recuperate at his brothers barrel factory in California (as plant manager). He enjoyed this business atmosphere.

Maslow took a sabbatical in 1962 going to a factory in California that had implemented assembly lines based upon McGregor's theory Y. Maslow kept a journal that was later published in 1965 as Eupsychian Management. Maslow disagreed with McGregor's theories X and Y and began to develop theory Z (later popularized in a book that did not mention Maslow).

Maslow was elected president of the American psychological Association in 1968 but found the experience very depressing because, although he was surrounded by very competent people, he could not see any B-value individuals and he felt that his ideas were only given lip service (Maslow, 1982, vol. 2, p. 794-795).

He turned away from academic psychology at the end of his life, going to California where he accepted a Fellowship from the Saga Administration Corporation.

Contributions, major:

Cultural relativism:

Social psychology must shake itself free of that variety of cultural relativism, which stresses too much man's passivity, plasticity, and shapelessness and too little his autonomy, his growth tendencies, and the maturation of inner forces (Maslow, 1954b, p. 375).


Deficiency-love, love need, selfish love (Maslow, 1962i, p. 39).

[For me, the implications of D-love are extremely important. Consider the chaos of two D-love individuals together and the resulting codependency that would be created. Or, the combination of a D-love individual with a compassionate partner. The D-love individual would become dependent upon the healthy partner. It would be the ideal situation to have two B-love individuals together but, how common would this be?]

Deficiency needs / D-needs / Basic needs:

Lower-level needs that arise due to deprivation. Satisfying these lower-level needs is important in order to avoid unpleasant feelings or consequences. All deficiency motives color perceptions of reality.

Deficiency motivations / D-Motivations:

Lower motivations, drives that arise when a physiological or psychological deficit is perceived, leading toward behavior to restore equilibrium.

Deficiency-motivated people must have other people available, since most of their main need gratifications (love, safety, respect, prestige, belongingness) can come only from other human beings. But growth motivated people may actually be hampered by others The determinants of satisfaction and of the good life are for them now inner-individual and not social. They have become strong enough to be independent of the good opinion of other people, or even of their affection (Maslow, 1954b, p. 214).

Desacralizing of science:

The banishment of all the experiences of transcendence from the realm of the respectably known and the respectably knowable, and the denial of a systematic place in science for awe, wonder, mystery, ecstasy, beauty, and peak experiences (Maslow, 1966d, p. 121).

It appears to me that science and everything scientific can be and often is used as a tool in the service of a distorted, narrowed, humorless, de-eroticized, de-emotionalized, desacralized and desanctified Weltanschauung . This desacralization can be used as a defense against being flooded by emotion, especially the emotions of humility, reverence, mystery, wonder, and awe (Maslow, 1966d, p. 139).

Dominance behavior:

One frequently encounters dominance behavior in the very absence of dominance-feeling. In these instances the dominance behavior is . . . a compensation for the lack of dominance-feeling (Lowry, 1973, p. 19).

Dominance-feeling / ego-level / self-esteem:

There was an evolution in Maslow's terminology from dominance-feeling (Maslow, 1937b), to ego-level (Maslow, 1939) to self-esteem (Maslow, 1940b, 1942d).

The attributes of personality that we have related to dominance-feeling, and which we will discuss here are such characteristics as feelings of shyness, timidity, embarrassability, self-confidence, self-consciousness, inhibition, conventionality, modesty, fearfulness, poise, inferiority feelings, social ease, and the like (Maslow, 1939, p. 3).

Maslow found a negative correlation between dominance-feeling and self-consciousness—subjects with low dominance focused upon their own problems (their shortcomings) while individuals with high dominance appeared secure and focused upon external problems. As well, Maslow found less and less inferiority feeling as dominance increased (Maslow, 1939). "High self-esteem in secure individuals results in strength rather than power-seeking, in cooperation rather than competition. High self-esteem in insecure individuals eventuates in domination, urge for power over other people and self-seeking" (Maslow, 1942d, p. 269).

Maslow connected dominance, security and health: "any discussion of dominance must be a discussion of insecure people, that is, of slightly sick people . . . study of carefully selected psychologically secure individuals indicates clearly that their sexual lives are little determined by dominance feeling" (Leonard, 1983, pp. 328-329).

The ferocity involved in dominance behavior tends to fade away as one moves up the primate intelligence scale: the monkey uses its dominance position to tyrannize; the chimpanzee, to protect (Leonard, 1983, p. 328).

Dominance behavior in primates is the result of a kind of "attitude of confidence" or "dominance-feeling."

Dominance-feeling synonyms included no fewer than the following: (1) self-confidence, (2) self-esteem, (3) high self-respect and evaluation of self, (4) consciousness or feeling of 'superiority' in a very general sense, (5) forcefulness of personality, (6) strength of character, (7) a feeling of sureness with respect to other people, (8) a feeling of being able to handle other people, (9) a feeling of masterfulness and mastery, (10) a feeling that others do and ought to admire and respect one, (11) a feeling of general capability, (12) an absence of shyness, timidity, self-consciousness, or embarrassment, (13) a feeling of pride (Lowry, 1973, p. 19).


If an ultimate goal of education is self-actualization, then education ought to help people transcend the conditioning imposed upon them by their own culture and become world citizens. Here the technical question of how to enable people to overcome their enculturation arises. How do you awaken the sense of brotherhood to all mankind in a young child that is going to enable him to hate war as an adult and do all that he can to avoid it? (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 177).

Education makes little effort to teach the individual to examine reality directly and freshly. Rather it gives him a complete set of prefabricated spectacles with which to look at the world in every aspect, e.g., what to believe, what to like, what to approve of, what to feel guilty about. Rarely is each person's individuality made much of, rarely is he encouraged to be bold enough to see reality in his own style, or to be iconoclastic or different (Maslow, 1954b, p. 284).


Maslow rated 10th overall in a list of 100 eminent psychologists of the 20th Century (Haggbloom et al., 2002).

Enculturization, resistant to:

Self-actualizers typically fit in socially but can reject accepted social/cultural practices/mores if such practices violate their own sense of right and wrong.

Enlightened management:

The synergy of workers with management that creates a more positive work environment.

Esalen Institute:

Esalen Institute:

Maslow experienced still another new world that summer [1962] in California. He and Bertha were driving along the California coast for a vacation. They made much slower progress than they had planned, and it got dark as they were driving through Big Sur. They pulled over into what seemed to be a motel. They found a group of people in an old lodge, all reading Maslow's new book, Toward a Psychology of Being. The Maslows had pulled off into Esalen Institute. The world's first growth center was just about to open. Michael Murphy, Esalen's cofounder, had just read Maslow's new book and enthusiastically bought copies for the Esalen staff. Maslow and Murphy soon became friends, and Maslow's ideas became a major influence on Esalen and on the whole human potential movement. Maslow was too much of an intellectual to become a convert to the almost total emphasis on feeling and experiencing in the human potential scene. He gave his first Esalen workshop two years after Esalen began. The Institute had been gaining a national reputation as the avant-garde center for encounter groups and other intense, emotionally charged workshops. Maslow's weekend was, in complete contrast, purely intellectual. Because they were interested in his ideas, several of the Esalen staff members sat in on his talks and discussions. In the middle of Maslow's first evening talk, Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy and enfant terrible of Esalen, got bored with the lack of emotional action. He began crawling toward an attractive woman across the room, chanting "You are my mother; I want my mother; you are my mother." This effectively broke up the evening session. Maslow left the room upset and offended. Characteristically, he shut himself in his cabin that night and thought through some of the differences between his own approach and the experiential emphasis prevalent at Esalen. That night he completed the outline of a classic article contrasting Appolonian control with Dionysian abandon (Frager, 1987a, pp. x-xi).

[In 1966] Maslow and Sutich were attending a conference at Esalen on the dialogue between humanistic psychologists and organized religion. They were sitting in an open seminar room with easy chairs exchanging ideas, when suddenly Fritz Perls and his entourage burst into the room. Fritz listened for a few moments and quickly determined in his own mind that nothing was really happening, so he dropped down on his stomach and slithered across the seminar room, finally attaching himself to the speaker's leg. Chaos ensued as some like Maslow and Sutich objected to the interruption, while Fritz's entourage were advocating the radical overthrow of speeches of any kind in favor of direct experience. Both Maslow and Sutich left the conference immediately and therefore prematurely, convinced that humanistic psychology had become captivated by experiential extremists. They had already believed that what the new psychology needed was more of a focus on spirituality and higher states of consciousness (Taylor, 2009, p. 292).

Esalen published The Farther Reaches of Human Nature as a posthumous collection of Maslow's works.


See existentialism


Maslow struggled with the question of evil as it relates to human nature—who is the prototype of humanity: Hitler or Wertheimer? Wertheimer suggested that the self contained layers and that its deeper inner core is fundamentally positive (see nature of self, below). Maslow accepted this premise, suggesting that our instinctual core is fundamentally positive and leading him to the conclusion that higher human values like pro-sociality and democracy are instinctual in nature. Maslow did not have a chance to formulate a theory of evil; this has been one of the criticisms of his work.

"It's a psychological puzzle I've been trying to solve for years. Why are people cruel and why are they nice? Evil people are rare, but you find evil behavior in the majority of people. The next thing I want to do with my life is to study evil by understanding it" (Hall, 1968, p. 35).

The fact is that people are good, if only their fundamental wishes are satisfied, their wishes for affection and security. Give people affection and security, and they will give affection and be secure in their feelings and behavior (Lowry, 1973, p. 18).


From the Greek root "eu" meaning good or euphoria and "psyche" meaning mind or soul . . . "having a good mind/soul" or "toward a good mind/soul."

A psychological Utopia in which all men are psychologically healthy . . . the inhabitants of Eupsychia would tend to be more Taoistic, nonintrusive, and basic need-gratifying (whenever possible) (Maslow, 1954b, p. 350).

A society which was specifically designed for improving the self-fulfillment and psychological health of all people (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 75).

My definition of Eupsychia is clearly a selected subculture, i.e., it is made up only of psychologically healthy or mature or self-actualizing people and their families (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 205).

Eupsychian management:

Maslow was seeking ways to make society better and he came to the conclusion that if big corporations could implement management structures based upon "enlightened management" then each employee would benefit psychologically and this would lead to fostering psychological growth in millions of individuals.

There was also a big shift over because of my interest in mass therapy. Individual therapy is useless for the masses. I had thought of education as the best bet for changing the society. But now the work situation seems even better (Maslow, 1979c, p. 191).

Assumptions of eupsychian management (Maslow, 1965c, pp. 17-33)


. . . the word, existentialism, cannot be taken seriously on its own; it must be combined with essentialism, particularly with some form of instinct theory or biological or constitutional theory (Maslow, 1963c, p. 128).

Here is an example of Maslow's strong biological essentialism: "I felt that the homosexual male could be considered to be simply wrong to choose the poorer rather than the better, because the mouth or the rectum or the armpit or the hand or whatever else in his male homosexual partner, were simply none of them as well designed for the penis as the vagina is designed. The vagina and the penis fit together very well in a biological way by inherent paradic design. They evolved isomorphically" (Maslow, 1965d, p. 12).

Man has a higher and transcendent nature, and this is part of his essence, i.e., his biological nature as a member of a species which has evolved. This means to me something which I had better spell out clearly, namely, that this is a flat rejection of the Sartre type of Existentialism, i.e., its denial of specieshood, and of a biological human nature, and its refusal to face the existence of the biological sciences (Maslow, 1970e, pp. xvi-xvii).

