Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences
Abraham H. Maslow
Chapter V. Hope, Skepticism, and Man's Higher Nature
The point of view that is rapidly developing now—that the highest spiritual values appear to have naturalistic sanctions and that supernatural sanctions for these values are, therefore, not necessary—raises some questions which have not been raised before in quite this form. For instance, why were supernatural sanctions for goodness, altruism, virtue, and love necessary in the first place?
Of course the question of the origins of religions as sanctions for ethics is terribly complex, and I certainly don't intend to be casual about it here. However, I can contribute one additional point which we can see more clearly today than ever before, namely that one important characteristic of the new "third" psychology is its demonstration of man's "higher nature." As we look back through the religious conceptions of human nature—and indeed we need not look back so very far because the same doctrine can be found in Freud—it becomes crystal clear that any doctrine of the innate depravity of man or any maligning of his animal nature very easily leads to some extra-human interpretation of goodness, saintliness, virtue, self-sacrifice, altruism, etc. If they can't be explained from within human nature—and explained they must be—then they must be explained from outside of human nature. The worse man is, the poorer a thing he is conceived to be, the more necessary becomes a god. It can also be understood more clearly now that one source of the decay of belief in supernatural sanctions has been increasing faith in the higher possibilities of human nature (on the basis of new knowledge). Explanation from the natural is more parsimonious and therefore more satisfying to educated people than is explanation from the supernatural. The latter is therefore apt to be an inverse function of the former.
This process, however, has its costs; especially, I would guess, for the less sophisticated portions of the population, or at any rate for the more orthodoxly religious. For them, as Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, and others realized very clearly, "If God is dead, then anything is permitted, anything is possible." If the only sanction for "spiritual" values is supernatural, then undermining this sanction undermines all higher values.
Especially has this been true in recent decades, as positivistic science—which is for many the only theory of science—proved also to be an inadequate source of ethics and values. Faith in the rationalist millennium has also been destroyed. The faith that ethical progress was an inevitable by-product of advances in knowledge of the natural world and in the technological by-products of these advances died with World War I, with Freud, with the depression, with the atom bomb. Perhaps even more shaking, certainly for the psychologist, has been the recent (61) discovery that affluence itself throws into the clearest, coldest light the spiritual, ethical, philosophical hunger of mankind. (This is so because striving for something one lacks inevitably makes one feel that life has a meaning and that life is worthwhile. But when one lacks nothing, and has nothing to strive for, then...?)
Thus we have the peculiar situation in which many intellectuals today find themselves skeptical in every sense, but fully aware of the yearning for a faith or a belief of some kind and aware also of the terrible spiritual (and political) consequences when this yearning has no satisfaction.
And so we have a new language to describe the situation, words like anomie, anhedonia, rootlessness, value pathology, meaninglessness, existential boredom, spiritual starvation, other-directedness, the neuroses of success, etc. (See Appendix E.)
Most psychotherapists would agree that a large proportion of the population of all affluent nations—not only America—are now caught in this situation of valuelessness, although most of these therapists are still speaking superficially and symptomatically of character neuroses, immaturity, juvenile delinquency, over-indulgence, etc.
A new approach to psychotherapy, existential therapy, is evolving to meet this situation. But on the whole, since therapy is impracticable for mass purposes, most people simply stay caught in the situation and lead privately and publicly miserable lives. A small proportion "returns to traditional religion," although most observers agree that this return is not apt to be deeply rooted.
But some others, still a small proportion, are finding in newly available hints from psychology another possibility of a positive, naturalistic faith, a "common faith" as John Dewey called it, a "humanistic faith" as Erich Fromm called it, humanistic psychology as many others are now calling it. (See Appendix B.) As John MacMurray said, "Now is the point in history at which it becomes possible for man to adopt consciously as his own purpose the purpose which is already inherent in his own nature."— Quoted in Man and God, ed. V. Gollancz (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1951), p. 49. There is even a weekly journal, Manas, which could be said to be an organ for this new kind of faith and this new psychology.
Footnotes1. For instance, my studies of "self-actualizing people" i.e., fully evolved and developed people, make it clear that human beings at their best are far more admirable (godlike, heroic, great, divine, awe-inspiring, lovable, etc.) than ever before conceived, in their own proper nature. There is no need to add a non-natural determinant to account for saintliness, heroism, altruism, transcendence, creativeness, etc. Throughout history, human nature has been sold short primarily because of the lack of knowledge of the higher possibilities of man, of how far he can develop when permitted to. 2. See the February, 1950, issue of the Partisan Review on "Religion and the Intellectuals." See also Franklin L. Baumer, Religion and the Rise of Skepticism (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1960).
Chapter VI. Science and the Religious Liberals and Non-Theists
Nineteenth-century objectivistic, value-free science has finally proven to be also a poor foundation for the atheists, the agnostics, the rationalists, the humanists, and other nontheists, as well as for the "liberal" religionists, e.g., the Unitarians and the Universalists. Both of them, orthodox science and liberal and non-theistic religion, leave out too much that is precious to most human beings. In their revolt against the organized, institutionalized churches, they have unwittingly accepted the immature and naive dichotomy between traditional religion (as the only carrier of values), on one hand, and, on the other, a totally mechanistic, reductionistic, objectivistic, neutral, value-free science. To this day, liberal religionists rest heavily, even exclusively, on the natural sciences which seem to them to be somehow more "scientific" than the psychological sciences upon which they should base themselves but which they use almost not at all (except in positivistic versions).
Thus, average, liberal religionists try to rest all their efforts on knowledge of the impersonal world rather than on the personal sciences. They stress rational knowledge and are uneasy with the irrational, the anti-rational, the non-rational, as if Freud and Jung and Adler had never lived. So they know nothing officially of a subrational unconscious, of repression, or of defensive processes in general, of resistances to insight, of impulses which are determinants of behavior and yet are unknown to the person himself. Like positivistic psychologists, they feel much more at home with the cognitive than they do with the emotional and the impulsive and volitional. They make no basic place in their systems for the mysterious, the unknown, the unknowable, the dangerous-to-know, or the ineffable. They pass by entirely the old, rich literature based on the mystical experiences. They have no systematic place for goals, ends, yearnings, aspirations, and hopes, let alone will or purpose. They don't know what to do with the experiential, the subjective, and the phenomenological that the existentialists stress so much, as do also the psychotherapists The inexact, the illogical, the metaphorical, the mythic, the symbolic, the contradictory or conflicted, the ambiguous, the ambivalent are all considered to be "lower" or "not good," i.e., something to be "improved" toward pure rationality and logic. It is not yet understood that they are characteristic of the human being at his highest levels of development as well as at his lowest, and that they can be valued, used, loved, built upon, rather than just being swept under the rug. Nor is it sufficiently recognized that "good" as well as "bad" impulses can be repressed.
This is also true for the experiences of surrender, of reverence, of devotion, of self-dedication, of humility and oblation, of awe and the feeling of smallness. These experiences, which organized religions have always tried to make possible, are also common enough in the peak-experiences and in the B-cognitions, including even impulses to kneeling, to prostration, and to something like worship. But these are all missing from the non-theisms and from the liberal theisms. This is of especial importance today because of the widespread "valuelessness" in our society, i.e., people have nothing to admire, to sacrifice themselves for, to surrender to, to die for. This gap calls for filling. Perhaps, even, it may be an "instinctoid" need. Any ontopsychology or any religion, it would seem, must satisfy this need.
The result? A rather bleak, boring, unexciting, unemotional, cool philosophy of life which fails to do what the traditional religions have tried to do when they were at their best, to inspire, to awe, to comfort, to fulfill, to guide in the value choices, and to discriminate between higher and lower, better and worse, not to mention to produce Dionysiac experiences, wildness, rejoicing, impulsiveness. Any religion, liberal or orthodox, theistic or non-theistic, must be not only intellectually credible and morally worthy of respect, but it must also be emotionally satisfying (and I include here the transcendent emotions as well).
No wonder that the liberal religions and semi-religious groups exert so little influence even though their members are the most intelligent and most capable sections of the population. It must be so just as long as they base themselves upon a lopsided picture of human nature which omits most of what human beings value, enjoy, and cherish in themselves, in fact, which they live for, and which they refuse to be done out of.
The theory of science which permits and encourages the exclusion of so much that is true and real and existent cannot be considered a comprehensive science. It is obviously not an organization of everything that is real. It doesn't integrate all the data. Instead of saying that these new data are "unscientific," I think we are now ready to turn the tables and change the definition of science so that it is able to include these data. (See Appendixes D and I.)
Some perceptive liberals and non-theists are going through an "agonizing reappraisal" very similar to that which the orthodox often go through, namely a loss of faith in their foundation beliefs. Just as many intellectuals lose faith in religious orthodoxy, so do they also lose faith in positivistic, nineteenth-century science as a way of life. Thus they too often have the sense of loss, the craving to believe, the yearning for a value-system, the valuelessness and the simultaneous longing for values which marks so many in this "Age of Longing" (6). (See also Appendix E.) I believe that this need can be satisfied by a larger, more inclusive science, one which includes the data of transcendence.
