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Show ALL Forums  > Science/philosophy  > Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?      Home login  
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 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 1
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?Page 1 of 9    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Presupposing the existence of a Utopian state (in order to not focus on what might bring one into being), what would Utopia do to bring the human condition to a state where self-actualization became a norm instead of the exception? Can we see a world whose population is predominantly made up of Einsteins, Gandhis, Schweitzers, Dalai Lamas, Buddha's & Christs? How would this affect Utopia?

It is my view that if the state could be "actualized" to a Utopia, the human race would soon follow suit, but there remains some question with regard to the dependence of one to the other. We already know that to spite the relatively primitive forms of state we have always enjoyed(?), self-actualized people have appeared to take the stage in the play we call life. The common thread uniting such people appears to be a sort of Über-compassion (I just love that umlaut!) for all of humanity. Any fully actualized man or woman seems to have accomplished great things for humanity and to spite the fact that they seem as rare as hens' teeth, the simple truth is that their contributions were gigantic. What a shame that their greatest recommendation seems largely ignored, (probably out of fear) by those in positions of power, whose intent seems to be to confine the human condition to the lower levels of Maslow's pyramid... But I digress...

I suspect a utopian society would be one in which the lower needs would be automatically met, which would allow people in general to move toward self-actualization and in many cases achieve it. As the percentage of Buddhas, Christs, & Gandhis (or Übermenschen as I now like to think of them) increases in the population, their contributions to an already Utopian society would probably engender changes that can only be guessed at this point, as the society would find itself in a perpetual transition of "becoming" (in my opinion always becoming something "better"). However, such explorations would really be fantasies at this point and probably a bit of a waste of time to discuss (though I like to think about them just the same).

It is my intent that this thread be an exploration (taking a utopian state as a given, or already existing) of the form that Utopian state might take, such that it would allow most of the human race to become "self-actualized."

I could post my own views, but I think many of you already know(or suspect) them, so I won't yet bore you with my personal views. I'm much more interested in hearing yours. Meanwhile, I'm goin' out for some beer. See you later...
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 3
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 10:03:13 AM
The purpose of this thread is not whether or not the cart or horse should come first, or to discuss whether or not such a thing could happen, but to assume that it has, consider what it might be like and how it would affect the human condition. I don't mean to be critical, but I think your response has "missed the boat" regarding the question.
 Geneseo
Joined: 3/5/2008
Msg: 4
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 10:37:19 AM
You are posing a very difficult idea here. Something that is unrealistic, and goes against human nature.

You ask what a Utopia would be like, if it was possible to achieve.

I believe it would be a place of harsh laws, and strict regulations. Many would get bored of being in the Utopian “Zone,” and would grow restless. Said restlessness would have to be controlled.

I am trying to imagine it, but the idea is so “out there,” there I simply cannot.

I think the whole idea would make Ayn Rand, crawl out of her grave.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 5
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 10:51:27 AM

I believe it would be a place of harsh laws, and strict regulations. Many would get bored of being in the Utopian “Zone,” and would grow restless. Said restlessness would have to be controlled.

This is utopia?...Sounds more like what we have now. How would the society you envision foster self -actualization of people? It seems to me that being a lot like our existing society, it wouldn't.


I think the whole idea would make Ayn Rand, crawl out of her grave.

I hope so...I have little but contempt for her philosophy.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 6
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 10:57:14 AM

I know that you want to start the discussion with this part all presupposed but to be honest...I don't see how one can!

All I can say at this point is that you may be right, or you may be wrong, but I will operate on the latter assumption and see how this thread develops. At the risk of sounding kinda trite, I feel humanity is locked in a loop of uncreative thinking and I'm trying to find the "reset" button.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 7
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 11:25:16 AM
Considering the state of the human condition today, I refuse to believe a reset button doesn't exist. Such fatalism would only resign us to eventual (and well-deserved) extinction. I think humanity is only misguided. It really shouldn't take much to increase the incidence of self-actualization in society. Once that is done, the world will change.


<div class='quote'>that we can organize everything from the centre that there is an ideal model
It CANNOT be centrally organized!...The ideal model would be one based more in chaos than order.
However, the model I envision is not a topic of this discussion. I'm more interested in hearing models that others may propose. I find your comments thus far to be counterproductive in that regard and I'm sure you can do better, should you feel like it.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 8
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 11:58:26 AM
you would be better served by going down that route...not by looking for utopian visions


I'm not going "down that route"; I'm not trying to foist a personal Utopian ideal on anyone. It is my contention that in allowing the "anarchy" of self rule, the cooperative society inevitably resulting from that (organized around an unwritten natural law which determines everyone's rights & obligations under those principes) would be truly chaotic in the sense that individuals would have much personal freedom, but organized around what might be called the central attractor of rule by law, not by men.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 9
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 12:28:55 PM
o in what sense would that be "utopian"?