The affirmation of the rooting of the psyche in the body in biology is a repudiation of the strictly cultural or historical or existential explanation of psychology. From the existential point of view, this is an affirmation of biological essentialism. The human psyche is not solely a product of our immersion in existential situations ("rooted in the conditions of existence"). Man has great freedom, certainly, but not total freedom. He must pay, and pay heavily, for any repudiation of his biological nature and for any avoidance of his biological fate. He does create himself in large part, but from given possibilities (not from nothing). It also implies a repudiation of any dichotomizing of the mind and the body or of flesh and spirit or of higher nature and lower nature (Maslow, B., 1972, p. 80).

For Sartre and all those whom he has influenced, one's self becomes an arbitrary choice, a willing by fiat to be something or do something without any guidelines about which is better, which is worse, what's good and what's bad. In essentially denying the existence of biology, Sartre has given up altogether any absolute or at least any species-wide conception of values (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 178).

If we then try to define the deepest, most authentic, most constitutionally based aspects of the real self, of the identity, or of the authentic person, we find that in order to be comprehensive we must include not only the person's constitution and temperament, not only anatomy, physiology, neurology, and endocrinology, not only his capacities, his biological style, not only his basic instinctoid needs, but also the B-Values, which are also his B-Values. (This should be understood as a flat rejection of the Sartre type of arbitrary existentialism in which a self is created by fiat.) (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 304).

Fourth force psychology / Transpersonal psychology:

They [Maslow and Sutich] had already believed that what the new psychology needed was more of a focus on spirituality and higher states of consciousness. Events culminated in their overnight departure from humanistic psychology in 1969, when they turned over the reins of both the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and their involvement in the AHP to others and founded instead the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, and its subsequent Association. They poured all their attention into this newest movement, which came to emphasize meditation and altered states of consciousness. As a result, many of the major popular voices in humanistic psychology—Elana Rubenfeld, George Leonard, Karl Pribram, Stanley Krippner, and others, followed them and suddenly became the keynote speakers at the new transpersonal conferences (Taylor, 2009, p. 292).

The American Psychological Association (APA) and most academic institutions have not yet recognized transpersonal psychology as an approved area of study; transpersonal psychology is rarely mentioned in mainstream academic journals or textbooks; and relatively few American academicians identify themselves as practitioners of transpersonal psychology (Ruzek, 2007, p. 155).


I must point out that adult human beings constitute a special case. The free-choice situation does not necessarily work for people in general—only for intact ones. Sick, neurotic people make the wrong choices; they do not know what they want, and even when they do, have not courage enough to choose correctly. When we speak of free choice in human beings, we refer to sound adults or children who are not yet twisted and distorted (Maslow, 1954b, p. 350).

The "real" satisfier is preferred and chosen behaviorally by a healthy organism in a real free-choice situation; the healthier the individual the stronger the preferences and the more likely he is to be a "good chooser." Referred to in another way, there is a strong clinical correlation between the psychological health of the individual and the likelihood that he will prefer and choose the real satisfier of his needs rather than a false satisfier (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 371).


I think that Freud certainly was correct in his basic postulate. First face the truth, and that'll bring pain (Hardeman, 1979, p. 27).

I am a Freudian, I am behavioristic, I am humanistic... (Maslow, 1971, p. 4).

From Freud we learned that the past exists now in the person. Now we must learn, from growth theory and self-actualization theory that the future also now exists in the person in the form of ideals, hopes, duties, tasks, plans, goals, unrealized potentials, mission, fate, destiny, etc. One for whom no future exists is reduced to the concrete, to hopelessness, to emptiness (Maslow, 1962, p. 199).


Meaning a fusion of facts and values, and what I have to say beyond this should be understood as part of this effort to solve the "is" and "ought" problem. . . . words which themselves are both normative [what should be] and descriptive [what is] simultaneously (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 26).

Fusion concepts and words permit us to participate in the normal advance of science and knowledge from its phenomenological and experiential beginnings on toward greater reliability, greater validity, greater confidence, greater exactness, greater sharing with others and agreement with them (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 26).

Grief and pain, desirable:

The question of desirable grief and pain or the necessity for it must also be faced. Is growth and self-fulfillment possible at all without pain and grief and sorrow and turmoil? If these are to some extent necessary and unavoidable, then to what extent? If grief and pain are sometimes necessary for growth of the person, then we must learn not to protect people from them automatically as if they were always bad. Sometimes they may be good and desirable in view of the ultimate good consequences. Not allowing people to go through their pain, and protecting them from it, may turn out to be a kind of overprotection, which in turn implies a certain lack of respect for the integrity and the intrinsic nature and the future development of the individual (Maslow, 1962f, p. 8).

In addition to studying the psychotherapeutic effects of the good life experiences, such as marriage, success, having children, falling in love, education, etc., we should also study the psychotherapeutic effects of bad experiences, particularly of tragedy, but also, illness, deprivation, frustration, conflict, and the like. Healthy people seem able to turn even such experiences to good use (Maslow, 1954b, p. 372).

Goldstein, Kurt:

I found in Kurt Goldstein my bridge between the holistic and the dynamic (Maslow, 1954, p. ix).

The organism has definite potentialities, and because it has them it has the need to actualize or realize them. The fulfillment of these needs represents the self-actualization of the organism. Driven by such needs, we are experiencing ourselves as active personalities not, however, passively impelled by drives experienced as conflicting with the personality (Goldstein, 1934/1995, p. 168).

It is the basic tendency of the organism to actualize itself in accordance with its nature (Goldstein, 1940/1963, p. 88).

This tendency toward actualization is primary, but it can achieve its end only through a conflict with the opposing forces of the environment. This never happens without shock and anxiety. Thus we are probably not overstating the facts if we maintain that these shocks are essential to human nature and if we conclude that life must, of necessity, take its course via uncertainty and shock. Whenever anxiety, as the mainspring of the activity of an organism, comes into the foreground, we find that something is awry in the nature of that organism. To put it conversely, an organism is normal and healthy when its tendency toward self-actualization issues from within, and when it overcomes the disturbance arising from its clash with the world not by virtue of anxiety but through the joy of coming to terms with the world. How often this perfect form of actualization occurs, we leave open to question. . . . The creative person, who ventures into many situations which expose him to shock, gets into these anxiety situations more often and more readily than the average person. The more original a human being is, the deeper his anxiety is, said Soren Kierkegaard. . . . In the final analysis courage is nothing but an affirmative answer to the shocks of existence, to the shocks which it is necessary to bear for the sake of realizing one's own nature (Goldstein, 1940/1963, pp. 112-113).

Freedman (1997, p. 25) indicates that Goldstein had problems understanding Maslow's conceptualization of self-actualization as an endstate, Goldstein perceiving it as strictly a process.

Freedman (1997, p. 30) also indicates that Goldstein expressed "bafflement at Maslow's hierarchy of needs" because he did not believe in hierarchization into lower versus higher levels.

Good human being:

In 1945, Maslow started a notebook recording his ideas on the "good human being" forming the most complete record of his research and ideas about self-actualization (Lowry, 1973, p. 33).

Maslow used the phrases "self-actualization" and "good human being" fairly interchangeably in the early and middle 1940s (Lowry, 1973, p. 29).

The ordinary mistake that is made by novelists, poets, and essayists about the good human being is to make him so good that he is a caricature, so that nobody would like to be like him (Maslow, 1954b, p. 228).


A term Maslow used, from Alfred Adler—a feeling of community, of brotherhood [ga-MINE-scofts-ga-full]


Growth is, in itself, a rewarding and exciting process, e.g., the fulfilling of yearnings and ambitions, like that of being a good doctor; the acquisition of admired skills, like playing the violin or being a good carpenter; the steady increase of understanding about people or about the universe, or about oneself; the development of creativeness in whatever field, or, most important, simply the ambition to be a good human being (Maslow, 1962i, p. 28).

Growth motivation and defensive motivation:

The motivational life of a single person is between growth motivation and defensive motivation (homeostasis safety motivation, the reduction of pains and losses etc.). The healthy individual can be expected to be flexible and realistic i.e., able to shift from growth to defense as circumstances may demand (Maslow, 1965c, p. xii).

Growth needs / being needs / B-needs:

Stem from a desire to grow as a person.

Grumbles (low grumbles / higher-grumbles / meta-grumbles):

Man will always find something to grumble about, and as lower levels of need are satisfied, the grumbles begin again on higher levels (Wilson, 1972, p. 225).

Even if all these [lower] needs are satisfied, we may still often (if not always) expect that a new discontent and restlessness will soon develop, unless the individual is doing what he is fitted for (Maslow, 1954b, p. 91).

Harlow, Harry:

Maslow studied comparative psychology at the University of Wisconsin focusing on dominance and sexual behavior in primates. Working with Harry Harlow, first as his laboratory assistant and, later, as Harlow's first PhD student (Harlow was only three years older than Maslow). Harlow subsequently became one of America's most well-known psychologists of the day.

Maslow's thinking was heavily influenced by his experiences with primates. "I always felt about the monkeys and apes as if I was seeing the roots of human nature laid bare" (Maslow, 1979c, p. 331). Maslow subsequently viewed society as something that was influential but fundamentally artificial. He argued that psychological development involved transcending the artifice and constraints of socialization and releasing instinctual inborn biological potentials (Nicholson, 2008).

He felt that the overt behavior of primates could be seen in the fantasies and adaptations of humans.

Hierarchy / The tendency to hierarchy:

Maslow proposed a two-level hierarchy:

The tendency to hierarchy . . . is the tendency to regard most or all other human beings as challenging rivals who are either superior (and therefore to be feared, resented, bootlicked, and admired); or inferior (and therefore to be scorned, humiliated, and dominated) (Maslow, 1943a, p. 402).

Human needs arrange themselves in hierarchies of prepotency. That is to say, the appearance of one need usually rests on the prior satisfaction of another, more prepotent need. Man is a perpetually wanting animal (Maslow, 1943, p. 370).

At the core of Maslow's theory of motivation are two important ideas: (a) there are multiple and independent fundamental motivational systems and (b) these motives form a hierarchy in which some motives have priority over others (Kenrick, et al, 2010, p. 193).

Hierarchy of needs:

Part of a theory of human motivation

Physiological Needs

The most basic needs that are vital to survival: water, air, food, and sleep. Maslow believed that these needs are the most basic and instinctive needs in the hierarchy because all needs become secondary until these physiological needs are met.

Security Needs

Include needs for safety and security. Important for survival, but are not as demanding as the physiological needs. Examples include a desire for steady work, health insurance, safe neighborhoods, and good housing. They cannot be overly satisfied, if not met, may lead to basic anxiety.

The healthy, normal, fortunate adult in our culture is largely satisfied in his safety needs (Maslow, 1954b, p. 87).

Social Needs

Needs for belonging, love, and affection. Maslow considered these needs to be less basic than physiological and security needs. Relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments, and families help fulfill this need for companionship and acceptance, so does involvement in social, community, or religious groups. If met, leads to confidence. If not met, may not be able to give love.

Esteem Needs

Self-respect, confidence, competence, and knowing that others hold you in high esteem. As seen by others-reputation; as seen by your self-self-esteem.

Self-actualizing Needs

May or may not flow from esteem needs. Self-actualizing people embrace B-values, are self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the opinions of others, and interested fulfilling their potential.

