Values of Self Actualizers

Maslow (1971) held that self-actualizing people are motivated by the "eternal verities," what he called B-values. These "Being" values are indicators of psychological health and are opposed to deficiency needs, which motivate non-self-actualizers. B-values are not needs in the same sense that food, shelter, or companionship are. Maslow termed B-values "metaneeds" to indicate that they are the ultimate level of needs. He distinguished between ordinary need motivation and the motives of self-actualizing people, which he called metamotivation.

Part III Humanistic/Existential Theories

Value Maslow Theory
FIGURE 10.2 Maslow's B-values: A Single Jewel with Many Facets.

Metamotivation is characterized by expressive rather than coping behavior and is associated with the B-values. It differentiates self-actualizing people from those who are not. In other words, metamotivation was Maslow's tentative answer to the problem of why some people have their lower needs satisfied are capable of giving and receivmg love, possess a great amount of confidence and self-esteem, and yet fail to pass over the threshold to self-actualization. The lives of these people are meaningless and lacking in B-values. Only people who live among the B-values are self-actualizing, and they alone are capable of metamotivation.

Maslow (1964, 1970) identified 14 B-values, but the exact number is not important because ultimately all become one, or at least all are highly correlated. The values of self-actualizing people include truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness or the transcendence of dichotomies, aliveness or spontaneity, uniqueness, perfection, completion, justice and order, simplicity, richness or totality, effortlessness, playfulness or humor, and self-sufficiency or autonomy (see Figure 10.2).

These values distinguish self-actualizing people from those whose psychological growth is stunted after they reach esteem needs. Maslow (1970) hypothesized that when people's metaneeds are not met, they experience illness, an existential illness. All people have a holistic tendency to move toward completeness or totality; and when this movement is thwarted they suffer feelings of madequacy, disintegration, and unfulfilhnent. Absence of the B-values leads to pathology just as surely as lack of food results hi malnutrition. When denied the truth, people suffer from paranoia; when they live in ugly surroundings, they become physically ill; without justice and order, they experience fear and anxiety; without playfulness and humor, they become stale, rigid and somber. Deprivation of any of the B-values results in meta-pathology or the lack of a meaningful philosophy of life.

Feist-Feist: Theories of I II. Psychodynamic I 10. Maslow: I I The McGraw-Hill

Personality, Sixth Edition Theories Holistic-Dynamic Theory Companies, 2005

Chapter 10 Maslow: Holistic-Dynamic Theory 289

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