Read Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences by Abraham H. Maslow Online


Proposing religious experience as a legitimate subject for scientific investigation, Maslow studies the human need for spiritual expression....

Title : Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences
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ISBN : 9780140194876
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 144 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences Reviews

  • Knut
    2019-05-26 01:43

    This book is one of my all top 3 reads. A must for everybody. A duty for every parent and every teacher ... we don't need another brick in the wall.Abraham Maslow’s wrote in his 1964 title “Religions, Values and Peak-Experiences” about value free education: The most charitable thing we can say about this state of affairs if that American education is conflicted and confused about its far goals and purposes. But for many educators [and I have to include here the parent as the primary educator of his children], it must be said more harshly that they seem to have renounced far goals altogether or, at any rate, keep trying to. It is as if they wanted education to be purely technological training for the acquisition of skills, which come close to being value-free or amoral (in the sense of being useful either for good of evil, and also in the sense of failing to enlarge personality). There are also many educators who seem to disagree with this technological emphasis, who stress the acquisition of pure knowledge, and who feel this to be the core of pure liberal education and the opposite of technological training. But it looks to me as if many of these educators are also value-confused, and its seems to me that they must remain so as long as they are not clear about the ultimate value of the acquisition of pure knowledge. […]Perhaps I can make my point clearer, if I approach it from the other end, from the point of view of the ultimate goals of education. According to the new third psychology [comparable to Martin E. Seligman’s positive psychology], the far goal of education – as of psychotherapy, of family life, of work, of society, of life itself – is to aid the person to grow to fullest humanness, to the greatest fulfillment and actualization of his highest potentials, this his greatest possible stature. In a word, if should help him to become the best he is capable of becoming, to become actually what he deeply is potentially. What we call healthy growth is growth toward this final goal.

  • Greg
    2019-05-12 01:16

    Many people will find this book enlightening and that if confirms their own New Age spirituality biases, but as a scholar of comparative religion, I can't rate this book very highly. First of all, it is very dated and there is so much more that we know about the psychology of mystical experiences since it was written in the 1960s (published in 1970). Second, like Erich Fromm, he has only a superficial knowledge of religion as a subject. It seems to be a failing of psychiatrists that they can't get past their own theories and biases to see religion as a phenomenon in all its varieties. Maslow sets up a false dichotomy of religious institutions against individual mystical experience and uses it as a bludgeon to make facile claims against organized religion. Has the man never been to a Hasidic synagogue on Simhat Torah or an evangelical tent revival? He would find plenty of peak experiences there. Peak experiences are not just for the lonely mystic on the mountain that Maslow so reveres in this book. Nor does religion degenerate into scholasticism from a founder in all cases, as he tries to claim. In fact, he is totally ignorant of the institutional nature of Buddhism. He has a DT Suzuki-inspired view of Buddhism at odds with the reality of how it is practiced in Asia. It is in fact communal, monastic and highly disciplined and enforces a certain kind of conformity that he is trying to challenge in his own psychotherapeutic theories of self-acutalization.

  • Angela
    2019-05-04 20:30

    An important topic (the transcendental) covered by an important dude (Maslow's hierarchy of needs!) - but overall disappointing. It was disappointing for two reasons: first, Maslow first establishes this normative, value-laden definition of the transcendental experience (the "peak experience") as something beyond the small minds of "positivists" (that is, empiricists, behavioralists, etc.). But then he tries to shoehorn that very same scientific method from that very same post-Enlightenment tradition onto his definition by providing us with anecdotes and "evidence" of what the peak experience is like. But how am I supposed to take data seriously when the survey questions were, "Please describe your most intense, holy, positive experience?" And the answers are inevitably: "Intense, holy, positive." It just seems like he has some major data collection issues! So the data side was just silly and possibly misguided. The second disappointment - and this was a MAJOR letdown - was his bizarre, completely patriarchal and retrograde screed about the primal roles of men and women (which - surprise! - correspond to that tired old tale of strong, powerful, breadwinning (cave)men and their meek, subservient, soft and plushy women friends). Oh, for the love of God. Given how incredibly misguided he is in this - and how he tries to dress up his misguided notions in attractive, seductive language - I ended up doubting the whole book entirely. Sorry, Abe! I'll go back to the Zen masters for my transcendental needs.