These are conative needs—they have a striving or motivational nature

Hoffman, Abbie (political activist):

Abbie Hoffman's autobiography notes of his Brandeis professors in the mid-1950s: "Most of all . . . I loved Abe Maslow. I took every class he gave and spent long evenings with him and his family" (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 219).

Became close friends with Ellen Maslow

Human nature:

1. Human beings have an innate tendency to move toward higher levels of health, creativity, and self-fulfillment.

2. Neurosis may be regarded as a blockage of the tendency toward self-actualization.

3. The evolution of a synergistic society is a natural and essential process. This is a society in which all individuals may reach a high level of self-development, without restricting each others' freedom.

4. Business efficiency and personal growth are not incompatible. In fact, the process of self-actualization leads each individual to the highest levels of efficiency (Frager, 1987, p. XXXV).

Man has a higher nature and [that] this is part of his essence. Or, more simply, human beings can be wonderful out of their own human and biological nature. We need not take refuge in supernatural gods to explain our saints and sages and heroes and statesmen, as if to explain our disbelief that mere unaided human beings could be that good or wise (Maslow, B., 1972, pp. 87-88).

If only there were some way to say simultaneously: "Yes, man is in a way his own project and he does make himself. But also there are limits upon what he can make himself into. The 'project' is predetermined biologically for all men; it is to become a man. He cannot adopt as his project for himself to become a chimpanzee. Or even a female. Or a baby. The right label would have to combine the humanistic, the transpersonal, and the transhuman (Maslow, 1970e, p. xvii).

Man has a higher nature which is just as "instinctoid" as his lower nature, and that this higher nature includes the need for meaningful work, for responsibility, for creativeness, for being fair and just, for doing what is worthwhile and for preferring to do it well. (Maslow, 1966d).

Maslow puts up a vigorous case for man's animal nature, pointing out that the anti-social emotions—hostility, jealousy, etc.—result from frustration of more basic impulses for love and security and belonging, which ate in themselves desirable (Rogers, 1961, p. 91).

Individual versus group levels:

Individual psychology is primary—group organization and group behavior flows from the characteristics of the individual.


Maslow used the term instinctoid to refer to his own unique approach to instincts and to differentiate his usage from other, more traditional, approaches.

An essential inner nature which is instinctoid, intrinsic, given, "natural," i.e., with an appreciable hereditary determinant, and which tends strongly to persist (Maslow, 1962i, p. 178).

Instinctoid tendencies (or inner core) (Maslow, 1962i, p. 191).

What I am claiming is that psychoanalysis and other uncovering therapies simply reveal or expose an inner, more biological, more instinctoid core of human nature. Part of this core are certain preferences and yearnings that may be considered to be intrinsic, biologically based values, even though weak ones. All the basic needs fall into this category and so do all the inborn capacities and talents of the individual. I do not say these are "oughts" or "moral imperatives," at least not in the old, external sense. I say only that they are intrinsic to human nature and that furthermore their denial and frustration make for psychopathology and therefore for evil, for though not synonymous, pathology and evil certainly overlap (Maslow, 1962i, p. 166).

It is these needs, "instinctoid" in nature, that we can also think of as built-in values—values not only in the sense that the organism wants and seeks them but also in the sense that they are both good and necessary for the organism. And it is these values that are found, uncovered—recovered, perhaps we should say—in the course of psychotherapy or self-discovery (Maslow, 1966d, p. 125).


Humans no longer have instincts in the animal sense, powerful, unmistakable inner voices which tell them unequivocally what to do, when, where, how and with whom. All that we have left are instinct-remnants. And furthermore, these are weak, subtle and delicate, very easily drowned out by learning, by cultural expectations, by fear, by disapproval, etc. (Maslow, 1962i, p. 179).

First let us discuss the concept of instinct, which we can define rigidly as a motivational unit in which the drive, motivated behavior, and the goal object or the goal effect are all appreciably determined by heredity. As we go up the phyletic scale there is a steady trend toward disappearance of the instincts so defined. For instance, in the white rat it is fair to say that, by our definition, there are found the hunger instinct, the sex instinct, the maternal instinct. In the monkey the sexual instinct has definitely disappeared, the hunger instinct has clearly been modified in various ways, and only the maternal instinct is undoubtedly present. In the human being, by our definition, they have all three disappeared, leaving in their place conglomerations of hereditary reflexes, hereditary drives, autogenous learning, and cultural learning in the motivated behavior and in the choice of goal objects (see Chapter 7). Thus if we examine the sexual life of the human being we find that sheer drive itself is given by heredity but that the choice of object and the choice of behavior must be acquired or learned in the course of the life history.
As we go up the phyletic scale appetites become more and more important and hungers less and less important. That is to say there is much less variability, for instance, in the choice of food in the white rat than there is in the monkey, and there is less variability in the monkey than there is in the human being (182).
Finally as we go up the phyletic scale and as the instincts drop away there is more and more dependence on the culture as an adaptive tool. If then we have to use animal data let us realize these facts, and for instance, let us prefer the monkey to the white rat as a subject for motivation experiments if only for the simple reason that we human beings are much more like monkeys than we are like white rats (185). (Maslow, 1954, pp. 72-73).

Intelligence versus emotion:

For Abe, IQ was an essential trait, and in his assessment of people it was prominent. We were once together at a lecture given by Margaret Mead, whom he knew, and he lamented that her enormous intelligence was not being applied to deeper issues. He considered intelligence an essential part of a person's being, like good looks or good health, and he encouraged his students to get tested so that they might better know themselves (Freedman, 1997, p. 21).

If we think of gratification of the hierarchy of basic emotional needs as a straight-line continuum, we are furnished with a helpful (even though imperfect) tool for classifying types of personality. If most people have similar emotional needs, each person can be compared with any other in the degree to which these needs are satisfied (Maslow, 1954b, pp. 117-118).

The full subjective richness of an experience seems to come more often to artistically and emotionally sensitive people than to theorizers and intellectuals (Maslow, 1954b, p. 286).

The healthy man is all of a piece, integrated, we might say. It is the neurotic person who is at odds with himself, whose reason struggles with his emotions. The result of this split has been that not only the emotional life and the conative have been misunderstood and badly defined, . . . We must all agree with Fromm that the realization of the self occurs not only by acts of thinking but rather by the realization of man's total personality, which includes the active expression not only of his intellectual but also his emotional and instinct like capacities (Maslow, 1954b, pp. 342-343).

[Maslow called for the study of:] The emotional aspects of cognition, e.g., the lift that comes with insight, the calming effect of understanding, the acceptance and forgiveness that are products of deeper understanding of bad behavior. The affective side of love and friendship, the satisfactions and pleasures that they bring (Maslow, 1954b, p. 366).

Thinking is not always directed, organized, motivated, or goal bent. Fantasy, dreaming, symbolism, unconscious thinking, infantile, emotional thinking, psychoanalytic free association, are all productive in their own. Healthy people come to many of their conclusions and decisions with the aid of these techniques, traditionally opposed to rationality but in actuality synergic with it (Maslow, 1954b, p. 370).

Jonah Complex:

A critical block to self-actualization—one's own fear of being one's best.

Jungle psychology / low-ceiling psychology:

Such men as Hamilton, Freud, Hobbes, and Schopenhauer have built up theories of human nature that are based on the study of men at their worst. It would be as if we used as our main technique for studying human nature the study of men cast away on a raft in the middle of the ocean without food or drink and expecting at any moment to die. Certainly we should learn less about general human nature in this way than we should about the psychology of desperation. Hamilton generalized from poor, uneducated people. Freud generalized too much from neurotic people. Hobbes and other philosophers observed masses of mankind under very bad social and economic and educational conditions and came to conclusions that ought not to be generalized to men under good economic and political and educational conditions. This we may call low-ceiling or cripple or jungle psychology, but certainly not general psychology (Maslow, 1954b, p. 359).

healthy people are so different from average ones, not only in degree but in kind as well, that they generate two very different kinds of psychology. It becomes more and more clear that the study of crippled, stunted, immature, and unhealthy specimens can yield only a cripple psychology and a cripple philosophy. The study of self-actualizing people must be the basis for a more universal science of psychology (Maslow, 1954b, p. 234).

If one is preoccupied with the insane, the neurotic, the psychopath, the criminal, the delinquent, the feeble-minded, one's hopes for the human species become perforce more and more modest, more and more (Maslow, 1954b, p. 360).

It was from the study of neurotics and other sick people that we learned most of what we know about personality and motivation (Maslow, 1954b, p. 355).

I have managed without too much loss of principle by arbitrarily using the best one out of one hundred of the general college population (the psychiatrically healthiest 1 percent). The other 99 percent are then discarded as imperfect, immature, or crippled specimens (Maslow, 1954b, p. 361).

Males vs. females:

All really serious men are Messianic. They have no interest in power or money or in anything but their mission. Females are not Messianic. And a man has a sense of duty to this mission. He neglects his health, risks his life, subordinates all else to his Messianic vision. Man's duty is to the three books he has to write before he dies. A woman's commitment is to her man, and to her cubs (Hall, 1968, p. 56).

Maslow, Ann [Kaplan]:

Maslow's first child, born January 1938.

Maslow, Ellen (February 27, 1940 - August 29, 2009):

Maslow's second child. Became a political activist developing cooperatives in Mississippi and selling goods manufactured there though a store in New York she cofounded with Abbie Hoffman called Liberty House. Ellen went to work for Timothy Leary as an assistant in psychedelic research. She also joined the Freedom Riders to work for black voter registration in the south. She later became a psychotherapist and practiced in Denver.

Maslow as a professor:

I have found whenever I ran across authoritarian students that the best thing for me to do what was to break their backs immediately, that is to affirm my authority immediately, to make them jump, even to clout them on the head in some way that would show very clearly who is the boss in the situation. Once this was accepted, then and only then could I come slowly an American and teach them that it is possible for a boss, a strong man, a man with a fist, to be kind, gentle, permissive, trusting and so on (Maslow, 1965c, p. 72).

When Abe would not accept a paper, he would suggest to the student "Surely you can do this better!" Abe had the Talmudic approach, where the rebuke is counted as "the chastisement of love" (Maslow, B., 1972, p. 14).

His avuncular manner—however well-meaning—could not have been more unsuited to the student mood of the times [1960s]—especially at an intellectually elite liberal arts school like Brandeis. . . . Maslow had a tendency to lecture like a parent berating a recalcitrant child. This approach only heightened tension in his classes. Retrieved from Hoffman http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-peak-experience/201109/maslow-and-the-baby-boomers

Maslow's Hammer:

The concept known as the law of the instrument, Maslow's hammer (or gavel), or a golden hammer is an over-reliance on a familiar tool; as Abraham Maslow said in 1966, "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." Abraham H. Maslow (1966). The Psychology of Science. p. 15.

Maslow's health:

In 1947 Maslow had a heart attack and had major fatigue issues the rest of his life, severely restricting his productivity. He had problems with an arthritic hip and chronic insomnia. His chronic fatigue may have been related to a form of hypoglycemia that was not discovered until a year before his death (Leonard, 1983, p. 336). Died of a heart attacwk at 62, June 8, 1970.

Maslow's vision:

In 1923 at the age of 15, Maslow was the editor of the Latin and physics magazines at the Brooklyn Borough High School. He wrote an article in the physics magazine predicting atom powered ships and submarines (Leonard, 1983, p. 328).