In the sense that any individual wishes to perceive it. Given the freedom to pursue their lives as they see fit could be considered "Utopian" by the people allowed to do so. If everyone was allowed to do just that, how could that NOT be considered Utopian?

We are diverging from the intent of this thread and turning it into a "chat" thread. I would ask that we both try to make a better effort to address the topic and also to invite the comments of others (partly out of fear that this could be seen by the mods as a chat thread & then deleted).
 divagreen
Joined: 9/26/2008
Msg: 10
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 12:47:39 PM
utopia comes from the Greek utopos...literally no place


This is true. Utopos literally translates as "no place". That is because Utopia is the "idea" of a perfect place, therefore subjective, and everyone's "perfect ideal" is different. Therefore comes the experience that it doesn't exist , therefore "An impractical, idealistic concept for social and political reform." -from the The American Heritage Dictionary.

And yes, I know you are from Limerick. This is a subtle attempt at levity. And believe me I see the irony...

However, the O.P.'s question, (as interpreted, please correct me if I am wrong) was "What would a community look like, if the community members were self-actualized, and self-actualization was in, and of itself a value?"

A provocative question, which has the possibilities of the engagement and integration (a communal effort?) of a lot beliefs.

I am going to go and think on this...

I will say this...it has been my experience, that conflict is not counterproductive, it is actually very productive, since it heightens one's awareness of one's use of words (especially in groups), and often may lead to creative thinking and conflict resolution.

I agree with the decentralization of governmental rule...this, in itself, is an anarchistic path...
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 11
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 12:58:21 PM

Don't you see the inevitability of conflict between desires of individuals...resolved by the rule of law you mention?

That's exactly what I see...Very perceptive of you.

Have one on me...
 greg14229
Joined: 7/18/2009
Msg: 12
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 1:00:03 PM
My two cents: Self-actualization has many definitions. It is not one thing. It is composed of a number of different psychological constructs. It was originally created to mean a person who has acheived ALL of his potential. That is not possible. There is always more they could acheive.
Another definition is that the person has discovered his/her inner self and thus has no charactor flaws. This is also not possible, because believing you have no charactor flaws is itself a charactor flaw.

If we want to speak theoretically, the closest we could even theoretically come to a Utopia, would be a community where each person lived in his own perfect reality, regardless of whether it corresponded to the reality of his neighbor. Yet somehow they could interact with each other in a meaningful way.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 13
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 1:24:23 PM
the closest we could even theoretically come to a Utopia, would be a community where each person lived in his own perfect reality, regardless of whether it corresponded to the reality of his neighbor. Yet somehow they could interact with each other in a meaningful way.

It sort of depends on what you mean by "perfect reality." Nothing is truly perfect, however, I believe it is not only theoretically poossible, but possible in the real and practical sense of creating something close to it. I suggest you read a bit more about Maslow's "self-actualization" and the sort of people he saw as fully actualized. Look at the commonalities between them and look at what they almost universally recommended for Man.

I wouldn't worry too much what Plato had in mind, I merely stole the word as a good approximation of what I feel can be achieved. In fact In the Platonic sense I already live in Utopia...I just wish everybody else did too.

I'm off to get a beer out of the fridge....
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 14
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 2:14:19 PM

there would need to be an extremely profound event that would have to occur

I'm not saying you are wrong, but why? What sort of event?
 greg14229
Joined: 7/18/2009
Msg: 15
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 2:23:37 PM

I suggest you read a bit more about Maslow's "self-actualization"


yes, the old heirarchy, its well known. But it has nothing to do with perfection. What Maslow (not the guy you always try to locate in books wearing a red and white striped shirt...thats Waldo) set up was a heirarchy which, if your environment met certain conditions, then you are more able to focus on your inner qualities. Nothing really profound here. Its hardly a state of perfection. Its just a state of attempting to fulfill your potentials. The key word is attempting. You can never fulfill all your potentials. If you did, there would be nothing more to do.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 16
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 2:33:54 PM
Its just a state of attempting to fulfill your potentials. The key word is attempting. You can never fulfill all your potentials. If you did, there would be nothing more to do.

Can you picture for instance Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, or Einstein, or Schweitzer all sitting around with nothing to do? Can you see self-actualization not as a pyramid with a top, but as an ongoing, transitional process of always becoming more than you were?
 greg14229
Joined: 7/18/2009
Msg: 17
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 3:59:42 PM
Can you see self-actualization not as a pyramid with a top, but as an ongoing, transitional process of always becoming more than you were?


sure, i think this applies to most of us.