Not only must the liberal religions and the non-theisms accept and build upon all of these neglected aspects of human nature if they have any hope at all of fulfilling perfectly legitimate human needs, but also if these value systems are to do the ultimate job of any social institution, i.e., to foster the fullest actualization and fulfillment of the highest and fullest humanness, then they will have to venture into even stranger fields of thought. For instance, such purely "religious" concepts as the sacred, the eternal, heaven and hell, the good death, and who knows what else as well are now being nibbled at by the encroaching naturalistic investigators. It looks as if these, too, will be brought into the human world. In any case, enough knowledge is already available so that I feel I can say very confidently that these concepts are not mere hallucinations, illusions, or delusions, or rather, more accurately, that they need not be. They can and do have referents in the real world.
I am myself uneasy, even jittery, over the semantic confusion which lies in store for us—indeed which is already here—as all the concepts which have been traditionally "religious" are redefined and then used in a very different way. Even the word "god" is being defined by many theologians today in such a way as to exclude the conception of a person with a form, a voice, a beard, etc. If God gets to be defined as "Being itself," or as "the integrating principle in the universe," or as "the whole of everything," or as "the meaningfulness of the cosmos," or in some other non-personal way, then what will atheists be fighting against? They may very well agree with "integrating principles" or "the principle of harmony."
And if, as actually happened on one platform, Paul Tillich defined religion as "concern with ultimate concerns" and I then defined humanistic psychology in the same way, then what is the difference between a supernaturalist and a humanist?
The big lesson that must be learned here, not only by the non-theists and liberal religionists, but also by the supernaturalists, and by the scientists and the humanists, is that mystery, ambiguity, illogic, contradiction, mystic and transcendent experiences may now be considered to lie well within the realm of nature. These phenomena need not drive us to postulate additional supernatural variables and determinants. Even the unexplained and the presently unexplainable, ESP for instance, need not. And it is no longer accurate to accept them only as morbidities. The study of self-actualizing people has taught us differently (59, 67).
The other side of the coin needs examination, too. One of the most irritating aspects of positivistic science is its overconfidence, I might call it, or perhaps its lack of humility. The pure, nineteenth-century scientist looks like a babbling child to sophisticated people just because he is so cocky, so self-assured, just because he doesn't know how little he knows, how limited scientific knowledge is when compared with the vast unknown.
Most powerfully is this true of the psychologist whose ratio of knowledge to mystery must be the smallest of all scientists. Indeed, sometimes I am so impressed by all that we need to know in comparison with what we do know that I think it best to define a psychologist, not as one who knows the answers, but rather as one who struggles with the questions.
Perhaps it is because he is so innocently unaware of his smallness, of the feebleness of his knowledge, of the smallness of his playpen, or the smallness of his portion of the cosmos and because he takes his narrow limits so for granted that he reminds me of the little boy who was seen standing uncertainly at a street corner with a bundle under his arm. A concerned bypasser asked him where he was going and he replied that he was running away from home. Why was he waiting at the corner? He wasn't allowed to cross the street!
Another consequence of accepting the concept of a natural, general, basic, personal religious experience is that it will also reform atheism, agnosticism, and humanism. These doctrines have, on the whole, been simply a rejection of the churches; and they have fallen into the trap of identifying religion with the churches, a very serious mistake as we have seen. They threw out too much, as we are now discovering. The alternative that these groups have rested on has been pure science of the nineteenth-century sort, pure rationalism insofar as they have not relied merely on negative attacks upon the organized churches. This has turned out to be not so much a solution of the problem as a retreat from it. But if it can be demonstrated that the religious questions (which were thrown out along with the churches) are valid questions, that these questions are almost the same as the deep, profound, and serious ultimate concerns of the sort that Tillich talks about and of the sort by which I would define humanistic psychology, then these humanistic sects could become much more useful to mankind than they are now.
As a matter of fact, they might very well become very similar to the reformed church organizations. It's quite possible that there wouldn't be much difference between them in the long run, if both groups accepted the primary importance and reality of the basic personal revelations (and their consequences) and if they could agree in regarding everything else as secondary, peripheral, and not necessary, not essentially defining characteristics of religion, they then could focus upon the examination of the personal revelation—the mystic experience, the peak-experience, the personal illumination—and of the B-cognitions which then ensue.
Footnotes1. It should be noted (because it may contradict my thesis) that these general criticisms of the "liberal religions" apply also to the Quakers even though they originally based themselves in principle on inner, personal, quasi-mystic experience. Today, they, too, tend to be only Apollonian and have no respectable place for the Dionysian, for the "warm" as well as the "cool." They, too, are rational, "simple," sober, and decent, and bypass darkness, wildness, and craziness, hesitating, it appears, to stir up orgiastic emotions. They, too, have built themselves a philosophy of goodness that has no systematic place for evil. They have not yet incorporated Freud and Jung into their foundations, nor have they discovered that the depths of the personal unconscious are the source of joy, love, creativeness, play, and humor as well as of dangerous and crazy impulses.
Because I do not know enough about the Friends, I don't know why this is so. Certainly it is not because of my great reliance on nineteenth-century science. 2. It was said of one man that "he could be at home neither with the Catholic solution of the religious problem nor with the rationalist dissolution of the Problem." The "liberals" who gave up the illusion of a god modeled on a human father, who revolted against a wish-fulfillment god against a churchly establishment with political ambitions and power, against functionally autonomous dogmas and rituals, also gave up, quite unnecessarily, the true and deep and necessary purposes of all "serious" humanists and humanistic religions overcoming the limitations of a self-limited ego, relating in harmony to the cosmos, attempting to become all that a human being can, etc. (To the thoughtful scholar, interested in precursive answers to the same questions, I recommend an examination of New England transcendentalism and its interrelations with Unitarianism.)
Chapter VII. Value-Free Education?
These dichotomizing trends—making organized religions the guardian of all values, dichotomizing knowledge from religion, considering science to be value-free, and trying to make it so—have wrought their confusion in the field of education, too. The most charitable thing we can say about this state of affairs is that American education is conflicted and confused about its far goals and purposes. But for many educators, it must be said more harshly that they seem to have renounced far goals altogether or, at any rate, keep trying to. It is as if they wanted education to be purely technological training for the acquisition of skills which come close to being value-free or amoral (in the sense of being useful either for good or evil, and also in the sense of failing to enlarge the personality).
There are also many educators who seem to disagree with this technological emphasis, who stress the acquisition of pure knowledge, and who feel this to be the core of pure liberal education and the opposite of technological training. But it looks to me as if many of these educators are also value confused, and it seems to me that they must remain so as long as they are not clear about the ultimate value of the acquisition of pure knowledge. Too often, it seems to me, pure knowledge has been given a kind of functionally autonomous, per se value, as was the case with Latin and Greek for young gentlemen and French and embroidery for young ladies. Why was this so? It was so because it was so, in the same way that someone recently defined a celebrity as one who is known for being known. These requirements may have had some functional validation long ago in their beginnings, but these reasons have long since been outgrown. This is an example of "functional autonomy" in Allport's sense: Knowledge has become independent of its origins, its motivations, its functions. It has become familiar and therefore self validating. It tends to persist in spite of being non-functional or even anti-functional, in spite of frustrating (rather than satisfying) the needs which first gave it life.
Perhaps I can help to make my point clearer if I approach it from the other end, from the point of view of the ultimate goals of education. According to the new third psychology (See Appendix B), the far goal of education—as of psychotherapy, of family life, of work, of society, of life itself—is to aid the person to grow to fullest humanness, to the greatest fulfillment and actualization of his highest potentials, to his greatest possible stature. In a word, it should help him to become the best he is capable of becoming, to become actuallywhat he deeply is potentially. What we call healthy growth is growth toward this final goal. And if this is the vectorial direction of education—the quarter of the compass toward which it moves, the purpose which gives it worth and meaning and which justifies it—then we are at once also supplied with a touchstone by which to discriminate good instruments from bad instruments, functional means from non-functional means, good teaching from bad teaching, good courses from bad courses, good curricula from bad curricula. The moment we can clearly distinguish instrumental goods from instrumental bads, thousands of consequences start to flow. (For the reasons that justify this as an empirical statement, see Appendix H.)
Another consequence of this new insight into the highest human end-goals and end-values is that it holds for every living human being. Furthermore, it holds from the moment of birth until the moment of death, even from before birth and after death in some very real senses. And, therefore, if education in a democracy is necessarily seen as helping every single person-(not only an elite) toward his fullest humanness, then, in principle, education is properly a universal, ubiquitous, and life-long proposition. It implies education for all the human capacities, not only the cognitive ones. It implies education for feeble-minded people as well as intelligent ones. It implies education for adults as well as for children. And it implies that education is certainly not confined to the classroom.
And now I think the point must be clear that no subject matter is a sacred and eternal part of any fixed-for-all-time curriculum, e.g., of liberal arts. Any of the subjects we teach can be wrong for someone. Trying to teach algebra to a moron is idiotic, so is music for the tone-deaf, and painting for the color-blind, and, perhaps, even the details of the impersonal sciences for the person-centered kind of person. Such efforts don't fit the particular person and, therefore, must be at least partially a waste of time.
Many other kinds of educational foolishness are unavoidable by-products of current philosophical and axiological confusion in education. Trying to be value-free, trying to be purely technological (means without ends), trying to rest on tradition or habit alone (old values in the absence of living values), defining education simply as indoctrination (loyalty to ordained values rather than to one's own)—all these are value-confusions, philosophical and axiological failures. And inevitably, they breed all the value-pathologies, e.g., such idiocies as the four year college degree, three-credit courses, required courses from which there is no exception, etc. Clarity of end-values makes it very easy to avoid these mismatchings of means and ends. The better we know which ends we want, the easier it is for us to create truly efficient means to those ends. If we are not clear about those ends, or deny that there are any, then we are doomed to confusion of instruments. We can't speak about efficiency unless we know efficiency for what. (I want to quote again that veritable symbol of our times, the test pilot who radioed back, "I'm lost, but I'm making record time.")