After Maslow had his epiphany watching the military parade and deciding to focus on learning what characteristics define the superior individual, he found himself moving into a new phase for which he did not have mentorship/role models. He said he had become "a reconnaissance man, a Daniel Boone" and finding himself "first in the wilderness" (Leonard, 1983, p. 331).

As I watched [the military parade], the tears began to run down my face. I felt we didn't understand-not Hitler, nor the Germans, nor Stalin, nor the Communists. We didn't understand any of them. I felt that if we could understand, then we could make progress. I had a vision of a peace table, with people sitting around it, talking about human nature and hatred, war and peace, and brotherhood. I was too old to go into the army. It was at that moment I realized that the rest of my life must be devoted to discovering a psychology for the peace table. That moment changed my whole life. Since then, I've devoted myself to developing a theory of human nature that could be tested by experiment and research. I wanted to prove that humans are capable of something grander than war, prejudice, and hatred. I wanted to make science consider all the people: the best specimens of mankind I could find. I found that many of them reported having something like mystical experiences (Hall, 1968, p. 54).

Maslow's view of himself:

I have a secret. I talk over the heads of the people in front of me to my own private audience. I talk to people I love and respect. To Socrates and Aristotle and Spinoza and Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. And when I write, I write for them. This cuts out a lot of crap. Now, aside from our own conversation, I want to tell you these Psychology Today Magazine conversations should be preserved in book form (Hall, 1968, p. 56).

My best interviews were with dear, good, bright women. I admire women and frankly envy them a bit for the things I am not. Of course, I feel they should envy me for the things they are not (Hall, 1968, p. 56).

[He was exceptionally bright but had a very poor memory and lacked academic confidence. As mentioned above, he was embarrassed by his initial thesis and removed it from the University library. Here is another example:] His initial paper on self-actualization appeared in 1950; then, four years later, when he republished the paper in his book Motivation and Personality, he declared that he had actually written it "about 1943" but had held it back for seven years while he "summoned up enough courage to print it" (Lowry, 1973, p. 32).

At 56, Maslow wrote: "With my troubles about insomnia and bad back and conflict over my role in psychology and . . . in a certain sense, needing psychoanalysis, if anyone were to ask me 'Are you a happy man?' I'd say 'yes, yes!' Am I lucky? . . . The darling of fortune? Sitting as high up as a human being ever has? Yes!" (Leonard, 1983, p. 336).

McGregor, Douglas 1960:

McGregor, D. (1960). The human side of enterprise. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Summary: Theory Y says that workers are hardworking and cooperative by nature, however, there is unrealized potential and creativity in workers. Managers should try to help workers develop their inherent potentials. The managerial behaviour of those who make Theory Y assumptions will be democratic and participative. Employees who work for Theory Y managers will be both more satisfied and more productive. A reflection of Maslow's view of human nature.

Summary: Theory X says that workers are lazy, dislike responsibility, are resistant to change, and so "must be persuaded, rewarded, punished, controlled." The managerial behaviour of those who make Theory X assumptions will be autocratic and directive.

Theory X and Y are not different ends of the same continuum, rather they are two different continua in themselves.

Maslow eventually works on a formulation of theory Z. (see Theory Z)

Measurement scales:

Measurement scales, Maslow's:

Maslow, A. H. (1942e). The social personality inventory: A test for self-esteem in women (with manual). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.

Maslow, A. H. (1951c). The S-I test (A measure of psychological security-insecurity.) Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. [No digital copy held]


Motivations that emerge after the lower needs are satisfied.

Metaneeds / Growth needs / B-values:

Any need for knowledge, beauty, or creativity. Metaneeds are involved in self-actualization—the highest level of needs, come into play after the lower level needs have been met.


Deprivation of a given B-Value results in a corresponding metapathology



The worship of methods at the expense of the significance of the problems being studied.

"refining their research methods that they lose sight of the problems for which those methods were originally intended" (Lowry, 1973, p. 47).

Motivation, general:

In terms of motivation, Maslow's contributions to mainstream psychology are somewhat ambiguous. Major reviews of motivation did not emphasize Maslow. For example, Mowrer (1952) makes no reference to Maslow's papers on motivation, Cofer (1959) only mentions Maslow in passing. Kroth (2007) noted that Maslow did not provide research to support the hierarchy of needs but because the theory made common sense, was easy to understand, and to teach, it found an application in organizational settings. Korman, Greenhaus and Badin (1977, p. 178) said "Another theoretical framework that obviously needs great revision is the need hierarchy proposed by Maslow. Although of great societal popularity, need hierarchy as a theory continues to receive little empirical support." Also see Wahba and Bridwell (1976) for a review of studies showing only partial support for Maslow's positions. On the other hand, for research support of Maslow's positions see Wicker, Brown, Wiehe, Hagen and Reed (1993).

Holistic approach—no single part or function is motivated—the whole person is motivated

Motivation is usually complex—behavior may spring from several separate motives.

People are continually motivated by one need or another.

When one need is satisfied, it loses its motivational power and is replaced by another need.

All people are motivated by the basic needs. The way people obtain food, build shelter, express friendship, etc. varies widely in different cultures, but the needs are universal.

Needs can be arranged in a hierarchy—the lower needs must be satisfied before the higher level needs become motivators.

Motivation, A Theory of Human:

This theory is, I think, in the functionalist tradition of James and Dewey, and is fused with the holism of Wertheimer, Goldstein, and Gestalt psychology, and with the dynamicism of Freud and Adler. This fusion or synthesis may be called a holistic-dynamic theory (Maslow, 1954b, p. 80).

Nature of self:

One knows a man who is an outstanding example of a certain caste, whose entire behavior expresses very definitely the evaluations of his caste. And in a serious moment the outer shell falls away, and from behind this exterior there now comes out a simple, good, somewhat immature man, for whom the seemingly serious attitudes which he had exhibited are in fact like strange, superficial clothing. There seem to be layers in men, and it is a question of fact what the inner layers of men really are. Concerning our problem there are opposing theses. I would believe that the optimistic thesis is the right one, however difficult, indeed however impossible it may be at times to penetrate to this layer (Wertheimer, 1935, p. 366).

Human beings seem to be far more autonomous and self-governed than modern psychological theory allows for (Maslow, 1954b, p. 122).

In his essential core, no human being is comparable with any other. Therefore his ideals for himself, his path of growth, must also be unique. His goal must arise out of his own nature, and not be chosen by comparison or competition with others. Each man's task is to become the best himself" (Maslow, 1965h, p. 29).

We can no longer think of the person as "fully determined" where this phrase implies "determined only by forces external to the person." The person, insofar as he is a real person, is his own main determinant. Every person is, in part, "his own project" and makes himself (Maslow, 1962i, p. 181).

To yield to one's destiny or fate and to fuse with it, to love it in the Spinoza sense or in the Taoistic sense. To embrace, lovingly, one's own destiny. This is a rising above one's own personal will, being in charge, taking control, needing control, etc. (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 264).

Neurosis / the neurotic:

[The unsafe neurotic:] The neurotic individual may be described with great usefulness as a grown-up person who retains his childhood attitudes toward the world. That is to say, a neurotic adult may be said to behave as if he were actually afraid of a spanking, or of his mother's disapproval, or of being abandoned by his parents, or having his food taken away from him . . . The neurosis in which the search for safety takes its clearest form is in the compulsive-obsessive neurosis. Compulsive-obsessives try frantically to order and stabilize the world so that no unmanageable, unexpected, or unfamiliar dangers will ever appear (Maslow, 1954b, pp. 88-89).

[The "safe" neurotic:] Not all neurotic individuals feel unsafe. Neurosis may have at its core a thwarting of the affection and esteem needs in a person who is generally safe (Maslow, 1954b, p. 88).

It would now be universally agreed that the classical neurosis as a whole as well as single neurotic symptoms are characteristically coping mechanisms. It was one of Freud's greatest contributions to show that these symptoms had functions, aims, purposes, and that they achieved effects of various sorts (primary gains) (Maslow, 1954b, p. 190).

The neurotic is not only emotionally sick—he is cognitively wrong! If health and neurosis are, respectively, correct and incorrect perceptions of reality, propositions of fact and propositions of value merge in this area, and in principle, value propositions should then be empirically demonstrable rather than merely matters of taste or exhortation (Maslow, 1954b, p. 204).

Neurosis—as distinct from the strains and tensions of the healthy personality—is essentially a passive state. The mind is in neutral gear. If I sit in my stationary car with the engine running, I may make a hell of a noise by revving it, but the car doesn't move. Neurosis is noise without action. And once the personality is in neutral gear, new strains and tensions become possible, because neurosis is essentially self-destructive, and the frustrated life energies turn inward (Wilson, 1972, p. 210).

Neurosis, says Maslow, is a failure of personal growth (Wilson, 1972, p. 211).

Neurosis may be regarded as the blockage of the channels of self-actualisation (Wilson, 1972, p. 242).

[the] usage of "full humanness" rather than "psychological health" is the corresponding or parallel use of "human diminution," instead of "neurosis," which is anyway a totally obsolete word. Here the key concept is the loss or not-yet-actualization of human capacities and possibilities, and obviously this is also a matter of degree and quantity. (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 29).

New Age movement:

Commonly associated with Esalen Institute and by extension Maslow. Maslow would not have endorsed these connections with a movement that he considered nonacademic and superficial. See: Hoffman (2008a, p. 42).

New School For Social Research:

The New School was founded in New York City in 1919 by a distinguished group of American intellectuals. In 1933, The New School gave a home to the University in Exile, a refuge for German scholars fleeing persecution by the Nazis. In 1934, The New School incorporated this community as a graduate school of political and social science. See: http://www.newschool.edu/socialresearch

Maslow was part of this intellectual circle at Columbia that included anthropologist Franz Boas, anthropologist Ruth Benedict, anthropologist Margaret Mead, psychoanalyst Karen Horney, and psychologist Erick Fromm among others.

Gestalt psychology was taught me by Max Wertheimer and Kurt Kafka at the New School for Social Research (Maslow, 1954, p. ix).

Non-Linear Systems, Del Mar, CA.:

In 1962, on sabbatical, Maslow spent part of the year as a consultant for Non Linear Systems. Andrew Kay, Non-Linear's president decided to rearrange the assembly lines according to theory Y. A fan of Maslow's, Kay invited Maslow to observe the process and Maslow kept a journal which was later published in 1965 as Eupsychian Management.


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. . . . The real self is also partly constructed and invented (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 108).

Facts create oughts! The more clearly something is seen or known, and the more true and unmistakable something becomes, the more ought-quality it acquires. The more "is" something becomes, the more "ought" it becomes—the more requiredness it acquires, the louder it "calls for" particular action. The more clearly perceived something is, the more "oughty" it becomes and the better a guide to action it becomes (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 115).

Peak experiences:

William James provided an account sent to him by a student who had nitrous oxide at the dentist: The next experience I became aware of, who shall relate! my God! I knew everything! A vast inrush of obvious and absolutely satisfying solutions to all possible problems overwhelmed my entire being, and an all-embracing unification of hitherto contending and apparently diverse aspects of truth took possession of my soul by force. . . . Then, in a flash, this state of intellectual ecstasy was succeeded by one that I shall never forget, because it was still more novel to me than the other—I mean a state of moral ecstasy. I was seized with an immense yearning to take back this truth to the feeble, sorrowing, struggling world in which I had lived (James, 1898, p. 195).

