Just a little commentary from my doctoral studies of humanistic psychology and its modern-day connection to cultural variables and Christianity. As my doctoral program journeys further into the depths of philosophy and psychology, we collide with the principles of Christianity often. Here's a brief commentary of my thoughts as it relates to the foundations of Humanistic Psychology.
Abraham Maslow believed that the epitome of mentally healthy living was born through growth that allowed one to self-actualize and realize one’s own true potential (D’Souze & Gurin, 2016). Those that have reached stages of self-actualization are able to perceive reality more efficiently and accurately and they see things without selfish distortion. More importantly, they accept themselves, others and nature as they are and focus on external issues rather than themselves (Whitson, 2019). These qualities of self-actualization align (mostly) with Christianity. The idea of selflessness, love for others, and joy in being without chasing the negative idols of this world are exactly what Christ taught in his short time on this earth.
1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-conrol. Against such things there is no law.
Cultural variables such as ethnicity, race, and socio-economic status have uniquely contrasting influences on self-actualization and the achievement of these things based on one’s proximity and relationship to hegemonic power. The manifestation of power as it relates to cultural control can have a profound influences on one’s ability to reach a state of self-actualization. From a cultural perspective those in “power” have more opportunities for trial and error, mistakes with lesser consequences, and financial freedom that allow the mental room for an organic transition to self-actualization. And, on the contrary, those with lesser cultural status deal with harsher consequences, less trial and error, and lesser financial freedom. This cultural power, however, can have the reverse effect, if on the higher cultural status end of the spectrum, one’s freedom births narcissism; and, on the lesser cultural status end of the spectrum, one’s experiences can manifest into empathy and awareness of issues beyond them.
These manifestations are individual and in my opinion are a reflection of one’s relationship with God and one’s understanding of their place within our world. As I walk in faith and in academia I challenge the ideas of psychology, specific humanistic psychology as it relates to the values and morals and perspectives of my faith.
D’Souza, J., & Gurin, M. (2016). The universal significance of Maslow’s concept of self-actualization. The Humanistic Psychologist, 44(2), 210–214. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1037/hum0000027
Whitson, E. R. (2019). Self-actualization. Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health.
Side note: I am currently in pursuit of my PhD in Philosophy with a focus on General Psychology with an Emphasis in Integrating Technology, Learning and Psychology. Please send prayers my way as I navigate through the deep waters of formulating a dissertation worthy of my heart and mind.