The final and unavoidable conclusion is that education—like all our social institutions—must be concerned with its final values, and this in turn is just about the same as speaking of what have been called "spiritual values" or "higher values." These are the principles of choice which help us to answer the age-old "spiritual" (philosophical? religious? humanistic? ethical?) questions: What is the good life? What is the good man? The good woman? What is the good society and what is my relation to it? What are my obligations to society? What is best for my children? What is justice? Truth? Virtue? What is my relation to nature, to death, to aging, to pain, to illness? How can I live a zestful, enjoyable, meaningful life? What is my responsibility to my brothers? Who are my brothers? What shall I be loyal to? What must I be ready to die for?
It used to be that all these questions were answered by organized religions in their various ways. Slowly these answers have come more and more to be based on natural, empirical fact and less and less on custom, tradition, "revelations," sacred texts, interpretations by a priestly class. What I have been pointing out in this lecture is that this process of a steadily increasing reliance on natural facts as guides in making life decisions is now advancing into the realm of "spiritual values." Partly this is so because of new discoveries, but partly it is so because more and more of us realize that nineteenth-century science has to be redefined, reconstructed, enlarged, in order to be adequate to this new task. This job of reconstruction is now proceeding.
And insofar as education bases itself upon natural and scientific knowledge, rather than upon tradition, custom, the unexamined beliefs and prejudices of the community and of the conventional religious establishment, to that extent can I foresee that it, too, will change, moving steadily toward these ultimate values in its jurisdiction.
Footnotes1. "Isn't it a pity that my daughter left school in her senior year just before she finished her education?"
2. Professor Pangloss would have been delighted by the fact that all human knowledge happens to fall apart into exactly the same three-credit slices like the segments of a tangerine and that they all happen to last for exactly the same number of class hours.
3. "No man can call himself educated who doesn't know the Iliad (or constitutional law, or chemistry, or descriptive geometry, etc. etc.)." For that matter one college I went to refused to give a degree unless the student could swim. Another one required that I take freshman composition even though I had articles in Press for Publication. Faculty politics are silly enough to supply us with many more examples than we need.
Chapter VIII. Conclusions
There is, then, a road which all profoundly "serious," "ultimately concerned" people of good will can travel together for a very long distance. Only when they come almost to its end does the road fork so that they must part in disagreement. Practically everything that, for example, Rudolf Otto (78) defines as characteristic of the religious experience—the holy; the sacred; creature feeling; humility; gratitude and oblation; thanksgiving; awe before the mysterium tremendum; the sense of the divine, the ineffable; the sense of littleness before mystery; the quality of exaltedness and sublimity; the awareness of limits and even of powerlessness; the impulse to surrender and to kneel; a sense of the eternal and of fusion with the whole of the universe; even the experience of heaven and hell—all of these experiences can be accepted as real by clergymen and atheists alike. And so it is also possible for all of them to accept in principle the empirical spirit and empirical methods and to humbly admit that knowledge is not complete, that it must grow, that it is in time and space, in history and in culture, and that, though it is relative to man's powers and to his limits, it can yet come closer and closer to "The Truth" that is not dependent on man.
This road can be traveled together by all who are not afraid of truth, not only by theists and non-theists, but also by individuals of every political and economic persuasion, Russians and Americans, for instance.
What remains of disagreement? Only, it seems, the concept of supernatural beings or of supernatural laws or forces; and I must confess my feeling that by the time this forking of the road has been reached, this difference doesn't seem to be of any great consequence except for the comfort of the individual himself. Even the social act of belonging to a church must be a private act, with no great social or political consequences, once religious pluralism has been accepted, once any religion is seen as a local structure, in local terms, of species-wide, core-religious, transcendent experience.
Not only this, but it is also increasingly developing that leading theologians, and sophisticated people in general, define their god, not as a person, but as a force, a principle, a gestalt-quality of the whole of Being, an integrating power that expresses the unity and therefore the meaningfulness of the cosmos? the "dimension of depth," etc. At the same time, scientists are increasingly giving up the notion of the cosmos as a kind of simple machine, like a clock, or as congeries of atoms that clash blindly, having no relation to each other except push and pull, or as something that is final and eternal as it is and that is not evolving or growing. (As a matter of fact, nineteenth-century theologians also saw the world in a similar way, as some inert set of mechanisms; only for them, there was a Someone to set it into motion. )
These two groups (sophisticated theologians and sophisticated scientists) seem to be coming closer and closer together in their conception of the universe as "organismic," as having some kind of unity and integration, as growing and evolving and having direction and, therefore, having some kind of "meaning." Whether or not to call this integration "God" finally gets to be an arbitrary decision and a personal indulgence determined by one's personal history, one's personal revelations, and one's personal myths. John Dewey, an agnostic, decided for strategic and communicative purposes to retain the word "God," defining it in a naturalistic way (14). Others have decided against using it also for strategic reasons. What we wind up with is a new situation in the history of the problem in which a "serious" Buddhist, let us say, one who is concerned with "ultimate concerns" and with Tillich's "dimension of depth," is more co-religionist to a "serious" agnostic than he is to a conventional, superficial, other-directed Buddhist for whom religion is only habit or custom, i.e., "behavior."
Indeed, these "serious" people are coming so close together as to suggest that they are becoming a single party of mankind, the earnest ones, the seeking, questioning, probing ones, the ones who are not sure, the ones with a "tragic sense of life," the explorers of the depths and of the heights, the "saving remnant." The other party then is made up of all the superficial, the moment-bound, the here bound ones, those who are totally absorbed with the trivial, those who are "plated with piety, not alloyed with it," those who are reduced to the concrete, to the momentary, and to the immediately selfish. Almost, we could say, we wind up with adults, on the one hand,-and children, on the other.
What is the practical upshot for education of all these considerations? We wind up with a rather startling conclusion, namely, that the teaching of spiritual values of ethical and moral values definitely does (in principle) have a place in education, perhaps ultimately a very basic and essential place, and that this in no way needs to controvert the American separation between church and state for the very simple reason that spiritual, ethical, and moral values need have nothing to do with any church. Or perhaps, better said, they are the common core of all churches, all religions, including the non-theistic ones. As a matter of fact, it is possible that precisely these ultimate values are and should be the far goals of all education, as they are and should be also the far goals of psychotherapy, of child care, of marriage, the family, of work, and perhaps of all other social institutions. I grant that this may turn out to be an overstatement, and yet there is something here that we must all accept. We reject the notion of distant value-goals in education under the penalty of falling into the great danger of defining education as mere technological training without relation to the good life, to ethics, to morals, or for that matter to anything else. Any philosophy that permits facts to become amoral, totally separated from values, makes possible in theory at least the Nazi physician "experimenting" in the concentration camps, or the spectacle of captured German engineers working devotedly for whichever side happened to capture them.
Education must be seen as at least partially an effort to produce the good human being, to foster the good life and the good society. Renouncing this is like renouncing the reality and the desirability of morals and ethics. Furthermore, "An education which leaves untouched the entire region of transcendental thought is an education which has nothing important to say about the meaning of human life."—Manas (July 17,1963).
Footnote1. Baumer (6) speaks of such people who can "be recognized precisely by the fact that the fundamental questions are no longer mentioned at all by these true secularists" (p. 234).
Appendix A. Religious Aspects of Peak-Experiences
Practically everything that happens in the peak-experiences, naturalistic though they are, could be listed under the headings of religious happenings, or indeed have been in the past considered to be only religious experiences.
1. For instance, it is quite characteristic in peak-experiences that the whole universe is perceived as an integrated and unified whole. This is not as simple a happening as one might imagine from the bare words themselves. To have a clear perception (rather than a purely abstract and verbal philosophical acceptance) that the universe is all of a piece and that one has his place in it—one is a part of it, one belongs in it—can be so profound and shaking an experience that it can change the person's character and his Weltanschauung forever after. In my own experience I have two subjects who, because of such an experience, were totally, immediately, and permanently cured of (in one case) chronic anxiety neurosis and (in the other case) of strong obsessional thoughts of suicide.
This, of course, is a basic meaning of religious faith for many people. People who might otherwise lose their "faith" will hang onto it because it gives a meaningfulness to the universe, a unity, a single philosophical explanation which makes it all hang together. Many orthodoxly religious people would be so frightened by giving up the notion that the universe has integration, unity, and, therefore, meaningfulness (which is given to it by the fact that it was all created by God or ruled by God or is God) that the only alternative for them would be to see the universe as a totally unintegrated chaos.