James later connects nitrous oxide with one of his key conclusions: Nitrous oxide and ether, especially nitrous oxide, when sufficiently diluted with air, stimulate the mystical consciousness in an extraordinary degree. Depth beyond depth of truth seems revealed to the inhaler. This truth fades out, however, or escapes, at the moment of coming to; and if any words remain over in which it seemed to clothe itself, they prove to be the veriest nonsense. Nevertheless, the sense of a profound meaning having been there persists; and I know more than one person who is persuaded that in the nitrous oxide trance we have a genuine metaphysical revelation. Some years ago I myself made some observations on this aspect of nitrous oxide intoxication, and reported them in print. One conclusion was forced upon my mind at that time, and my impression of its truth has ever since remained unshaken. It is that our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different (James, 1902, p. 388).

Bucke (1901/1905, p. 2) described: The prime characteristic of cosmic consciousness is, as its name implies, a consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe. What these words mean cannot be touched upon here; it is the business of this volume to throw some light upon them. There are many elements belonging to the cosmic sense besides the central fact just alluded to. Of these a few may be mentioned. Along with the consciousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enlightenment or illumination which alone would place the individual on a new plane of existence-would make him almost a member of a new species. To this is added a state of moral exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation, and joyousness, and a quickening of the moral sense, which is fully as striking and more important both to the individual and to the race than is the enhanced intellectual power. With these come, what may be called, a sense of immortality, a consciousness of eternal life, not a conviction that he shall have this, but the consciousness that he has it already.

Freud called these experiences "oceanic feelings," indicating he had never had one, and that he considered them as simply infantile regression (Leonard, 1983, p. 332).

In 1935, Wertheimer described this: And there are also for most men moments in their lives when in a concrete situation they feel awakened, when they feel how narrow, blind, crooked they have been and acted, when their eyes are opened and they feel that their former behavior was possible only because something of their best, their finest, their most worthy was missing, that they had been robbed of it (Wertheimer, 1935, p. 366).

[Peak experiences are] Moments when [they] felt at their very best, moments of great awe, intense happiness, rapture, bliss, or ecstasy. Gradually it became apparent that peak experiences were not occurring exclusively to psychologically healthy people; apparently most individuals can and frequently do have peak experiences. . . . a peak experience is a moment in the individual's life when he is functioning fully, feels strong, sure of himself, and in complete control (Goble, 1970, p. 70).

Peak experiences involve transcendent cognition (Cognition of Being, or B-Cognition) that exhibit qualities including exclusive attention, holistic perception, self-forgetfulness, and receptivity.

Peak experiences may transform a person's values and goals: they become metamotived by the universal B-Values rather than by self-interest.

"The more we understand the whole of Being, the more we can tolerate the simultaneous existence and perception of inconsistencies, of oppositions, and of flat contradictions" for all of these are but "products of partial cognition and fade away with cognition of the whole" (Lowry, 1973, p. 57).

The peak-experience is felt as a self-validating, self-justifying moment which carries its own intrinsic value with it. That is to say it is an end in itself, what we may call an end-experience rather than a means-experience (Maslow, 1962i, p. 74).

If, for the sake of argument, we accept the thesis that in peak-experience the nature of reality itself may be seen more clearly and its essence penetrated more profoundly, then this is almost the same as saying what so many philosophers and theologians have affirmed, that the whole of Being is only neutral or good, and that evil or pain or threat is only a partial phenomenon, a product of not seeing the world whole and unified, and of seeing it from a self-centered point of view (Maslow, 1962i, pp. 76-77).

Maslow described few personal peak experiences, two that he did relate: upon reading Sumner's Folkways, which gave him a lifelong interest in anthropology, and second, was his first kiss with Bertha (Leonard, 1983, p. 328).

Maslow swiftly withdrew from anything that seemed even remotely tinged with the "pop mysticism" that would morph into the New Age movement soon after his death in 1970. Unfortunately, this withdrawal essentially ended Maslow's study of peak experiences and transcendent inner states. Had American culture never passed through its "drug and hippy" phase, it seems likely that Maslow would have devoted his final years to understanding epiphanies, peaks, revelations, transformative moments, and related compelling phenomena (Hoffman, 2008a, p. 42).

Philosophy of defeat:

Ideally speaking, all human beings would use their intelligence and persistence to overcome their particular life challenges, and then be able to proceed to the next level in the 'hierarchy of values'. What happens, in fact, is that many of them suffer a few defeats and then get into a habit of retreat. It becomes a mental pattern; that is to say, they create a kind of philosophy of defeat (Wilson, 1972, p. 210).

Philosophy of the future:

Another peculiar characteristic of the human organism when it is dominated by a certain need is that the whole philosophy of the future tends also to change. For our chronically and extremely hungry man, Utopia can be defined simply as a place where there is plenty of food. He tends to think that, if only he is guaranteed food for the rest of his life, he will be perfectly happy and will never want anything more. Life itself tends to be defined in terms of eating. Anything else will be defined as unimportant. Freedom, love, community feeling, respect, philosophy, may all be waved aside as fripperies that are useless, since they fail to fill the stomach. Such a man may fairly be said to live by bread alone (Maslow, 1954b, pp. 82-83).

If one's basic needs are met, one can then focus upon those factors that would make one's life ideal and thus to develop one's unique philosophy of the future.

Positive psychology:

The term "positive psychology" originated in 1954 when Maslow titled the last chapter (chapter 18) of his book Motivation and Personality "Toward a Positive Psychology."

See: http://www.positivedisintegration.com/18a.pdf

Maslow said the purpose of chapter 18, Toward a positive psychology, was to discuss a major mistake made by psychologists, "namely, their pessimistic, negative, and limited conception of the full height to which the human being can attain, their totally inadequate conception of his level of aspiration in life, and their setting of his psychological limits at too low a level" (Maslow, 1954b, pp. 353-354).

As things stand now in psychology, the science as a whole too often pursues limited or trivial goals with limited methods and techniques and under the guidance of limited vocabulary and concepts. . . The science of psychology has been far more successful on the negative than on the positive side; it has revealed to us much about man's shortcomings, his illnesses, his sins, but little about his potentialities, his virtues, his achievable aspirations, or his full psychological height. It is as if psychology had voluntarily restricted itself to only half its rightful jurisdiction, and that the darker, meaner half. . . . In a word, I contend that psychology has not stood up to its full height and I would like to know how this pessimistic mistake came to pass, why it has not been self-correcting, and what to do about it. We must find out not only what psychology is but what it ought to be, or what it might be, if it could free itself from the stultifying effects of limited, pessimistic, and stingy preconceptions about human nature (Maslow, 1954b, p. 354).

Maslow said this was the result of a systemic problem, that psychology reflected the ideology of the world outlook, an ideology heavy on technology but neglecting humanistic principles and values. This approach stresses behavior while neglecting the inner subjective life. "Dynamic psychology was doomed to a negative derivation by the historical accident that psychiatry rather than experimental psychology concerned itself with the conative and emotional. It was from the study of neurotics and other sick people that we learned most of what we know about personality and motivation" (Maslow, 1954b, p. 355). In a subsection titled "low-ceiling psychology" Maslow discusses the mechanisms by which the blindness of psychology is perpetuated. One such mechanism is that psychology "consists only of defining science strictly in terms of past and what is already known" (Maslow, 1954b, p. 356). Every new question or approach is then considered unscientific and there is no opportunity to forge new ground. Maslow describes how this status quo feels comfortable and has familiarity that makes change difficult (we tend to improve our homes by adding on rather than rebuilding).

Maslow quoted Kurt Lewin suggesting we study what is rather than what ought to be or what might be under ideal conditions because we identify the status quo with the ideal. Part of this perpetuation is through self-fulfilling prophecy. Our belief in the negative and in limitations becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.

Experimental technique is another perpetuating factor. In many cases, the experimental design does not allow one to function to one's best because of the conditions. Maslow gave the example if we put tall people into a low ceiling room where they could not stand up and then we measured their height we would be measuring the height of the room and not the people inside. Self limiting methods measure only their own limitations. "Hamilton generalized from poor, uneducated people. Freud generalized too much from neurotic people. Hobbes and other philosophers observed masses of mankind under very bad social and economic and educational conditions and came to conclusions that ought not to be generalized to men under good economic and political and educational conditions. This we may call low-ceiling or cripple or jungle psychology, but certainly not general psychology (Maslow, 1954b, p. 359).

The self-derogation of psychology is another responsible factor. Out of the general cultural trends already mentioned, psychologists tend to admire the technologically advanced sciences, physics, chemistry, biology, more than they do psychology, in spite of the fact that from the humanistic point of view psychology is obviously the new frontier, and by far the most important science today (Maslow, 1954b, p. 359).

We measure how intelligent an individual is under some actual condition but we do not measure how intelligent an individual could be under the best conditions. Measurement of the actual is inherently pessimistic compared to the theoretical measurement of what might be-the potentiality. "If one is preoccupied with the insane, the neurotic, the psychopath, the criminal, the delinquent, the feeble-minded, one's hopes for the human species become perforce more and more modest, more and more realistic, more and more scaled down. One expects less and less from people" (Maslow, 1954b, p. 360). Maslow went on: "The exclusive study of our failures and breakdowns will hardly breed inspiration, hopefulness, and optimistic ambitions in either the layman or the scientist" (Maslow, 1954b, p. 360). "In a word, if we are interested in the psychology of the human species we should limit ourselves to the use of the self-actualizing, the psychologically healthy, the mature, the fulfilled, for they are more truly representative of the human species than the usual average or normal group. The psychology generated by the study of healthy people could fairly be called positive by contrast with the negative psychology we now have, which has been generated by the study of sick or average people" (Maslow, 1954b, p. 361). "This presents us with our practical difficulty of getting together large enough groups of individuals with whom to do statistically sound experimentation. This I have managed without too much loss of principle by arbitrarily using the best one out of one hundred of the general college population (the psychiatrically healthiest 1 percent). The other 99 percent are then discarded as imperfect, immature, or crippled specimens" (Maslow, 1954b, p. 361).

The psychology generated by the study of healthy people could fairly be called positive by contrast with the negative psychology we now have, which has been generated by the study of sick or average people (Maslow, 1954b, p. 361).

Maslow subsequently wrote in the preface to the second edition of Motivation and Personality: "I have decided to omit the last chapter of the first edition of this book, 'Toward a Positive Psychology;' what was 98 percent true in 1954 is only two-thirds true today. A positive psychology is at least available today though not very widely. The humanistic psychologies, the new transcendent psychologies, the existential, the Rogerian, the experiential, the holistic, the value-seeking psychologies, are all thriving and available, at least in the United States, though unfortunately not yet in most departments of psychology" (Maslow, 1987, p. xxviii).

Psychology ought to become more positive and less negative. It should have higher ceilings, and not be afraid of the loftier possibilities of the human being" (Maslow, 1965h, p. 27).

The psychology generated by the study of healthy people could fairly be called positive by contrast with the negative psychology we now have, which has been generated by the study of sick or average people (Maslow, 1954b, p. 361).

Psychology ought to become more positive and less negative. It should have higher ceilings, and not be afraid of the loftier possibilities of the human being. One major shortcoming of research psychology, and psychiatry as well, is its pessimistic, negative and limited conception of the full height to which the human being can attain. Partly because of this preconception, it has so far revealed many of man's shortcomings, weaknesses and ills, but few of his virtues, potentialities or higher aspirations. In the book to which I have referred I have made a number of positive suggestions for needed research. This is not a call for optimism. Rather it is a demand for realism in the best sense of the word. It is ridiculous to identify realism with darkness, misery, pathology and breakdown, as so many contemporary novelists have done. Happiness is as real as unhappiness; gratification is as real as frustration; love is as real as hostility. However, I want to stress the most important single example of this mistake, namely, the contrast between our knowledge of psychological sickness and our wholly inadequate attention to psychological health (Maslow, 1965h, p. 27).

