The Fully Functioning Society: A Humanistic-Existential Vision of an Actualizing, Socially Just Future

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to address the question, “What kind of future society would we, in the humanistic psychology movement, want to see?” The paper argues that a “good” society is one in which people can actualize their wants to a maximum extent, and where each person has an equal opportunity to do so. The paper suggests that suggest maximization of wants can be achieved through the development of synergies: means of actualizing wants that help, rather than hinder, others from actualizing their own wants. On this basis, it is argued that a future society should encourage the actualization of wants that are inherently synergetic -- such as the desire for relatedness and compassion for others -- while also helping people to find non-dysergetic ways of actualizing more individualistic wants. In particular, it is argued that a society that values creativity and diversity can help people to actualize needs for competence and significance without undermining this in others. The paper then goes on to consider strategies for ensuring equality of opportunity to actualize wants; before considering the role that humanistic psychology can play in this process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-594
JournalJOURNAL OF HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY
Volume56
Issue number6
Early online date19 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

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