2. In the cognition that comes in peak-experiences, characteristically the percept is exclusively and fully attended to. That is, there is tremendous concentration of a kind which does not normally occur. There is the truest and most total kind of visual perceiving or listening or feeling. Part of what this involves is a peculiar change which can best be described as non-evaluating, non-comparing, or non-judging cognition. That is to say, figure and ground are less sharply differentiated. Important and unimportant are also less sharply differentiated, i.e., there is a tendency for things to become equally important rather than to be ranged in a hierarchy from very important to quite unimportant. For instance, the mother examining in loving ecstasy her new-born infant may be enthralled by every single part of him, one part as much as another one, one little toenail as much as another little toenail, and be struck into a kind of religious awe in this way. This same kind of total, non-comparing acceptance of everything, as if everything were equally important, holds also for the perception of people. Thus it comes about that in peak experience cognition a person is most easily seen per se, in himself, by himself, uniquely and idiosyncratically as if he were the sole member of his class. Of course, this is a very common aspect not only of religious experience but of most theologies as well, i.e., the person is unique, the person is sacred, one person in principle is worth as much as any other person, everyone is a child of God, etc.
3. The cognition of being (B-cognition) that occurs in peak-experiences tends to perceive external objects, the world, and individual people as more detached from human concerns. Normally we perceive everything as relevant to human concerns and more particularly to our own private selfish concerns. In the peak-experiences, we become more detached, more objective, and are more able to perceive the world as if it were independent not only of the perceiver but even of human beings in general. The perceiver can more readily look upon nature as if it were there in itself and for itself, not simply as if it were a human playground put there for human purposes. He can more easily refrain from projecting human purposes upon it. In a word, he can see it in its own Being (as an end in itself) rather than as something to be used or something to be afraid of or something to wish for or to be reacted to in some other personal, human, self-centered way. That is to say, B-cognition, because it makes human irrelevance more possible, enables us thereby to see more truly the nature of the object in itself. This is a little like talking about god like perception, superhuman perception. The peak-experience seems to lift us to greater than normal heights so that we can see and perceive in a higher than usual way. We become larger, greater, stronger, bigger, taller people and tend to perceive accordingly.
4. To say this in a different way, perception in the peak-experiences can be relatively ego-transcending, self-forgetful, egoless, unselfish. It can come closer to being unmotivated, impersonal, desireless, detached, not needing or wishing. Which is to say, that it becomes more object-centered than ego-centered. The perceptual experience can be more organized around the object itself as a centering point rather than being based upon the selfish ego. This means in turn that objects and people are more readily perceived as having independent reality of their own.
5. The peak-experience is felt as a self-validating, self-justifying moment which carries its own intrinsic value with it. It is felt to be a highly valuable—even uniquely valuable—experience, so-great an experience sometimes that even to attempt to justify it takes away from its dignity and worth. As a matter of fact, so many people find this so great and high an experience that it justifies not only itself but even living itself. Peak-experiences can make life worthwhile by their occasional occurrence. They give meaning to life itself. They prove it to be worthwhile. To say this in a negative way, I would guess that peak-experiences help to prevent suicide.
6. Recognizing these experiences as end-experiences rather than as means-experiences makes another point. For one thing, it proves to the experiencer that there are ends in the world, that there are things or objects or experiences to yearn for which are worthwhile in themselves. This in itself is a refutation of the proposition that life and living is meaningless. In other words, peak-experiences are one part of the operational definition of the statement that "life is worthwhile" or "life is meaningful."
7. In the peak-experience there is a very characteristic disorientation in time and space, or even the lack of consciousness of time and space. Phrased positively, this is like experiencing universality and eternity. Certainly we have here, in a very operational sense, a real and scientific meaning of "under the aspect of eternity." This kind of timelessness and spacelessness contrasts very sharply with normal experience. The person in the peak-experiences may feel a day passing as if it were minutes or also a minute so intensely lived that it might feel like a day or a year or an eternity even. He may also lose his consciousness of being located in a particular place.
8. The world seen in the peak-experiences is seen only as beautiful, good, desirable, worthwhile, etc. and is never experienced as evil or undesirable. The world is accepted. People will say that then they understand it. Most important of all for comparison with religious thinking is that somehow they become reconciled to evil. Evil itself is accepted and understood and seen in its proper place in the whole, as belonging there, as unavoidable, as necessary, and, therefore, as proper. Of course, the way in which I (and Laski also) gathered peak-experiences was by asking for reports of ecstasies and raptures, of the most blissful and perfect moments of life. Then, of course, life would look beautiful. And then all the foregoing might seem like discovering something that had been put in a priori. But observe that what I am talking about is the perception of evil, of pain, of disease, of death. In the peak-experiences, not only is the world seen as acceptable and beautiful, but, and this is what I am stressing, the bad things about life are accepted more totally than they are at other times. It is as if the peak-experience reconciled people to the presence of evil in the world.
9. Of course, this is another way of becoming "godlike." The gods who can contemplate and encompass the whole of being and who, therefore, understand it must see it as good, just, inevitable, and must see "evil" as a product of limited or selfish vision and understanding. If we could be god-like in this sense, then we, too, out of universal understanding would never blame or condemn or be disappointed or shocked. Our only possible emotions would be pity, charity, kindliness, perhaps sadness or amusement. But this is precisely the way in which self-actualizing people do at times react to the world, and in which all of us react in our peak-experiences.
10. Perhaps my most important finding was the discovery of what I am calling B-values or the intrinsic values of Being. (See Appendix G.) When I asked the question, "How does the world look different in peak-experiences?", the hundreds of answers that I got could be boiled down to a quintessential list of characteristics which, though they overlap very much with one another can still be considered as separate for the sake of research. What is important for us in this context is that this list of the described characteristics of the world as it is perceived in our most perspicuous moments is about the same as what people through the ages have called eternal verities, or the spiritual values, or the highest values, or the religious values. What this says is that facts and values are not totally different from each other; under certain circumstances, they fuse. Most religions have either explicitly or by implication affirmed some relationship or even an overlapping or fusion between facts and values. For instance, people not only existed but they were also sacred. The world was not only merely existent but it was also sacred (54).
11. B-cognition in the peak-experience is much more passive and receptive, much more humble, than normal perception is. It is much more ready to listen and much more able to hear.
12. In the peak-experience, such emotions as wonder, awe, reverence, humility, surrender, and even worship before the greatness of the experience are often reported. This may go so far as to involve thoughts of death in a peculiar way. Peak-experiences can be so wonderful that they can parallel the experience of dying, that is of an eager and happy dying. It is a kind of reconciliation and acceptance of death. Scientists have never considered as a scientific problem the question of the "good death"; but here in these experiences we discover a parallel to what has been considered to be the religious attitude toward death, i.e., humility or dignity before it, willingness to accept it, possibly even a happiness with it.
13. In peak-experiences, the dichotomies, polarities, and conflicts of life tend to be transcended or resolved. That is to say, there tends to be a moving toward the perception of unity and integration in the world. The person himself tends to move toward fusion, integration, and unity and away from splitting, conflicts, and oppositions.
14. In the peak-experiences, there tends to be a loss, even though transient, of fear, anxiety, inhibition, of defense and control, of perplexity, confusion, conflict, of delay and restraint. The profound fear of disintegration, of insanity, of death, all tend to disappear for the moment. Perhaps this amounts to saying that fear disappears.
15. Peak-experiences sometimes have immediate effects or aftereffects upon the person. Sometimes their after. effects are so profound and so great as to remind us of the profound religious conversions which forever after changed the person. Lesser effects could be called therapeutic. These can range from very great to minimal or even to no effects at all. This is an easy concept for religious people to accept, accustomed as they are to thinking in terms of conversions, of great illuminations, of great moments of insight, etc.
16. I have likened the peak-experience in a metaphor to a visit to a personally defined heaven from which the person then returns to earth. This is like giving a naturalistic meaning to the concept of heaven. Of course, it is quite different from the conception of heaven as a place some where into which one physically steps after life on this earth is over. The conception of heaven that emerges from the peak-experiences is one which exists all the time all around us, always available to step into for a little while at least.
17. In peak experiences, there is a tendency to move more closely to a perfect identity, or uniqueness, or to the idiosyncrasy of the person or to his real self, to have become more a real person.
18. The person feels himself more than at other times to be responsible, active, the creative center of his own activities and of his own perceptions, more self-determined, more a free agent, with more "free will" than at other times.
19. But it has also been discovered that precisely those persons who have the clearest and strongest identity are exactly the ones who are most able to transcend the ego or the self and to become selfless, who are at least relatively selfless and relatively egoless.
20. The peak-experiencer becomes more loving and more accepting, and so he becomes more spontaneous and honest and innocent.
21. He becomes less an object, less a thing, less a thing of the world living under the laws of the physical world, and he becomes more a psyche, more a person, more subject to the psychological laws, especially the laws of what people have called the "higher life."
22. Because he becomes more unmotivated, that is to say, closer to non-striving, non-needing, non-wishing, he asks less for himself in such moments. He is less selfish. (We must remember that the gods have been considered generally to have no needs or wants, no deficiencies, no lacks, and to be gratified in all things. In this sense, the unmotivated human being becomes more god-like.)
23. People during and after peak-experiences characteristically feel lucky, fortunate, graced. A common reaction is "I don't deserve this." A common consequence is a feeling of gratitude, in religious persons, to their God, in others, to fate or to nature or to just good fortune. It is interesting in the present context that this can go over into worship, giving thanks, adoring, giving praise, oblation, and other reactions which fit very easily into orthodox religious frameworks. In that context we are accustomed to this sort of thing—that is, to the feeling of gratitude or all-embracing love for everybody and for everything, leading to an impulse to do something good for the world, an eagerness to repay, even a sense of obligation and dedication.