Einstein himself had many charactor flaws. He was not the nicest person. Mother Theresa, often stated to be the most self-actualized, was also not the nicest person, at least not to those closest to her. She would not allow the nuns who worked under her to seek medical treatment for serious illnesses, and claimed it was because they did not need material things such as medicine, and that they had no money...after Mother Theresa's death...they found her account had hundreds of thousands of dollars.
 denfromnyc
Joined: 8/5/2009
Msg: 18
view profile
History
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 8:54:08 PM
The basis of any utopian state would have to involve a quality education system throughout the entire community, and a health care system that attends to the basic needs of its people. Only when those areas are satisfied can you even begin to have some kind of 'mass self-actualization,' and I don't see that happening in the US anytime soon.

 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 19
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 8:58:23 PM
One has to remember there are people who have been CREDITED with being self actualized, but may not have actually been so. You're right that everyone has flaws, but the truly actualized man or woman may have far fewer than the average man on the street say (or not - there may be however "compensating " qualities). In fact there seem to be certain commonly held beliefs or attitudes held by actualized people. From what I can see they appear to be an expansion of compassion to include a caring for all living things, or at least for all people. Another thing I seem to see in them is an almost(?) obsessive drive for their work. The best example I can think of in that regard would be Van Gogh. One might say he was a manic depressive homosexual driven to madness (so I guess you could say he had his "flaws"), but when I look at his work I see raw genius in it and thank God (or the supreme entity(s) in the church of your choice, if any) that he lived and painted (in the face of such adversity) and contributed so much to the human race. I therefore consider him actualized even though he might not qualify based on a "technicality". I include such people because they recognized the value of their work and could do no other, no matter what cards might be stacked against them. In general though, I see the expansion of compassion as the singularly most significant trait of what might be called the "truly" actualized. Here I'm thinking of men like the Buddha, Christ, Gandhi, Schweitzer, the Dalai Lama and Einstein. Perhaps this is best illustrated with quotes from each to illustrate the commonality between them. I will now quote the aforementioned people and leave it to the reader to see if he can match the quote to the man:

"A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

"What does Reverence for Life say abut the relations between [humanity] and the animal world? Whenever I injure any kind of life I must be quite certain that it is necessary. I must never go beyond the unavoidable, not even in apparently insignificant things. The farmer who has mowed down a thousand flowers in his meadow in order to feed his cows must be careful on his way home not to strike the head off a single flower by the side of the road in idle amusement, for he thereby infringes on the law of life without being under the pressure of necessity."

"Love and knowledge led upwards to the heavens,
But always pity brought me back to earth;
Cries of pain reverberated in my heart
Of children in famine, of victims tortured
And of old people left helpless.
I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot,
And I too suffer."

"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

"I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality."

"He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye."

Luke: 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
10:30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
10:31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
10:32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
10:34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
10:35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
10:36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
10:37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

“'Yajña' (sacrifice) means an act directed to the welfare of
others, done without desiring any return for it, whether of a
temporal or spiritual nature. 'Act' here must be taken in its
widest sense, and includes thoughts and word, as well as deed.
'Others' embraces not only humanity, but all life.”

You may notice that there are two "extra" quotes. I will leave it to the reader as an exercise to find out to whom they should be attributed.

well, that was a lot of typing...Time for a beer...
 divagreen
Joined: 9/26/2008
Msg: 20
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 9:17:18 PM


You're thinking of the word utopia as used milennia later by Thomas More, and the steady degeneration of the word then as it is used today to mean something we might even aspire to...


Degeneration or evolution? As communication evolves, via telephone, television, radio, the internet, words will have a more expansive meaning.

Believe me when I say, I understand the protectiveness over certain words and concepts, as applied to a direct conversation.

Back to topic... (which must be done, otherwise it might get deleted, and who would want that?)



Can you picture for instance Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, or Einstein, or Schweitzer all sitting around with nothing to do? Can you see self-actualization not as a pyramid with a top, but as an ongoing, transitional process of always becoming more than you were?


Just a thought, if all of Maslow's pyramid of needs were met on the fundamental level, may possibly the pyramid might continue in reverse? Self-actualization being a founding principal for a society... where would that lead to?
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 21
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 9:29:29 PM

where would that lead to?

One can only speculate...and hope that one day we might find out.
 divagreen
Joined: 9/26/2008
Msg: 22
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/13/2009 9:52:11 PM
edit post:
I am still thinking on this...
 denfromnyc
Joined: 8/5/2009
Msg: 23
view profile
History
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/14/2009 1:36:06 AM
This thread is beginning to haunt me.

How would you define self-actualization? Is it a life spent pursuing worthy goals? Living up to your potential? Doing every task set before you as best you can?

