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Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences

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Proposing religious experience as a legitimate subject for scientific investigation, Maslow studies the human need for spiritual expression.

144 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1964

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About the author

Abraham H. Maslow

67 books667 followers
American psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow developed the theory of a hierarchy of needs and contended that satisfying basic physiological needs afterward motivates people to attain affection, then esteem, and finally self-actualization.

The first of seven children to Russian immigrant Jewish parents, he received his Bachelor of Arts in 1930, his Magister Artium in 1931 and his Philosophiae Doctor in 1934 in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Maslow taught full time at Brooklyn college, then at Brandeis, where he was named chair of psychology in 1951. People know humanist-based Maslow, for proposing for an individual to meet to achieve ably. Maslow analyzed and found reality-centered achievers.

Among many books of Maslow, Religion, Values, and Peak-Experiences , not a free-thought treatise, neither limited "peak experiences" to the religious nor necessarily ascribe such phenomena to supernaturalism. In the introduction to the book, Maslow warned that perhaps "not only selfish but also evil" mystics single-mindedly pursue personal salvation, often at the expense of other persons. The American humanist association named Maslow humanist of the year in 1967.

Later in life, questions, such as, "Why don't more people self-actualize if their basic needs are met? How can we humanistically understand the problem of evil?," concerned Maslow.

In the spring of 1961, Maslow and Tony Sutich founded the Journal of Humanistic Psychology with Miles Vich as editor until 1971. The journal printed its first issue in early 1961 and continues to publish academic papers.

Maslow attended the founding meeting of the association for humanistic psychology in 1963 and declined nomination as its president but argued that the new organization develop an intellectual movement without a leader; this development resulted in useful strategy during the early years of the field.

Maslow, an atheist, viewed religion.

While jogging, Maslow suffered a severe heart attack and died on June 8, 1970 at the age of 62 in Menlo Park, California.

More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_...





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Displaying 1 - 30 of 55 reviews
Profile Image for Knut.
61 reviews7 followers
December 29, 2021
This book is one of my all time top 3 reads. A must for everybody. A duty for every parent and every teacher ... we don't need another brick in the wall.

Abraham Maslow’s wrote in his 1964 title “Religions, Values and Peak-Experiences” about value free education: The most charitable thing we can say about this state of affairs if that American education is conflicted and confused about its far goals and purposes. But for many educators [and I have to include here the parent as the primary educator of his children], 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 of evil, and also in the sense of failing to enlarge 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 its 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. […]
Perhaps I can 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 [comparable to Martin E. Seligman’s positive psychology], 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, this his greatest possible stature. In a word, if should help him to become the best he is capable of becoming, to become actually what he deeply is potentially. What we call healthy growth is growth toward this final goal.
Profile Image for Greg.
649 reviews85 followers
October 21, 2009
Many people will find this book enlightening and that if confirms their own New Age spirituality biases, but as a scholar of comparative religion, I can't rate this book very highly. First of all, it is very dated and there is so much more that we know about the psychology of mystical experiences since it was written in the 1960s (published in 1970). Second, like Erich Fromm, he has only a superficial knowledge of religion as a subject. It seems to be a failing of psychiatrists that they can't get past their own theories and biases to see religion as a phenomenon in all its varieties. Maslow sets up a false dichotomy of religious institutions against individual mystical experience and uses it as a bludgeon to make facile claims against organized religion. Has the man never been to a Hasidic synagogue on Simhat Torah or an evangelical tent revival? He would find plenty of peak experiences there. Peak experiences are not just for the lonely mystic on the mountain that Maslow so reveres in this book. Nor does religion degenerate into scholasticism from a founder in all cases, as he tries to claim. In fact, he is totally ignorant of the institutional nature of Buddhism. He has a DT Suzuki-inspired view of Buddhism at odds with the reality of how it is practiced in Asia. It is in fact communal, monastic and highly disciplined and enforces a certain kind of conformity that he is trying to challenge in his own psychotherapeutic theories of self-acutalization.
Profile Image for briz.
Author 7 books66 followers
March 6, 2012
An important topic (the transcendental) covered by an important dude (Maslow's hierarchy of needs!) - but overall disappointing. It was disappointing for two reasons: first, Maslow first establishes this normative, value-laden definition of the transcendental experience (the "peak experience") as something beyond the small minds of "positivists" (that is, empiricists, behavioralists, etc.). But then he tries to shoehorn that very same scientific method from that very same post-Enlightenment tradition onto his definition by providing us with anecdotes and "evidence" of what the peak experience is like. But how am I supposed to take data seriously when the survey questions were, "Please describe your most intense, holy, positive experience?" And the answers are inevitably: "Intense, holy, positive." It just seems like he has some major data collection issues! So the data side was just silly and possibly misguided.