24. The dichotomy or polarity between humility and pride tends to be resolved in the peak-experiences and also in self-actualizing persons. Such people resolve the dichotomy between pride and humility by fusing them into a single complex superordinate unity, that is by being proud (in a certain sense )and also humble (in a certain sense). Pride (fused with humility) is not hubris nor is it paranoia; humility (fused with pride) is not masochism.
25. What has been called the "unitive consciousness" is often given in peak-experiences, i.e., a sense of the sacred glimpsed in and through the particular instance of the momentary, the secular, the worldly.
Appendix B. The Third Psychology
The following description of the "Third Psychology" is taken from the Preface of my book Toward a Psychology of Being. 
A word about contemporary intellectual currents in psychology may help to locate this book in its proper place. The two comprehensive theories of human nature most influencing psychology until recently have been the Freudian-and the experimentalistic-positivistic-behavioristic. All other theories were less comprehensive and their adherents formed many splinter groups. In the last few years, however, these various groups have rapidly been coalescing into a third, increasingly comprehensive theory of human nature, into what might be called a "Third Force." This group includes the Adlerians, Rankians, and Jungians, as well as the neo-Freudians (or neo-Adlerians) and the post-Freudians (psychoanalytic ego-psychologists as well as writers like Marcuse, Wheelis, Erikson, Marmor, Szasz, N. Brown, H. Lynd, and Schachtel, who are taking over from the Talmudic psychoanalysts). In addition, the influence of Kurt Goldstein and his organismic-psychology is steadily growing. So also is that of Gestalt therapy, of the Gestalt and Lewinian psychologists, of the general-semanticists, and of such personality-psychologists as G. Allport, G. Murphy, J. Moreno and H. A. Murray. A new and powerful influence is existential psychology and psychiatry. Dozens of other major contributors can be grouped as Self-psychologists, phenomenological psychologists, growth-psychologists, Rogerian psychologists, humanistic psychologists, and so on and so on and so on. A full list is impossible. A simpler way of grouping these is available in the five journals in which this group is most apt to publish, all relatively new. These are the Journal of Individual Psychology (University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.), the American Journal of Psychoanalysis (220 W. 98th St., New York, N. Y.), the Journal of Existential Psychiatry (679 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 111.), the Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry (Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pa.), and the newest one, the Journal of Humanistic Psychology (Station A, P.0. Box 11772, Palo Alto, Calif.). In addition, the journal Manas (P. O. Box 32,112, El Sereno Station, Los Angeles, Calif.) applies this point of view to the personal and social philosophy of the intelligent layman.
This brief statement of the purposes of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology was made by its editor, Anthony Sutich, and agreed to by its editorial board:
The Journal of Humanistic Psychology publishes papers dealing with Humanistic Psychology, defined as "primarily an orientation toward the whole of psychology rather than a distinct area or school. It stands for respect for the worth of persons, respect for differences of approach, open-mindedness as to acceptable methods, and interest in exploration of new aspects of human behavior. As a "third force" in contemporary psychology it is concerned with topics having little place in existing theories and systems; e.g., love, creativity, self, growth, organism, basic need gratification, self actualization, higher values, being, becoming, spontaneity, play, humor, affection, naturalness, warmth, ego transcendence, objectivity, autonomy, responsibility, meaning, fairplay, transcendental experience, peak experience, courage, and related concepts. (This approach finds expression in the writings of such persons as Allport, Angyal, Asch, Buhler, Fromm, Goldstein, Horney, Maslow, Moustakas, Rogers, Wertheimer, and in certain of the writings of Jung, Adler, and the psychoanalytic ego psychologists, and existential and phenomenological psychologists).
Appendix C. Ethnocentric Phrasings of Peak-Experiences
It has been demonstrated again and again that the transcendent experiences have occurred to some people in any culture and at any time and of any religion and in any caste or class. All these experiences are described in about the same general way; the language and the concrete contents may be different, indeed must be different. These experiences are essentially ineffable ( in the sense that even the best verbal phrasings are not quite good enough), which is also to say that they are unstructured (like Rorschach ink-blots). Also throughout history, they have never been understood in a naturalistic way. Small wonder it is then that the mystic, trying to describe his experience, can do it only in a local, culture-bound, ignorance-bound, language-bound way, confusing his description of the experience with whatever explanation of it and phrasing of it is most readily available to him in his time and in his place.
Laski (42) discusses the problem in detail in her chapters on "Overbeliefs" and in other places and agrees with James in disregarding them. For instance, she points out (p. 14), "To a substantial extent the people in the religious group knew the vocabulary for such experiences before they knew the experience; inevitably when the experiences are known, they tend to be recounted in the vocabulary already accepted as appropriate."
Koestler (39) also said it well, "But because the experience is inarticulate, has no sensory shape, color or words, it lends itself to transcription in many forms, including visions of the cross, or of the goddess Kali; they are like dreams of a person born blind.... Thus a genuine mystic experience may mediate a bona fide conversion to practically any creed, Christianity, Buddhism or Fire-Worship" (p. 353). In the same volume, Koestler reports in vivid detail a mystic experience of his own.
Still another way of understanding this phenomenon is to liken the peak experiences to raw materials which can be used for different styles of structures, as the same bricks and mortar and lumber would be built into different kinds of houses by a Frenchman, a Japanese, or a Tahitian (45).
I have, therefore, paid no attention to these localisms since they cancel one another out. I take the generalized peak-experience to be that which is common to all places and times.
Appendix D. What is the Validity of Knowledge Gained in Peak-Experiences?
This question is too huge and too important for a small space. All I can do here is to try to make a prima facie case for taking the question seriously. Both the question and the answers can be more clearly conceived and phrased today than ever before. This is so mostly because the mystic experience has been detached from local religious creeds and brought into the realm of nature and, therefore, of science. The questions can be more specific and, furthermore, can often be phrased in a confirmable-disconfirmable way.
In addition, it appears quite clear that the kind of (putative) knowledge gained in peak-experiences can also be obtained from desolation experiences. Furthermore, these insights may become independent of peak-experiences, and thereafter be available under more ordinary circumstances. (The way in which I have phrased this in my own vocabulary is: B-knowledge, B-cognition, and peak-experiences may occur independently of each other.) It is also possible that there is a kind of "serene," non-ecstatic B-cognition, but I am much less sure of this.
The question has to be differentiated still further. There is no doubt that great insights and revelations are profoundly felt in mystic or peak-experiences, and certainly some of these are, ipso facto, intrinsically valid as experiences. That is, one can and does learn from such experiences that, e.g., joy, ecstasy, and rapture do in fact exist and that they are in principle available for the experiencer, even if they never have been before. Thus the peaker learns surely and certainly that life can be worthwhile, that it can be beautiful and valuable. There are ends in life, i.e., experiences which are so precious in themselves as to prove that not everything is a means to some end other than itself.
Another kind of self-validating insight is the experience of being a real identity, a real self, of feeling what it is like to feel really oneself, what in fact one is—not a phony, a fake, a striver, an impersonator. Here again, the experiencing itself is the revelation of a truth.
My feeling is that if it were never to happen again, the power of the experience could permanently affect the attitude toward life. A single glimpse of heaven is enough to confirm its existence even if it is never experienced again. It is my strong suspicion that even one such experience might be able to prevent suicide, for instance, and perhaps many varieties of slow self-destruction, e.g., alcoholism, drug-addiction, addiction to violence, etc. I would guess also, on theoretical grounds, that peak-experiences might very well abort "existential meaninglessness," states of valuelessness, etc., at least occasionally. (These deductions from the nature of intense peak-experiences are given some support by general experience with LSD and psilocybin. Of course these preliminary reports also await confirmation. )
This then is one kind of peak-knowledge of whose validity and usefulness there can be no doubt, any more than there could be with discovering for the first time that the color "red" exists and is wonderful. Joy exists, can be experienced and feels very good indeed, and one can always hope that it will be experienced again.
Perhaps I should add here the paradoxical result—for some—that death may lose its dread aspect. Ecstasy is somehow close to death-experience, at least in the simple, empirical sense that death is often mentioned during reports of peaks, sweet death that is. After the acme, only less is possible. In any case, I have occasionally been told, "I felt that I could willingly die," or, "No one can ever again tell me death is bad," etc. Experiencing a kind of "sweet death" may remove its frightening aspect. This observation should, of course, be studied far more carefully than I have been able to. But the point is that the experience itself is a kind of knowledge gained (or attitude changed) which is self-validating. Other such experiences, coming for the first time, are true simply because experienced, e.g., greater integration of the organism, experiencing physiognomic perception, fusing primary-and secondary-process, fusing knowing and valuing, transcending dichotomies, experiencing knowing as being, etc., etc. The widening and enriching of consciousness through new perceptual experiences, many of which leave a lasting effect, is a little like improving the perceiver himself.
More frequently, however, peak-knowledge does need external, independent validation (70) or at least the request for such validation is a meaningful request; for instance, falling in love leads not only to greater care, which means closer attention, examination, and, therefore, greater knowledge, but it may also lead to affirmative statements and judgments which may be untrue however touching and affecting they may also be, e.g., "my husband is a genius."
The history of science and invention is full of instances of validated peak-insights and also of "insights" that failed. At any rate, there are enough of the former to support the proposition that the knowledge obtained in peak-insight experiences can be validated and valuable.
This is also true sometimes for the awe-inspiring, poignant insights (both of peak type and also of the desolation type) or revelations that can come in psychotherapy even though not very frequently. This falling of the veils can be a valid perception of what has not been consciously perceived before.
