“What a man can be, he must be. This need we call self-actualization.”
Born in 1908 to Russian-Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, New York, Maslow was the first-born of seven children with incredible native intelligence (an IQ of 195). With Rollo May and Carl Rogers, Maslow founded the ‘third force’ humanistic branch of psychology, and its extension, transpersonal psychology, which went beyond the regular needs and interests of the person to their spiritual and cosmological context.
Maslow’s ‘hierarchy of needs’ is a famous concept in psychology. He organised human need into three broad levels: first, the physiological – air, food and water; then the psychological – safety, love, self-esteem; and finally, self-actualization.
Self-actualizing people have attained ‘…the full use and exploitation of talents, capacities, potentialities and the like’. These are the people who are a success as a person , aside from any obvious external success; by no means perfect. The emotional intelligence is ingrained in their personality.
Maslow’s research involved the study of seven contemporaries and nine historical figures: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Addams, William James, Albert Schweitzer, Aldous Huxley and Spinoza.