In conducting the Actualization Workshop, our concern with moving a person's life toward a more joyful and satisfying experience of himself, other people, and the world.
Thus in a very pragmatic way, what becomes important is a model of what it is to be a person which serves the individual's growth as a joyful, conscious being.
It may very well be true that neither Freud's nor Maslow's model of what it means to be a person is in fact valid.
At the practical level of working with people, however, one thing becomes very clear: It is not possible to support a person growing toward a joyful and satisfying, and productive experience of himself in life if one starts with the assumption that the individual is incestuous, animalistic environmentally destructive, and generally evil.
If the quality of a person's life is to be enriched, we have to view him as a joy, open, communicative, lovable, and capable person who has not yet fully realized that about himself.
The value in Maslow's model is that it supports the growth of the individual and the workability of society.
Moreover, the model's usefulness is not dependent on the fact that we are inherent, by nature, that way, there is a fair amount of evidence to support that we are not inherently either GOOD OR EVIL.
We are simply born with an enormous amount of potential.
At birth this potential is not actualized: in other words, none of the potential has as yet actualized;
in other words non of the potential as yet been made real through action. It appears that the purpose of this potential is to equip us to respond creatively to the environment in order to secure our existence as a species on the planet. We will use our creative potential or creative intelligence to develop qualities that serve us in the environment in which we exist. In this sense, Maslow's answer to why so few of us ever attain self-actualization is accurate.
If our environmental conditions surrounding our life support our evolution toward self-actualization, we will move in that direction.
If the environmental conditions in our life don't support this movement, then we won't. Let's state this principle in another way.
If you were a willow tree living by a riverside, the environmental conditions of your existence would support your evolution toward becoming a self-actualized willow tree.
We wouldn't have to do anything to ensure your growth as a willow tress in this environment.
In other words, your relationship with the environment would result in you developing all the qualities one would expect to see in a self-actualized willow tree. Of course, the process is not entirely riskless.
Somebody may cut you down to build a freeway. However, the chances that you would make it all the way to self-actualization would be extraordinarily high. If, on the other hand, you were a willow tree and you were planted in the desert the chances of your making it as a self-actualized willow tree would be virtually nil. The environmental conditions of your existence simply wouldn't allow it, It wouldn't make any difference. If you really wanted to be a self-actualized willow tree.
the environmental conditions simply wouldn't support it, and it wouldn't happen.
It is very important to see the simplicity of this example before we go on. On a very fundamental level, what is true for the willow tree is true for you and me. If we are in an environment that supports our evolution toward self-actualization, then it will happen, and if we are not, then it won't happen.
However, you and I have some qualities that the willow tree does not possess.
The willow tress does not possess qualities or attributes that allow it to select its environment. In other words, a willow tree that finds itself planted in the desert cannot hail a passing yellow cab and adk the driver to take it to the riverside, You and I, on the other hand, can. So now we come to an important principle.
You and I have within us the creative intelligence to recognize the conditions of existence that support our growth toward self-actualization, and we have the wherewithal to place ourselves in such an environment. If the environmental conditions that support our growth are immediately available, then we have the creative ability to bring these conditions into existence and then live in them.
Thus we have a very unique relationship with reality. The quality of our experience of living is a reflection of the environmental conditions of our life, and as human beings, we have the potential and creative ability to recognize and construct environmental conditions that support our well-being, If we fail to recognize this principle and apply it, and persist in seeing ourselves as victims of an environment over which we have no control then we will lead a colorless existence as members of the living dead. In other words, we can have relationships that work. It is possible, let us further examine the quality of creative intelligence.