In everyday language, self-realization means realizing your own goals , desires and desires as far as possible with the overriding goal of " fully developing your own being " ( Oscar Wilde ), as well as - related to this - the most extensive possible exhaustion of the individually given possibilities and wishes Abilities (talents).
In psychology , Abraham Maslow made the term prominent. Within a hierarchy of needs ( Maslow's hierarchy of needs ), he placed it at the top or the last position in the sequence body / security / love / recognition / self-realization. A philosopher who advocated the full and limitless self-realization of the individual (without using the term) was Max Stirner .
In 1934, the neurologist Kurt Goldstein dealt extensively with the concept of self-realization in his main work The Structure of the Organism . He states that the organism strives to maintain a certain form of confrontation with the environment in which it can most adequately realize itself, according to its nature. He later called this tendency towards the realization of his being self-realization. By “essence” Goldstein understands the peculiarities of the organism's individuality and the “maintenance of the relative constancy of the organism”.
According to Karl Marx , self-realization should happen primarily through human work . He distinguished between self-realization as a species in nature and self-realization as an individual in society .
In philosophy, religion and science there are many other views of what constitutes self-actualization, mostly without using the term explicitly. They result from the image of man that is taken as a basis or developed, and the theory or doctrine of self or self-concept developed from it . Individualism is often seen as a prerequisite for self-realization, but in the end self-realization can only succeed together with other people, insofar as the person is a social being and has a social identity that needs confirmation and recognition by others. Max Stirner stands for a conception of self-realization that does not need such recognition, as does Sartre's existentialism . According to such a view, the devotion to fellow human beings is not based on a need of the human being as a social being, but happens out of freedom ( responsibility , love , shaping the “good” life etc.) Religious teachings consider connection with a divine or absolute to be necessary for self-realization.
Significantly influenced by Maslow's ideas, the Human Potential Movement developed from the USA , in which the development of human personality and potential and the fulfillment of meaning in life are the focus. The generation of 1968 is often accused of striving for self-realization. There are also current currents within the communist movement that see the goal of a future society in the self-realization of everyone.
Relation to the world of work
According to the German futurologist Horst Opaschowski , self-realization is a “privilege for minorities”. Through their work , around 40% of the self-employed in Germany were able to find their way into their jobs in 1999, while it was only 20% of the workers. He sees self-realization as a subjective concept. Self-realization is often shifted to the private sphere.
For its conservative critics, the term has a negative connotation of egoism and a lack of family spirit. On the other hand, in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, self-actualization is associated with altruism . Humanism , too , which can be regarded as the first philosophy of human self-realization, tends to suggest this connection.
- Self-realization as a goal gives life a task, a direction.
- According to Aristotle, human nature is based on self-realization.
- The concept of self-realization is very vague.
- In many cases it serves practically to justify egoism, narcissism and individualism.
- From a religious point of view, it suggests "a theologically negligible primacy of one's own actions and a kind of self-redemption."
- “Germany - a country of singles, of consumers and an old people's home. The first two keywords can also be summarized: a land of self-actualizers. "
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