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Metaphysics & Psychology

Why self-actualization is harder than it sounds

Why self-actualization is harder than it sounds 86

Self-actualization is a noble aim. It is one which sells millions of self-help books each year and inspired the creation of humanistic psychology. In our individualistic society, the very concept that among our principal drives is to become who we are is one which hardly needs to be offered to us. It is, nevertheless, one that should be correctly explained.

While most people have read or heard of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and some of us have heard of how he added another level to the top, few people have heard about one of his   major issues with the project. He realized that a lot of people believed they’d attained self-actualization already.

According to psychologist Barry Stevens, who counted Maslow among her friends, something funny happened after the idea of self-actualizing took off.

“(He) was unhappy with what happened with many people when they read what he wrote about ‘self-actualizing people’. I have received a fair number of letters saying ‘I am a self-actualized person’.

After studying Maslow’s works, people literally told their therapists that they had reached the very top of his hierarchy. Given that Maslow wrote in his book Towards a Psychology of Being that less than 1 percent of the adult population manages to achieve that level, he found the slew of reports to be odd and problematic.

Maslow
Maslow finds that your claim of being self-actualized amusing.

Why would take issue with that? If you don’t have a fair amount of finical security you aren’t going to get past level two, let alone to self-actualization.

This problem goes back much further than Maslow. Aristotle, whose conception of eudaimonia has strong shades of self-actualization throughout, was open about the fact that only a well-off, Greek, male who has had a fair amount of luck in his life was going to be able to “live well”. Other psychologists who discuss the issue run into similar problems.

Maslow himself thought that anybody could become self-actualized. However, he based his theories on the healthiest one percent of the college population and exemplary individuals from history. He took the fact that so many people who were rather unlike the people he used to construct the model were claiming to have self-actualized as a sign that he failed to describe it properly.

So, were those “self-actualized people” just mistaken?

Many of them undoubtedly were. Psychologist Fritz Perls, however, thought that a subtle misunderstanding may also have been at work. Self-actualization is the process of becoming who you are. Not, as he thought many people were doing, actualizing who you think you are or who you wish you were. It is likely that many of Stevens’ pen pals had actualized a self-image.

Maslow himself warned against believing self-actualization means acting on whatever urge you happen to have. Considering such actions to be self-expression instead of actualization. While a genuinely actualized individual would be impulsive and pursue activities they like, they would not be on a continuous spree searching for kicks. The chances that a number of these “self-actualized people” had done this are also fairly large.

So, what do I learn from that?

Well, first of all, which you’re most likely not self-actualized at the moment. Sorry about that.

The next thing you could get out of this is a better knowledge of the difficulty of what Maslow is suggesting you do. You not only need to fulfill all of the lower demands regularly, but also be open to making yourself emotionally vulnerable, be willing to terms with the more painful aspects of yourself, and be constantly striving for psychological growth.

None of this is simple, it can not be accomplished in a weekend, and your progress could be interrupted by any number of things. Carl Rogers, an American psychologist who worked with the concept of self-actualization, did not even make self-actualization an end point- he saw it as an infinite process. While it is an superb goal to get, self-actualization is a much harder target than most men and women realize.

Lastly, you should perhaps remember the old advice know thyself. After all, you can’t become who you are in case you do not understand who you are. This wisdom goes back to before Socrates and he would be the first to say you ought to worry about that.

Source: Big Think

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an ‘experimental’ patient

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an 'experimental' patient 87
Image: Giphy.com

US doctors described the story of a man who tried to relieve depression with psilocybin mushrooms in an unconventional way. He injected an intravenous infusion of mushrooms, causing the mushrooms to continue to multiply in his blood and cause multiple organ failure. The case was reported in the Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry.

Many drugs that people traditionally use as psychedelics are increasingly becoming the focus of medical attention. Some of them have already been repurposed and started clinical trials: for example, micro-doses of LSD have proven to be at least safe in the case of Alzheimer’s disease, and psilocybin has helped patients with  migraines and  depression. Often in such experiments we are talking about microdosing – that is, the mass of the substance is not enough for a psychoactive effect.

The story of an American who decided to experiment on his own was described by doctors led by Curtis McKnight of Creighton University School of Medicine. According to relatives, the 30-year-old American suffered from bipolar disorder, but shortly before the incident stopped taking his prescribed medications and suffered from alternating states of mania and depression.

When he stumbled upon research on the potential benefits of psychedelics, he boiled psilocybin mushrooms and injected the filtered solution into his vein. A few days after this experiment, relatives found him in a lethargic state with jaundice, diarrhea and bloody vomiting and took him to the hospital.

Doctors discovered the patient had a problem with multiple organs at once: acute renal failure, liver damage, tachycardia, and low blood saturation and ionic imbalance. He was prescribed droppers to normalize the composition of the blood, vasoconstrictors to raise blood pressure, antibiotics and antifungal drugs. Despite this, he developed septic shock and DIC (excessive blood clotting) and needed plasmapheresis. Only eight days later he was discharged from the intensive care unit, and at the time of publication of the article he had already been in the hospital for 22 days.

In the patient’s blood tests, in addition to the Brevibacillus bacteria , there were also Psilocybe cubensis fungi  – the same ones from which he injected himself intravenously. Apparently, due to insufficient filtration of the solution, the fungi entered the bloodstream and multiplied there, causing intoxication and multiple organ failure.