  • Bart Everson
    2019-05-23 00:31

    Brilliant, but also frustrating. Don't expect an orderly scientific approach. Maslow barely defines his terms. Try as I might, I could not find a coherent, succinct definition of the "peak-experience" here, though one can infer much from the text. Maslow also throws around terms like B-cognition and B-values, which were opaque to me, perhaps because I'm not schooled in the discipline of psychology.There are some suspect ideas about gender, especially in the final appendix. In fact, there are probably a bunch of suspect ideas here, but I frankly glossed over them, carried away by the excitement of Maslow's arguments.This doesn't read like a research study. It reads like a manifesto. It's a call to arms. Maslow thinks we need a reunification of science and religion. Fifty years later, these words still ring true.However, what really puts this book over the top for me, the reason I give it top marks, is that I had a soul-shattering peak-experience myself, once upon a time. I was 22 then; I read this book at age 46; I have never read anything that delineated that experience so clearly.Also, it's short. The text is only 58 pages. The appendices are of roughly equal length and definitely worth a look.So: a flawed gem, a seminal book, a must-read for anyone interested in the topic.POSTSCRIPT: I'd like to dispel a couple or three misconceptions about peak-experiences. I've seen numerous allusions to the peak-experiences of great spiritual leaders. Maslow addresses these but also makes the point that virtually everybody has peak-experiences. Some reviews of this book criticize Maslow's division of humanity into peakers and non-peakers; indeed Maslow uses these terms but makes clear that his thoughts on the subject evolved considerably, to the point that he "began to use the word 'non-peaker' to describe, not the person who is unable to have peak-experiences, but rather the person who is afraid of them, who suppresses them, who denies them, who turns away from them, or who 'forgets' them." Finally, it should be noted that peak-experiences are not (necessarily) triggered by drugs. Maslow expresses some enthusiasm for LSD, but that's not what this book is about.

  • Bob Nichols
    2019-05-02 00:31

    The long and short on this short book is that "peakers" are good and "non-peakers" are not so good. Peakers are those who in some form or another, either through momentary or sustained experiences through time, maximize their full human potential. These are the self-actualizers. As to what constitutes this potential, Maslow lists them in Appendix G (truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness, dichotomy-transcendence, aliveness, uniqueness, perfection, completion, justice, order, simplicity, richness, effortlessness, playfulness, self-sufficiency). In other words, the perfect human being. The non-peaker is the materialistic, mechanistic, and overly rational person who is able to have peak experiences but "who is afraid of them, who suppresses them, who denies them, who turns away from them, or who 'forgets' them." Maslow also categorizes the peakers and non-peakers as representatives of "two religions of mankind," making it clear that the peakers' religious experience can be experienced in a non-theistic (e.g., humanism) as well as a theistic context.One wonders if this is all a little too contrived, offering up more a vision of what Maslow wants the world to look like rather than the way it is. In his introduction he writes that "The empirical fact is that self-actualizing people, or best experiencers, are also our most compassionate, our great improvers and reformers of society, our most effective fighters against injustice, inequality, slavery, cruelty, exploitation (and also our best fighters for excellence, effectiveness, competence)." However, it's not clear why self-oriented, ego-based actions (i.e., non-humanistic) cannot result in peak experiences. Right off, it would seem that many intensively self-absorbed/focused individuals such as artists,scientists and nature lovers are premier candidates for peak experiences and may be the very antithesis of the humanitarian peakers that Maslow hopes for. There's risk in defining so precisely what constitutes the "fully human person" as such definitions lend themselves too easily into unfair categorizations ("X is more human than Y"), and doesn't do justice to the highly individual ways we might best express our actualization.

  • Martin Kollouch
    2019-05-19 00:34

    "A kteří z dnešních známých umělců a spisovatelů se snaží vzdělávat, inspirovat, vést ke ctnosti? Kteří z nich by vůbec mohli slovo "ctnost" použít, aniž by se jim při tom nezvedl žaludek? Ke kterým z nich může "idealistický" mladý muž vzhlížet?"(s.37)

  • Chuck
    2019-05-05 21:27

    An important statement of how Abraham Maslow, the humanist psychologist, grappled with the truth of religious experience. In the hope of retaining its beauty and wonder, he sacrificed its personality. God became non-god. In the words of Friedrich Nietzsche: God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console ourselves, the most murderous of all murderers? the holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife; who will wipe the blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What lustrums, what sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of it?Ultimately any attempt to bring religious experiences within the realm of naturalistic experiences and then investigate them in "an entirely naturalistic way" will have to kill the recognition of God as "something-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought." (Anselm "Proslogion")

  • Michelle
    2019-05-03 22:15

    Writing a book review on Jan 1, 2016 at 7:45am. I'm off to a good start. I used to love Maslow's books because they point to higher values and transcendence and all that good stuff an 18-year-old aspired. But the implicit assumption in these types of books is that most people are empty and wasting their potential and only slightly better than automatons, with which I now do have a big problem. Maybe I've already distanced myself from the more vacuous type, but there is not a single person among my friends who does not have dreams and passion and lots of love to give to the world. We turned out better than Maslow thought.

