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New Pathways in Psychology: Maslow & the Post-Freudian Revolution

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Written with the "active & detailed cooperation of Abraham Maslow", the two of them having been friends & correspondents during the 1960s. Maslow worked together with Wilson to create this excellent study of Maslovian Psychology. New Pathways 1st reviews the history of psychology, providing a much-needed context for understanding the revolutionary nature of the "3r ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 28th 1972 by Taplinger Publishing Company (NY) (first published January 1st 1972)
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Erik Graff
Jan 03, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: persons interested in Maslow
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: psychology
The American psychologist Abraham Maslow took the unusual step of studying psychological health rather than pathology, thereby attracting the attention of Colin Wilson, an author devoted to the study of human potentialities. This book is an excellent introduction both to Maslow's work and to Wilson's obsession.
Chrissy
For a book on existential psychology from Descartes to Maslow (with a particular focus on Maslow, as the author carried a 10-year correspondence with him before his death), it was surprisingly enthralling. Wilson writes the way all brilliant minds should, never wasting a single sentence, packing every page full of information, referencing various philosophies, literary works, poems, and histories as examples or illustrations of his ideas. Although you feel as though your head might burst from th ...more
Eugene Pustoshkin
It could be a great addition to Ken Wilber’s INTEGRAL PSYCHOLOGY.
Steve Greenleaf
After writing my recent appreciation (and critique) of Colin Wilson, I found that one of my favorites books of his was available on Kindle, so I bought it and re-read it. I’m glad I did. It reminded me of what I find so valuable in Wilson (and it reminded me of some annoyances as well). This is Wilson at his best. He started the book as a biography of Abraham Maslow, with whom he met and corresponded, but it turned into more than that. In addition to it's appreciation of Maslow, it’s a history ...more
David Moore
Excellent and highly recommended.
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Colin Henry Wilson was born and raised in Leicester, England, U.K. He left school at 16, worked in factories and various occupations, and read in his spare time. When Wilson was 24, Gollancz published The Outsider (1956) which examines the role of the social 'outsider' in seminal works of various key literary and cultural figures. These include Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Her ...more
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The Outsider The Occult The Mind Parasites The Philosopher's Stone Mysteries

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“At this point, I must describe an important study carried out by Clare W. Graves of Union College, Schenectady, N.Y. on deterioration of work standards. Professor Graves starts from the Maslow-McGregor assumption that work standards deteriorate when people react against workcontrol systems with boredom, inertia, cynicism... A fourteen-year study led to the conclusion that, for practical purposes, we may divide people up into seven groups, seven personality levels, ranging from totally selfpreoccupied and selfish to what Nietzsche called ‘a selfrolling wheel’-a thoroughly self-determined person, absorbed in an objective task. This important study might be regarded as an expansion of Shotover’s remark that our interest in the world is an overflow of our interest in ourselves—and that therefore nobody can be genuinely ‘objective’ until they have fully satiated the subjective cravings. What is interesting—and surprising—is that it should not only be possible to distinguish seven clear personality-ypes, but that these can be recognised by any competent industrial psychologist. When Professor Graves’s theories were applied in a large manufacturing organisation—and people were slotted into their proper ‘levels’—the result was a 17% increase in production and an 87% drop in grumbles.

The seven levels are labelled as follows:

(1) Autistic
(2) Animistic
(3) Awakening and fright
(4) Aggressive power seeking
(5) Sociocentric
(6) Aggressive individualistic
(7) Pacifist individualistic.

The first level can be easily understood: people belonging to it are almost babylike, perhaps psychologically run-down and discouraged; there is very little to be done with these people. The animistic level would more probably be encountered in backward countries: primitive, superstitious, preoccupied with totems and taboos, and again poor industrial material. Man at the third level is altogether more wide-awake and objective, but finds the complexity of the real world frightening; the best work is to be got out of him by giving him rules to obey and a sense of hierarchical security. Such people are firm believers in staying in the class in which they were born. They prefer an autocracy. The majority of Russian peasants under the Tsars probably belonged to this level. And a good example of level four would probably be the revolutionaries who threw bombs at the Tsars and preached destruction. In industry, they are likely to be trouble makers, aggressive, angry, and not necessarily intelligent. Management needs a high level of tact to get the best out of these. Man at level five has achieved a degree of security—psychological and economic—and he becomes seriously preoccupied with making society run smoothly. He is the sort of person who joins rotary clubs and enjoys group activities. As a worker, he is inferior to levels three and four, but the best is to be got out of him by making him part of a group striving for a common purpose.

