The Humanity of the Rebel Essay

The Humanity of the Rebel Essay.

“I must make the important distinction between the rebel and the revolutionary,” says Dr. Rollo May, one of the most influential American existential psychologist among society, in an excerpt titled, “The Humanity of the Rebel” from his prominent book, Power and Innocence. Rollo May vividly highlights the enduring opposites of the rebel and the revolutionary amongst a society battling to protect conventional norms and traditions. As reasoning, optimistic human beings, many struggle to take the moral stand necessary against injustice in the world.

Humans, however, embody this central constituent to be aware of injustice and take necessary, primary action, in the form of “rudimentary anger.” This action against injustice evolves into two forms – the revolutionary and the rebel. May states that the revolutionary desires “external” change in politics, like overthrowing a government leader and replacing him/her. The rebel, however, has an everlasting persistence to break from the conventional views of society, to “oppose authority,” impacting people internally, whether emotions or mindsets, rather than push for physical, or visible change.

Revolutionaries have an underlying lust for power, while rebels share their power to benefit society and protect his/her logical and spiritual integrity; rebels desire to be a respected individual. Civilization, therefore, is defined by the actions and the shared power of the rebel that is sparked by rebellion like Prometheus. May further emphasizes that rebels are the key to the “first flower,” the survival of society for thousands of years because they shake the “rigid order of civilization;” rebels go against the status quo. Rebels must battle consciousness, realizing the responsibility, and struggle to make difficult, worthwhile decisions. A rebel, however, struggles with the idea as God(s) as the one(s) who keep men conventional and in line; Gods are, however, at the same time human’s motivation for our long-term visions and desires. At the same time, rebels are being “martyred” throughout history, only then to realize the impact of their actions afterwards.

The rebel, although martyred by society, feed off of that same society’s language, concepts, and relationships, in order to then directly criticize it and seek reform. May explains this concept as a dialectic relationship, with reliant “poles” that change simultaneously. May quotes Camus with the line “I rebel- therefore we exist,” highlighting the idea of making this dialectic relationship, this society, into a community. May further states that this action taken against the mainstream’s norms can be productive with “dignity” or wasteful with protest against preferred organization. All humans, regardless of action, need a method to dream of revenge against a restraining society. It is only the rebel who takes the next step of action, and therefore synonymous with savior. For example, May focuses in on the artist as a rebel, capturing not just appearance by what the artist “sees” deep in the subject. This form of rebellion provides a new way of seeing nature and life, or as Alfred Adler says, “Artists teaches mankind to see.” Artists create new visions with the constantly changing time, developing their own community meanwhile.

Society can choose what to do with this rebel – buy or sell, or “enthrone” them. May believes artists define our new experiences and forms in the world around us. All rebels, however, have “inner” limits, being concerned with their own identity and the emotions of those around them. Rebels work towards their vision, swallowing their own pride if necessary, and also fight their compassion, having that desire to help those who suffer. These limits, along with good and evil, however, improve the visions of the rebel, instituting pattern and order to attempt to find meaning in the world and discover forgiveness. After reading Rollo May’s “The Humanity of the Rebel,” I was very intrigued by his work. I never really debated the difference between a rebel and a revolutionary, and thought they were more synonyms.

May, however, quickly disproves the similarities. May’s organization of his facts, personal opinions, and outside sources and quotes make for a very powerful, captivating piece of work. By outlining the stark differences in the revolutionary and the rebel’s goals from the very beginning, I was already focusing in on the rebel, understanding that their impact was more than just political change. As May continued explaining the qualities of a rebel, I focused in on civilization’s reliance on the rebel – May reemphasizes this idea numerous times, in numerous different forms. In order to survive as a society, humans rely on these few individuals who are willing to take the risks of breaking the norms of society. I was already captivated and accepting May’s idea of “shaking the order” of society because it is synonymous with what I learned in Holocaust class on heroism. Einstein said “The world is not dangerous because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Therefore, people can take a moral stand, where one may sacrifice their body, but not their soul. This idea of persistence was emphasized by May when he said “I will be destroyed, rather than submit.” Yet, even after such drastic action, throughout history, society martyrs those who allowed society to survive and remain sane and energized in the first place. This idea bothered me deeply, understanding the history of fallen rebels that have truly remolded the norms of society that stood for hundreds of years. Likewise, I strongly agree with May’s point of withdrawal, in which a person can gain new perspectives, discover their inner-self, and prepare themselves for a successful future. From different stories throughout history, this has proven true. Among this society, withdrawing can be difficult, and I felt that when Rollo May acknowledges the idea of “today’s modern hero,” truly legitimized his work.

