Transpersonal Tidbits: Differences between Non-transcending and Transcending Self-actualizers – A.H. Maslow |

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March 10 by The Running Son

Differences (in Degree) Between Non-transcending and Transcending Self-actualizers

(A. H. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature, 1969, 1971, chap. 22)

“Nontranscending and transcending self-actualizers (or Theory-Y and Theory-Z people) share in common all the characteristics described for self-actualizing with the one exception of presence or absence or, more probably, greater or lesser number and importance of peak experiences and B-cognitions and what Asrani has called plateau experiences (serene and contemplative B-cognitions rather than climactic ones). But it is my strong impression that the nontranscending self-actualizers do not have the following characteristics or have less of them than do the transcenders” (Maslow, 1971, p. 283).

1. “For the transcenders, peak experiences and plateau experiences become the most important things in their lives, the high spots, the validators of life, the most precious aspect of life” (p. 283).

2. “They (the transcenders) speak easily, normally, naturally, and unconsciously the language of Being (B-language), the language of poets, of mystics, of seers, of profoundly religious men, of men who live at the Platonic-idea level or at the Spinozistic level, under the aspect of eternity” (p. 283).

3. “They perceive unitively or sacrally (i.e., the sacred within the secular), or they see the sacredness in all things at the same time that they also see them at the practical, everyday D-level” (p. 287).

4. They are much more consciously and deliberately metamotivated. That is, the values of Being, or Being itself seen both as fact and value, e.g., perfection, truth, beauty, goodness, unity, dichotomy-transcendence, B-amusement, etc. as their main or most important motivation” (p. 287).

5. “They seem somehow to recognize each other, and to come to almost instant intimacy and mutual understanding even upon first meeting. They can then communicate not only in all the verbal ways but also in the nonverbal ways as well” (p. 287).

6. They are more responsive to beauty. This may turn out to be rather a tendency to beautify all things, including all the B-values, or to see the beautiful more easily than others do, or to have aesthetic responses more easily than other people do, or to consider beauty most important, or to see as beautiful what is not officially or conventionally beautiful” (p. 287).

7. They are more holistic about the world than are the ‘healthy’ or practical self-actualizers (who are also holistic in this same sense). Mankind is one and the cosmos is one, and such concepts as the ‘national interest’ or ‘the religion of my fathers’ or ‘different grades of people or of IQ’ either cease to exist or are easily transcended” (p. 287).

8. [There is] “a strengthening of the self-actualizer’s natural tendency to synergy — intrapsychic, interpersonal, intraculturally, and internationally. . . . [that] transcends the dichotomy between selfishness and unselfishness and includes them both under a single superordinate concept. It is a transcendence of competitiveness, of zero-sum of win-lose gamesmanship” (pp. 287-288).

9. “There is more and easier transcendence of the ego, the Self, the identity” (p. 288).

10. “Not only are such people loveable as are all of the most self-actualizing people, but they are more awe-inspiring, more ‘unearthly,’ more godlike, more ‘saintly’ in the medieval sense, more easily revered, more ‘terrible’ in the older sense. They have more often produced. . . the thought, ‘This is a great man'” (p. 288).

11. “As one consequence of all these characteristics, the transcenders are far more apt to be innovators, discoverers of the new, than are the healthy self-actualizers, who are rather apt to do a very good job of what has to be done ‘in the world.’ Transcendent experiences and illuminations bring clearer vision of the B-Values, of the ideal, of the perfect, of what ought to be, what actually could be, what exists in potentia– and therefore of what might be brought to pass” (p. 288).

12. “They can be more ecstatic, more rapturous, and experience greater heights of ‘happiness’ than the happy and healthy ones. But. . . they are as prone and maybe more prone to a kind of cosmic-sadness or B-sadness over the stupidity of people, their self-defeat, their blindness, their cruelty to each other, their shortsightedness” (p. 288).

13. “The deep conflicts over the ‘elitism’ that is inherent in any doctrine of self-actualization. . . is more easily solved — or at least managed — by the transcenders than by the merely healthy self-actualizers. This is made possible because they can more easily live in both the D- and B-realms simultaneously, they can sacralize everybody so much more easily. . . . This sacredness of every person and even of every living thing, even of nonliving things that are beautiful, etc. is so easily and directly perceived in its reality by every transcender that he can hardly forget it for a moment” (p. 289).

14. “Transcenders show more strongly a positive correlation — rather than the more usual inverse one — between increasing knowledge and increasing mystery and awe. Certainly by most people scientific knowledge is taken as a lessener of mystery ands therefore of, fear, since for most people mystery breeds fear. . . .But for peak experiencers and transcenders in particular, as well as for self-actualizers in general,mystery is attractive and challenging rather than frightening. . . . The more they know, the more apt they are to go into an ecstasy in which humility, a sense of ignorance, a feeling of smallness, awe before the tremendousness of the universe, or the stunningness of a hummingbird, or the mystery of a baby are all a part, and all are felt subjectively in a positive way, as a reward” (p. 290).

15. “Transcenders. . . should be less afraid of ‘nuts’ and ‘kooks’ than are other self-actualizers, and thus are more likely to be good selectors of creators (who sometimes look nutty or kooky). . . Self-actualizers would generally value creativeness more and therefore select it more efficiently. . . . A transcender should also be more able to screen out the nuts and kooks who are not creative” (pp. 290-291).

16. “Transcenders should be more ‘reconciled with evil’ in the sense of understanding its occasional inevitability and necessity in the larger holistic sense, i.e., ‘from above, ‘ in a godlike or Olympian sense. Since this implies a better understanding of it, it should generate both a greater compassion with it and a less ambivalent and more unyielding fight against it” (p. 291).

17. “They are more apt to regard themselves as carriers of talent, instruments of the transpersonal, temporary custodians so to speak of a greater intelligence or skill or leadership or efficiency. This means a certain peculiar kind of objectivity or detachment toward themselves that to nontranscenders might sound like arrogance, grandiosity, or even paranoia. . . . Transcendence brings with it the ‘transpersonal’ loss of “ego” (p. 291).

18. Transcenders are in principle more apt to be profoundly ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’ in either the theistic or non-theistic sense. Peak experiences and other transcendent experiences are in effect also to be seen as ‘religious or spiritual’ experiences if only we redefine these terms to exclude their historical, conventional, superstitious, institutional accretions of meaning” (p. 291).

19. “The transcenders. . . find it easier to transcend the ego, the self, the identity, to go beyond self-actualization” (p. 292).


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RFB editor Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013

RunningSon aka Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013 | This site is dedicated with the deepest gratitude to Dr. Cláudio Naranjo, whose writings gave me life.

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