19 February 2008

Maslow the schizoidal humanist

"Peak performance", "human potential". These terms have entered our vocabulary thanks to the work in humanistic psychologist of Abraham Maslow.

The book Fascism And Democracy In The Human Mind: A Bridge Between The Mind And Society by Israel Charny includes some excerpts from the diary Maslow that reveal a rather disturbing mindset.

Seems he may have had a rather good mask of a very warped mind.

From pg 42-44 of Charny:

An excellent and sadly shattering example of the way the mind of a devoted humanistic psychologist can move along the same track of the fascist paradigm to a point where he calls for execution [sic] of the nonbelievers -- in this case, nonbelievers in humanism! -- is found in the posthumously published writings of no less than Abraham Maslow, recognized and beloved as the founder of modern humanistic psychology! The same Maslow who conceptualized the unfolding development of the mind and personality of a person as the highest state of human development, and who attributed to the "self-actualized" person an ethical and empathic orientation toward other human beings and the society in which he lives, was revealed after his death to be a highly self-involved, bitter loner filled with contempt and rage at the many people who did not appreciate him or his ideas, and who dared to conceive on a broader community level the identification and execution of those who opposed proposed humanistic policies for the betterment of society.

The following are shocking, almost unbelievable excerpts from Maslow's posthumously published writings:

Humanistic psychology absolutely needs a doctrine of an elite, degrees of humanness, health and sickness, winners and losers, aggridants (whether by heredity or by learning), good specimens, no equal votes, non-equal weighting. The taste or judgment of one superior can and should outweigh 1000 or a million blind ones.

The Third-Force philosophy is antideath-wish, anti-exploiting of others, antistunting or crippling, antivalue-destroying, antibaby-crippling and diminishing; anti-unrealism = antifake.... We keep alive many of the people whom nature left to itself would kill off. So we are hurting the human gene pool, which must be deteriorating. We can certainly continue to do this, to be compassionate with anyone living, but this right to reproduce might very well be limited. In the immediate future -- within the next century -- we must anyway cut hack the population of the world. The right to reproduce must surely become rather a privilege which is socially controlled and socially granted.... One could speculate that the worsening gene pool is partly responsible for the large number of naysayers, death-wishers and born losers and schlemiels.

I find myself secretly entertaining all sorts of "cold-blooded" possibilities... drug users are performing a kind of biologically unselfish act, a sort of noblesse oblige for the good of the species and voluntarily killing themselves "for the good of the gene pool." ... Sooner or later, after the catastrophes force us to pace theoverpopulation, we'll stop with all the crap about more food, or better strains of rice {which just produce more people). How can we give up on humanitarianism? But how can we not permit voluntary (or maybe involuntary) euthanasia and suicide? One day we'll have to talk about the exposure or killing of monster-babies, or even of healthy surplus babies.

As with some, nothing will work ultimately but shooting.

These are terrifying statements from anyone, let alone a great psychologist, especially one who is recognized as one of the fathers of "humanistic psychology." Maslow's fascist intolerance of lesser beings and his readiness to call for real murderous actions on behalf of a super race of humanists is a powerful warning to all of us to look for the corresponding readiness in us, and to overcome such readiness with what we will be describing as a democratic mindset.

Sounds like Maslow was in agreement with what Łobaczewski calls the schizoidal declaration, so let's look at the traits of the schizoidal type:

Literature provides us with descriptions of several varieties of this anomaly, whose existence can be attributed either to changes in the genetic factor or to differences in other individual characteristics of a non-pathological nature. Let us thus sketch these sub-species’ common features.

Carriers of this anomaly are hypersensitive and distrustful, while, at the same time, pay little attention to the feelings of others. They tend to assume extreme positions, and are eager to retaliate for minor offenses. Sometimes they are eccentric and odd. Their poor sense of psychological situation and reality leads them to superimpose erroneous, pejorative interpretations upon other people’s intentions. They easily become involved in activities which are ostensibly moral, but which actually inflict damage upon themselves and others. Their impoverished psy- chological worldview makes them typically pessimistic regarding human nature. We frequently find expressions of their characteristic attitudes in their statements and writings: “Human nature is so bad that order in human society can only be maintained by a strong power created by highly qualified individuals in the name of some higher idea.” Let us call this typical expression the “schizoid declaration”.

Human nature does in fact tend to be naughty, especially when the schizoids embitter other people’s lives. When they become wrapped up in situations of serious stress, however, the schizoid’s failings cause them to collapse easily. The capacity for thought is thereupon characteristically stifled, and frequently the schizoids fall into reactive psychotic states so similar in appearance to schizophrenia that they lead to misdiagnoses.

The common factor in the varieties of this anomaly is a dull pallor of emotion and lack of feeling for the psychological realities, an essential factor in basic intelligence. This can be attributed to some incomplete quality of the instinctive substratum, which works as though founded on shifting sand. Low emotional pressure enables them to develop proper speculative reasoning, which is useful in non-humanistic spheres of activity, but because of their one-sidedness, they tend to consider themselves intellectually superior to “ordinary” people.

I wonder how many other "great psychologists" are as sick as Maslow? And they are the ones setting the standards by which the rest of us are measured! It is amazing that someone with such a distorted capacity for psychological insight could become such a highly regarded psychologist. But in a world where deviant values rule, up is down and right is left.


Blogger antimedfraud said...

This is the sad truth. Like in many other fields, often the "stars" of the medical establishment are the most pathological.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Masameus said...

How "healthy" do you think Łobaczewski is? His theory is basically an attempt to isolate a group of people and turn them into scapegoats that are responsible for all the evil in the world. The theory exempts most of humanity from evil.

And what happens when we lose sight of our own potential for monstrous evil? What happens when we devise a narrative of evil that exempts most people of the responsibility to critically consider their own behaviour towards others (including the scapegoat group of psychopaths)? What happens is that we become blinded by our own pseudo-scientific rationalisation of evil, believing that once we are rid of psychopathy, we are free from true evil.

That kind of deluded medicalisation provides possibly the most fertile imaginable ground for social evil. It buries the banal everyday reality of evil deep into the structures of society where it cannot be detected or countered with reason. This kind of structural and impersonal evil is currently in operation in the healing professions. People can commit the most monstrous acts of evil, genuinely believing that what they do is good and selfless.

9:13 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Just now (4/5) came across this article. Thank you for bringing a fuller picture of Maslow to the forefront of discussion.

Also want to thank masemeus for his comment. To assume evil only occurs 'out there' and can be controlled by some technocratic manipulation of people and society may mean we miss one of its main ingredients, which may be the real-life self concept resulting from Maslow's theoretical model.

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Lobaczewski's model allied to Thomas Szaz's brand of anti-psychiatricism, could be a virile weapon against psuedo-scientific/intellectual political(lly correct) branding in use. The problem is there already in any case: may as well beat them on their own intellectual-scientific field with a heavy volley of truth.

1:13 PM  

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