This all seems very obvious and very simple. Why has there then been such flat rejection of this path to knowledge? Partly I suppose the answer is that this kind of revelation-knowledge does not make four apples visible where there were only three before, nor do the apples change into bananas. No! it is more a shift in attention, in the organization of perception, in noticing or realizing, that occurs.
In peak-experiences, several kinds of attention-change can lead to new knowledge. For one, love, fascination, absorption can frequently mean "looking intensely, with care," as already mentioned. For another, fascination can mean great intensity, narrowing and focusing of attention, and resistance to distraction of any kind, or of boredom or even fatigue. Finally, what Bucke (10) called Cosmic Consciousness involves an attention-widening so that the whole cosmos is perceived as a unity, and one's place in this whole is simultaneously perceived.
This new "knowledge" can be a change in attitude, valuing reality in a different way, seeing things from a new perspective, from a different centering point. Possibly a good many instances could come under the head of gestalt-perception, i.e., of seeing chaos in a newly organized way—or of shifting from one gestalt to another, of breaking up an imbeddedness or creating a new one, changing figure-ground relationships, of making a better gestalt, of closure, in a word, of the cognition of relationships and their organization.
Another kind of cognitive process which can occur in peak-experiences is the freshening of experience and the breaking up of rubricizing (59). Familiarization dulls cognition, especially in anxious people, and it is then possible to walk through all sorts of miraculous happenings without experiencing them as such. In peaks, the miraculous "suchness" of things can break through into consciousness. This is a basic function of art, and could be studied in that realm also. This kind of "innocent perception" is described in one of my articles (63). It is a kind of perspicuity which contrasts with what can only be called "normal blindness."
A subcategory of this renewed perception of what lies before our eyes is the peak-perception of the fact that truisms are true, e.g., it is wonderful to be understood, virtue is self-rewarding, sunsets are beautiful, money is not everything, etc. These "platitudes" can be rediscovered again and again in peak-moments. They, too, are examples of the new depth and penetration possible in such moments when life is seen freshly as if for the first time, and as if never seen before. So also is the experience of gratitude, of appreciation for good fortune, of grace.
In Appendix I and elsewhere in this essay, I have spoken of unitive perception, i.e., fusion of the B-realm with the D-realm, fusion of the eternal with the temporal, the sacred with the profane, etc. Someone has called this "the measureless gap between the poetic perception of reality and prosaic, unreal commonsense." Anyone who cannot perceive the sacred, the eternal, the symbolic, is simply blind to an aspect of reality, as I think I have amply demonstrated elsewhere (54), and in Appendix I.
For "ought perception," "ontification" and other examples of B-knowledge, see my article "Fusions of Facts and Values" (54). The bibliography of this paper refers to the literature of gestalt psychology for which I have no room here. For "reduction to the concrete" and its implications for cognition of abstractness in various senses, Goldstein (23, 24) should be consulted. Peak-experiencers often report something that might be called a particular kind of abstract perception, i.e., perception of essence, of "the hidden order of things, the X-ray texture of the world, normally obscured by layers of irrelevancy" (39, p. 352). My paper on isomorphism (48) also contains relevant data, of which I will mention here only the factor of being "worthy of the experience," of deserving it, or of being up to it. Health brings one "up to" higher levels of reality; peak-experiences can be considered a transient self-actualization of the person. It can therefore be understood as lifting him "higher," making him "taller," etc., so that he becomes "deserving" of more difficult truths, e.g., only integration can perceive integration, only the one who is capable of love can cognize love, etc.
Non-interfering, receptive, Taoistic perception is necessary for the perception of certain kinds of truth (49). Peak-experiences are states in which striving, interfering, and active controlling diminish, thereby permitting Taoistic perception, thereby diminishing the effect of the perceiver upon the percept. Therefore, truer knowledge (of some things) may be expected and has been reported.
To summarize, the major changes in the status of the problem of the validity of B-knowledge, or illumination-knowledge, are: (A) shifting it away from the question of the reality of angels, etc., i.e., naturalizing the question; (B) affirming experientially valid knowledge, the intrinsic validity of the enlarging of consciousness, i.e., of a wider range of experiencing; (C) realizing that the knowledge revealed was there all the time, ready to be perceived, if only the perceiver were "up to it," ready for it. This is a change in perspicuity, in the efficiency of the perceiver, in his spectacles, so to speak, not a change in the nature of reality or the invention of a new piece of reality which wasn't there before. The word "psychedelic" (consciousness-expanding) may be used here. Finally, (D) this kind of knowledge can be achieved in other ways; we need not rely solely on peak-experiences or peak-producing drugs for its attainment. There are more sober and laborious—and perhaps, therefore, better in some ways in the long run—avenues to achieving transcendent knowledge (B-knowledge). That is, I think we shall handle the problem better if we stress ontology and epistemology rather than the triggers and the stimuli.
Appendix E. Preface to "New Knowledge in Human Values"
(A. H. Maslow. Copyright 1959 by Harper and Row.)
This volume springs from the belief, first that the ultimate disease of our time is valuelessness; second, that this state is more crucially dangerous than ever before in history; and finally, that something can be done about it by man's own rational efforts.
The state of valuelessness has been variously described as anomie, amorality, anhedonia, rootlessness, emptiness, hopelessness, the lack of something to believe in and to be devoted to. It has come to its present dangerous point because all the traditional value systems ever offered to mankind have in effect proved to be failures (our present state proves this to be so). Furthermore, wealth and prosperity, technological advance, widespread education, democratic political forms, even honestly good intentions and avowals of good will have, by their failure to produce peace, brotherhood, serenity, and happiness, confronted us even more nakedly and unavoidably with the profundities that mankind has been avoiding by its busy-ness with the superficial.
We are reminded here of the "neurosis of success." People can struggle on hopefully, and even happily, for false panaceas so long as these are not attained. Once attained, however, they are soon discovered to be false hopes. Collapse and hopelessness ensue and continue until new hopes become possible.
We too are in an interregnum between old value systems that have not worked and new ones not yet born, an empty period which could be borne more patiently were it not for the great and unique dangers that beset mankind. We are faced with the real possibility of annihilation, and with the certainty of "small" wars, of racial hostilities, and of widespread exploitation. Specieshood is far in the future.
The cure for this disease is obvious. Te need a validated, usable system of human values, values that we can believe in and devote ourselves to because they are true rather than because we are exhorted to "believe and have faith."
And for the first time in history, many of us feel, such a system—based squarely upon valid knowledge of the nature of man, of his society, and of his works—may be possible.
This is not to maintain that this knowledge is now available in the final form necessary for breeding conviction and action. It is not. What is available, however, is enough to give us confidence that we know the kinds of work that have to be done in order to progress toward such a goal. It appears possible for man, by his own philosophical and scientific efforts, to move toward self-improvement and social improvement.
Appendix F. Rhapsodic, Isomorphic Communications
In trying to elicit reports of peak-experiences from reluctant subjects or from non-peakers, I evolved a different kind of interview procedure without being consciously aware that I had done so. The "rhapsodic communication," as I have called it, consists of a kind of emotional contagion in isomorphic parallel. It may have considerable implications for both the theory of science and the philosophy of education.
Direct verbal description of peak-experiences in a sober, cool, analytic, "scientific" way succeeds only with those who already know what you mean, i.e., people who have vivid peaks and who can, therefore, feel or intuit what you are trying to point to even when your words are quite inadequate in themselves.
As I went on interviewing, I "learned," without realizing that I was learning, to shift over more and more to figures of speech, metaphors, similes, etc., and, in general, to use more and more poetic speech. It turns out that these are often more apt to "click," to touch off an echoing experience, a parallel, isomorphic vibration than are sober, cool, carefully descriptive phrases.
We are taught here that the word "ineffable" means "not communicable by words that are analytic, abstract, linear, rational, exact, etc."-Poetic and metaphorical language, physiognomic and synesthetic language, primary process language of the kind found in dreams, reveries, free associations and fantasies, not to mention pre-words and non-words such as gestures, tone of voice, style of speaking, body tonus, facial expressions—all these are more efficacious in communicating certain aspects of the ineffable.
This procedure can wind up being a kind of continuing rhapsodic, emotional, eager throwing out of one example after another of peaks, described or rather reported, expressed, shared, "celebrated," sung vividly with participation and with obvious approval and even joy. This kind of procedure can more often kindle into flame the latent or weak peak experiences within the other person.
The problem here was not the usual one in teaching. It was not a labeling of something public that both could simultaneously see while the teacher pointed to it and named it. Rather it was trying to get the person to focus attention, to notice, to name an experience inside himself, which only he could feel, an experience, furthermore, which was not happening at the time. No pointing is possible here, no naming of something visible, no controlled and purposeful creation of the experience like turning on an electric current at will or probing at a painful spot.
In such an effort, one realizes vividly how isolated people's insides are from each other. It is as if two encapsulated privacies were trying to communicate with each other across the chasm between them. When the experience one is trying to communicate has no parallel in the other person, as in trying to describe color to the congenitally blind, then words fail almost (but not) entirely. If the other person turns out to be a literal non-peaker, then rhapsodic, isomorphic communication will not work.
In retrospect, I can see that I gradually began to assume that the non-speaker was a weak peaker rather than a person lacking the capacity altogether. I was, in effect, trying to fan his slumbering fire into open flame by my emotionally involved and approving accounts of other people's stronger experiences, as a tuning fork will set off a sympathetic piano wire across the room.