I began to evaluate his work and accept it, knowing he understood the world today, rather than just rebels and revolutionaries throughout history. Modern heroes have to work and struggle with super technology and modern communication in order to achieve a worthwhile rebellion, an element once non-existent in the past. Finally, although May’s idea of the artist as a rebel had many similarities, I feel that in a modernizing world of technology, the type of art would have a major effect on new discoveries and perspectives that allow people to see and understand the world. Ending with the idea of forgiveness among a world of both good and evil gives a sense of hope to this idea of the rebel, a person who will soon attempt to transcend society’s views today in order to secure the future for everybody else.

The Humanity of the Rebel Essay

True Freedom Essay

True Freedom Essay.

Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre shared more than a similarity in their conceptualization of the absurdities in this life. These two great writers offered much in terms of their review of each other’s works with a passion that was uncommon. They also both enjoyed similar passions in life that ranged from writing, reading and the theatre. They have uniquely and aptly tackled the issue of freedom and how it is elusive in a world full of absurdities. To them, true freedom lies within the ability of man to make individual choices with little regard to the societal expectations, also most importantly, according to Sartre, taking responsibility for such choices.

            The key focus to this paper would be the views of freedom in the eyes of two important writers; Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre. Special focus will be given to their two greatest works Absurdity and Suicide and Being and Nothing.

            Camus and Sartre are both faithful adherents of existentialism. Existentialism is simply a school of thought in philosophy that posits that human beings should search for their own meanings in life and pursue them instead of following the rules as laid down by a supreme being.

It is in line with these thoughts that they both coin their idea of freedom.

In his work, Camus understands the elusive nature of freedom. It is inconceivable, individual in nature and cannot be generalized; “I can experience only my own freedom” (pg 4 81)

            To explain the entanglements that man finds himself in to, he brings the dominant idea in his works; absurdity. Human life is absurd. Mankind has for long been trying to understand the nature of the world.  Humanity is still trying to decipher the various aspects of the world. In his work, The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus says that the helplessness that man finds himself in the world evokes a feeling of absurdity, as the world seems quite irrational.

This absurdness and the inability of men to understand the ways of the world leaves people with three choices only. He says that “a world that can be explained even with reasons is a familiar world. But on the other hand, in universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien stranger.” (pg 443)

            To Camus, suicide is one of the solutions to the absurdities in this life. When one kills himself, it is a form of confession that life has just become intolerable. Through suicide, a person admits categorically that there is a glaring lack of any reason to live. Through suicide, man is accepting the absurdities in life and his inability to comprehend, this is seen where he says that “suicide, like the leap, is acceptance at its extreme, everything is over” (p 443).

            It is these thoughts that later leads to his conceptualization of what freedom to him is. His views of true freedom are unconventional. It is not in line with the thoughts of the orthodox perspective. It is not line with the thoughts of the orthodox religions that posit that following God’s rules is the ultimate sense of freedom. To Camus, the exact opposite is true.

            As stated before, existentialists are divorced from the dominant thought of the centrality of God in influencing personal choices. Camus says that freedom as people see it does not make sense. Once the idea of a supreme being comes in to play, the idea of freedom is diminished. Camus does not perceive the co-existence of the two saying that it is “either we re not free and God the all powerful is responsible for evil or we are free and responsible and God is not all powerful”. (p 481)

            To Camus, a part of achieving and experiencing the true freedom is to delink the idea of deity from our lives.

            A man also has the option of accepting the absurdities. This to Camus is the source of true freedom, accepting that life is absurd. Freedom comes to men once they acknowledge and fully appreciate the absurdities in this world.

