In 1962, leading psychologist Abraham Maslow met with some college students at the New School and answered questions that arose. One of the issues concerned friendship.
Friendship and intimacy are practically absent in our society. It is often said that Americans are very friendly; but people don’t ordinarily dare to look seriously at their relationships, because if they did, there would be the profoundly hurtful feeling of being utterly alone in the world as you realize that you don’t have a real friend.
But it is possible to have very beautiful and fulfilling relationships. They happen in a fraction of one percent of the population. It may be that we’ll work out techniques in the next decade or two for fostering relationships.
Maslow, a self-described utopian, and the fellow who identified “peak experiences” and self-actualization, thought relationships might generally become deeper, more fulfilling on the whole after the 1960s.
To quote a modern day pop psychologist, How’s that workin’ out fer ya?
In Slavery and Freedom (1944), [Nicholas] Berdyaev described three forms of time or modes of existence in which all people live—cosmic, historical, and existential.
Cosmic time, nature’s cyclic rhythmic time, exists in the past, present, and future as objectivized time, which is subject to mathematical calculations and division into parts. Symbolized by the circle, cosmic time is the motion of the earth around the sun, the calendar, the clock, and the cycles of birth and death, which exists in an objectivized sense because movement and change take place. In cosmic time, the present falls between the past and the future. It annihilates the past to be annihilated by the future and is not interested in the fate of personality.
Historical time, symbolized by the straight line, operates in cosmic time at a deeper stratum of existence. It reaches both forward to determine the disclosure of meaning and backward through memory and tradition to reveal the inner sense of the periodicity and passage of time. In historical time, the past and future exist in the same moment. History establishes a link between periods through memory, giving birth to illusion as it searches for the fullness of achievement and the perfection of meaning. Likewise, historical time cannot find completeness in the present. Illusions of the past and future exist simultaneously and it too is enslaving to the personality.
In contrast to cosmic and historical time, which is objectivized and subordinate to number, existential time is the individual’s inward, subjective, qualitative experience—moving one from the realm of objectification into the realm of spirit where there is no distinction between the past and the future. Instead, time is dependent on one’s inward change in the intensity of the moment. This self actualizing moment, as an event in existential time, is a symbolic exteriorization and objectification of what is not expressible in an object. For example, creativity, ecstasy, and suffering occur vertically, not horizontally.
Adult humans differ from one another in their individual inheritance, their personal biology, their specific life experiences, their unique perceptions, and their highly idiosyncratic interpretations of the world. Why, therefore, would anyone expect these diversely individualized beings, sovereign, willful, and living among tremendously varied circumstances, to somehow change (develop or progress) in lockstep, as a unified monolith, rather than as highly independent creatures each progressing, or not, at their own pace, in their own personalized way.
Not surprisingly, longitudinal studies (such as those chronicled by Dr. George Vaillant and others) show much more diversity than consistency among older adults — even among those of similar educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Any attempt to conveniently catalog changes in adulthood by defining and naming a stage or phase of adult development is fraught with so many caveats, exceptions, and exemptions as to render the schema largely impractical to irrelevant. This accounts, in part, for the lack of consistency in the findings for any researcher who has seriously looked at this question of adult developmental stages.
It is hard to ascertain and verify that which is not there.
Living a principled life based on morals and conscience doesn’t mean you will live like a perfect saint without flaw. None of us can do that.
Conservative columnist Cal Thomas made a transgression against his own moral principles that he traded for a moment of public aggrandizement. How he came to terms with his mistake, reconciled himself to himself, and then made amends to a person he harmed in the process, serves as a wonderful example to us all
Neuroscientist Dr. David Eagleman suggests that there is room in one’s life between basing one’s beliefs on eitherfaith without evidence,orempirically-based proof. The alternative, Eagleman suggests, is to make space for possibility.
He explains how possibility can sit between certainty and doubt in this 20-minute presentation that melds contemporary scientific exploration with world history and cultural tradition.
Should you be "optimistic" about a half-full glass?
To an optimist the glass is half full. To a pessimist the glass is half empty. To an efficiency expert, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be!
We might chuckle at the slavishly rigid, narrow perspective through which that engineer is seeing his world. But in a sense, he is no different from either the optimist or the pessimist. Each mindset creates a lens or filter that inevitably distorts one’s view of the world.
In considering how we typically see the world, the issue is not to categorize ourselves as either optimists or pessimists. Rather, the challenge is to remove or transcend our filters to see things with fewer prejudicial filters; more as they are.
Seen in this light, the half glass of water is neither half-full nor half-empty. It is, simply, a half-glass of water. That is neither negative nor positive. It is not good or bad.
Should you be "pessimistic" about a half-full glass?
Practice eliminating prejudicial distortions from your perceptions. Develop the habit of observing what you perceive, as it is.
When you perceive without judgment, you will increase your awareness which will enable you to perceive more — and more accurately.
Seeing more clearly, with fewer encumbrances of your own judgments, frees you to behold the world anew.
Being in the world this way, better enables you to act with more choices, as it affords you more opportunities to experience the world afresh.