Larry Mullins

January 12, 2013

A VICTORIOUS LIFE on EARTH

“Today, like every other day we wake up empty and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument. Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
RUMI

The brilliant poet suggests a way to fill the void we feel each day. I personally hate that vacuous feeling. But, I do not have a musical instrument. How do I fill the inner void with beauty? I recall other great words: “Without vision, the people perish.” It seems to me vision–the consciousness of possibilities–is the answer. But also, without faith in that vision, the people still perish. So my daily problem seems to be: First the vision. Next, impregnable faith in that vision.

This begs two questions. What will the vision look like? And, how to I kindle the mustard seed of faith necessary to ignite that vision with passionate meaning and purpose?

What is my ultimate vision? What is my legacy to be? How do I want people to remember me? The clearer, more vivid, more charged this vision is, the more replete it will fill the emptiness. And if we add this infallible mantra, we can attain, or begin to attain, the consciousness of a victorious life on earth:

“The consciousness of a victorious human life on earth is born of that creature faith which dares to challenge each recurring episode of existence when confronted with the awful spectacle of human limitations, by the unfailing declaration: Even if I cannot do this, there lives in me one who can and will do it, a part of the Father-Absolute of the universe of universes. And that is ‘the victory which overcomes the world, even your faith.’”

The Urantia Book

LARRY MULLINS

July 28, 2009

RESPONSE TO ANIL

Good day Anil. Let me preface my remarks with a disclaimer. I know Western thinkers generally embrace models such as Maslow’s pyramid. However, when discussing a model, such as the pyramid, we must keep in mind that it is an imaginary concept that we are imposing upon reality. It makes us more comfortable, but it does not really exist.

On the other hand, when discussing immensely complex issues such as human motivation it is helpful to have an idea what conceptual model of the human psyche a particular individual subscribes to. My understanding of one Eastern view is that the essence of a mortal (forgive the brevity and crudeness) could be viewed as concentric circles, with the spiritual essence of the individual in the center, and increasingly grosser levels of matter enveloping it. Freud used a different, more simplistic idea of the ID, the EGO and the SUPER EGO, with no concession to a spiritual component. Maslow himself was a professed atheist, yet he hinted at transcendent qualities in the mortal being, while insisting that such qualities as the highest values were somehow biological in nature. I find neither Maslow or Freud’s models satisfactory, in that they fail to explain transcendent qualities in mortals that appear to impinge upon the materialistic situational field, especially in critical moments. Maslow and Freud also fail to explain the continuity of consciousness that we all experience and sense to be valid. The Eastern model comes close to explaining both phenomenon, but still seemed to fall a bit short.

Victor Frankl offered a much more viable option than any of the three above, in my judgment. He explained his model at length in the book he wrote immediately after his concentration camp experience, “The Unconscious God.” Later this book was republished a few years ago as “Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning.” (Not to be confused with his “Man’s Search for Meaning.” They are very different.) Frankl believed in two spiritual components are essential parts of mortal being, two “irreducible essences.” One was very similar to the Eastern spiritual essence … the changeless, personal “I am” that is uniquely us, yet part of the ultimate whole. Yet, Frankl declared that this immortal essence “should not be a judge unto itself.” He suggested that a second spiritual essence, objective, impersonal, and transcendent was necessary to guide the mortal. In this way he brushed aside ethical “rules” and declared the second ultimate essence capable of operating infallibly to provide mortal guidance in the present. I found this hybrid model (that is dual components of spiritual influence, one personal and the other objective and impersonal) in only one other place, “The Urantia Book.” This huge and challenging tome claims to be a revelation that synthesizes science, religion and philosophy. I find many useful ideas in it.

With these caveats in mind, I will attempt to offer you a response to your questions.

QUESTION: 1. How does his theory explain Victor Frankl’s case who chose to live at the top of the Maslow’s pyramid even when his most basic needs were not being fulfilled in the Nazi concentration camps. Galileo, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, were poor to the extent that their most basic needs were not being fulfilled when they produced some finest works in their fields contributions that can at least fit in the middle of the pyramid, if not at the highest levels. (By the way does he ever talk about the pyramid in his book. Some people say the concept of pyramid was added later)

Maslow’s model does not really explain instances of spiritual transcendence that makes possible virtual miracles of the human spirit. Unlike many people, I believe the self-actualizing process may engage on any level of the pyramid. I find the pyramid helpful in explaining immature behavior, but once we enter the self-actualizing process material cause and effect is less and less significant. The self-actualizer becomes lost in his or her quest. Ironically, we become more and more our real self as we become less and less concerned with its welfare. Maslow presented his pyramid about In 1943, in a paper that featured his Hierarchy of Human Needs. This would turn out to be the one piece of his work that nearly all his academic peers in psychology enthusiastically embraced. Yet, in my judgment, his later work was much more important.

QUESTION 2. Does a person shift to the next level of hierarchy when his needs in the current level get satisfied substantially or satisfied at least to the most basic level. In case it is substantial, what makes a human decide how much is substantial? How does he know that level has been achieved? Isn’t it something within him that decides it? If that is so how much control he wields in manipulating that feeling?