The second disappointment - and this was a MAJOR letdown - was his bizarre, completely patriarchal and retrograde screed about the primal roles of men and women (which - surprise! - correspond to that tired old tale of strong, powerful, breadwinning (cave)men and their meek, subservient, soft and plushy women friends). Oh, for the love of God. Given how incredibly misguided he is in this - and how he tries to dress up his misguided notions in attractive, seductive language - I ended up doubting the whole book entirely. Sorry, Abe! I'll go back to the Zen masters for my transcendental needs.
Profile Image for Dilyana Deneva.
93 reviews34 followers
January 4, 2019
Напоследък наблюдавам тенденция на книжния пазар у нас да се издават нехудожествени заглавия, които по достъпен начин синтезират дадена област от науката – „Седем кратки беседи по физика“, „Еволюция на всичко“, „Sapiens. Кратка история на човечеството“ и много други. Адмирирам напълно този стремеж към популяризирането й! Ако в училище си пропуснал да откриеш магията на физиката, химията или биологията, това не означава, че не можеш да наваксаш със знания на по-късен етап и да продължаваш да добавяш към тях докато си жив. За радост, в днешната информационна ера е достатъчно човек да има само добро желание и организация, за да се самообразова в която и да е област.

Психологията е наука, която всяко човешко същество би следвало да опознае до някаква степен. Няма нищо по-логично от това да се интересуваме как мислим, чувстваме и действаме. Ето защо препоръчвам „Религии, ценности и върхови преживявания“ (изд. „Хермес“) от Ейбрахам Маслоу на всеки. Книгата събира няколко лекции на прочутия психолог хуманист, масово известен с пирамидата на човешките потребности, по различни теми, но с един основен фокус – т.нар. „върхови преживявания“ в контекста на религията и науката.

Авторът описва феномена „върхово преживяване“ като „внезапно чувство за интензивно щастие и благополучие“, „осъзнаване на някаква висша истина и единството на всичко“, „загуба на представа за време и място“, „изострена сетивност и екстаз“. Изброеното обаче не се отнася до конкретни индивиди, нито пък описва задължително труднопостижими моменти. Върхово преживяване може да бъде и умилителен момент на игра на родител с малкото му дете или създаването/изпълнението на произведение на изкуството, спортен или друг триумф. Според Маслоу тези преживявания са необходим елемент за постигането на самоактуализация. С други думи, човек достига най-високото ниво на своето развитие, когато използва в максимална степен своя потенциал, обръща внимание на вътрешния си свят и стремежите му се отнасят до висши ценности и смислени постижения.

Най-интересна за мен беше гледната точка на автора за противопоставянето на религията и науката. Според него те не бива да се самоизключват, тъй като конкуренцията помежду им не води до по-добро изследване на човешката природа. Холистичният (цялостен) подход на Маслоу отрича крайните позиции. За такава в религията той намира разбирането, че човешкото самоусъвършенстване е невъзможно в света, в който живеем сега, и че може да бъде постигнато единствено посредством отричането му. Като пример за научна крайност той споменава отричането на сакралното и трансцеденталното.

Институционализираната религия обаче Маслоу определя като зловредна и я отличава от субективния и естествен духовен стремеж на човека. Когато говори за първия вид, той изписва думата с главна буква, а втория обозначава с малка („Религия“ срещу „религия“).

"Организираната Религия и църквите в крайна сметка може да станат главните врагове на религиозното преживяване и на преживяващия религията. Това е една от основните тези в тази книга."

