- Human Potential Movement
The Human Potential Movement (HPM) arose out of the social and intellectual milieu of the 1960s and formed around the concept of cultivating extraordinary potential that its advocates believed to lie largely untapped in most people. The movement took as its premise the belief that through the development of "human potential", humans can experience an exceptional quality of life filled with
happiness, creativity, and fulfillment. As a corollary, those who begin to unleash this assumed potential often find themselves directing their actions within society towards assisting others to release their potential. Adherents believe that the net effect of individuals cultivating their potential will bring about positive social changeat large.
The movement has its conceptual roots in
existentialismand humanism. Its emergence linked to humanistic psychology, also known as the "3rd force" in psychology(after psychoanalysisand behaviorism, and before the "4th force" of transpersonal psychology— which emphasizes esoteric, psychic, mystical, and spiritual development) [ [http://www.cubicao.tk/theory/tetrahedron.html 4th force tetrahedron geometry] ] . Some commentators consider the HPM synonymous with humanistic psychology. The movement views Abraham Maslow's theory of self-actualization as the supreme expression of a human's life.
Some sources credit the name "Human Potential Movement" to George Leonard (see "Esalen" below).
Relationship to other fields
Commentators sometimes classify the human potential movement as being categorised under the broader umbrella of the
New Agemovement. HPM distinguishes itself ideologically from other New Age trends by an emphasis on the individualdevelopment of secular human capabilities — as opposed to the more spiritual New Age views. However, participants rarely make this distinction, and most who embrace the ideas of the human potential movement also tend to embrace the other more spiritual ideas within the New Age movement.Fact|date=June 2008
Christopher Lasch notes the impact of the human potential movement via the therapeutic sector:
The new therapies spawned by the human potential movement, according to Peter Marin, teach that "the individual will is all powerful and totally determines one's fate"; thus they intensify the "isolation of the self." [Christopher Lasch: "The Culture of Narcissism: American life in an age of diminishing expectations". New York: Norton, 1979, page 9. ISBN 0-393-01177-1. Quoting Peter Marin: "The New Narcissism" in " Harper's", October 1975, page 48.]
The HPM in many ways functioned as the progenitor of the contemporary
industrysurrounding personal growthand self-help.
Authors and Essayists
Michael Murphy and
Dick Pricefounded the Esalen Institutein 1962, primarily as a center for the study and development of human potential, and some people continue to regard Esalenas the geographical center of the movement today. Aldous Huxleygave lectures on the "Human Potential" at Esalen in the early 1960s and some people consider his ideas too as fundamental to the movement. George Leonard, a magazine writer and editor who conducted research for an article on human potential, became an important early influence on Esalen. Leonard claims that he came up with the phrase "Human Potential Movement" during a brainstorming session with Murphy. He and Murphy then popularized the idea in bestselling books. Leonard has worked closely with the Esalen Institute ever since and in 2005 served as its president. Ayn Randalso expressed themes along the lines of achieving one's human potential, in many of her novels and essays
The first class of criticism of the HPM comes from researchers in psychology, medicine, and science, who often dismiss the movement as grounded in
pseudoscienceand overusing psychobabble.Fact|date=June 2008Such critics regard any efficacy as explicable entirely as a placebo. Richard Feynman's response to his visit to Esalenexpressed this sort of criticism. (See Feynman's 1974 Caltech commencement address for his development of the term " cargo cult science" and the description of his visit to Esalen.)
Alleged failure to achieve goals
The second criticism of the HPM comes from those who, though often considered sympathetic to the movement, nevertheless believe that the HPM has not succeeded in its goals, but has instead created an environment that actually inhibits personal development. Such critics may claim that the HPM encourages childish
narcissismby reinforcing the behavior of focusing on one's problems and expressing how one feels, rather than encouraging behaviors to overcome these problems. One can view this criticism in the terms of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This analysis characterizes the failure as an exclusive focus on helping individuals fulfill their "Deficit Needs", without moving individuals up the hierarchy to "Being Needs" ( self-actualization).
An extension of this criticism claims that this problem stems from a flawed foundation of the movement altogether — the focus on the individual's own development as supreme, to the detriment of the consideration of others and
society(i.e. victim-blaming, underestimating forces of oppression, or feelings of apathytowards large-scale social problems.)
Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopraand others have responded to this criticism by suggesting that individuals consider putting their individual development in the hands of the divineas a means to better others and society. Such an approach implies the invalidity of the criticism on the grounds that the movement, for the most part, guides itself by extrinsic consideration for the highest good of all beings on the planet.
Erhard Seminars Training/ Landmark Forum
Large Group Awareness Training
Open Source Religion
* Re-evaluation Counselling
The Template Network(former Emin society)
Thought Field Therapy
William James(1842–1910) — an early proponent
Werner Erhard(1935- )
Fernando Flores(1943- )
Jean Houston(1937- )
Joshua Loth Liebman
George Leonard(1923- )
* Michael Murphy (1930- )
* [http://www.esalen.org Esalen]
* [http://www.ithou.org/Esalen Esalen Alumni Group]
* [http://www.ewtn.com/library/ACADEMIC/FULLHEAR.HTM "Full hearts and empty heads: the price of certain recent programs in humanistic psychology"] by W. R. Coulson
* [http://island.org/search/search.php/Personal-Growth/ "Personal Growth"] on the Island Foundation web-site
* Salerno, Steve (2005). "SHAM: How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless". New York: Random House. ISBN 1-4000-5409-5.
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