            This is where the idea of an absurd man creeps in. An absurd man according to Camus is a man who defines his own path, a man who is not a conformist and does not agree with the dictates of the society. He has no ethics or morals as conventionally held. He seeks to achieve freedom by living according to his will and disregarding all calls for morality and other universal truths. This is the true freedom and is the opposite of what “mystics” believe in. He says that “mystics find freedom in giving themselves, by losing themselves in their god, by accepting his rules, they become secretly free” (p 483).

The absurd man’s freedom is the true freedom. He has liberated himself from the conventional rules. Suicide is not an option to Camus. In regard to suicide, it should be noted that Camus may not mean the physical suicide and death. It may also mean the complete rejection of the existence of a supreme being. The inquisitive nature of man is unable to find answers in the irrational world and hence the absurdity comes in. It is the inability to understand the world that leads to man severing connections with it through suicide. This however is not a viable option to Camus. (Camus, Albert, 64)

            Jean-Paul Sartre work Being and Nothingness remains one of his greatest achievements, his work like that of Camus is against idealism, as seen in the introduction where he begins with the criticism of Emanuel Kant’s views.

            He refers to his work as An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology. Kant had alluded that our perception of the world is greatly influenced by how we perceive the world rather than how it is. Kant talks of noumena, a part that is hidden from us. Sartre on the other hand disapproves this idea saying that noumena is non-existent. The world is absolute and does not allude to idealism, our perception is shaped by what we see and this is what is there.

This is the main thinking of Sartre and is a view that is key to understanding his opinion of many subjects core to them being freedom. It is through the concept of freedom that Sartre chooses to present his understanding of man. His idealization of freedom however is quite paradoxical; it is freedom that is filled with constraints. He gives an analogy of the grocer in his essay of “Being and Nothingness: Bad Faith”. The grocer is constrained to the ways of the grocer not that he she does not want to behave in another way “etiquette requires that he limit himself to his function as a grocer” (p 386)

            The freedom that man has to be tied to a number of conditions; people have to be fully responsible for what they do, freedom is not there for the sake of it, it comes together with responsibilities that comes with the choices made. Man is in anguish over the burden of responsibilities plaguing him down.

            Freedom according to Sartre is constrained by facticity. Facticity means the backdrop against which freedom exists to an individual. It is the factors that constraints the achievement of true freedom. These may range from culture and language amongst others. These social and physical impediments get on the way of the individual to achieve true freedom.

            This is what is mainly seen as a contradiction to many. How can Sartre claim there is freedom where as man is all around faced by odds and constraints. However Sartre clarifying by noting that freedom is not explained along the lines of ability but rather it is a feeling that emerges spontaneously. Freedom to Sartre comes when a man makes choices and does not evade making them. As understood, these choices are not static, they are choices that come and change from time to time.

                        Sartre alludes to the fact that there are two states that determine who man is , states that are not tangible and can either be importance or not. There is the future which man can either decide to change or not and the past which is a product of man’s actions. Man has the freedom to control his actions and decisions so that they may shape the future and the past. This is despite the fact that man at the moment has no control of these two. The past has passed and the future is yet to come.

A superficial look at this may indicate a contradiction but a closer look at it reveals more. Our past deeds and circumstances constitute our decisions while our future is to be made by our present course of action. Sartre perception of freedom posits that it lies within our actions and taking responsibility for such actions. We have the freedom to shape the future through our choice of actions. The intense anguish that he talks of emanates from the responsibilities we take as a result of the choices we have made (Joseph Catalano, 39).

            The only constraints to our freedom are facticity which when put into this context refers to the circumstances that we have no control of like age or physical disabilities. Sartre also talks of bad faith, “we say indifferently of a person that he is guilty of bad faith or that he lies to himself” With this he is referring to the people that escape making their own decisions and carrying them out (p 370).

            Sartre’s concept of true freedom is that human beings must make an importance choice on how they expect to live and such an existence is to be. People should view each chance in life as an opportunity to choose the right course of action. This concept further posits that we are free as far as making our choices is concerned; anguish however comes in as a result of the choices we make. We are free to make choices but we cannot escape the responsibilities tied to those choices.