When I think of the people mentioned earlier who are considered to be self-actualized ("Gandhi, or Martin Luther King, or Einstein, or Schweitzer"), the hardships they experienced provided each of them with direction by giving them something to overcome. It's entirely possible that any community that wants to encourage mass self-actualization would do well to develop institutions that provide some kind of mild hardship to overcome.

I think if we just added a course in basic psychology, civics and critical thinking to every middle or high school, we'd be well on our way to an almost perfect society. Those lessons are too important to be untaught before college.

Great thread, thanks to the OP.
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 24
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/14/2009 4:16:57 AM

How would you define self-actualization? Is it a life spent pursuing worthy goals? Living up to your potential? Doing every task set before you as best you can?


Essentially I see it as living up to one's potential, but not as doing every task set before you to your best ability; rather it is the ability and doing of your CHOSEN task to the best of your ability.

I don't imagine Einstein was terribly good at taking out the garbage; my guess is that if nobody took it out for him, it would have piled up around his desk until he was forced to either clear a workspace or move out. His physics, however was another matter. Even when he had to work in a patent office to "earn his keep" his mind was on his physics. It was the only thing in his life (outside of his lover?) that was really important to him. He didn't do it out of kindness and he probably didn't do it out of compassion for the human race; he did it because he was a curious and patient man who couldn't walk away from a problem without solving it.

For all of that (and especially as he grew older) he came to see the world around him as a problem in itself and made some observations. His "compassion" quote is one of them. Whether or not he was always a compassionate man could be the subject of much debate. Whether or not he was always right isn't even a guess; he was often wrong. Nevertheless, he was an ethical and honest man, who felt strongly about his views and the world around him. Unlike many of his colleagues, he was a man of the people. It was his great humanity and overall love of it that I'm sure necessitated his informal hypothesis regarding compassion. It was his great faith in himself that gave it the air of conviction, and right or wrong, it was his great intellect that suggests we ought to at least pay some attention to it.

Reading Maslow, you will find that self-actualized people don't necessarily rise from adversity (IMHO the greatest of them will, but it doesn't appear to be a precondition for actualization). The trend appears more in the nature of moving to the "next level" when the needs of the existing ones are met. Even Einstein would have starved to death without food, and I'm sure his work suffered in the early days because he had to spend some of his time earning a living. I suspect the great love of his younger days provided for his need for love, etc.

Once the various needs are met, the natural striving appears to be "upward" to some next level, where only the actualizing man can meet his own needs. One need not be "fully" actualized to be a genius, or obsessive (unless one wishes to modify the definition), but it definitely seems to help to become actualized if one is an obsessive genius. Such a personality seems to allow such men to move to yet another level. I see that level as the manifestation of universal compassion within the man (or woman)
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 25
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/14/2009 4:49:21 AM
@ Kirk

since the Nietzsche thread seems in a way to have influenced your current thoughts on this Justdukky, perhaps you should consider what he might say

You misunderstand. I never read Nietzche (almost made a point of it - He was too "popular"). I was only fascinated by the concepts being discussed in the thread as they relate to my own views and began to see the concept of Übermensch as a vehicle to express them.

To the extent that my ba$tardization and use of both "Übermensch" and "Utopia" might differ with your presumably more accurate interpretations, I apologize to you. I too lament the apparent degradation of language over time. However, since my intent in using those words as "popularly" perceived was and is to express certain concepts for which I have been as yet unable to find suitable, precise/concise terminology, I felt at liberty to use some "poetic license." (Perhaps you have more suitable words to offer in their stead?). Hell, I'd take a page from Madison Avenue and use "maximum strength actualizationorama" if I thought it might properly convey my ideas.


we are described as unsatisfiable desire...

Even the Buddha (Who I consider self-actualized by virtue of his nirvana) was paradoxically filled with the desire to extinguish it (at least before his nirvana, but not afterwards. So I would say that the drive toward actualization is only to be found in those who are not actualized. That does not say, however that development stops there, as I feel every breath is yet another moment of learning and "becoming", in particular with actualized people.


Enjoy, it's one of the most enjoyable, poignant, profound and rich pieces of philosophical writing I've ever come across

Oh Great!!...Yet another thing on my ever-lengthening reading list! However, since I have no doubt you have studied a great deal of philosophical text and you are a smart man whose opinion I respect, I'll check it out. Does it go well with beer & pretzels?
 JustDukky
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 26
Utopia and self-actualization...an actualized state?
Posted: 8/14/2009 6:34:09 AM

I'm looking forward to a 'scatter' of pints of guinness with a few friends later. A traditional symposium if you like, in the Greek sense, i.e. a drinking party:)

It would appear we have more in common than I previously thought.

Have one on me!...
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