BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT | Are You Making the Most of Your Life?: Why Read Fully Human/Fully Alive

I have often been asked to explain what it means to become Fully Alive, the title of my book. To really be able to answer that you must understand Humanistic Psychology, which was first defined by Dr. Abraham Maslow. But first, very few people even know what it means to be a humanist.  A humanist, in my view, is a person who has taken total control of their own life, and who tests all ultimate beliefs before they can accept them for themselves. For a humanist to accept their own beliefs they must be based upon facts they can verify as true without having to accept any “authority” by “blind faith”. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  Yet seventy percent of all Americans are locked on Maslow’s social level today, unaware that there are three levels of living above their level that they do not even know exits. Why has that happened?

I have spent sixty years studying that subject because the answer is essential for our gaining the very most out of the only life we will ever have. For a person who sees no evidence that a life hereafter even exists, the only form of immortality that we can be sure we have is the extent the world has become a better place because we have been here. My latest book, Fully Human/ Fully Alive, was written to explain how to build bridges over our scotomas that are blocking our ability to get beyond our current beliefs that are restricting our own growth.

What makes Maslow so important is that he found that our behavior is not limited to the behaviorist belief that our behavior is only caused by the drive strength of need deficiency.  He discovered that healthy people have no need deficiency.  What is even more important, Maslow discovered that needs can be categorized by their drive strength into one of six distinct levels.  And, that the strength of a lower level is about twice that of the next higher level.  Thus, lower needs prevail over all needs above it. If you really must go to the bathroom, nothing else is more important at that moment.

As Maslow studied our needs, he was able to categorize them. Maslow found that the strongest needs are those necessary to sustain your life. He called these “basic needs”. Once satisfied, we move to “security level” needs to feather our nest so that we can satisfy our basic needs in the future. Once those needs are sufficiently met, we reach out and create relationships with others to arrive on the “social level” to work together to mutually satisfy our needs. We bring those people within our defense mechanism to become a team. We recognize our mutually dependent needs with others by what we call “love”. Most people stop there, content with their current lives. With that solid base assuring our existence, some people reach outward for recognition on the “ego level”. Many taste that level and then quickly retreat to the safety of their social level. Thirty percent of Americans gain the courage to continue living on that level or above. Only five percent reach the level of “actualization”, the level above the ego level. For those living predominately on the actualized level only one percent of Americans currently rise above that level to live “Fully Alive”.  That is because our selfish motivation declines at the same rate so that we are selfish on the basic level, but our own selfishness disappears in the actualized level. Therefore, we are then able to give our all to others altruistically when we can live above the actualized level.  We then can become “Fully Alive”.

People’s beliefs change as they rise to a higher level.  For instance, a person’s God concept changes. On the basic level most will have a fear god belief which is necessary for them to recognize God’s existence. On the security level God gains a provider status. On the social level a father god is acceptable. On the ego level, God becomes the creator. On the actualized level God can be defined abstractly. God could be a synonym for nature. To be an atheist, your god concept is typically a social level or below definition.

What has locked seventy percent of Americans on the social level is their scatomas. We all have some. A scatoma is a mental block that keeps a person from accepting any contrary belief. They work like a spam blocker in your computer that stops information before it ever reaches you, so you do not even know it exists. They are nature’s way of simplifying your life. We are bombarded daily with all sorts of information, but only a small part even receives our attention. You cannot address a scotoma head on because you cannot see your own scatoma. When you hear something that you do not like, but you cannot avoid, you may even become angry. Your own attitude is negative, and you summarily reject that information. That behavior is pretty good evidence that you have discovered one of your own scotomas.

There are a lot of reasons for creating scotomas. They could be culturally created, or because of the environment in which the person was raised.  Frequently, however, they are caused by religion. Whatever you have been taught by others you respect that has hardened into what you believe can easily become a scotoma. Especially if the belief was developed by a well-intended priest with the support of your parents. A good example to clarify this is the belief in Heaven and the threat of Hell taught to a child before the age where they can reason for themselves. The wish for Heaven and the fear of Hell may stay with that person for their entire lifetime. Both are powerful beliefs.

Our religion is a security level belief. The strength of security level beliefs is twice that of our social level beliefs. The belief in Hell alone is sufficient to cause that person to be locked on the social level for their entire lifetime. The only way to continue to grow beyond the social level is with sufficient education to allow you to build a bridge over, or a detour around, your fear of Hell. That is the purpose of my book. It shows you the path to build your own bridge over your scotomas so that you can continue your path to actualize your own life.

The benefit you gain by reaching the level above your own actualization is that your life then can become filled with purpose. You can then recognize that the good you have created will survive you. You will know then that you have a form of immortality that lives on after you. That will provide you with the feeling that your own life really was worth living. You will then realize that you really are now Fully Alive.