Sunday, June 20, 2010

40 years ago: The death of humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow

Abraham Maslow died on June 8, 1970 at the age of 62. Dr. Maslow was one of the seminal figures in the branch of psychotherapy known as humanistic psychology, which emphasizes man's capacity for goodness, creativity, and freedom--without God. In contrast to the theorists who emphasized abnormal or neurotic personalities, Dr. Maslow's research was along the lines of what made well-adjusted people well-adjusted. He was famous for his "hierarchy of needs:" People begin with the desire to satisfy physiologic needs (e.g., hunger, thirst), then move up through safety needs (e.g., avoidance of pain or anxiety; desire for security); Belongingness and love needs (e.g., affection, intimacy); esteem needs (self-respect, adequacy, mastery, competence); and finally, the need for self-actualization (to realize one's full potential).

By his own admission, Dr. Maslow met very few people who he believed had become self-actualized. The Maslow hierarchy of needs is exactly the opposite of the words of the Lord Jesus Christ: Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). Christian apologist Rabi Maharaj put it well when he quoted Isaiah 14:14b--"I will be like the most High"--and said that Satan was the first being to get into self-actualization. It's been said that at the end of his life Dr. Maslow was heading in the direction of what today would be called New Age beliefs; given his belief in human potential, that sounds like a logical progression.

1 comment:

  1. Maslow would work up man-God isomorphisms around the B-values into a good stew.