  • Erik Graff
    2019-05-21 20:16

    While traditional psychology has focused primarily on human disease, Abraham Maslow made a name for himself by researching psychological health, especially in its more extreme manifestations. As such, he is a refreshing read. Better than just another feel-good, self-help writer, he actually presents data, much of it his original work.If he were a better writer, I'd give him the fifth star. Unfortunately, he is an academic writer and even his popular books have that characteristic air of detachment.

  • Melanie
    2019-05-12 21:14

    I tried--well, a little. Read the intro and part of the first chapter. I have respect for what I know of Maslow's work (basically hierarchy of needs and peak experiences), but going forward I'll be content to let others distill him for me.

  • Michael
    2019-05-17 04:39

    I read this in college, then again as a grown-up a few years ago. Maslow posits that human beings can have moments of insight, transcendence, and personal growth that are psychological instead of supernatural. Great book.

  • Ian Reynir
    2019-04-28 22:39

    An impressive and influential book. It is relatively short and to the point. The concept of a peak experience, specifically regarding transcendent experiences, was very influential on my work.

  • Sam Jennings
    2019-04-25 22:41

    Interesting viewpointThis is an interesting viewpoint with plenty of resources and references from the psychological to the religious.However, with so many references the central idea is too repetitive.

  • Raydu18
    2019-05-08 02:13

    Not well written, but some great ideas here and there.

  • Wouter Zwemmer
    2019-05-05 21:42

    Revolutionair essay over religie en wetenschap. Maslow rekent erudiet af met kerk en trekt waarden het domein van de wetenschap in.Maslow betoogt dat de piek- of topervaringen die vroeger door mystici en religieuzen werden geclaimd als 'religieuze ervaringen', los moeten worden gezien van religie. Ze worden namelijk ook teweeggebracht door prikkels van andere aard, zoals esthetische of creatieve, liefde, seksualiteit, inzicht etc. Volgens Maslow kun je niet meer volhouden dat topervaringen door seksuele liefde, filosofisch inzicht, atletische prestaties, het kijken maar een dansvoorstelling of zwangerschap religieuze ervaringen zijn en moeten deze ervaringen worden losgemaakt van kerken, dogma's, rituelen en beroepsgeestelijken. Het betreffen volgens hem algemeen menselijke eigenschappen en ervaringen die bestudeerd en begrepen kunnen worden door de wetenschap.Wetenschap en religieMaslow keert zich tegen de klassieke absolute scheiding van religie en wetenschap. Die leidt volgens hem onvermijdelijk tot een totalitaire religie die 'de waarheid' claimt, in zichzelf keert, mensen het denken ontneemt en tot blinde volgelingen maakt en niet per se het goede nastreeft maar ook het kwade in de samenleving kan steunen, gemotiveerd door dogma en macht. Op dezelfde manier verwordt wetenschap die zich afkeert van menselijke waarden tot pure technologie en wetenschappers die hun kennis ook voor slechte doelen inzetten, zoals in oorlogen is gebeurd. Volgens Maslow zijn de antwoorden die religie geeft op de grote levensvragen onjuist, maar is er niets mis met die vragen. Maslow pleit ervoor om ook waarden toe te laten tot de wetenschap, waarmee deze onderwerp worden van bestudering, kennisontwikkeling en leren. Stellingen over religieStelling 1: de grote wereldgodsdiensten zijn allemaal geopenbaarde godsdiensten, dat wil zeggen dat ze zijn begonnen met een eenzame persoonlijke verlichting van een individu (profeet, ziener) en dat het bestaansrecht van de religie bestaat uit de overdracht van deze oorspronkelijke mystieke ervaring van de eenzame individu aan de grote massa van de mensheid. Volgens Maslow kunnen die oorspronkelijke openbaringen tegenwoordig worden verklaard en onderzocht als 'topervaringen' of extases; volkomen natuurlijke menselijke ervaringen, misgeïnterpreteerd in de context en kennis van die tijd. Stelling 2: als alle mystieke ervaringen in essentie hetzelfde zijn, dan zijn alle godsdiensten in essentie dezelfde. Eventuele verschillen komen door lokale factoren van plaats en tijd, en zijn bijzaak. Volgens Maslow heeft ieder mens religieuze of topervaringen, maar keren sommigen zich er van af: ultrarationelen uit angst voor verlies van emotionele beheersing (dwangneurose) en uiterst praktische types waarvoor emoties geen geld in het laatje brengen of brood bakken etc. Dit noemt hij niet-toppers. In zijn onderzoek vond hij dat het overbrengen van de oorspronkelijke mystieke ervaringen naar de grote massa van niet-toppers vaak het werk is van niet-toppers, van religieuze-organisatiemannen. De massa, onwetend van de oorspronkelijke mystieke ervaringen, gaat de symbolen en rituelen van de kerk aanbidden; volgens Maslow afgoderij of fetisjisme (echt waar!). Dat kan zo ver gaan dat die tweede verering tegen de oorspronkelijke kern-religieuze ervaringen in gaat. Die Maslow pakt georganiseerde religie met een bijl aan de wortel vast; overigens: georganiseerde religie, kerk - niet per se religieus besef bij mensen. Geen kerk meer nodigMaslow stelt dat 'toppers' hun eigen religie ontwikkelen. Dat geldt ook voor de niet-theïstische godsdiensten (boeddhisme, taoïsme, humanisme, confucianisme). Sterker, je komt dit ook buiten religieuze context tegen, bij atheïsme, communisme, conservatieven, liberalen, kunstenaars, atleten etc. In kerkelijk verband, wordt religie-beleving gereduceerd tot kerkelijke omstandigheden (in een speciaal gebouw, op een vaste dag, speciale muziek op speciale instrumenten, wierook, gezang, attributen etc); daardoor voelen de mensen zich ontheven om deze ervaringen op een ander ogenblik te ondergaan. Maslow stelt onomwonden dat mysterie, mystiek, eenheids- en transcendente ervaringen geheel binnen het domein van de natuur liggen en geen bovennatuurlijke verklaringen meer nodig hebben. Psychologie en opvoeding van groeiMaslow pleit voor een wetenschap (psychologie) wiens doel het is om de mens te helpen bereiken wat hij in staat is te bereiken - het realiseren van cq groeien naar zijn potentieel. Hij pleit derhalve voor een integrale opvoeding en scholing, van alle menselijke vermogens, niet alleen cognitieve; binnen en buiten scholen; kinderen en volwassenen. Op dit denkbeeld ervaar ik enige weerstand bij mezelf, omdat een dergelijke 'totale' scholing eerder door totalitaire regimes is geprobeerd; het succes van dit idee valt of staat met de integriteit en diversiteit van de hogere doelen ervan en de mate waarin de inzichten over deze scholing de kennisontwikkeling en werkelijkheid volgt, in plaats van andersom. Of we het veilig aan mensen kunnen toevertrouwen om een dergelijke scholing te ontwerpen, vraag ik me af.