Level six is a self-confident individualist who likes to do a job his own way, and does it well. Interfered with by authoritarian management, he is hopeless. He needs to be told the goal, and left to work out the best way to achieve it; obstructed, he becomes mulish.

Level seven is much like level six, but without the mulishness; he is pacifistic, and does his best when left to himself. Faced with authoritarian management, he either retreats into himself, or goes on his own way while trying to present a passable front to the management.

Professor Graves describes the method of applying this theory in a large plant where there was a certain amount of unrest. The basic idea was to make sure that each man was placed under the type of supervisor appropriate to his level. A certain amount of transferring brought about the desired result, mentioned above—increased production, immense decrease in grievances, and far less workers leaving the plant (7% as against 21% before the change).”
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“But the greatest human problems are not social problems, but decisions that the individual has to make alone. The most important feelings of which man is capable emphasise his separateness from other people, not his kinship with them. The feelings of a mountaineer towards a mountain emphasise his kinship with the mountain rather than with the rest of mankind. The same goes for the leap of the heart experienced by a sailor when he smells the sea, or for the astronomer’s feeling about the stars, or for the archaeologist’s love of the past. My feeling of love for my fellowmen makes me aware of my humanness; but my feeling about a mountain gives me an oddly nonhuman sensation. It would be incorrect, perhaps, to call it ‘superhuman’; but it nevertheless gives me a sense of transcending my everyday humanity.

Maslow’s importance is that he has placed these experiences of ‘transcendence’ at the centre of his psychology. He sees them as the compass by which man gains a sense of the magnetic north of his existence. They bring a glimpse of ‘the source of power, meaning and purpose’ inside himself. This can be seen with great clarity in the matter of the cure of alcoholics. Alcoholism arises from what I have called ‘generalised hypertension’, a feeling of strain or anxiety about practically everything. It might be described as a ‘passively negative’ attitude towards existence. The negativity prevents proper relaxation; there is a perpetual excess of adrenalin in the bloodstream. Alcohol may produce the necessary relaxation, switch off the anxiety, allow one to feel like a real human being instead of a bundle of over-tense nerves. Recurrence of the hypertension makes the alcoholic remedy a habit, but the disadvantages soon begin to outweigh the advantage: hangovers, headaches, fatigue, guilt, general inefficiency. And, above all, passivity. The alcoholics are given mescalin or LSD, and then peak experiences are induced by means of music or poetry or colours blending on a screen. They are suddenly gripped and shaken by a sense of meaning, of just how incredibly interesting life can be for the undefeated. They also become aware of the vicious circle involved in alcoholism: misery and passivity leading to a general running-down of the vital powers, and to the lower levels of perception that are the outcome of fatigue.

‘The spirit world shuts not its gates, Your heart is dead, your senses sleep,’ says the Earth Spirit to Faust. And the senses sleep when there is not enough energy to run them efficiently. On the other hand, when the level of will and determination is high, the senses wake up. (Maslow was not particularly literary, or he might have been amused to think that Faust is suffering from exactly the same problem as the girl in the chewing gum factory (described earlier), and that he had, incidentally, solved a problem that had troubled European culture for nearly two centuries). Peak experiences are a by-product of this higher energy-drive. The alcoholic drinks because he is seeking peak experiences; (the same, of course, goes for all addicts, whether of drugs or tobacco.) In fact, he is moving away from them, like a lost traveller walking away from the inn in which he hopes to spend the night. The moment he sees with clarity what he needs to do to regain the peak experience, he does an about-face and ceases to be an alcoholic.”
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