In effect, I proceeded "as if" I was trying to make a non-peaker into a peaker, or, better said, to make the self-styled non-peaker realize that he really was a peaker after all. I couldn't teach him how to have a peak-experience; but I could teach that he had already had it.
Whatever sensitizes the non-peaker to his own peaks will thereby make him fertile ground for the seeds which the great peakers will cast upon him. The great seers, prophets, or peakers may then be used as we now use artists, i.e., as people who are more sensitive, more reactive, who get a profounder, fuller, deeper peak-experience which then they can pass on to other people who are at least peakers enough to be able to be a good audience. Trying to teach the general population how to paint will certainly not make them into great painters, but it can very well make them into a better audience for great artists. Just as it is necessary to be a bit of an artist oneself before one can understand a great artist, so it is apparently necessary to become a small seer oneself before one can understand the great seers.
This is a kind of I-thou communication of intimates, of friends, of sweethearts, or of brothers rather than the more usual kind of subject-object, perceiver-percept, investigator-subject relationship in which separation, distance, detachment are thought to be the only way to bring greater objectivity.
Something of the sort has been discovered in other situations. For instance, in using psychedelic drugs to produce peak-experiences, general experience has been that if the atmosphere is coldly clinical or investigatory, and if the subject is watched and studied as if with a microscope, like a bug on a pin, then peaks are less apt to occur and unhappy experiences are more apt to occur. When the atmosphere becomes one of brotherly communion, however, with perhaps one of the "investigator-brothers" himself also taking the drug, then the experience is much more likely to be ecstatic and transcendent.
Something similar has been discovered by the Alcoholics Anonymous and by the Synanon groups for drug addicts. The person who has shared the experience can be brotherly and loving in a way that dispels the dominance hierarchy implied in the usual helping relationship. The reported reciprocal interdependence of performers and audiences could also serve as an example of this same kind of communication.
The existential and humanistic psychotherapists are also beginning to report that the "I-Thou encounter" can bring certain results which cannot be brought about by the classical Freudian mirror-type psychoanalyst (although I feel sure that the reverse is also true for certain other therapeutic results). Even the classical psychoanalysts would now be willing to admit, I think, that care, concern, and agapean love for the patient are implied, and must be implied, by the analyst in order that therapy may take place.
The ethologists have learned that if you want to study ducks and to learn all that is possible to know about ducks, then you had better love ducks. And so also, I believe, for stars, or numbers, or chemicals. This kind of love or interest or fascination is not contradictory of objectivity or truthfulness but is rather a precondition of certain kinds of objectivity, perspicuity, and receptivity. B-love encourages B-cognition, i.e., unselfish, understanding love for the Being or intrinsic nature of the other, makes it possible to perceive and to enjoy the other as an end in himself (not as a selfish means or as an instrument), and, therefore, makes more possible the perception of the nature of the other in its own right.
All (?), or very many, people, including even young children, can in principle be taught in some such experiential way that peak-experiences exist, what they are like, when they are apt to come, to whom they are apt to come, what will make them more likely, what their connection is with a good life, with a good man, with good psychological health, etc. To some extent, this can be done even with words, with lectures, with books. My experience has been that whenever I have lectured approvingly about peak-experiences, it was as if I had given permission to the peak-experiences of some people, at least, in my audience to come into consciousness. That is, even mere words sometimes seem to be able to remove the inhibitions, the blocks, and the fears, the rejections which had kept the peak-experiences hidden and suppressed.
All of this implies another kind of education, i.e., experiential education. But not only this, it also implies another kind of communication, the communication between alonenesses, between encapsulated, isolated egos. What we are implying is that in the kind of experiential teaching which is being discussed here, what is necessary to do first is to change the person and to change his awareness of himself. That is, what we must do is to make him become aware of the fact that peak-experiences go on inside himself. Until he has become aware of such experience and has this experience as a basis for comparison, he is a non-peaker; and it is useless to try to communicate to him the feel and the nature of peak-experience. But if we can change him, in the sense of making him aware of what is going on inside himself, then he becomes a different kind of communicatee. It is now possible to communicate with him. He now knows what you are talking about when you speak of peak-experiences; and it is possible to teach him by reference to his own weak peak-experiences how to improve them, how to enrich them, how to enlarge them, and also how to draw the proper conclusions from these experiences.
It can be pointed out that something of this kind goes on normally in uncovering, insight psychotherapy. Part of the process here is an experiential-educational one in which we help the patient become aware of what he has been experiencing without having been aware of it. If we can teach him that such and such a constellation of preverbal subjective happenings has the label "anxiety," then thereafter it is possible to communicate with him about anxiety and all the conditions that bring it about, how to increase it, how to decrease it, etc. Until that point is reached at which he has a conscious, objective, detached awareness of the relationship between a particular name or label or word and a particular set of subjective, ineffable experiences, no communication and no teaching are possible; so also for passivity or hostility or yearning for love or whatever. In all of these, we may use the paradigm that the process of education (and of therapy) is helping the person to become aware of internal, subjective, subverbal experiences, so that these experiences can be brought into the world of abstraction, of conversation, of communication, of naming, etc., with the consequence that it immediately becomes possible for a certain amount of control to be exerted over these hitherto unconscious and uncontrollable processes.
One trouble with this kind of communication, for me at least, has been that I felt rhapsodizing to be artificial when I tried to do it deliberately and consciously. I became fully aware of what I had been doing only after trying to describe it in a conversation with Dr. David Nowlis. But since then I have not been able to communicate in the same way.
Appendix G. B-Values as Descriptions of Perception in Peak-Experiences
The described characteristics of Being are also the values of Being. These Being values are perceived as ultimate and as further unanalyzable (and yet they can each be defined in terms of each and all of the others). They are paralleled also by the characteristics of selfhood (identity) in peak-experiences; the characteristics of ideal art; the characteristics of ideal mathematical demonstrations; of ideal experiments and theories; of ideal science and knowledge; the far goals of all ideal, uncovering (Taoistic, non-interfering) psychotherapies; the far goals of the ideal humanistic education; the far goals and the expression of some kinds of religion; the characteristics of the ideally good environment and of the ideally good society (62 ).
The following may be seen either as a list of the described attributes of reality when perceived in peak. experiences, or as a list of the irreducible, intrinsic values of this reality.
1. Truth: honesty; reality; (nakedness; simplicity; richness; essentiality; oughtness; beauty; pure; clean and unadulterated completeness).
2. Goodness: (rightness; desirability; oughtness; justice; benevolence; honesty); (we love it, are attracted to it, approve of it).
3. Beauty: (rightness; form; aliveness; simplicity; richness; wholeness; perfection; completion; uniqueness; honesty).
4. Wholeness: (unity; integration; tendency to oneness; interconnectedness; simplicity; organization; structure; order; not dissociated; synergy; homonymous and integrative tendencies).
4a. Dichotomy-transcendence: (acceptance, resolution, integration, or transcendence of dichotomies, polarities, opposites, contradictions); synergy (i.e., transformation of oppositions into unities, of antagonists into collaborating or mutually enhancing partners).
5. Aliveness: (process; not deadness; dynamic; eternal; flowing; self-perpetuating; spontaneity; self-moving energy; self-forming; self-regulation; full-functioning; changing and yet remaining the same; expressing itself; never-ending).
6. Uniqueness: (idiosyncrasy; individuality; singularity; non comparability; its defining-characteristics; novelty; quale; suchness; nothing else like it).
7. Perfection: (nothing superfluous; nothing lacking; everything in its right place; unimprovable; just rightness; just-so-ness; suitability; justice; completeness; nothing beyond; oughtness).
7a. Necessity: (inevitability; it must be just that way; not changed in any slightest way; and it is good that it i5 that way).
8. Completion: (ending; finality; justice; it's finished; no more changing of the Gestalt; fulfillment; finis and telos; nothing missing or lacking; totality; fulfillment of destiny; cessation; climax; consummation; closure; death before rebirth; cessation and completion of growth and development; total gratification with no more gratification possible; no striving; no movement toward any goal because already there; not pointing to anything beyond itself ).
9. Justice: (fairness; oughtness; suitability; architectonic quality; necessity; inevitability; disinterestedness; non-partiality).
9a. Order: (lawfulness; rightness; rhythm; regularity; symmetry; structure; nothing superfluous; perfectly arranged ).
10. Simplicity: (honesty; nakedness; purity; essentiality; succinctness; [mathematical] elegance; abstract; unmistakability; essential skeletal structure; the heart of the matter; bluntness; only that which is necessary; without ornament, nothing extra or superfluous ).
11. Richness: (totality; differentiation; complexity; intricacy; nothing missing or hidden; all there; "nonimportance," i.e., everything is equally important; nothing is unimportant; everything left the way it is, without improving, simplifying, abstracting, rearranging; comprehensiveness).
12. Effortlessness: (ease; lack of strain, striving, or difficulty; grace; perfect and beautiful functioning).
13. Playfulness: (fun; joy; amusement; gaiety; humor; exuberance; effortlessness).
14. Self-sufficiency: (autonomy; independence; not needing anything other than itself in order to be itself; self-determining; environment-transcendence; separateness; living by its own laws; identity).
