Since the Maslow’s theory came in vogue, the narrative of human needs have followed on those lines & quite rightly so. There seems to be no debate on the first four needs from the physiological to the esteem, the grey area is the self actualization need. In simple terms it’s the “full realisation of one’s potential,” and of one’s “true self.”
Psychology is not independent of sociology and the interplay of human mind with societal reality has its own way of manifesting on human thought process, needs or perceived needs & human behaviour. Esteem at level four in the hierarchy of needs has become a misnomer for large sections of the society today. Riding on the wave of consumerism & commercialization, esteem seems to have gotten a totally different dimension. Physical accumulation of assets / wealth seems to have fetched esteem & not esteem in the real sense of the term.
Moving quite a few notches ahead, self actualisation is also used similar to the concepts like self-discovery, self realisation etc. Coming to one’s full potential is also one yardstick. The realisation of what one’s potential, is the biggest question of human existence. While the most ordinary may change the world, at times, the most promising deliver nuts. Even with all on our side, the journey from belongingness to esteem rarely happens, the journey beyond is rarer.
It is presumed that not more than one percent of the population is able to get into this mode, actual reality may be even less. One percent can be transformational for the whole society. The societal potential to create such humanists is equally critical. As more & more get into that category, the momentum is bound to increase. They are self driven people, possessing autonomy, task centric, efficient perception of reality, socially compassionate et al. They change the world.
THE PROPORTION OF SELF- ACTUALIZERS IS AN INDICATOR OF SOCIETAL HEALTH.