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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Friday (2/26/10) 6:54pm - ... wherein Peter talks about self-actualization.

My latest formspring answer:

What does self-actualization mean to you?  Why does Maslow have it as a need? [2/25/10, by SullyUT]

For the last time, Sully, I'M NOT DOING YOUR PSYCH HOMEWORK FOR YOU.

(Kidding.)

For my readers' benefit, SullyUT is referring to Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Without looking at that reference material, offhand I'd say that "self-actualization" means "doing what you were meant to do."  To me, it implies a certain uniqueness -- you're not just working on the same assembly line that everybody could work on, but you've found a niche that allows you do to contribute something that nobody else in the world could do quite as well or in the same way.

That seems vaguely to match up with the real definition.

As for what self-actualization means to me in my day-to-day life, hell if I know.  I'm hardly the stoic that Maslow seems to so highly revere.  I like the forms of humor he sniffs at.  I'm not as high-minded or problem-centered as he would want me to be.

It makes sense that he lists it in his hierarchy of needs, though.  Sure, maybe he was codifying what he already thought was The Good (or Moral) Life.  But notice that he describes a type of person that doesn't have to worry about a lot of crap.  Self-actualized people doesn't have to worry about (say) what other people think of them, or what shortcomings they themselves have, or whatever's ruining their day *today*.  I suppose, then, that's analogous to not having to worry about food, or safety, or companionship.

("... that's good!  One less thing." -- Forrest Gump)

Ask me questions at my formspring page!

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Mood: [mood icon] contemplative · Music: none
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