Customer Reviews: Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences (Compass)
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on January 1, 2009
Written near the end of his life, Dr. Maslow sought to leave threads for others to pick up and develop. He disturbed those who prefer the logic-tight barriers between science and religion, and boldly suggests that his "most important finding" was his discovery of what he termed "being values," or metavalues. This, his lost discovery, has been virtually ignored by psychologists and religionists. Yet, this insight is pivotal to understanding Dr. Maslow's belief that human nature has been sold short. He discovered metavalues to be active agents that configure the personalities of self-actualizing individuals. He pointed out that Truth, Beauty and Goodness are expressed in the lives of all self-actualizing personalities. Without these metavalues, the qualities of devotion and passion toward a cause or mission can become lethal to humankind. Science without higher values often creates better weapons of distruction and even more efficient gas chambers. Those who observe that much of what Maslow says in this book is colored by religion and philosophy are correct. His intention was to break down the arbitrary barriers between disciplines. Along with "The Psychology of Science" ad his posthumous: "The Farther Reaches of Human Nature" this book is of landmark importance to the 21st century.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon September 21, 2010
Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was an American psychologist best known for his conceptualization of a "hierarchy of human needs" and "self-actualization." He (along with Carl Rogers) is considered the founder of humanistic or "Third Force" psychology.

He states in the Preface to the 1970 edition, "Since this book was first written, there has been much turmoil in the world and, therefore, much to learn. Several of the lessons I have learned are relevant here, certainly in the sense that they are helpful supplements to the main thesis of the book... Organized Religion, the churches, finally may become the major enemies of the religious experience and the religious experiencer. This is a main thesis of this book." He adds, "I now consider that the book was too imbalanced toward the individualistic and too hard on groups, organizations, and communities. Even within these last six or seven years we have learned not to think of organizations as necessarily bureaucratic... If I were to summarize both the book and my remarks in this Preface in a few words, I would say it this way: Man has a higher and transcendent nature, and this is part of his essence, i.e., his biological nature as a member of a species which has evolved."

Here are a few quotations from the book:

"The high religions... tends to rest ... its right to exist on the codification and the communication of this original mystic experience or revelation from the lonely prophet to the mass of human beings in general. But it has recently begun to appear that these 'revelations' or mystical illuminations can be subsumed under the head of the 'peak experiences' or 'ecstasies' or 'transcendent' experiences which are now being eagerly investigated by many psychologists." (Ch. III)
"(A)ny doctrine of the innate depravity of man or any maligning of his animal nature very easily leads to some extra-human interpretation of goodness, saintliness, virtue, self-sacrifice, altruism, etc. If they can't be explained from within human nature---and explained they must be---they they must be explained from outside of human nature." (Ch. V)
"We must remember, after all, that all these happenings are in truth mysteries. Even though they happen a million times, they are still mysteries. If we lose our sense of the mysterious, or the numinous, if we lose our sense of awe, of humility, of being struck dumb, if we lose our sense of good fortune, then we have lost a very real and basic human capacity and are diminished thereby." (Appendix I)
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on December 24, 2005
Maslow makes a good distinction between the peakers and the non-peakers and makes an excellent connection between this and organized religion. His use of the term "non-peakers" is not to refer to people who do not have peak experiences, for he believes that every one has peak experiences but he uses this terminology to refer to a person who is afraid of peak experiences The purpose of organized religion for him is to communicate peak experiences to non-peakers. His position tend to advance personal revelation over dogmatic revelations. The question he leaves unanswered is how personal revelations can be verified or validated? I believe organized religion will help in confirming peak experiences. If not, what most people might call peak experiences might just be neurosis.

He also advances a religious pluralism that will accommodate every person, both the atheist and the believer. Maslow gives us good insights into peak experiences and helps us to appreciate more these experiences. His book is interesting to read and easy to follow. I enjoyed reading the book.
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on March 2, 2010
This book of Maslow's is way underrated! Though a child of the 60's I just discovered this book a week ago.

The book touches on many important life themes. It explains why so many people can not swallow organized religions, which in turn explains why so many people describe themselves as atheists. At the same time, it explains the commonality of values shared by most people and makes an important case as to why such universal values should be taught in schools. There are also implications about child-rearing practices and how it is done best. The book also shows why the mystics in any religion struggle with the administrators and clerics (and visa versus). The struggles and causes of struggles between men and women are also examined. It is fairly easy reading though it may send you to the dictionary a little.
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on October 12, 2012
to open the door of perception to the beauty of the universe, to feel the values, the good, the kind, to not necessarily see like seeing the colors aldous huxley describes after hallucinogens but to know and feel the wonder, the awe, the joy, the greatness, the magnanimity, the generosity, the appreciation, and the gratefulness. there is nothing better. I could not describe it but it happens. it happened. it gets lost. it could not be sustained. but it opens the door of perception forever.

the goodness, the beauty, the kindness, the infinity. it happened so long ago. at my bedroom next to an old computer. I wish more people experience it. i wish people can communicate openly about it. I want to share it. Let me know where it happened to you. I want to know how we can keep it up. How we can let more experience the kindness, goodness, beauty and the infinity. e-mail me:

How to get there? not 100% sure.
How not to get there?
too busy, too poor, too much need for survival, too panicky because of fears, too sick, too much jealousy, too much need to keep up with the joneses, too little of been loved, too little loving others, too much stuck in trying to be intelligent, trying to be rich, trying to get the esteem from others, trying to get the love of this and that person, to much need to pass that class, to get to that degree, to get that J.D. or M.D., to win that game, to be this and that....

of course, no brainer to me, get this excellent book.
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on January 24, 2015
This essay, written in the mid-sixties, shows no signs of being dated. Though written by an academic, it is incredibly grounded. The ideas put forth in this material are some of the most valuable concepts related to the nature and challenge of the human condition I have encountered.
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on December 27, 2015
This is the first actual book by Maslow that I have read. I was attracted to him as an author by the unending praise for his writings in many contemporary peak performance and management books.

I can only say that I am quite disappointed in his scholarship. He maligns organized religion without really understanding even the basics. A good example is that he says church goers worship statues. How ridiculous can an "educated" person be. He also submits his ideas of God, of transcendence, as something novel. I guess he doesn't ever remember reading works by St. Thomas Aquinas. Of God, as Aquinas says, as being love, truth, beauty, goodness, and being. Marlow uses these exact same words to describe his theory of peak experiences as if they are something he alone has uncovered. Looks like plagiarism to me. Additionally he, seemingly, equates drug induced or common "flow" or "oneness" sensory experiences with the profound religious events described by the Christian mystics.

I hope that his other books have something better to offer.
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on April 7, 2014
I do like the book overall based on the few parts that I did understand. I think Maslow was a genius and his work is a little too complex for my intellectual capacity. I am still glad I read it.
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on September 9, 2012
inspiring, recommended for anyone with a brain.
isn't always an easy read - but well worth the effort.
not sure how this didn't become a well-known must-read book...
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on August 20, 2014
Still relevant today. A wonderful insight from 1964. Interesting comparison with neuroscience today. Read Iain mcGilchrist, the Master and his Emissary about the two ways of thought. 5 Stars
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