Abraham Maslow’s 1957 Alfred Korzybski Lecture

I have just read this lecture, and it is really nice.

Maslow (W)

The Conclusion to Abraham Maslow’s 1957 Alfred Korzybski Lecture follows:

The ‘Aristotelian’ way of viewing the world is less isomorphic with the external world than is the ‘non-Aristotelian’ cognitive scheme . In large part this is due to the fact that dichotomizing, taxonomiz- Ing, identifying words with objects, elementalizing, and atomizing, etc ., are very often themselves pathological processes, arising from pathology and exp ressing it, thereby yielding a view of the world which is ‘correctly’ pathological . It is not only that we have advanced in knowledge of the external world, of culture, and of language. We have also advanced in knowledge of both the depths and heights of human nature . Each of these advances has put a strain upon the others to advance in proportion, and also none of these advances could have been made if the others were too far behind .

Specifically what I am leading up to is that our new knowledge of psychological health not only validates a non-Aristotelian orientation, but in turn en- riches it, makes new demands upon it, makes it more possible to fulfill these new demands . The problem that I have been presenting this evening is a case in point. Language Is still mostly a mode of describing the outside world, the ‘secondary process world’ I might call it . But if health consists partially of a graceful coexistence, or better said, a transcendence of the dichotomy between the primary process world and the secondary process world, of the psychic and physical, the inner and the outer, the aesthetic and the pragmatic, then we must have a science, a mathematic, and a language not only of the primary process world but also of this new world which transcends and includes it .

But observe that these requirements are already partially satisfied by the languages of the dance, of music, of fantasy and dream and free association, of the visual arts and of poetry . To what extent is it possible to fuse these into the English language as we know it today. To what extent can it be enlarged to do everything it now can, plus better primary process communication, for instance, by using the body more, by using tones more, by more use of poetic ways of communicating, by more free association, by being more ‘physiognomic’ [14]? I suspect that with such changes, we can make our communicating far richer than it now is .

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