            Camus, Absurd Man and Jean Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness are two masterpieces taking a unique view of freedom, a perspective unequalled by any other. Though both lean towards existentialism, their views seem to diverge a little on the issue of how to achieve that freedom. To Camus, freedom is achieved by severing the connection that one has with the society and the idea of a super being, by acknowledging the absurdities in life and by failing to conform to the convention rules. Where as religion fanatics perceive religion as a way of giving themselves up to a higher being, Camus sees it as delinking one self from external influences and societal expectations (Ronald Aronson, 16).

            Freedom to Sartre is in making our own choices, shaping our own course of action and then taking full responsibility of it.

                        In conclusion, Camus and Sartre have dealt at length with the absurd nature of this world especially in failing to provide answers to man’s inquisitiveness. Sartre, despite his pessimistic view of freedom is right to note that freedom comes with a responsibility. He emphasizes that man is all round free as he can make his own choices regarding his life, there is a catch though to this freedom; responsibility. People must bear the cost of the choices they make in life.

Their view of the absurd freedom has some elements of truth especially in today’s world. People claim they are free yet they are surrounded by all manner of societal obligations and rules. People are being bogged down by religion and yet they claim they are free. Freedom cannot be achieved without the complete disregard and disentanglement from all those rules that bind men.

These two scholars have brought a very interesting perspective of what freedom is. It has become obvious that conceptualization of freedom is bound to differ with time and space. Freedom is different from one individual to the other and from one scholar. Interesting though is how these scholars perspective differ from the modern day’s perception of freedom which tends to be interpreted along political lines. To most Americans today, true freedom is all about being able to do what one wants to do with little interference from the government. Others would rank freedom of expression and worship high in their perspective of what freedom is.

Ideally, many in the progressive societies would consider themselves free and have a pessimistic look at those living under despotic regimes. To be able to live how one wants, dress in the way one sees best and talk with whoever interests us may seem like actualization of freedom to many, but not to Camus and Sartre. To them, the very same societal fabric that binds us together with a moral code is the real impediment to our freedom and unless we are able to overcome these societal expectations and entanglements, we are not really free.

Works Cited

Albert Camus. The Plague. Translated by Stuart Gilbert. Vintage

Books, 1991; 434-486

Jean-Paul Sartre. Being and Nothingness. Trans. H. Barnes. Routledge: London, 1995; 340-380.

Joseph Catalano. A Commentary on Jean-Paul Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. Chicago:

Chicago University Press, 1980, 34-47.

Ronald Aronson. Camus and Sartre: The Story of a Friendship and the Quarrel that Ended It. University of Chicago Press, 2004; 9-17

True Freedom Essay

Your True Self Essay

Your True Self Essay.

Existence precedes and commands Essence. (Jean Paul Sartre) We regarded any situation as raw material for our joint efforts and not as a factor conditioning them: we imagined ourselves to be wholly independent agents. … We had no external limitations, no overriding authority, no imposed pattern of existence, we created our own links with the world, and freedom was the very essence of our existence. (Simone de Beauvoir, 1963). Many people believe that freedom is something that you are given when you are born, and that you can do whatever you want.

Your True Self Essay

Abraham Maslow Essay

Abraham Maslow Essay.

Humanistic psychology, which is associated with theorists such as Carl Rogers and Fritz Perls and Existential psychology, which is associated with theorists such as Irvin Yalom and Victor Frankl share certain concepts that utilize a range of approaches with case conceptualization, therapeutic goals, intervention strategies, and research methodologies (Richert, A. J. , 1999). As explained previously, the psychologies’ similarities are that they both place an emphasis on life meaning, objective reality and human potential (van Deurzen-Smith, 2006) and incorporate methods to understanding human experiences.

Collaboratively, the Humanistic-Existential approach is to facilitate the development of one’s self-awareness and most importantly, the understanding of ones self. The focus of this paper is to elicit the significant roles each perspective plays individually and collaboratively in understanding aspects of human nature and provide an overview and evaluation of various approaches by comparing and contrasting the observed similarities and differences within their assumptions.

See more: Satirical elements in the adventure of Huckleberry Finn essay

Due to certain aspects that differentiate these two psychologies, it is acknowledged that how they interpret the understanding of human nature comes from two distinct foundational views and thus generally defines them as not being interchangeable with one another.