Не бива да пропускаме факта, че книгата е писана през 1970 г. Оттогава науката се е развила неимоверно – в качествени и темпови измерения. За религията обаче не може да се каже същото поради простата причина, че по своето естество тя няма накъде да се развива. Догмата има смисъл само когато се приема безусловно и покорно. Съмнението и проверката са основни принципи на науката, но не и на религията.

"[…] понятието „вяра“, което по принцип съдържа съвършено приемливи естествени смисли, […] в ръцете на една антиинтелектуална църква се изражда в сляпо вярване, което понякога даже означава „да вярваш в нещо, което знаеш, че не е вярно“. Вярата се превръща в безпрекословно покорство и фанатична преданост, при всички случаи и на всяка цена. Такава вяра създава овце, а не хора. А основаната на нея религия е деспотична и авторитарна."

Няма как книгата да звучи съвсем актуално, но този факт далеч не намалява стойността й. Напротив, беше ми изключително интересно да надникна в мислите и прозренията на един всепризнато велик учен и мислител отпреди близо петдесет години. Трудът му ми даде възможността да направя съпоставка със съвременните теории и обществени нагласи по коментираните теми.

Често се случва при подобни сравнения в литературата и историческите източници да правим песимистични изводи за повторените грешки от миналото. Заключенията, които си направих след прочита на „Религии, ценности и върхови преживявания“, обаче ми помогнаха да добия вяра. Не в догматичния смисъл, свързан с Религията, а вяра, че днес сме много по-отворени към непознатото и към търсенето на начини да го разберем – и то като черпим знания от различни области на науката и културата, а не прехвърляйки отговорността на знайни и незнайни божества само защото така ни е по-лесно.

Дори да не сте съгласни с моя оптимистичен обзор на човешката еволюция за последния половин век (не изключвам варианта утре да се сблъскам със случка, която да наклони везните ми в друга посока), доверете ми се, че книгата заслужава да бъде прочетена!

Ревюто е публикувано тук: http://azcheta.com/religii-tsennosti-...
Profile Image for Erik Graff.
5,008 reviews1,117 followers
August 31, 2011
While traditional psychology has focused primarily on human disease, Abraham Maslow made a name for himself by researching psychological health, especially in its more extreme manifestations. As such, he is a refreshing read. Better than just another feel-good, self-help writer, he actually presents data, much of it his original work.

If he were a better writer, I'd give him the fifth star. Unfortunately, he is an academic writer and even his popular books have that characteristic air of detachment.
Profile Image for Bart Everson.
Author 5 books32 followers
November 27, 2013
Brilliant, but also frustrating.

Don't expect an orderly scientific approach. Maslow barely defines his terms. Try as I might, I could not find a coherent, succinct definition of the "peak-experience" here, though one can infer much from the text. Maslow also throws around terms like B-cognition and B-values, which were opaque to me, perhaps because I'm not schooled in the discipline of psychology.

There are some suspect ideas about gender, especially in the final appendix. In fact, there are probably a bunch of suspect ideas here, but I frankly glossed over them, carried away by the excitement of Maslow's arguments.

This doesn't read like a research study. It reads like a manifesto. It's a call to arms. Maslow thinks we need a reunification of science and religion. Fifty years later, these words still ring true.

However, what really puts this book over the top for me, the reason I give it top marks, is that I had a soul-shattering peak-experience myself, once upon a time. I was 22 then; I read this book at age 46; I have never read anything that delineated that experience so clearly.

Also, it's short. The text is only 58 pages. The appendices are of roughly equal length and definitely worth a look.

So: a flawed gem, a seminal book, a must-read for anyone interested in the topic.

