By Alex Vikoulov
"What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself." -Abraham Maslow
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs has served as the foundation for understanding human motivation since it was first published in 1943 as part of "A Theory of Human Motivation" in Psychological Review. The hierarchy, presented in pyramid form, is often given as an introduction to human psychology and widely accepted as a representation about what humans need from life, and in what order they need it. However, contrary to popular belief, Maslow's hierarchy is incomplete, says a transformative psychologist Nichol Bradford from San Francisco. Later in his life, after the hierarchy had been published, Maslow began work on a final stage of human motivation. Self-actualization was not the pinnacle of individual human achievement, but rather Self-Transcendence. Not an elevation of the self, but a subverting of it.
This gives us the whole new perspective on human psychology itself. Achieving self-actualization means resting comfortably inside the boundaries of human psychology - accomplishing what is knowable and testable - while Self-Transcendence means pushing far beyond them, exceeding their totality, overflowing. When you become aware of not only your own potential, but you become aware of the potential of humanity at large, the unity of all things. Once you have a higher purpose in life, you can effortlessly tap into your "flow state", the state of peak experience and joy. Whether through deep meditation, psychedelic depersonalization, altruistic self-denial, or more recently through transformative technologies and technological mediation in general, expanding beyond self-fulfillment could well be the ultimate stage of human evolutionary development.
Our most clearly defined technological path toward Self-Transcendence lies through the Technological Singularity, the merger of humanity and technology which have always been co-evolving partners. Throughout human history, we created tools that increased our individual and collective intelligence and became extensions of our natural selves, our "exoskeleton", our extended phenotype. Integrating hardware and software into the flesh and brains represents an existential opportunity to overcome our physical limitations, to transcend our human biology.
As estimated by surveyed experts in the field of Artificial Intelligence and Nanotechnology, by 2030, we might have cloud-connected hybrid brains, by the end of 2030s, our thinking should be almost entirely non-biological and able to function much like an external hard drive - exocortex - having the ability to backup and retrieve information from the Cloud. With genetic, nanotech engineering and AI advancements, we'll first enhance our biological forms and then eventually phase them out.
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Tags: self-transcendence, transcendence, self-awareness, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, human psychology, human motivation, transformative technology, self-actualization, psychedelic depersonalization, Abraham Maslow, Nichol Bradford, neo-transcendentalism
*Image Credit: Shutterstock, Fotolia
About the Author:
Alex Vikoulov is a neo-transcendentalist, cosmist, singularitarian, evolutionary extrapolist, digital philosopher, futurist, founder of Ecstadelic Media, painter and media artist, author of "The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind's Evolution". Graduated from Armstrong University, Berkeley, CA. Lives in Burlingame, California (San Francisco Bay Area).