Friday, August 18, 2006


What is objective of growth into adulthood?

Is it to be the biggest, baddest fascist on the planet? The person with the most money, the most high-tech, the most influence, the most......,?

No it is not. On an individual growth basis, the objective of growth into (real) adulthood is to have an apposite ego structure. There are many paths but they all contain some basic ingredients.

For a quick snap-shot of what the term means think the compassionate, decent human relationships of the greats and the persons they were.

Think, say: Jesus, Ghandi, Buddaha, Martin Luther King, Jr, any of those religious leaders with those qualities.... Mohammed?

You may or may not speak of their divinity. Either way, all will get the same common denominator from them. All those who preached and practiced a basic " Do unto others..." Those are the greats.

Then to fill in the picture, think Maslow's self-actualizing characteristics as given by the psychologist Abraham Maslow.

But it takes a lot to produce such individuals from the raw human stock. You hardly ever see what it takes , but it takes a lot.

It takes proper family systems, proper peer and social environments and such cultures or socio-cultures. It takes role-models, it takes a good amount of the proper life experiences..... Communities rich in these, in values and experiences and structured to impart these; religions properly centered and in an individual rights context or some systematic structure for others. Most humans learn mainly through social exposure and context,..... Apprenticeships not even seen as such. It takes these.

A multibillion dollar trust fund is not necessary for growth into that objective, but of course there are those with such fortunes and that state of being.

Some will say it takes acts of divinity. Some will not bother to argue that point because it also takes all of the above. Take but one example. Closely analyze the family and social environment a Jesus, say came from.

That I say is the objective of growth into adulthood. Whether it is minimum or sufficient some will refuse to debate the point. Any which way you take it, BE of that state, be consistent and determined in the process of arriving at that state, and watch the quality of the change, the decisive improvement , in the world around us.

Let me round–off the picture some more. Another aspect to the apposite is that of rationality. Such individuals have deep intellectual integrity. They apply reason and purpose in all that they do, and are rounded enough, free enough inside , to not apply these in those few circumstances. But the tenor of their lives is that of reason and purpose.

The apposite means character; and all the virtues required of and for good character.

The apposite is a wholesome self-esteem with the emotional basis of this self-esteem usually formed thru a childhood/upbringing that is positive, nurturing, affirming of self and selfhood, a growth into adulthood of unconditional love.

A self-esteem not obtained at the expense of others or defined in terms of others or defined solely in terms of material achievements, and not taught to be so. If this emotional base was unfortunately not there, one can take oneself thru the paces to correct for the base one had.

The apposite is that well-balanced person connecting, and connecting well, to all aspects of life.

On the family systems that make all this more likely, see the works of psychologist John Bradshaw , and others like him.

Below are some of the Maslow’s Self-Actualizing Characteristics and these corresponds to those of the apposite. Here Maslow enumerates his observations, but he was not in possession of the other psychological developments in terms of family systems and the formation of self-image/self-concept we now have, as in the works of a John Bradshaw.


Some Maslow's Self-Actualizing Characteristics
• keen sense of reality - aware of real situations - objective judgement,
rather than subjective
• see problems in terms of challenges and situations requiring solutions,
rather than see problems as personal complaints or excuses
• need for privacy and comfortable being alone
• reliant on own experiences and judgement - independent - not reliant on
culture and environment to form opinions and views
• not susceptible to social pressures - non-conformist
• democratic, fair and non-discriminating - embracing and enjoying all
cultures, races and individual styles
• socially compassionate - possessing humanity
• accepting others as they are and not trying to change people
• comfortable with oneself - despite any unconventional tendencies
• a few close intimate friends rather than many surface relationships
• sense of humour directed at oneself or the human condition, rather than at
the expense of others [ Not “Dissing”, name calling]
• spontaneous and natural - true to oneself, rather than being how others want
• excited and interested in everything, even ordinary things
• creative, inventive and original
• seek peak experiences that leave a lasting impression.
• these qualities flow naturally, without effort from the individual

Abraham Maslow was born in New York in 1908 and died in 1970, although various publications appear in Maslow's name in later years. Maslow's PhD in psychology in 1934 at the University of Wisconsin formed the basis of his motivational research.

To derive his notion of self-actualization he looked at the kind of people he called self-actualizers using a qualitative method called biographical analysis.
Included in this august group were Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams, William James, Albert Schweitzer, Benedict Spinoza, and Alduous Huxley, plus 12 unnamed people who were alive at the time Maslow did his research. He then looked at their biographies, writings, the acts and words of those he knew personally, and so on. From these sources, he developed a list of qualities that seemed characteristic of these people, as opposed to the great mass of us.

Sources: 1.


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