Well-Being is the Meaning of Truth
Well-Being is the Meaning of Truth
The satisfaction of our needs is the primary cause for our search for truth (knowledge). To satisfy our needs involves active interaction with nature and with society.
Satisfaction of needs is the means for well-being, which culminates in freedom, i.e. in self-determination. I claim that it is proper to say that freedom (self-determination) is the telos (ultimate goal) of all human activity.
The pursuit of knowledge (truth) takes place not within a vacuum but within an historic milieu and is shaped by practical concerns.
The natural sciences began in a modest form but are quickly accelerated by pressing social needs. Human activity shapes the truth that humans seek. As practical needs are met new theoretic needs are formed.
An example might be the manner and thrust of moral standards of behavior regarding our relationships with one another. Technology, as those who have read Marshall McLuhan’s “Understanding Media” understand, extends the reach of our senses and thus extends the reach of our interrelationships with others.
We are all born with a will to self-determination, a will to freedom. We all struggle to be independent; we all struggle with the internal and external forces that would constrict our urge to self-determination. This struggle for independence determines what type of person we become.
The adaptive type learn to ‘will’ that which is forcing the individual to follow orders. They manage to will themselves to follow authority as best they can. They become good soldiers. This is the passive individual who easily adapts to outside and inside forces; this is Joe and Jane average.
The neurotic type has a stronger will than does the adaptive type. Will is the word that Otto Rank uses instead of the ego that Freud uses. The will acts as kind of a gyroscope and gatekeeper for the individual. It is the will that tells us to stop, and take time out while we decide what to do rather than reflexively responding to whatever the environment demands. The neurotic type has a will that struggles against both external and internal forces. They worry and fret about being too willful; society also chastises them for this powerful will.
The productive type tends to be the creative individual. These individuals tend to become satisfied with them self, they can create an ideal that acts as their North Star. Such individuals create themselves in tune with their internal logic and turn to creating change in the world they encounter.
Otto Rank, a Freud protégé, wrote extensively about creativity. Creativity consisted of joining the material with the spiritual and the individual with the universal
If we compare these types with Maslow hierarchy of needs we can see the relationship.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
1) Biological and Physiological (water, food, shelter, air, sex, etc.)
2) Safety (security, law and order, stability, etc.)
3) Belonging and love (family, affection, community, etc.)
4) Esteem (self-esteem, independence, prestige, achievement, etc.)
5) Self-Actualization (self-fulfillment, personal growth, realizing personal potential, etc.)
This hierarchy made us conscious of the obvious fact that we did not fret about the absence of self-esteem if we did not already have security nor did we worry about security if we did not have water to drink or air to breath.
I would conclude that Maslow’s levels of 1 thru 3 speak to the adaptive type while level 4 applies to the neurotic types with level 5, the level of self-actualization refers to the productive type.
The pinnacle of needs Maslow labeled S-A (Self-Actualization). In “The Farther Reaches of Human Nature” 1971, Maslow speaks of these needs and he apparently (as far as I know) introduced this new concept S-A as in “mid-stream rather than ready for formulation into a final version”.