The different levels are defused, not clearly defined. Moreover, except for very basic needs, an individual does not consciously decide to move to another level. as one moves up the pyramid the “needs” become more like “urges.” If we are hungry, we clearly know it. But if we perceive we are not sufficiently respected, the urge is very subjective. How do we decide the situation of a lack of respect? It may be true, or it may be an immature feeling that is not justified. Therefore, we can hardly consciously decide that this emotional need has been satisfied in the manner a big hamburger satisfies our hunger. Indeed, it is “something in him” (as you say) that may enlighten his perspective of self-worth and appreciation. Virtually every distasteful thing a person does is when he strives to be loved and appreciated long after he should be striving to love and appreciate others.

QUESTION 3. Do we really need to go through these levels first hand or can we by pass them through our mental imagination?

In my judgment we cannot self-actualize in a vacuum. While it is possible to exercise integrity and excellence (truth and beauty) to some degree alone, it is very difficult to manifest goodness without a human relationship of some kind. Imagination is of immense importance to spiritual growth, but nothing can replace the reality of personal experience of human relationships. Personality relationships are ends in themselves, and transcend all other realities we can know as humans.

QUESTION 4. Don’t our actions often stem from the confluence of many needs–a
combination of needs from many levels?

Yes, I agree. And probably the most significant is the presence of a spiritual component in the mortal being.

QUESTION 5. Maslow’s theory tells us how most of us would respond in a certain situation but could we take “what people are likely to do in a certain situation” as “what they ought to be doing”? Our needs should be decided by what most of people may be doing at a certain level of human consciousness or should we see our needs in the context of a possible purpose we have been brought on earth?

In his later writings Dr. Maslow expressed the existence of two components that determine the behavior of self-actualizers. These remarkable human being are the flowers of humankind, only one percent of the population. The first component or attitude Maslow detected was the fact that all self-actualizers are committed to a mission (or purpose, as you describe it) larger and more important than self. The second component (which I call his lost discovery) was the self-actualizers passionate love for. and expression of, the MetaValues of truth, beauty and goodness, which in synthesis manifest as love. Self-actualizers become channels for the ultimate values and express them in their lives. Although Maslow believed MetaValues are biologically based, while I believe they come from our Creator.

I hope this is helpful.

Larry Mullins

June 29, 2009

The killer Paradigm shifts

Several dramatic paradigm shifts were originally proposed by the later work of Abraham Maslow, but have been ignored or discarded by too many modern gurus.
[1]. The first paradigm shift for modern thinkers and leaders is Maslow’s contention that the MetaValues of Integrity, Excellence, and Caring (Truth, Beauty and Goodness) are not relative artifacts, but rather are transcendent realities.
[2]. MetaValues are not learned, they are discovered. MetaValues are latent forces that exist in every normal human being and become activated as individuals reach the preliminary stages of Self-Actualization. Once activated, MetaValues configure the personalities of Self-Actualizers along specific lines. Although driven by the same MetaValue forces, Self Actualizers are immensely diverse in their expression of these intrinsic energies.
[3]. The ideal leadership model can be crafted not by studying individuals who happen to be in leadership roles, but rather by studying Dr. Maslow’s findings about healthy, Self-Actualizing human beings. In these findings he delineated specific MetaValue qualities that appear in virtually all Self-Actualizing individuals. Self-Actualizers are always leaders, but do not always occupy classic roles nor possess impressive titles.
The paramount principle above is the first one, and this principle is the key to Dr. Maslow’s entire conception of MetaValues and metamotivation: MetaValues are not relative, but rather transcendent realities. See www.metavalues.net .

June 19, 2009

The Will to Fail and going the distance

The Will-to-Fail Syndrome functions to cause us to avoid beginning projects —and if we do start, it causes us to avoid completing projects. It is never a question of winning or losing, so much as going the distance. The old seventies movie Rocky is the story of a washed up boxer who is given a chance to fight for the heavyweight title. The bout was conceived of as a publicity stunt, almost a joke, but Rocky takes it seriously. He goes into intense training. Rocky reaches a peak of conditioning; but on the night before the fight the Will-to-Fail complex strikes. Rocky wanders the streets and comes to the conclusion that he simply cannot win. But there is no escape, he must go on with the bout. Finally, Rocky comes to a resolution that calms the struggle going on inside of him. He returns to his room, and informs his girlfriend that the task of beating the champion is too formidable, he cannot do it. “What are you going to do?” she asked.
Rocky replies that he will “Go the distance.” He explains: “No one has ever gone the distance with the champ before. I can’t win, but I am going the distance.” That night, Rocky is battered, but he goes the distance. In fact, he nearly wins the contest. Whether you approve of boxing or not, this is an excellent allegory that expresses the central dilemma of life itself: few people go the distance. At some point in life, usually in their twenties or thirties, the Will-to-Fail Syndrome takes hold; people unconsciously commence the avoidance process. They delay, then give up their dreams; the fire of desire sputters out. You have seen most of your friends, or will see them, one by one drop away from the bitter struggle of life and begin to go through the motions. Only rarely does a human continue to get up after being knocked down — over and over again — by life. Most of us — eventually — decide to stay down to avoid the pain of falling again. We begin to fake it.But when a final and irrevocable decision is made to get up again, no matter what — to go the distance regardless of how many times we are knocked down — something happens. Things begin to change. Forces come to our aid. We are on the side of life.

June 4, 2009

Create empowering relationships with immature people

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — LarryMullins @ 3:14 am

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