We must know what men are like at their best; not only what they are, but also what they can become. The byproducts of such knowledge are incalculably important. My belief is that such a health-psychology will inevitably transform our deepest conceptions of human nature. It will wean us away from our almost universal habit of regarding normality as a special case of the abnormal, and teach us that instead the abnormal is a special case of the normal, and that psychological illness is primarily a struggle toward health (Maslow, 1965h, pp. 27-28).

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 under-rated. Even when "good specimens," the saints and sages and great leaders of history, have been available for study, the temptation too often has been to consider them not human but supernaturally endowed (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 7).

Problem centered:

[One of the key characteristics of the self-actualized person is that] they are problem centered rather than ego centered. They generally are not problems for themselves and are not generally much concerned about themselves; e.g., as. contrasted with the ordinary introspectiveness that one finds in insecure people. These individuals customarily have some mission in life, some task to fulfill, some problem outside themselves which enlists much of their energies (Maslow, 1954b, p. 211).

Prepotent / prepotency:

Human motives are hierarchically structured, and their placement within the hierarchy is defined by their respective level of urgency/intensity/priority. Lower level needs are prepotent over higher level needs—they must be satisfied first

Primary Integration / ready-made ideas:

Every psychologist knows that it is possible for a person to live by a set of ready-made ideas that were acquired complete and entire during the first decade of life and that have never and shall never be changed in the slightest degree. It is true that such a man may have a high IQ. He may therefore be able to spend a good deal of his time in intellectual activity, selecting out from the world whatever bits of evidence support his ready-made ideas (Maslow, 1954b, p. 281).

Process versus end-state, in self-actualization:

[According to Goldstein] self-actualization was originally meant to describe a universal process of unfolding, that it was a verb and not an achieved state—a process, not a package. Goldstein, when he found I worked with Maslow, asked in good-natured wonderment, "What is Maslow trying to do? " He was truly befuddled with Maslow's positing of a self-actualized end state. Although I found Goldstein's own position entirely convincing, the fact is that Maslow's concretization and idealization of the concept is what led to its ready use among the young people of my day, myself included. It became a heroic state toward which one might strive, similar to the equally elusive notion of enlightenment (Freedman, 1997, p. 25).


A phenomenon that arose in the use of Shostrom's Personal Orientation Inventory (POI). Psychological knowledge/sophistication often leads individuals to score highly, a phenomenon referred to as pseudo-self-actualization. Very high scores actually may represent a lower level of self-actualization (individuals who merely emulate self-actualization). Therefore, efforts to compare the top 25% of individuals in terms of scores versus the bottom 25% in an effort to generate the nature and characteristics of self-actualization is contaminated by the fact that pseudo-self-actualizers may make up a significant portion of the top 25% measured. Approximately 16% of the normal adult population may measure as pseudo-self-actualizers. See Forest & Sicz, 1981.


I learned psychoanalysis from David M. Levy, from Abram Kardiner, and later from Erich Fromm and Karen Horney. I was analyzed by Emil Oberholzer, the best learning experience of all, and had many long conversations with the young analysts Bela Mittelmann, Jesse Zizmor, and too many others to record (Maslow, 1954b, pp. ix-x).

Psychologist, definition of:

An important point I want to emphasize, however, is that my definition of psychologist is broad but specific. I mean to include not just professors of psychology but rather all those-and only those-who are interested in developing a truer, clearer, more empirical conception of human nature. This would exclude many professors of psychology and many psychiatrists, but would include some sociologists, anthropologists, educators, philosophers, theologians, publicists, linguists, business men, and so on (Maslow, 1965h, pp. 19-20).

Since psychology is in its infancy as a science, and so pitifully little is known by comparison with what we need to know, a good psychologist should be a humble man. Feeling his responsibility, he should be very conscious of how much he ought to know, and how little he actually does know. Unfortunately, too many psychologists are not humble, but are, rather, swollen with little knowledge. There is, in fact, no greater danger than an arrogant psychologist or psychiatrist (Maslow, 1965h, p. 20).


In general, we should learn to see as psychopathology any failure to achieve self-actualization. The average or normal person is just as much a case as the psychotic, even though less dramatic and less urgent (Maslow, 1954b, p. 370).


Perhaps the difference between self-actualizing persons and ordinary mankind, then, is not that the former have more fully actualized their potentialities, but simply that they had greater potential to begin with. Let us also consider that there are many different kinds of human potentialities. For example, some persons have the potential to become mean bastards, and some of them actualize that potentiality very fully indeed. But would we be willing to say that these persons are, to that extent, self-actualized? (Lowry, 1973, p. 40).

The correct thing to do with authoritarians is to take them realistically for the bastards they are and then behave toward them as if they were bastards. That is the only realistic way to treat bastards (Maslow, 1965c, p. 72).

I was so convinced that it was a royal road to knowledge and a necessary kind of research, that I was able to be absolutely psychopathic about my researches. I startled myself by my lack of scruples; I did not mind lying or stealing or hiding. I just did what had to be done because I was absolutely certain that it was the right thing to do (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 116).

. . . we can learn much also from the psychopathic personality, especially the "charming" type. They can be described briefly as having no conscience, no guilt, no shame, no love for other people, no inhibitions, and few controls, so that they pretty well do what they want to do. They tend to become forgers, swindlers, prostitutes, polygamists, and to make their living by their wits rather than by hard work. These people, because of their own lacks, are generally unable to understand in others the pangs of conscience, regret, unselfish love, compassion, pity, guilt, shame, or embarrassment. What you are not, you cannot perceive or understand. It cannot communicate itself to you. And since what you are does sooner or later communicate itself, eventually the psychopath is seen as cold, horrible, and frightening, even though at first he seems so delightfully carefree, gay, and unneurotic. Again we have an instance in which sickness, though it involves a general cutting of communications, also involves, in specialized areas, a greater acuteness and skill. The psychopath is extraordinarily acute at discovering the psychopathic element in us, however carefully we conceal it. He can spot and play upon the swindler in us, the forger, the thief, the liar, the faker, the phony, and can ordinarily make a living out of this skill. He says "You can't con an honest man," and seems very confident of his ability to detect any "larceny in the soul. " (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 153).

[Comment: It can be very difficult to differentiate personality types on the basis of overt behavior. As we have learned from psychopaths, it is very common to see bright psychopaths who learn to "talk the talk" but who underneath are simply self serving. Maslow perhaps ran into this himself:] Why did I get so excited over Arthur E. Morgan just from reading his book—so sure he was a self-actualizing person." It's because he was using the B-language (Maslow, 1982, vol. 2, pp. 794-795).

In the hugely successful novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962), Ken Kesey portrays the self-actualizing man as exemplary psychopath . . . McMurphy is an All-American hero on a foundation of Maslow's ideas, but he is also Nietzsche's Napoleon on a reduced scale, answerable only to his own appetites. Here the self-actualizing man takes on aspects of the morally brutal self Nietzsche extols, and we are supposed to love him for his thuggish effrontery that reads as enviable audacity, his feral cunning that comes off as roguish charm. If this is what became of Maslow's guiding idea, no wonder serious people have a problem with it. . . . Were he [Maslow] alive today [2011], he would likely prefer to have his name erased from the rolls of the most influential thinkers of the second half of the American Century: the influence he has had is by no means the influence he wanted. The prospect of a race of moral giants has issued in a breed of selfish twerps, with a sizeable proportion of genuine degenerates. How the highest democratic longing—to realize the best in one's nature—has been debased into a pervasive complacency, even a widespread monstrosity, is more than an interesting question in intellectual history; it is a grave and ongoing public catastrophe (Valiunas, 2011, p. 110).

[Or see the celebration of the psychopath as an existentialist hero by Norman Mailer in his 1957 essay "The white Negro" in Dissent: "whether the life is criminal or not, the decision is to encourage the psychopath in oneself, to explore that domain of experience where security is boredom and therefore sickness, and one exists in the present, in that enormous present which is without past or future, memory or planned intention, the life where a man must go until he is beat. . . The unstated essence of Hip, its psychopathic brilliance, quivers with the knowledge that new kinds of victories increase one's power for new kinds of perception]

Real problems and unreal problems:

The unreal problems of life are the pseudo problems, the unnecessary ones, the neurotic ones which can all be removed by psychotherapy. But the real problems of life, the insoluble ones of death and pain, illness, and the irreversibility of time and of old age and the like are all insoluble and cannot be "therapped" away. The only thing that therapy can do for these problems is to make them conscious and to rescue them from repression and from fear. In a certain sense these real or serious problems can also be called tragic. Recall here the tragic sense of life. Relate this also to real guilt (as contrasted with neurotic guilt), real depression, real worry, real anxiety, real gratitude, etc. Freudian psychology has no place for any of these. Nor, certainly, has behavioristic psychology (Maslow, 1963c, p. 128).

Reality, perception of, in self-actualizing persons:

The principal reason why self-actualizing persons see reality more clearly is that they see it through an unclouded lens. They place no unrealistic, neurotic demands on reality; thus they distinguish . . . far more easily than most the fresh, concrete, and idiographic from the generic, abstract, and rubricized. The consequence is that they live more in the real world of nature than in the man-made mass of concepts, abstractions, expectations, beliefs, and stereotypes that most people confuse with the world. They are therefore far more apt to perceive what is there rather than their own wishes, hopes, fears, anxieties, their own theories and beliefs, or those of their cultural group. . . . But it is not only that self-actualizing persons see the world as it really is; they also accept it as it really is. The result is that they are more comfortable with what they see and less fearful of what they do not see. Again, it is because they place no neurotic demands on reality (Lowry, 1973, p. 42).

Through their greater sensitivity and perception, we may get a better report of what reality is like, than through our own eyes, just as canaries can be used to detect gas in mines before less sensitive creatures can. As a second string to this same bow, we may use ourselves in our most perceptive moments, in our peak-experiences, when, for the moment, we are self-actualizing, to give us a report of the nature of reality that is truer than we can ordinarily manage (Maslow, 1962i, p. 94).

Our healthy subjects are uniformly unthreatened and unfrightened by the unknown, being therein quite different from average men. They accept it, are comfortable with it, and, often, are even more attracted by it than by the known. They not only tolerate the ambiguous and unstructured; they like it (Lowry, 1973, p. 42).

Because self-actualizing persons see reality more clearly, "they see human nature as it is and not as they would prefer it to be." And just as they see and accept nonhuman nature as it is, so too do they see and accept human nature:

One does not complain about water because it is wet, or about rocks because they are hard, or about trees because they are green. As the child looks out upon the world with wide, uncritical, innocent eyes, so does the self-actualizing person look upon human nature in himself and in others (Lowry, 1973, pp. 42-43).


I also thought that it would be possible to set up a longitudinal study carried out by a longitudinally organized research team that would exist beyond our lifetimes. The idea was to seek the ultimate validations of our notions of health by pursuing the whole group through their entire lifetimes. . . . What this kind of research design means is a change in our conception of statistics, and especially of sampling theory. What I am frankly espousing here is what I have been calling "growing-tip statistics, " taking my title from the fact that it is at the growing tip of a plant that the greatest genetic action takes place (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 6).

