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▣ A.3 Introduction of Multilevel Actualization.

William Tillier

05 2023


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⧈ Presented by Bill Tillier at the Eighth International Congress of the Institute for Positive Disintegration in Human Development
August 7 - 9, 2008 Canmore, Alberta, Canada

⧈ Previous efforts to simply equate self-actualizing/actualization with Dąbrowski have been confusing and very misleading as the underlying rationale and assumptions of Dabrowski's and Maslow's theories are quite different.

⧈ In order to advance from this impasse, I am introducing the new, neo-Dąbrowskian and neo-Maslowian construct of multilevel actualization (MA).

⧈ Multilevel actualization bifurcates Maslow's continuum differentiating between animal and human traits, making it clear that lower level features qualitatively differ from higher ones, thus reflecting the differences Dąbrowski described between unilevel and multilevel experience.

⧈ Before authentic actualizing can begin, a multilevel — vertical — differentiation of instincts, traits, characteristics and emotions must take place.

⧈ One must carefully review one's essence and imagine one's aims, goals, and personality ideal

⧈ Lower aspects must be identified and eliminated, inhibited, or transformed.

⧈ Higher features become the focus of actualization.

⧈ This differentiation subsequently becomes crucial in forming the personality ideal and in guiding the process of actualizing and moving forward toward deliberate personality shaping, eventually resulting in the actualization of the qualities and characteristics of one's essence, thus creating an authentic, unique individual.

⧈ In Maslow, self-actualization involves a superior perception of reality, a clearer and more undistorted view of things as they really are.

⧈ In multilevel actualization, one's dreams and ideals represent the images of a higher reality — a potential reality, a reality of what is possible — of what ought to be : this vision becomes one's personality ideal; guiding actualization to create one's new reality and new self.

⧈ Actualizing reality as it exists versus establishing ideals and goals to strive for is a fundamental difference between Maslow and Dąbrowski.

⧈ Dąbrowski: disparities between one's imagined reality and ideals versus one's actual reality creates strong vertical (multilevel) conflicts that fuel development.

⚀ “These multilevel conflicts are a fundamental part of the developmental process acting through anxiety, depression, psychoneuroses and positive disintegration.

⧈ In Maslow, conflicts, anxiety, crises and neuroses are “diseases of cognition” — blockages preventing development.

⚀ “What is psychopathological? Anything that disturbs or frustrates or twists the course of self-actualization” (Maslow, 1970, p. 270).

⧈ The features of self-actualization put forth by Goldstein and Maslow can be reviewed, revitalized and re-conceptualized using a multilevel approach.

⧈ An integration of self-actualization and multilevelness would lead to an important new paradigm of development and a new set of descriptors of development, some old, some new.

⧈ Research using this more comprehensive approach to development would provide important new insights.

⧈ In summary, multilevel actualization involves a two-step process:

⚀ 1). A multilevel differentiation involving a careful discovery and examination of the essence of one's character to identify the elements to be included versus those to be discarded in creating one's personality ideal.

⚀ 2). Actualization of this personality ideal involves:

□ Active inhibition, repression, and transformation of lower elements that are less like oneself.

□ Amplification and realization of the higher elements one considers more like oneself.

⧈ As a developmental construct, as formulated by Maslow, self-actualizing is limited to unilevelness if we do not incorporate a multilevel view of reality, self-review, vertical differentiation, and self-shaping.

⧈ Recalling Lincoln's first inaugural address in 1861, a multilevel approach to actualization will help free the better angels of our nature from the bonds of our animal ancestry leading yet another step closer toward the realization of authentic human nature.

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