The descriptive B-values, seen as aspects of reality, should be distinguished from the attitudes or emotions of the B-cognizer toward this cognized reality and its attributes, e.g., awe, love, adoration, worship, humility, feeling of smallness plus godlikeness, reverence, approval of, agreement with, wonder, sense of mystery, gratitude, devotion, dedication, identification with, belonging to, fusion with, surprise and incredulousness, fear, joy, rapture, bliss, ecstasy, etc.
One recurring problem for all organized, revealed religions during the last century has been the flat contradiction between their claim to final, total, unchangeable, eternal and absolute truth and the cultural, historical, and economic flux and relativism affirmed by the developing social sciences and by the philosophers of science. Any philosophy or religious system which has no place for flux and for relativism is untenable (because it is untrue to all the facts). But the human yearnings for peace, stability, for unity, for some kind of certainty, all continue to exist and to seek fulfillment even after the religious establishments have failed to do the job.
It may be that data from the peak-experiences will one day offer a possible resolution or transcendence of the dichotomy between relative and absolute, historical and eternal. The B-values derived from the peak-experiences, as well as from other sources (62), may supply us with a perfectly naturalistic variety of "certainty," of unity, of eternity, of universality. Of course, all these words will have to be understood in a particular way that is novel and unfamiliar. And yet, enough of the old, yearned for meaning is retained to supply the fulfillment that the organized religions used to claim they could supply.
Of course, these "ultimate truths," if they are confirmed, are still truths within a system. That is, they seem to be true for the human species. That is, in the same sense that Euclidian theorems are absolutely true within the Euclidian system. Again, just as Euclidian propositions are ultimately tautologous, so also the B-values (See Appendix F) may very well turn out to be defining characteristics of humanness in its essence, i.e., sine qua non aspects of the concept "human," and, therefore, tautologous. The statement, "The fully human person in certain moments perceives the unity of the cosmos, fuses with it, and rests in it, completely satisfied for the moment in his yearning for one-ness," is very likely synonymous, at a "higher level of magnification" (59), with the statement, "This is a fully human person."
For the moment, I shan't attempt to go beyond these "species-relative absolutes" to discuss the absolutes that would remain if the human species were to disappear. It is sufficient at this point to affirm that the B-values are absolutes of a kind, a humanly satisfying kind, which, furthermore, are "cosmocentric" in Marcel's sense, and not personally relative or selfishly ego-centered.
Appendix H. Naturalistic Reasons for Preferring Growth-Values Over
Regression-Values Under Good Conditions
Descriptively, we can see in each person his own (weak) tendencies to grow toward self-actualization; and also descriptively, we can see his various (weak) tendencies toward regressing (out of fear, hostility, or laziness). It is the task of education, therapy, marriage, and the family to ally themselves to the former, and to be conducive to individual growth. But why? How to prove this? Why is this not just a covert smuggling in of the arbitrary, concealed values of the therapist?
1. Clinical experience and also some experimental evidence teaches us that the consequences of making growth-choices are "better" in terms of the person's own biological values, e.g., physical health; absence of pain, discomfort, anxiety, tension, insomnia, nightmares, indigestion, constipation, etc.; longevity, lack of fear, pleasure in fully-functioning; beauty, sexual prowess, sexual attractiveness, good teeth, good hair, good feet, etc.; good pregnancy, good birth, good death; more fun, more pleasure, more happiness, more peak-experiences, etc. That is, if a person could himself see all the likely consequences of growth and all the likely consequences of coasting or of regression, and if he were allowed to choose between them, he would always (in principle, and under "good conditions") choose the consequences of growth and reject the consequences of regression. That is, the more one knows of the actual consequences of growth-choices and regression-choices, the more attractive become the growth-choices to practically any human being. And these are the actual choices he is prone to make if conditions are good, i.e., if he is allowed truly free choice so that his organism can express its own nature.
2. The consequences of making growth choices are more in accordance with paradic design (C. Daly King), with actual use of the capacities (instead of inhibition, atrophy, or diminution), i.e., with using the joints, the muscles, the brain, the genitalia, etc., instead of not using them, or using them in a conflicted or inefficient fashion, or in losing the use of them.
3. The consequences of growth are more in accordance with either Darwin-type survival and expansion or with Kropotkin-type survival and expansion. That is, growth has more survival value than regression and defense (under "good" conditions). (Regression and defense sometimes have more survival value for a particular individual under "bad" conditions, i.e., when there is not enough to go around, not enough need gratifiers, conditions of mutually exclusive interests, of hostility, divisiveness, etc. But "bad" conditions always means that this greater survival value for some must be paid for by lesser survival value for others. The greater survival value for the individual under "good" conditions, however, is "free," i.e., it doesn't cost anybody anything. )
4. Growth is more in accordance with fulfilling Hartman's definition (27) of the "good" human being. That is, it is a better way of achieving more of the defining characteristics of the concept "human being." Regression and defense, living at the safety level, is a way of giving up many of these "higher" defining characteristics for the sake of sheer survival. ("Bad" conditions can also be defined circularly as conditions which make lower-need gratifications possible only at the cost of giving up higher-need gratifications.)
5. The foregoing paragraph can be phrased in a somewhat different way, generating different problems and a different vocabulary. We can begin with selecting out the "best specimen," the exemplar, the "type specimen" of the taxonomists, i.e., the most fully developed and most fully "characteristic" of those characteristics which define the species (e.g., the most tigerish tiger, the most leonine lion, the most canine dog, etc.), in the same way that is now done at 4-H meetings where the healthiest young man or woman is selected out. If we use this "best specimen," in the zookeeper or taxonomist sense, as a model, then growth conduces to moving toward becoming like this model, and regression moves away from it.
6. It looks as if the non-pathological baby put into free-choice situations, with plenty of choice, tends to choose its way toward growth rather than toward regression (61). In the same way, a plant or an animal selects from the millions of objects in the world those which are "right" for its nature. This is based on its own physical-chemical-biological nature, e.g., what the rootlets will let through and what they won't, what can be metabolized and what cannot, what can be digested and what cannot, whether sunshine or rain helps or hurts, etc.
7. Very important as a source of data to support the biological basis of choosing growth over regression is the experience with "uncovering therapy" or what I have begun to call Taoistic therapy. What emerges here is the person's own nature, his own identity, his bent, his own tastes, his vocation, his species values, and his idiosyncratic values. These idiosyncratic values are so often different from the idiosyncratic values of the therapist as to constitute a validation of the point, i.e., uncovering therapy is truly uncovering rather than indoctrination (48).
The conditions which make uncovering likely have been well spelled out, e.g., by Rogers (82), and are included in our more general and more inclusive conception of "good conditions."
"Good conditions" can be defined in terms of a good free-choice situation. Everything is there that the organism might need or choose or prefer. There is no external constraint to choose one action or thing rather than another. The organism has not already had a choice built in from past habituation, familiarization, negative or positive conditionings or reinforcements, or extrinsic and (biologically) arbitrary cultural evaluations. There is no extrinsic reward or punishment for making one choice rather than another. There is plenty of everything. Certain technical conditions of really free choice are fulfilled: the items from among which the choice is to be made are spatially and temporally contiguous, enough time is permitted, etc.
In other words, "good conditions" means mostly (entirely?) good conditions for permitting truly free choice by the organism. This means that good conditions permit the intrinsic, instinctoid nature of the organism to show itself by its preferences. It tells us what it prefers, and we now assume these preferences to express its needs, i.e., all that which is necessary for the organism to be itself, and to prevent it from becoming less than itself (61).
Although the above is mostly true, it is not altogether so. For one thing, it has been discovered in several species that there are "good choosers" and "bad choosers"; and it may be that this is constitutionally based, not only among non-human animals, but also among human babies. A few babies cannot choose well in the free-choice situation, i.e., they sicken. Secondly, this free-choice "wisdom" is easily destroyed in the human being by previous habituation, cultural conditioning, neurosis, physical illnesses, etc. etc.
Thirdly, and perhaps most important, is that human children do not choose discipline, restraint, delay, frustration, even where this is "good for them." Free choice "wisdom" seems to work only or mostly as of the immediate moment. It is a response to the present field or current situation. It does not prepare well for the future. The child is "now-bound"; and while this may be no handicap in a very simple, preliterate society, it is a terrible handicap in a technologically advanced society. Therefore, the greater intelligence, knowledge, and foreknowledge of the adult is necessary as a control upon the child. Human beings need each other far more for the early stages of growth than any other species. We should also mention here Goldstein's important point (23) that children who are not yet able to abstract can function only because adults are available to abstract for them.
This implies that the definition of "good conditions" for human beings has characteristics in addition to those generalized ones listed above, e.g., availability of benevolent elders to be dependent upon, and (in a complex society) plenty of brotherly others who can be counted on to do their part in the division of labor.
Finally, because human beings have "higher needs" in addition to the "lower needs" they share with other animals and since these needs, e.g., for safety, belongingness, love, respect, all are satisfiable only by other human beings, then a free-choice situation must include these higher-need gratifications. This, in turn, brings up the whole question of the nature of the mother, of the family, of the subculture, and of the larger culture. "Good cultural conditions" may be defined in terms of the same requirement (of the free-choice situation) that we have already used, i.e., the "good culture" must supply the higher-need gratifications as well as the lower-need gratifications. With this enrichment of the definition clearly kept in mind, it is not necessary to change the description above, although it i5 necessary to develop a comparative sociology of healthy and rich cultures in order to understand fully all the social implications of the definition (69).