Clearly the next step for this psychology and philosophy is research, research, research—not only in the laboratory but, more importantly, in the field, in society, in factories, homes, hospitals, communities, even nations (Maslow in Goble, 1970, p. 6).

Also see Motivation, general:

Rogers, Carl:

Carl's daughter, Natalie Rogers, completed a Master's degree at Brandeis under Maslow and she later influenced her father's academic work. Rogers wrote extensively on self-actualization (Thorne, 2003, p. 20).

Rubricize / Rubricizing:

To organize our perceptions under various rubrics [categories] (Maslow, 1954b, pp. 7-8).

Rubricizing, i.e., pathological categorizing as a flight from concrete experiencing and cognizing (Maslow, 1966d, p. 29).

Rubricizing: the process of classifying in lieu of real perceiving and experiencing (Maslow, 1966d, p. 81).

Do we see the real, concrete world or do we see our own system of rubrics, motives, expectations and abstractions which we have projected onto the real world? (Maslow, 1962i, p. 40).

The ordinary man tends to dichotomize reality to categorize and rubricize it, to partition it into discrete, mutually exclusive parcels; and many of the issues that the ordinary man considers to be problematical inhere not so much in reality itself as in this ego centered process by which he systematically distorts reality. For the self-actualizing person, on the other hand, all such false dichotomies are resolved, "the polarities disappear, and many oppositions thought to be intrinsic merge and coalesce with each other to form unities." . . . the self-actualizing person, "conflict and struggle, ambivalence and uncertainty over choice lessen or disappear in many areas of life." And not the least of these areas is the realm of morals, ethics, and values, wherein the self-actualizing person perceives many of the "problems" to be merely "the gratuitous epiphenomena of the pervasive psychopathology of the average"—merely misbegotten, "sick-man-created" trivialities. Thus the self-actualizing person is not likely to be found anguishing over such pseudoproblems as "exposing the head (in some churches) or not exposing the head (in others) . . . (Lowry, 1973, p. 47).

Science, Philosophy of:

Scientists should care about the people and topics that they study

Should place more emphasis on the individual and less on the study of the larger groups

Should emphasize the whole individual as seen from the subjective view of the person

I wanted to make science consider all the problems that nonscientists have been handling—religion, poetry, values, philosophy, art (Hall, 1968, pp. 51-52).

While it was necessary and helpful to dehumanize planets, rocks, and animals, we are realizing more and more strongly that it is not necessary to dehumanize the human being and to deny him human purposes (Maslow, 1966d, p. 2).

Orthodox science today attempts to be free not only of values but also of emotions (Maslow, 1966d, p. 120).

Maslow finds that moral and spiritual problems fall within the realm of nature and considers them part of science, not an opposing realm. He says that science, in its role as a social institution and as a human enterprise, does have goals, ethics, morals, purposes—or, in simplest terms, values (Goble, 1970, p. 32).

Secondary sources, major:

Goble, F. G. (1970). The third force: The psychology of Abraham Maslow. New York, NY: Grossman.

Wilson, C. (1972). New pathways in psychology: Maslow & the post-Freudian revolution. London, England: Gollancz.

Self-actualization, general:

Toward the end of 1938 . . . my new notion of Fundamental or Natural Personality .... Proposition: That human beings are at birth and today deep down, secure and with good self-esteem, to be analogized with the Blackfoot Indian or the chimpanzee or the baby or the secure adult. And then societies do something to this Natural Personality, twist it, shape it, repress it. . . . in my clinical work I have always found that anyone, however nasty and perverted and neurotic, was really sweet and loving and nice underneath, and that the only postulate I had to make in treating them was that they didn't get as much love as they wanted; that it was easier for me to make people more secure and higher in dominance [in clinical work] than to make secure ones insecure and high-dominance people into low-dominance people. And the conclusion followed ... that there is more inertia in one direction than in the other, and therefore that one is more fundamental or natural than the other (Lowry, 1973, p. 20).

They [Benedict and Wertheimer] were most remarkable human beings. My training in psychology equipped me not at all for understanding them. It was as if they were not quite people. My own investigation began as a prescientific activity. I made descriptions and notes on Max Wertheimer and I made notes on Ruth Benedict. When I tried to understand them, think about them, and write about them in my journal and my notes, I realized in one wonderful moment that their two patterns could be generalized. I was talking about a kind of person, not about two noncomparable individuals. There was wonderful excitement in that. I tried to see whether this pattern could be found elsewhere, and I did find it elsewhere, in one person after another (Maslow, 1971/1976, pp. 40-41).

[Fifth,] self-actualization, self-fulfillment, self-expression, working out of one's own fundamental personality, the fulfillment of its potentialities, the use of its capacities, the tendency to be the most that one is capable of being. In addition, the individual will tend to want and to strive for all the conditions which make these satisfactions possible, e.g., freedom, full information, justice, order, etc. (Maslow, 1943e, p. 91).

Certainly a visitor from Mars descending upon a colony of birth-injured cripples, dwarfs, hunchbacks, etc., could not deduce what they should have been. But then let us study not cripples, but the closest approach we can get to whole, healthy men. In them we find qualitative differences, a different system of motivation, emotion, value, thinking, and perceiving (Lowry, 1973, p. 35).

"The notion I am working toward," he wrote, "is of some ideal of human nature, closely approximated in reality by a few 'self-actualized' people." It is quite true that everyone else is sick and crippled "in greater or lesser degree," he continued, "but these degrees are much less important than we have thought." Indeed, the only real difference would seem to be that, whereas all persons at birth have the potential for self-actualization, "most all of them get it knocked out" before they have had the chance to develop it. The self-actualizing person, therefore, is not so much an ordinary man "with something added" as he is an ordinary man "with nothing taken away." The self-actualizing person is a full human being; the ordinary man is the same human being with "dampened and inhibited powers and capacities." The self-actualized person is, in short, "synonymous with human nature in general" (Lowry, 1973, pp. 35-36).

Though, in principle, self-actualization is easy, in practice it rarely happens (by my criteria, certainly in less than 1% of the adult population). For this, there are many, many reasons at various levels of discourse, including all the determinants of psychopathology that we now know. We have already mentioned one main cultural reason, i.e., the conviction that man's intrinsic nature is evil or dangerous, and one biological determinant for the difficulty of achieving a mature self, namely that humans no longer have strong instincts which tell them unequivocally what to do, when, where and how (Maslow, 1962i, p. 190).

The need for self-actualization.—Even if all these needs are satisfied, we may still often (if not always) expect that a new discontent and restlessness will soon develop, unless the individual is doing what he is fitted for. A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization (Maslow, 1943a, p. 382). Maslow went on to explain that his use of the term was more specific than Goldstein's in that it referred to "the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him 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" (Maslow, 1943f, p. 382).

Even if all these needs are satisfied, we may still often (if not always) expect that a new discontent and restlessness will soon develop, unless the individual is doing what he is fitted for. A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization (Maslow, 1954b, p. 91).

What the healthy human being chooses, prefers, and values out of his own deepest inner nature, is also most often good for him (Maslow, 1966d, p. 125).

"Indeed, self-actualizing people, those who have come to a high level of maturation, health and self-fulfillment, have so much to teach us that sometimes they seem almost like a different breed of human beings" (Maslow, 1962i, p. 67).

Self-actualizing people have to a large extent transcended the values of their culture. They are not so much merely Americans as they are world citizens, members of the human species first and foremost. They are able to regard their own society objectively, liking some aspects of it, disliking others (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 177).

Perhaps the difference between self-actualizing persons and ordinary mankind, then, is not that the former have more fully actualized their potentialities, but simply that they had greater potential to begin with. Let us also consider that there are many different kinds of human potentialities. For example, some persons have the potential to become mean bastards, and some of them actualize that potentiality very fully indeed. But would we be willing to say that these persons are, to that extent, self-actualized? (Lowry, 1973, p. 40).

The self-actualizing people of the type Maslow studied are a tiny percentage of the total population, a fraction of one percent. They are very different from the average person, and few really understand them (Goble, 1970, p. 44).

There is no sharp distinction between self-actualisers and ordinary people. Everybody is potentially a self-actualiser (Wilson, 1972, p. 216).

As I understand Maslow, his idea of self-actualization seeks to overcome the false dichotomies between selfish and unselfish, equality and excellence, real and ideal, inner and outer, individualism and cooperation . . . Maslow argued that divisions and conflicts within the personality paralleled divisions and conflicts between persons and groups, hence his call to look within ourselves was not a retreat for social engagement but a means of resolving dichotomous structures at all levels simultaneously. . . . Self-actualization was a composite, synergistic formulation combining the satisfaction of self and others, and hence the fulfillment of self through socially significant action (Hampden-Turner, 1977, p. 26).

Self-actualization, characteristics of:

"I have been thinking for some time," Maslow recorded, that an especially important characteristic of my GHBs is their ability to see reality more clearly. This showed itself in my security studies, especially among the Blackfoot Indians. It showed itself most—or at least first—in the ability to judge character. They could spot a phony a mile away (Lowry, 1973, p. 37).

Thus self-actualizing persons do not suffer crippling shame, guilt, or anxiety over their own natures; neither do they despise the natures of others. The result is that they can enjoy life to the full. As Maslow put it, they tend to be good and lusty animals, hearty in their appetites and enjoying themselves mightily without regret or shame or apology. They seem to have a uniformly good appetite for food they seem to sleep well they seem to enjoy their sexual lives without unnecessary inhibition and so on for all the relatively physiological impulses. They are able to [enjoy] themselves ... at all [other] levels as well .... All of these are accepted without question as worthwhile, simply because these people are inclined to accept the work of nature rather than to argue with her for not having constructed things to a different pattern (Lowry, 1973, pp. 42-43).

The first and most obvious level of acceptance is at the so-called animal level. Those self-actualizing people tend to be good and lusty animals, hearty in their appetites and enjoying themselves mightily without regret or shame or apology. They seem to have a uniformly good appetite for food; they seem to sleep well; they seem to enjoy their sexual lives without unnecessary inhibition and so on for all the relatively physiological impulses. They are able to accept themselves not only on these low levels, but at all levels as well; e. g., love, safety, belongingness, honor, self-respect (Maslow, 1954b, p. 207).

"They are more completely individual than any group that has ever been described, and yet are also more completely socialized, more identified with humanity than any other group yet described. They are closer to both their specieshood and to their unique individuality" (Maslow, 1970c, p. 178).

The self-actualizing individual often feels "saddened, exasperated, and even enraged by the shortcomings of the average person, and while they are to him ordinarily no more than a nuisance, they sometimes become bitter tragedy" (Maslow, 1970c, p. 166).

Eight general ways by which one self-actualizes.


A characteristic of the self-actualized person is the low degree of self-conflict. He is not at war with himself, his personality is integrated (Goble, 1970, p. 40).

Seminal work:

Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370-396. doi:10.1037/h0054346

Sheldon, William H. (1899-1977):

Maslow began studies with Sheldon but was influenced by Clark Hull to work with Harry Harlow instead. This may have also had something to do with Sheldon's strong anti-Semitism. Sheldon eventually would argue that the Holocaust was a Jewish myth created to engender world sympathy.

Subjects, selection of:

"The picker's values will certainly get in the way"—no matter who is doing the picking (Lowrey, 1973, p. 34).

What I've done was to pick B-people! In addition to all the overt and conscious criteria. People in the B-realm using B-language, the awakened, the illuminated, the 'high plateau' people who normally B-cognize and who have the B-values very firmly and actively in hand" (Maslow, 1954b, pp. 203-204).

So I guess I did read into my selectees a criterion beyond "health." ... I'd smuggled in an unconscious additional variable of B-ness, B-values. B-language. [Italics in original.] (Maslow, 1982 vol. 2, pp. 794-795).

Most of his students, especially the women, disappointed him, with their psychic drabness beneath a pert exterior. "Their faces look so much more promising than they actually are. They're all well enough adjusted, happy, psychiatrically untroubled, etc., but still they have no flame, spark, plan, excitement, goal dedication, feeling of responsibility." He despised some of the kids for their numbing blandness: being well-adjusted to a stifling culture was often evidence of deep-rooted sickness of soul. Mediocrity appeared to be the general lot, but the exceptions thrilled Maslow sufficiently that he refused to accept mediocrity as the inevitable lot of most (Valiunas, 2011, p. 99).


The best possible life is to be found in a state of "synergy," in which individual energies serve the social good and social arrangements enhance individual happiness (Valiunas, 2011, p. 103).


It is amazing that psychologists have not turned to the study of psychotherapy as to an unworked gold mine. As a result of successful psychotherapy, people perceive differently, think differently, learn differently. Their motives change, as do their emotions. It is the best technique we have ever had for laying bare men's deepest nature as contrasted with their surface personalities (Maslow, 1954b, p. 305).

But, by theory at least, psychotherapy is as similar to friendship as it is to surgery. It ought then to be looked upon as a healthy, desirable relation, even to some extent and in some respects, as one of the ideal relationships between human beings (Maslow, 1954b, p. 318).

Not only is every good human being potentially an unconscious therapist, but also we must accept the conclusion that we should approve of this, encourage it, teach it. At least these fundamentals of what we may call lay psychotherapy can be taught from childhood on to any human being at all (Maslow, 1954b, p. 321).

therapy [which are] based upon the medical paradigm, in which a healthy, strong, law-authoritative physician who knows everything, kindly and condescendingly helps the weak, ignorant, helpless, submissive patient down below. This is strictly a dominance-subordination relationship of a particular kind (Maslow, 1963c, p. 128).

the existential therapist relies much more on the I-thou relationship of Martin Buber and on the concept of the encounter as between equals, as between human beings that try to understand each other. Here it is well to remember the distinction between real problems and unreal problems, that is, that truly existential problems of the deepest sort are, in fact, insoluble, and that they are universally faced by all human beings. If we take these very seriously as problems, then the therapist and the patient are, so to speak, in the same boat, cast away on the same desert island, in adjoining cells in death row, in neighboring beds in the terminal patients' ward in the hospital (Maslow, 1963c, p. 128).

In any case, the conception of therapy as the elimination of symptoms and illnesses is too limited. We must learn to think of it more as a technique for fostering general growth, for encouraging self-actualization (Maslow, 1965h, p. 29).

The most important effect of Maslow's method is the bringing to consciousness of a certain kind of knowledge which had been hidden (Wilson, 1972, p. 216).

Theory Z:

See McGregor, Douglas. Maslow was not happy with McGregor's approach and developed what he called a theory Z. The theory was later popularized in a book entitled theory Z in 1981 by William Ouchi. This book did not mention Maslow.

"But of the individuals who have transcended self-actualization we must say that they have not only fulfilled but also transcended or surpassed Theory Y. They live at a level which I shall here call Theory Z for convenience and because it is on the same continuum as Theories X and Y and with them forms a hierarchy" (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 272).

The man who truly is influenced by enlightened management should become a better husband and a better father, as well as a better citizen in general (Maslow, 1965c, p. 87).

Theory Z places more reliance on the attitude and responsibilities of the workers, whereas McGregor's XY theory is mainly focused on management and motivation from the manager's and organisation's perspective.

The higher people get, the more evolved psychologically, the more psychologically healthy they get, the more this will be true—the more will enlightened management policy be necessary in order to survive in competition and the more handicapped will be an enterprise with an authoritarian policy (Maslow, 1965c, p. 262).

According to Theory Z, there is only one way to keep up a high level of production in an affluent society: to make the assumption that the workers have higher needs, and to try to satisfy these needs by trying to offer the worker greater autonomy and responsibility (Wilson, 1972, p. 225).

Third force psychology:

Humanistic psychology also refered to as: Human Potential Movement

Psychology should be more humanistic, that is, more concerned with the problems of humanity, and less with the problems of the guild. The sad thing is that most students come into psychology with humanistic interests. They want to find out about people; they want to understand love, hate, hope, fear, ecstasy, happiness, the meaning of living. But what is so often done for these high hopes and yearnings? Most graduate, and even undergraduate, training turns away from these subjects, which are called fuzzy, unscientific, tender-minded, mystical. (I couldn't find the word 'love' indexed in any of the psychology books on my shelves, even the ones on marriage.) Instead the student is offered dry bones, techniques, precision, and huge mountains of facts which have little relation to the interests which brought him into psychology (Maslow, 1965h, p. 20).

I consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional, a preparation for a still "higher'' Fourth Psychology, transpersonal, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest (Maslow, 1968, pp. iii-iv).

Thorndike, Edward, L.:

Thorndike was a prominent psychologist and early expert in intelligence testing. With a strong introduction from Gardner Murphy, Maslow met Thorndike at Columbia. Thorndike tested Maslow and found him to have an IQ of 195, the second highest he had ever measured (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 74). Maslow began working with Thorndike as a postdoctoral fellow (as his research assistant). "E. L. Thorndike, though disapproving of everything I was trying to do, made me his research assistant, promised to support me as long as necessary, and encouraged me to disagree with him. He taught me much about kindness and nobility that he never put down in writing" (Maslow, 1954b, p. x). Maslow became interested in human sexuality research and began doing his own research on power and sexual dominance in females (published several papers 1937-1942).

The tragic sense of life:

See Real problems and unreal problems


"Transcendence" unfortunately implies for some a "higher" which spurns and repudiates the "lower," i.e., again a false dichotomizing. In other contexts I have used as a contrast with "dichotomous way of thinking," the hierarchical-integrative way of thinking, which implies simply that the higher is built upon, rests upon but includes the lower (Maslow, 1962i, p. 169).


Our values are what give us direction in life. And so this is really the study of the directions in which we must go if we are to have such and such experiences which we would all like to have (Hardeman, 1979, p. 28).

Either psychologists and social scientists will supply empirical value systems for humanity or no one will. This task alone generates a thousand problems (Maslow, 1954b, p. 375).

[Maslow felt B-Values are universal, rather than cultural, this suggested there must be a biological potentiality and therefore part of what he called our organismic "inner core" or "Real Self"]

The value-life (spiritual, religious, philosophical, axiological, etc.) is an aspect of human biology and is on the same continuum, with the "lower" animal life (rather than being in separated, dichotomized, or mutually exclusive realms). It is probably therefore species-wide, supracultural even though it must be actualized by culture in order to exist.

What all of this means is that the so-called spiritual or value-life, or "higher" life, is on the same continuum (is the same kind or quality of thing) with the life of the flesh, or of the body, i.e., the animal life, the material life, the "lower" life. That is, the spiritual life is part of our biological life. It is the "highest" part of it, but yet part of it (Maslow, 1971/1976, p. 313-314).

In these mature individuals the struggle between good and bad is not a problem. They consistently choose and prefer the better values, and it is easy for them to do so. This dichotomy between good and bad is present only in the average individual who is not consistent with himself (Goble, 1970, p. 42).

Wertheimer, Max:

Maslow met Wertheimer in 1935 and was profoundly influenced by him. Hoffman (1988b, p. 92) says they developed a close, father-son relationship.

Wertheimer would get so excited while lecturing that he sometimes leaped onto a desk for emphasis. Outside the classroom, he was just as informal and would think nothing of playing on the floor with his children while Maslow and other colleagues visited (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 92).

Wertheimer argued that Western psychology is much too preoccupied with goal-seeking behavior and needs to learn from Eastern thinkers about the "unmotivated" qualities of human experience such as playfulness, wonder, awe, esthetic enjoyment, and the mystical state ... Wertheimer also offered guidance to Maslow on his research projects, such as the studies of dominance-feeling, emotional security, and sexuality. Wertheimer's emphasis on values and their role in human life came to occupy a key place in Maslow's own system of thought. (Hoffman, 1988b, p. 92).

Abraham Maslow, admired Wertheimer's work but also was struck by his bold and unusual character. Secretly, Maslow began taking notes about Wertheimer's personality. Although they were crude and informal at first, Maslow's observations evolved into a disciplined undertaking as he tried to identify basic themes and patterns in the lives, thoughts, and personalities of Wertheimer and the anthropologist Ruth Benedict; he took more systematic, although still spontaneous, notes in a "GHB" ("Good Human Being") notebook from 1945 through 1949 ... Maslow read biographies of historically eminent women and men, searching for common characteristics of "healthy-minded" people. (King, Wertheimer, Keller, & Crochetière, 1994, pp. 916-917).

After rejecting terms like "good human being," "saintly person," "self-fulfilling person" or the awkward "almost ideally healthy human being," Maslow adopted Goldstein's concept of "self-actualization" as the most apt descriptor for his category of "Good Human Beings." In his 1943 paper. "A Theory of Human Motivation," (King, & Wertheimer, 2005, p. 303).

Work in self-actualizing people:

Without exception, he found self-actualizing people to be dedicated to some work, task, duty, or vocation which they considered important. Because they were interested in this work, they worked hard, yet the usual distinction between work and play became blurred. For them work was exciting and pleasurable. It seems that commitment to an important job is a major requirement for growth, self-actualization, and happiness (Goble, 1970, p. 38).


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2. Maslow timeline


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3. Synopsis of Maslow and Dabrowski

Synopsis of Maslow

Maslow was an essentialist, fundamentally convinced that our human nature reflects our instinctual ancestry—man is an animal. Flowing from this, Maslow said that man's lowest and highest attributes are on a continuum reflecting this instinctoidal heritage. In development and self-actualization, one must try to become the best animal one can become by actualizing both the lowest and highest aspects of this instinctual continuum ("the fulfillment and actualization of their highest individual and species nature"). Maslow rejected the foundations of existentialism, in particular, what he saw as existentialisms outright denial of the existence of the biological and instinctual aspects of human behavior. Maslow also rejected free choice—free-choice does not work well for people in general; only "sound," healthy individuals make good choices.

Ideals: One must become what one can be—but no more—one must stoically accept the self as is. Ideals are to be avoided because they simply lead to disappointment and guilt if they are not achieved.

Synopsis of Dabrowski

Dabrowski was also primarily an essentialist: our basic parameters and potentialities are defined by our genetic essence. But, Dabrowski was also very much an existentialist, influenced heavily by philosophers like Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Our free choices become a critical opportunity for us to influence the direction of growth. Dabrowski rejected Maslow's indiscriminate, wholistic approach to self-actualization. For Dabrowski, lower animal instincts are qualitatively different from our higher human values and aspirations—they are not on a continuum. Through our imagination, intelligence, and, most of all, our emotions, we can consciously choose to inhibit or transform some of our lower level (animal) impulses and instincts in favor of higher (human), developmental solutions.

Ideals: Dabrowski advocated using ideals to help move development in the direction of authenticity. The individualized idealization of the self that one wants to be becomes an important roadmap to guide growth. Our free choices allow us the potential to rise above our animal nature to achieve authentic human development and to shape our personality in the direction of our idealized self.