POSTSCRIPT: I'd like to dispel a couple or three misconceptions about peak-experiences. I've seen numerous allusions to the peak-experiences of great spiritual leaders. Maslow addresses these but also makes the point that virtually everybody has peak-experiences. Some reviews of this book criticize Maslow's division of humanity into peakers and non-peakers; indeed Maslow uses these terms but makes clear that his thoughts on the subject evolved considerably, to the point that he "began to use the word 'non-peaker' to describe, not the person who is unable to have peak-experiences, but rather the person who is afraid of them, who suppresses them, who denies them, who turns away from them, or who 'forgets' them." Finally, it should be noted that peak-experiences are not (necessarily) triggered by drugs. Maslow expresses some enthusiasm for LSD, but that's not what this book is about.
Profile Image for Brett.
623 reviews24 followers
January 3, 2022
This was an oddly facile take on religious experience and psychology, and a big disappointment to me. Maslow separates humanity into "peakers" (identified with the prophetic tradition) and "non-peakers" (identified with bureaucratic church institutions or scholarship) and suggests there are psychological roots that lead a person to be one type or the other.

By peak experience, he seems to mean more or less what we might suppose a popular definition to be: an emotional, transcendental event, often religious but not necessarily so, where the individual experiencing the "peak" feels connected to God or the universe or the brotherhood/sisterhood of humanity, etc. People that have frequent peaks are contrasted with those who do not seem to peak, or to suppress or downplay peaks they may have. Maslow seems to place some normative value on the peak experience, and believes that people should aspire to have these peaks.

I have enjoyed a number of these peak experiences in my life, and I frankly do recommend it. But I'm not sure there is a scientific or psychological imperative for suggesting that people that have more peaks are healthier or better adjusted than those who may not. I don't know, some brains are different than others.

But the entire set-up does not match up very well my own experiences, where most people are not simply "peakers" or not. For most of us, sometimes we are the adventurous spirit, sometimes we are the quiet paperwork filer. Though Maslow does soften his dichotomy in the later part of his book, I'm just not sure the framework is enormously useful.

Of note, the actual text of this book is barely over 50 pages, and the second half of the book is appendices and notes. It's pretty much a long journal article.
Profile Image for Bob Nichols.
889 reviews292 followers
February 24, 2011
The long and short on this short book is that "peakers" are good and "non-peakers" are not so good. Peakers are those who in some form or another, either through momentary or sustained experiences through time, maximize their full human potential. These are the self-actualizers. As to what constitutes this potential, Maslow lists them in Appendix G (truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness, dichotomy-transcendence, aliveness, uniqueness, perfection, completion, justice, order, simplicity, richness, effortlessness, playfulness, self-sufficiency). In other words, the perfect human being. The non-peaker is the materialistic, mechanistic, and overly rational person who is able to have peak experiences but "who is afraid of them, who suppresses them, who denies them, who turns away from them, or who 'forgets' them." Maslow also categorizes the peakers and non-peakers as representatives of "two religions of mankind," making it clear that the peakers' religious experience can be experienced in a non-theistic (e.g., humanism) as well as a theistic context.

One wonders if this is all a little too contrived, offering up more a vision of what Maslow wants the world to look like rather than the way it is. In his introduction he writes that "The empirical fact is that self-actualizing people, or best experiencers, are also our most compassionate, our great improvers and reformers of society, our most effective fighters against injustice, inequality, slavery, cruelty, exploitation (and also our best fighters for excellence, effectiveness, competence)." However, it's not clear why self-oriented, ego-based actions (i.e., non-humanistic) cannot result in peak experiences. Right off, it would seem that many intensively self-absorbed/focused individuals such as artists,scientists and nature lovers are premier candidates for peak experiences and may be the very antithesis of the humanitarian peakers that Maslow hopes for.

There's risk in defining so precisely what constitutes the "fully human person" as such definitions lend themselves too easily into unfair categorizations ("X is more human than Y"), and doesn't do justice to the highly individual ways we might best express our actualization.
Profile Image for Leonardo.
Author 1 book61 followers
Shelved as 'to-keep-reference'
September 14, 2018
In a small gem of a book, Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences, Maslow listed twenty-five common features of peak experiences, nearly all of which can be found somewhere in William James. Here are some: The universe is perceived as a unified whole where everything is accepted and nothing is judged or ranked; egocentrism and goal-striving disappear as a person feels merged with the universe (and often with God); perceptions of time and space are altered; and the person is flooded with feelings of wonder, awe, joy, love, and gratitude.

