Coberst, you ask
1. Can we learn to be critically self-conscious? 2. What do you think about self-actualization?
1. Not only do I believe we can, I believe that we must--unless we want to condemn ourselves to being less than human.

In my opinion, unless we are content to see ourselves to be nothing more that grasping animal-like creatures dominated by base instincts (the Freudian view), or as machine-like beings responding mechanistically to the physical environment (the view of behaviourism), we had better develop a new image of who we really are--spiritual beings who take great joy in finding meaning and purpose in life by the practice of faith, hope and love (agape)--of self, family and community (James, Jung, Rogers, Maslow, Victor Frankl, M. Scott Peck.)

The scientific study of what it means for human beings, from the cradle to the grave, to be spiritual--if we are to save ourselves and our globe from destruction--needs to me, and must be, made a priority.

I make no claim that I am the first to propose that we do a scientific study of what it means to be a conscious, self-actualized, or fully spiritual, and humane being.

In my library, I have a book published in 1900: The Spiritual Life--studies in the science of religion, by George Albert Coe, PhD.

At the time, Dr. Coe was a well-known and respected professor of what was called Moral and Intellectual Philosophy at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill., near Chicago. I found the book in a used-book store in Boston. At the time, I was doing some post-graduate studies at Boston University on the "History of beliefs and ideas".

In his preface, Dr. Coe writes: "The studies here presented have been undertaken in response to a conviction that, in the interest of both science and religion, a new intellectual attitude is necessary with respect to the facts of the spiritual life."

He goes on to say: "The religious processes taking place within us and around us must be observed with all the precision that modern psychological methods and tools render possible."

To this he adds this interesting observation: "For, whatever else religion may or may not be, it is at least a mass of ascertainable states of consciousness; ... in the absence of information to the contrary we must presume that such states can be analysed and described ..."

Acknowledging what was then known about the mind (often confused witrh the brain) and the body (biology) he adds: "Until this work is done there will remain an important gap in the scientific knowledge of man." With this in mind he went on to call for the development of a, "satisfactory science of religion".

Without some understanding as to what makes us tick, spiritually as well as mentally and physically, we will never make sense as to why some people are motivated to behave as saints--willing, at great personal cost, to do great good in the service of others--while others, such as terrorists, are willing even to kill themselves in the act of killing others. How come religion is so toxic for some people and a tonic for others?


By the way, after Dr. Coe, the late great Dr. Carl Jung--despite what his mentor, Dr. Sigmund Freud, said about religion being the "universal neurosis"--also called for the development of a "psychology of the spirit". And this leads me to point out that before psychology was called psychology, it was called pneumatology--the study of the spirit. For details, do a google search.

It is time pneumatology became a serious science--see World Book Dictionary--no less than its child, psychology.
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT