“We experience ourselves our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.”
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
Art: The Last Day of Pompeii by Karl Briullov (1833)
Briullov visited Pompeii in 1828 and made sketches depicting the AD 79 Vesuvius eruption. The painting received rapturous reviews at its exhibition in Rome and brought Briullov more acclaim than any other work during his lifetime. The first Russian artwork to cause such an interest abroad, it inspired an anthologic poem by Alexander Pushkin, and the novel The Last Days of Pompeii by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. It depicts a classical topic but exhibits characteristics of Romanticism as manifested in Russian art, including drama, realism tempered with idealism, interest in nature, and a fondness for historical subjects. A self portrait is in the upper left corner of the painting, under the steeple, but not easy to identify.
Literature and Liturgy: Self-Actualization
Process of becoming all that one can become. A. H. Maslow identifies it as the highest level on his hierarchy of needs. Maslow first presented the hierarchy of needs in “Theory of Human Motivation” that appeared in Psychological Review in 1943 (Lowry, 1973). The term self-actualization was first used by Kurt Goldstein to refer to the tendency to become actualized in what one is potentially (Maslow, 1943).
A description of self-actualization would include use of talents, capacities, and potentiality that allows the individual to develop to the full statue of which one is capable (Maslow, 1970). It refers to the highest level of human growth where one has reached one’s fullest potential (Brockett and Hiemstra, 1991).
As lower level needs are satisfied new needs will emerge that hunger to be met. The emergence of higher level needs rest on prior satisfaction of physiological, safety, love, and esteem needs (Maslow, 1943).
Much of Maslow’s work placed self-actualization as the highest of the seven levels of need. The difficulty with studying self-actualized people is that so few can be considered to have achieved this level. His later work included an eighth level called transcendence (Hamachek, 1990).
Self-actualizers have a great deal of self-understanding and insight. They are creative and are not afraid to deal with unstructured situations or march to the beat of a different drummer. These individuals are consistently working toward higher levels and are able to utilize resources to their greatest potential (Brockett and Hiemstra, 1991).
Maslow conducted research in an attempt to identify characteristics of self-actualized individuals, which need to be followed with more studies. The following characteristics were identified: perception of reality, acceptance, spontaneity, problem centering, solitude, autonomy, fresh appreciation, peak experiences, human kinship, humility and respect, interpersonal relationships, ethics, means and ends, humor, creativity, resistance to enculturation, imperfections, values, and resolution of dichotomies (Maslow, 1970).
R. G. Brockett and R. Hiemstra (1991), Self-Direction in Adult Learning;
D. Hamachek (1990), Psychology in Teaching, Learning, and Growth;
R. J. Lowry, ed. (1973), Dominance, Self-Esteem, Self-Actualization: Germinal Papers of A. H. Maslow; A. H. Maslow (1973), Dominance, Self-esteem, Self-actualization: Germinal Papers of A. H. Maslow pp. 153–73; idem (1970), Motivation and Personality.
Michael J. Anthony et al., Evangelical Dictionary of Christian Education, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2001), 620.