The Happiness Hypothesis Pág.205
Profile Image for Martin Kollouch.
161 reviews5 followers
December 29, 2017
"A kteří z dnešních známých umělců a spisovatelů se snaží vzdělávat, inspirovat, vést ke ctnosti? Kteří z nich by vůbec mohli slovo "ctnost" použít, aniž by se jim při tom nezvedl žaludek? Ke kterým z nich může "idealistický" mladý muž vzhlížet?"(s.37)
Profile Image for Chuck.
110 reviews6 followers
July 24, 2011
An important statement of how Abraham Maslow, the humanist psychologist, grappled with the truth of religious experience. In the hope of retaining its beauty and wonder, he sacrificed its personality. God became non-god. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche:

God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console ourselves, the most murderous of all murderers? the holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife; who will wipe the blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What lustrums, what sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of it?

Ultimately any attempt to bring religious experiences within the realm of naturalistic experiences and then investigate them in "an entirely naturalistic way" will have to kill the recognition of God as "something-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought." (Anselm "Proslogion")

Profile Image for Michelle.
190 reviews8 followers
January 1, 2016
Writing a book review on Jan 1, 2016 at 7:45am. I'm off to a good start.

I used to love Maslow's books because they point to higher values and transcendence and all that good stuff an 18-year-old aspired. But the implicit assumption in these types of books is that most people are empty and wasting their potential and only slightly better than automatons, with which I now do have a big problem.

Maybe I've already distanced myself from the more vacuous type, but there is not a single person among my friends who does not have dreams and passion and lots of love to give to the world. We turned out better than Maslow thought.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,545 reviews5 followers
March 9, 2014
I read this in college, then again as a grown-up a few years ago. Maslow posits that human beings can have moments of insight, transcendence, and personal growth that are psychological instead of supernatural. Great book.
Profile Image for Melanie.
723 reviews42 followers
December 5, 2014
I tried--well, a little. Read the intro and part of the first chapter. I have respect for what I know of Maslow's work (basically hierarchy of needs and peak experiences), but going forward I'll be content to let others distill him for me.
Profile Image for Ian Reynir.
Author 1 book1 follower
November 5, 2012
An impressive and influential book. It is relatively short and to the point. The concept of a peak experience, specifically regarding transcendent experiences, was very influential on my work.
Profile Image for Ryan.
990 reviews
October 9, 2018
Completed in 1964, Maslow's Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences is an ambitious little book that attempts to show, among other things, how "Organized Religion, the churches, finally may become the major enemies of the religious experience and the religious experiencer." If this does not make sense, you might consider, as I did, that friend who describes herself as "really spiritual but not religious." For a long time, I tended to find such people a little silly (if this is you, dear internet reader, sorry), but it turns out that I was wrong.

Maslow, here, wants to show that these peak experiences are 1) natural rather than supernatural and 2) worthy of study. He argues that the 19th century atheist dismissed both religious answers and religious questions, but, in the case of the latter, wrongly. Maslow explains that:
"religious questions themselves--and religious quests, the religious yearnings, the religious needs themselves--are perfectly respectable scientifically, that they are rooted deep in human nature, that they can be studied, described, examined in a scientific way, and that the churches were trying to answer perfectly sound questions."

The religious answers, claims Maslow, were wrong because they became organizationally bureaucratic and dogmatic. It's clear that Maslow dislikes describing these ideas using any religiously tinged diction.

How could any religion founded exciting mystical experiences become dull? Maslow suggests that the religious fall into two broad categories, which he describes as left-wing and right-wing. (Don't shoot the messenger, fellow polarized Westerners.) The left-wing group are "the peakers, the mystics, the transcenders" and the right-wing group are "those who concretize the religious symbols and metaphors, who worship little pieces of wood rather than what the objects stand for, who take verbal formulas literally, forgetting the original meaning of these words, and, perhaps most important, those who take the organization, the church, as primary and as more important than the prophet and his original revelations." Intriguingly, he goes on to speculate that a similar division may appear in all fields, including psychology, anthropology, etc.

Like Frankl, Maslow suspects that when intellectuals jettisoned meaning alongside traditional religious teachings, they created a sort of depressive malaise. Maslow argues that this apathy is best revealed through affluence 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...?" It may be worth noting that psychologists still make arguments of this sort, including JB Peterson, though I believe he'd state that there is no way to answer these questions without being religious.

