Humanist Psychology and A Self-Centered WorldviewQUESTION: Humanist Psychology – A Self-Centered WorldviewANSWER:
Secular Humanist psychologists believe the secret to better mental health is found by getting in touch with the unspoiled inner self. When we strip ourselves of all the evil forced on us by society, we will become positive agents with virtually unlimited potential for good. Just how much potential we are assumed to have is reflected by the title of one of Fromm’s most important works, You Shall Be as Gods.
The Humanist emphasis, then, is on self-reliance, even self-centeredness. Harold P. Marley states, “To know Humanism, first know the self in its relation to other selves. Trust thyself to stand alone; learn of others, but lean not upon a single savior.”1Humanist Psychology – Self-Reliance, Self-Centeredness
This call to trust ourselves and our natural inclinations is voiced powerfully by Maslow: “Since this inner nature is good or neutral rather than bad, it is best to bring it out and to encourage it rather than to suppress it. If it is permitted to guide our life, we grow healthy, fruitful, and happy.”2
In other words, to become good, we must focus on ourselves and what we want. In fact, Humanists believe that self-centeredness is the wave of the future—an entirely new philosophy of life. Rogers, when considering what the philosophy of the future will be like, guesses, “It will stress the value of the individual. It will, I think, center itself in the individual as the evaluating agent.”3
Humanist psychologists believe this self-centered attitude is crucial for our individual mental health as well as for the eventual restructuring of society. Only when we accept the need to be completely in control can we tap the unlimited potential of being human.Notes:
Rendered with permission from the book,Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews
ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry
at Summit Ministries
. All rights reserved in the original.1
Harold P. Marley, “First Know the Self,” The Humanist (Nov./Dec. 1954): 258.2
Abraham Maslow, Toward a Psychology of Being
(New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1968), 149.3
I. David Welch, George A. Tate, and Fred Richards, ed., Humanistic Psychology
(Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1978), 223.