Humanistic psychology is seen as having a more positive view on humanity and working towards our potentials, while Existential psychology delves more into the darkness of humanity’ (Cozon, 2008, p1) and the understanding of our limitations, accepting them and choosing how we exist with them.

To expand on these perspectives, it appears to be implied that Humanistic psychology centers on growth and kindles positive change, whereas Existential psychology perceives people as not having an internal nature to count on (Cozen, 2008). However having the capability for self-awareness and choice, is a belief shared by Humanistic and Existential approaches but this belief comes from differing ideologies (CSAT, 1999).

The Humanistic approach observes that people are able to free themselves to encompass their goodness and potential (Hoffman, 2004) allowing them to make choices with their life experiences. Therefore, if we allow ourselves to self-aware and acknowledge a positive faith in ourselves, we may possibly find means to reaching unrecognized capabilities and the strength to make decisions on how to tackle life’s difficulties. Humanistic psychology also places emphasis on a person being able to grow and reach a degree of self-actualization (Maslow, 1968).

In other words, if we are predominately content with our needs being met and thus feel confident and motivated to move forward in expanding our potential to its fullest, a sense of overall fulfillment can be achieved. This ideology thus takes into consideration a similarity to the Existential approach, in that it values within a person the means to develop the ability to become responsible for self direction. Therefore with an awareness of this it is possible for a person to adapt positively to their concerns that then initiates growth and hopefully motivation towards change (Rowan, 2005) and their true self.

It is then assumed that when a person who does not have all these ideals in their cognition, that the opportunity to be aware of how to implement them within their being (personal learning, psychotherapy-Humanistic), may enable them to obtain a sense of optimism toward moving in a direction where they feel more positive about themselves and their abilities as well as give them the capability to amend functionalities that have prevented them moving forward.

In contrast to this, Existential psychology observes that people can find meaning in the face of anxiety by choosing (Sartre, 1958, Strasser, 1997) to think and act authentically and be responsible for how they accomplish this. According to Yalom (1980) the underlying concerns that instigate psychological problems are entrenched in anxiety surrounding the notions of death, freedom (and responsibility), isolation and meaningless.

What has perhaps been suggested here is that worries acquired from negative experiences can establish factors which develop fears of death or failure (loss), losing free will and accountability to do things the way we wish to, alienation from others and the lack of understanding who we are and how we engage with the environment around us, ultimately causing anxiety because they are reminders of our human limitations (CSAT, 1999).

It therefore is assumed that people acquire certain anxieties because it is not in their nature to implement their choices or judgements well enough to form and establish meaning in aspects of their lives and these limitations are possibly influenced from external factors, such as developmental processes in childhood, contributing to a person’s inabilities.

Although if a person can confront their anxieties and become aware of finding their own means to acquiring a more positive outlook and accepting their issues (existential), then the progression to become authentic/self-actualized (Frankl, 1969, Strasser, 1997) and the establishment of free will can possibly be achieved, which in turn forwards the potential of a person to live a life with more meaning in times of being uncertain about themselves and the world and when facing difficulties.

Ultimately allowing them to develop the ability to change (van Deurzen-Smith, 2006) and enhance their abilities to move in a more optimistic direction. Even though Humanistic and Existential Psychologies value beliefs from differing ideologies they do share a significant amount in common. Corey mentions that these psychological theories; ‘overlap in that they share a respect for a (person’s) subjective experience and a trust in the capacity of the client to make positive and constructive conscious choices.

(This is) emphasized with such concepts as freedom, choice, values, personal responsibility, autonomy, purpose and meaning’ (2005, p99). All these concepts are considered and included with the individual in mind as they take into consideration a person’s own subjectivity, personal meaning and personal choice (Cozen, 2008).

These ‘individual’ ideologies appear to suggest that everyone has the capacity and capability to be aware of establishing their own processes to functioning in a way that facilitates a healthy psychological well being as well as giving accreditation to the idea that a person has the choice to make and accept decisions in their lives that contribute to a more positive and meaningful existence.