I was surprised when Maslow turned to education, which he feels should explore values. He criticizes those who: "want education to be purely technological training for the acquisition of skills which come close to being value-free or amoral." He feels that education should concern itself with:
"age-old 'spiritual' 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?"

I suspect that Maslow is right. I've encountered this idea not only in what seems to be a recent resurgence in Man's Search for Meaning but also in Dan Pink's Whole New Mind and some of Seth Godin's work. It's not enough to go on vacation, we also need to do good deeds in other countries. People describe Crossfit classes as being "their church." People, well maybe not economists, often want to join groups that contextualize their efforts with a sort of meaning.

I came to this book after reading Michael Pollan's Whole New Mind, Jonathan Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis. (Next up is William James.) The group of texts do seem to add up to an interesting stack. Unfortunately, I had to get it through inter-library loan, which is why I've taken such lengthy notes.

What I enjoyed most about this book is the sense of adventurous speculation that Maslow demonstrates here. At times, his claims seem like clear overreaches, and yet he seemed to have found something interesting and dared to share it, if only in a brief speech that was later turned into a little book.
Profile Image for Batisse.
85 reviews4 followers
August 5, 2021
Despite giving it a 4-star rating due to clumsy usage of some terms regarding sex & gender topic and possibly a lack of scientific precision in using some other terms, I believe this is a must-read for everyone who considers themselves to have a (un)clear position on the topic of religion and science, but also motivation theories and self-actualization. I have been amazed and inspired by Maslow's tendencies to emphasize the similarity of reports (exactly same words) from different people regardless of space and time of the experience, and the possibility of everyone having a peak experience. I could agree with a lot of what he has to say, such as:

"The person who is afraid of going insane and how is, therefore, desperately hanging on to stability, control, reality, etc. seems to be frightened by peak-experiences and tends to fight them off. For the compulsive-obsessive person, who organizes his life around the denying and the controlling of emotion, the fear of being overwhelmed by an emotion (which is interpreted as a loss of control) is enough for him to mobilize all his stamping-out and defensive activities against the peak-experience."

Another point on how different people report on having such experience:

"I have one instance of a very convinced Marxian who denied - that is, who turned away from - a legitimate peak-experience, finally classifying it as some kind of peculiar but unimportant thing that had happened but that had bet be forgotten because this experience conflicted with her whole materialistic mechanistic philosophy of life."

I believe that B-cognition is absolutely possible state of mind for non-theists/atheists/agnostics, such as myself, and Maslow has given a wise guidance towards understanding how openness, appreciation and gratitude can catapult our perception of life on a whole new level.
Profile Image for Casey Hughes.
27 reviews7 followers
December 11, 2020
I enjoyed this book. Maslow takes on the necessary task of reconciling religion and science, and argues for the necessity of bringing forth spiritual values and subjective experiences into our scientific understandings and endeavours. As stated in his book, a science that insists on denying crucial aspects of human nature and experience can not truly capture reality in the way that science aims to do so. Maslow's discussion of peak-experiences and B-cognition was very interesting, and gives insight into the character of transcendent states of minds in both religious and not explicitly religious contexts. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in studying psychology such as I, as well as atheists or agnostics interested in understanding the way that religious ideas and experiences can be understand in a more tangible way. There were some areas on the book such as in Appendix I that I found amusingly politically incorrect as Maslow relies on some very traditional notions of gender, such as men and women "re-enacting the eternal relation between man and woman" when she sets out dinner for her family and he brings home a pay-check. Though this can be expected of a book published in the 60s. Overall, a good and insightful read.
Profile Image for Andie.
17 reviews1 follower
June 29, 2021
5 stars for 90% of this book, which really helped articulate things I've felt, gave so much food for thought, and helped expand my perspective, and which was written with more intellectual humility than usual. The ideas in here are important and help bridge the gap, and provide a framework of understanding for those for whom traditional religion has fallen short but who have a longing for deeper meaning. 0 stars, however, for Appendix I, which was wiiiildly heteronormative. I know Maslow was using this appendix as an illustration of concepts and drawing on archetypes but the "no man/woman can be happy without completion by someone if the opposite sex" idea that ran throughout it and was presented as common knowledge was not relevant for me and didn't reflect the same kind of reflection and perspective that the rest of the book had. That said, this was written in 1964, so I'm taking this appendix in the context of it's time, and truly the rest of the book is EXCELLENT. So, modern reader feel free to skip Appendix I and enjoy the rest of the book.
67 reviews6 followers
December 10, 2019
Great little work, read it twice. First in Tekoa when I spent the weekend at the Mandel’s and then again on the plane on the way back to Israel. Maslow got a little tired of studying psychologically unwell people all the time and decided for a change to study the most well people he could find. He found that these people had something in common, something which they’d experienced on occasion. Maslow labeled this experience, the peak experience, psychologies’ mystical experience lite. In the book he goes on to talk about it, contrasting it with the plateau experience and talking about some of it’s wider social settings and implications. In the process he spends a considerable amount of time bashing organized religion.

