Self-Actualizing in the 21st Century: A Q&A With Scott Barry Kaufman

In his newest book, Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman reexamines Abraham Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, as well as his work on self-actualization and transcendence. Kaufman explains that Maslow didn’t think of human development as a step-by-step climb up a pyramid. Life to Maslow and Kaufman is more complicated and more meaningful than that. Kaufman’s goal is to bring Maslow’s ideas back to life, along with those of Maslow’s fellow humanistic psychologists of the mid-1900s — those concerned with “what it means to be fully experientially human and how that understanding illuminates the fulfilled or vital life.” In his refresh, Kaufman brings Maslow’s hierarchy and humanist ideas into the 21st century. He provides a new metaphor for the hierarchy of needs, one that better captures their ebb and flow.


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