Both psychologies recognize the significance of personal development/growth, choice, motivation to change and self-actualization/authentic-self as contributing factors to achieving this healthy psychological well being (Maslow, 1968, Rogers, 1961, Perls, Hefferline & Goodmen, 1951/1973, Coan, 1997, Rowan, 2005, May, 1994, Yontef & Jacobs, 2008, van Deurzen-Smith, 2006, Frankl, 1969, Strasser, 1997).

Development and growth from an Existential outlook is considered to be formed from motivational behavior in the context to changing the self. It is from engaging in positively motivated pursuits, that a person can experience facilitating movement towards self-change (Cohen, 2008). For some however this motivation may be diminished due to not been able to facilitate positive processing mechanisms and a lack of ‘ontological security’ (Laing, 1960), which encapsulates a person having a sense of their own and other people’s reality and identity.

Existential perspectives acknowledge that anxieties are sometimes not avoidable but they can be worked on and interpreted to make sense of them in the hope of development. This occurs when a person addresses anxieties with determination and curiosity, gains an understanding of how to accept the reasons underlying their issues and evaluates the thought processes that are responsible for “mis-understanding and evading life experiences” (van Deurzen-Smith, 2006). Once a person has recognized in themselves the opportunity to develop and grow, then maybe they can become more inclined to change?

Humanistic psychology suggests that if we do not restrict ourselves by acknowledging our potentials then we should be able to implement processes that enable us to feel confident to change and move in a more optimistic direction (Rowan, 2005). In other words if we begin to look at ourselves in ways that enable us to diminish our self-imposed limitations (through self-discovery), we possibly may be more inclined to recognize within us the abilities to see what we need to do to change how we feel and think in a positive way.

From an existential perspective, change and transformation is one life long process and although it is most often that someone wishes to implement change, aspects in their lives imposes on them to continuing their present situation. (van Deurzen-Smith, 2006). It is then perhaps most likely that the sense of having to conform to the impositions placed on us by others and our environment as well as not having the conviction to rely on our own potentials, reduces our abilities to find within ourselves the confidence to make the changes we need.

But if a person is able to find within the means to re-process and re-interpret their concerns (via self-discovery or psychotherapy) they; “may become aware of the many ways (they have) kept such change at bay…(and rather than) just conform to their own negative predictions of the future…(opt) for more constructive predications (so that) a change for the better may come about” (van Deurzen-Smith, 2008, p7) Existential psychology acknowledges anxieties and concerns as signs notifying us to begin re-evaluating the negative processing utilized in times of crisis.

As it’s at these times of crises we then can try to recognize and establish within ourselves the means to revise our negative modes of functioning and initiate changes for the better (van Deurzen-Smith, 2008). It may take a person in crisis some time to implement this process but hopefully with self-learning or psychotherapy the capability to do so could be brought into awareness and therefore when a person faces their anxieties in such a way, being open to change becomes much easier so they may be able to “make the most of life’s naturally transformative character” (van Deurzen-Smith, 2008).

In Humanistic terms, when a person is then able to develop and grow and feel motivated to change they are on their way to becoming self-actualized (Maslow, 1968, Rogers, 1961, Perls, Coan, 1977) and in Existential terms these processes enables a person to be authentic (van Deurzen-Smith, 2006, Frankl, 1969, Strasser, 1997).

From the ideologies in Humanistic and Existential psychologies, it seems that self-actualization and authenticity come about once all these processes have been fulfilled and our potentialities are complete. These theories give the impression that we have to develop a greater awareness and understanding of ourselves as individuals to then enable us to obtain the capacity and capabilities to live our life to its fullest even when faced with circumstances out of our control.

Thus in theory, self-actualization occurs when needs are met (Maslow, 1968), when a person has the motivation to “expand, extend, develop, mature (with a) tendency to express and activate all the capacities of the self” (Rogers, 1961, p351) and have within the strength and confidence to function at the highest level (Coan, 1977). Authenticity is said to come about through an existential stage, which goes beyond a person’s ego and the process of self-actualizing, which leads to accepting destiny and thus facing anxiety with courage (May, 1994).

Self-Actualization and Authenticity appear to be an end goal within Humanistic and Existential approaches to obtaining psychological well-being, but once we are able to feel confident to grow, develop, make choices, and then change to feel more positive about ourselves, do we really know that we have reached ascertaining our full potentials and achieve self-actualization/authenticity, even through personal learning or psychotherapy?