  • Jeremy Konstanzer
    2019-05-15 21:25

    Abraham Maslow's exploration into subject content that his contemporaries considered unscientific, and his proposition for a more humanist approach to psychology (unwittingly rationalist), is treated with all of the care and consideration necessary for such a revolutionary venture. Rationalism had treated psychology with a heavy hand, by way of psychoanalysis; so much so that American psychologists began denying the actual content of the mind being the territory of psychology! These Americans, influenced by British empirical tradition, created distinct forms of behaviorism and experimental psychology. Maslow, although against the popular tide of his time, only briefly, though effectively, justifies his rejection of the narrower views of his peers, and he wastes little time into putting forward several provocative concepts for the reader to consider. The writing is easily ingested and, although knowledge of the history of psychology helps to contextualize his sparse references, is mostly descriptive of his experiences as he discovered relatively virgin material to place before the American psychological lens. His work feels fresh and, while somewhat disparate in its direction from section to section, bursts with the excitement of finding a new path forward. Even the appendices are clearly worthy of attention.

  • Bob
    2019-05-16 01:36

    A thought-provoking exploration of the confluence of "religion" (with a small r)and science in the latter part of the 20th Century, as evidenced by "peak experiences" (both natural and drug-induced). Maslow writes persuasively of the importance of small r "religious values" in education, and in life generally.

  • Allison Hawn
    2019-05-04 00:21

    I felt like rereading this examination on the relationship between science and spiritual experiences after several years. Maslow definitely makes some excellent points regarding the fact that the dichotomy between science and spiritual (read: religious) experiences is a false one. I do feel that Maslow was a bit repetitive in his points, but he did use excellent examples to back them up.

  • Matthew
    2019-05-25 23:33

    I first encountered Maslow studying Self-Actualization in college; Maslow included an element of "Re-Sacrilization" as an element, i.e., an ability to rediscover faith after leaving it earlier in life. He continues this respectful treatment of religion, here, while warning about the negative consequences of an unthinking faith life, or focusing in such a way as to disavow one's very humanity.

  • Adam
    2019-05-06 01:38

    Enjoyed it, but I was hoping for more of a deep-dive on peak experiences.

  • Larry Schwartz
    2019-05-08 21:23

    Big effect on me when I read this back in high school. Need to read it again.

  • Ben
    2019-04-24 20:43


  • Andrew
    2019-04-30 01:34

    peak experiences and "peek" experiences. all good things.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-23 03:43

    Zero stars. Utter new age garbage. Shocked and disappointed.

  • Edith
    2019-05-19 02:36

    I'm giving up on this one for now. Couldn't deal with the patriarchal sexism.

  • Aras
    2019-05-23 22:22

  • Peg
    2019-04-28 02:26

    Referenced in "Deeper than Words" (Steindle-Rast) p.80.On request from Library 8/9/10.