If you like books like this you'll love my project:
Profile Image for Adam.
168 reviews4 followers
August 29, 2022
Incredible ego and bias revealed in the first chapter when the author denigrates an entire group of people for making a disagreement about something political, on spiritual grounds, and the author first dismissed the group, then he "agreed" with them but still dismissed them because he rejected their use of the word spiritual. After that it devolved even more into much ado about nothing, or in other words, academic wordcasting where a bunch of words are used and somehow mean nothing. Skimmed and skipped and moved around this very short book a few times before finally tossing it aside.
Profile Image for Anthony Fawkes.
70 reviews
March 26, 2022
Maslow has been referenced a lot in books and articles I've read but this was my first time reading some of his work directly. I thought his insight into transpersonal psychology very interesting, especially considering the time it was written. The work itself is very esoteric and can be difficult to digest but I still think its worth reading if only to glean an interesting perspective on religion, education and relationships and the values we assign to each of them and ourselves.
Profile Image for Devorah.
72 reviews6 followers
October 2, 2022
This book felt dated (1970) and could not be read as something timeless and true. Also, while the author is extremely well-read, I had doubts while reading this book that he had actually met a diversity of people who are part of organized religions. Certainly forgotten in his analysis was the Jewish religion which seems to exist inside the middle space of science and religion quite nicely as well as having the desired traits he posits are only found outside organized religion.
Profile Image for Jason Comely.
Author 1 book32 followers
November 18, 2018
The first third of the book Maslow rails against organized "big R" religion. He is overly-extreme in his criticisms (Maslow admits as much in the preface) and I almost gave up on the book because of it. Good thing I didn't, as his studies on peak-experiences and the peakers who have them is fascinating.
Profile Image for Sam Jennings.
17 reviews
September 25, 2017
Interesting viewpoint

This is an interesting viewpoint with plenty of resources and references from the psychological to the religious.
However, with so many references the central idea is too repetitive.
5 reviews1 follower
November 8, 2018
Insightful, concise, well-written and filled with many quoteworthy paragraphs. Great in conjunction with Huxley's "Perennial Philosophy", as it connects the psychological concept of "peak experiences" with the experiential foundation of pretty much all major religions
Profile Image for Mihai Cosareanu.
102 reviews4 followers
December 1, 2019
It's written in a very complicated manner with a complex vocabulary. I can't say I understood much from it and it was very hard to focus. Maybe I need to read it again when I'm older, until then ... 2 stars.
Profile Image for Abbas Madani.
90 reviews2 followers
December 22, 2019
نویسنده و موضوع کتاب من را جذب کرد ولی نمیدانم متن اصلی نامفهوم است یا ترجمه ان بسیار بد میباشد دوبار تلاش با دقت و صبورانه کردم نتوانستم کتاب را تمام کنم.حسرت خوردم ��ه نتوانستم درک کاملی از کتاب داشته باشم.
Profile Image for Philip Fortuna.
65 reviews27 followers
November 14, 2020
For its time, insightful.

For our times, weak sauce seeing how poorly humanistic philosophy has delivered a universal belief system.

Moments of clear brilliance, Maslow's shear love of human nature and intellect shine through.
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