We may come to points in our lives where we are happy with its direction and happy with who we are and where we fit in the world, yet is this ever enough, and are we actually always on a continuum of self-actualizing to achieve fulfillment when other needs have been met? People may have the sense of fulfillment but are they self-actualized enough to be able to face and manage losing certain ‘met’ needs created by unfortunate circumstances?

Some-one who has a good level of actualization and authenticity should be able to take comfort in that they are confident in, their potentialities and thus be able to make positive steps to regaining back these needs. Someone who is not as actualized and authentic may lack a positive awareness of their potentialities and therefore be less inclined to motivate themselves. With all this in mind self-actualizing is most probably a process that strives to ascertain the self on a moment to moment basis, but in contrast to this, self-actualization in its finite implies an ending to the search (Cohen, 2008).

On reflection, this striving for self maybe refutes the idea of a finally achieving self-actualization because an actualized self indicates an absolute end to self-change, which in theory is unattainable (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, Erikson, 1995, Peiper, 1952). The same can be said for authenticity and the goal of being true to oneself in the hope of becoming more real. Can authenticity be actually achieved as; “…it is a gradual process of self understanding, but of the self as it is created in one’s relationship to the world on all levels.

(For) people to become authentic…means them …gaining a greater understanding of the human condition, so that they can respond to it with a sense of mastery, instead of mercy. To be authentic means to face one’s limitations and possibilities” (van Deurzen-Smith, 2006, p205). Therefore in an ever changing world, are we not constantly facing these limitations and possibilities in correlation to relationship to others and experiences of the environment around us? Do we end up caught in a cycle of perpetuated circumstances that we have to adapt to?

Existential perspectives seem to view people as creating themselves in relation to their perceptions, yet the notion of achieving self-actualization entails the idea that some kind of fulfillment must be strived for, which goes against the idea of self as relational and forever changing (Strasser & Strasser, 1997). So maybe it is more significant to review self-actualization and authenticity as something that is ongoing for a person, a process of being able to feel true and real to whatever circumstances come along rather than value them as an ultimate goal. Humanistic and Existential psychologies appear to be similar in terms of theory.

Observing the similarities puts them in close dialogue with each other as both approaches place value in self-awareness, the basic goodness in people and the human potential. Overall, each approach has some focus on life meaning and experiences, subjective reality and our capability to achieve self-actualization/authenticity, but these theories are “not to be confused with one another (as) Humanistic psychology tends to focus more on limitless possibilities and goodness, whereas Existential emphasizes evil and the shadow sides of existence” (Cozon, 2008, p4).

On contemplating achieving self-actualization/authenticity the two psychologies value engaging in behavioral factors (developmental growth, choice and change) as contributors to a stronger sense of self, but perhaps in the quest for self, moments of realization may be only be temporary yet steer us onwards, thus “it (possibly) is the journey that’s important, not the destination”. (Cohen, 2008). References Corsini, Raymond J. , and Danny Wedding. Current Psychotherapies.

Chicago: New House, 2014. Print. Richert, A. J. (1999). Some thoughts on the integration of narrative and humanistic/existential approaches to psychotherapy. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 9(2), 161-184. Cain, D. J. (2002). Humanistic psychotherapies: Handbook of research and practice. American Psychological Association. Cohn, H. W. (2002). Heidegger and the roots of existential therapy. Existentialism. Yalom, I. (1980) Existential Psychopathology.

New York: basic Books. Frankl, V. E. (1969) The Willing to Meaning: Principles and Application of Logotherapy. New York: The world Publishing company CSAT – Centre for Substance Abuse Treatment (1999) Chapter 6 –Brief Humanistic and Existential Therapies. In: Brief Interventions and Brief Therapies for Substance Abuse. Cozon, H. (2008) Existential vs Humanistic Therapy. [internet] Corey, G (2005) Theory and Practice of counselling. 7ed. Belmont: Brooks/Cole-Thompson Learning.

You may also be interested in the following: maslow hierarchy of needs essay

Abraham Maslow Essay