Psilocybin mushrooms sprout in the blood of an 'experimental' patient 88

The authors of the work note that this is not the first such case – at least in the 80s of the 20th century, doctors already described a patient with similar symptoms after an intravenous injection. Therefore, McKnight and coauthors warn their colleagues: since psychedelics are increasingly used as a medicine (at the end of 2020, they began to legalize it in the United States), it is important to remind patients of the inadmissibility of self-therapy. Intravenous administration can be dangerous – doctors still do not know if it has the same psychoactive effect as the classical methods of administration.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

A part of a person’s essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan

A part of a person's essence accompanies him throughout his life: this is confirmed by a brain scan 89
Photo: pixabay.com

A new method of scanning the human brain has produced amazing results. It turns out that in every person there is a certain part of his essence, which accompanies him all his life from the moment of birth to death.

Scientists believe that this is the core of a person’s self-awareness. It combines memories of the past with fleeting sensations of reality and provides a basis for anticipation of events in the future.

It turned out that a certain part of a person’s consciousness is consistent as they grow older and older.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers have been interested in the question: can this sense of “personal self” be stable throughout life? A new psychological study with the results of a brain scan made it possible to conclude that a certain part of a person’s consciousness really accompanies him throughout his life.

It is consistent as it gets older and older. Miguel Rubianes, a neuroscientist at the Complutense University of Madrid, says the aim of the study was to answer the question: Are we the same person throughout life? In combination with the results of other studies, scientists have concluded that there is a certain component that remains stable from birth to death.

The other part of consciousness remains susceptible to current changes. The scientists recognized independence as the basis of identity. And every time a person uses the word “I”, he means a thread that connects together all the events and experiences that have occurred in life.

Experience gained over the years changes a person, changes the components of his identity. Each case associated with personal experiences, a broken heart, a successful career step, expected or unexpected failure lead to the fact that a person compares himself to himself before and after these events. It is a neurological programming scheme that involves visual self-knowledge as an indicator of connection with your impressions of yourself.

This effect makes it possible to cope with memories and recognition of information when it is associated, for example, with one’s own photograph of an infant. Although this principle has a lot of evidence, scientists believe that the very mechanism of the brain involved in this remains a mystery.

This study was published in the journal Psychophysiology.

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Metaphysics & Psychology

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop 90

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we sometimes do not notice how time flies past us, what miracles surround us. We do not have time to listen to the rustle of leaves in the wind and we miss those minutes when the crimson moon hangs at the very horizon.

Below are 10 films that reflect the beauty and diversity of our world. You watch such a movie and forget about everything.

Kytice

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

7 fairy tales-ballads based on Czech folklore are filmed colorfully and poetically. 

They endure a time when people were closer to nature, believed in miracles and the spirits of the forest, when the terrible and the beautiful were merged together.

Ashes and snow

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Gregory Colbert’s documentary has no plot, but it attracts with its stunning, unrestrained beauty, reflecting the unity of man with nature.

The film was shot for 13 years in the most exotic corners of our planet: Burma, Ethiopia, India, Antarctica, Sri Lanka, Tonga islands and many other picturesque places.

The fountain

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main character Thomas tries to find a cure for his wife Isabelle. Every day she gets worse, and he cannot be near, because he puts experiments in the laboratory. In his soul, love, the desire to be with Isabelle and the desire to extend her life are fighting. 

Darren Aronofsky’s philosophical drama was filmed in vivid colors, despite the fact that the director did not use computer special effects.

Samsara

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful one and a half hour trip to the most amazing places on the planet. 

Director Ron Fricke showed the inextricable connection of all people and events on earth, the cycle of death and birth, the versatility of our world, where beauty coexists with nondescriptness, and the end means the beginning.

The Bear

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The story of a bear cub that lost its mother and nailed to a large wounded bear. Together they have to go through many trials, the worst of which is meeting the hunters. 

The wonderful plot of the film is combined with stunning music that helps you immerse yourself in the world of nature and feel it with your whole body.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The harsh Siberian nature, untouched by man, the majestic Yenisei River and the small village of Bakhta with a simple way of life. 

People live and survive in these parts, rely only on themselves and also ask only themselves. Four seasons – four lifestyles for each of them.

August Rush

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

Young musician August Rush does not know his parents, but he really wants to find them and for some reason is sure that if he plays, they will hear and recognize him by his music. 

Mesmerizing music permeates the entire film and works wonders to dispel the evil spell of separation.

Baraka

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

A documentary masterpiece, a philosophical essay accompanied by superb cinematography and music, goes without words. The only and main actor here is life in all its diversity and unity. 

The gaze of a monkey sitting in a hot pond is equal to all the depths of cold space, and the dances of the aborigines are synchronized with the movements of the forest.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

This is a beautiful and unhurried philosophical parable about a wheel of time moving into infinity. Each time, with the beginning of a new cycle of rotation, life on earth is renewed, and everyone has the opportunity for a new rebirth. 

The film by Korean director Kim Ki-dook tells about two monks – a teacher and his student – and the obstacles that must be overcome on the way to finding harmony.

Chronos

Beauty and diversity of our world: 10 movies that will make time stop

The main characters of the documentary narration are cultural and historical monuments. 

They absorbed the life of the people who created them, and have remained for centuries as an imprint of bygone eras.

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