However, the humanist argues that the nervous system also has needs of its own. Mother nature loads Jack and Jill with hunger and thirst so that they can survive. However, she also loads them with sex so that the species will survive. Mother Nature like many mothers wants to be a grandmother. Since there is a long period of infant dependency in our species, she loads them not just with sex but with love so that they will stay around to take care of their children. Whereas biological needs ensure the survival of the individual, those sociological needs ensure the survival of the species.|
The humanist argues further that there are psychological needs built into the nervous system. There is a huge body of empirical evidence of a need for stimulation and of a need for consistency. Not only do we need to know, but we need to know what we need to know, so that what we know can be organized into a consistent body of knowledge. That is, we need not only to know but to understand. The need for stimulation and the need for consistency thus provide an organic basis for psychological growth.
Powered by those intrinsic needs, the person grows from inside out. Every normal child has the potential to be fully a person, just as every normal acorn has the potentially to be fully an oak tree and every normal kitten has the potential to be fully a cat. In an appropriate environment, children are able to satisfy those needs and thus fully realize the human potential. We therefore need to explain not the genius of Albert Einstein or Margaret Mead (or whoever you think has most fully realized the human potential) but rather why we are not all Einsteins or Meads. Why are most of us stunted?
The process of human growth is so long and so complex that many things can go wrong. Whereas it is relatively easy for an acorn to become an oak tree and for a kitten to become a cat, it is not so easy for a child to become fully human. The theory of Sigmund Freud could be considered as the dramatic documentation of the many things which can go wrong. The id, superego, and ego (responsible for the satisfaction of biological, sociological, and psychological needs respectively) are perpetually in conflict.
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