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3: THE INSIDE-OUT VIEW OF HUMANISM

(a) The person has intrinsic needs

      Your nervous system is an element of you as a person, and you as a person are, in turn, an element of your society. The nervous system has a very special role within this hierarchy of systems within systems. It is the only system which can 'know' your environment. It must know your environment in order to perform three broad functions - to mediate between your internal environment and your external environment (its biological function), to interact appropriately with other people (its sociological function), and to understand your environment and yourself (its psychological function). Underlying each of those functions are certain organic needs - biological, sociological, and psychological, respectively - which are designed to ensure that your nervous system performs each of those functions.

Biological needs

      The biological needs and the mechanisms by which you satisfy them were described in section 2 (a) above. No evidence for such needs was presented, since no evidence is necessary. The best evidence for a need is that failure to satisfy it results in damage to the organism. If an organism is deprived of drink and food, it dies. Death is the dramatic documentation of the biological needs of thirst and hunger.

      The humanistic concept of the goals of human development does not replace the behavioristic concept but rather subsumes it. Humanism does not replace behaviorism as Copernicus replaced Ptolemy but subsumes it as Einstein subsumed Newton. Humanism accepts behaviorism as far as it goes but points out that it does not go nearly far enough. There are biological needs built into the nervous system indeed, but there are sociological and psychological needs built in too. Since deprivation of those sociological and psychological needs results in less dramatic damage than death, it is necessary to present evidence that they exist.

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