We all come into the world endowed with abilities — capacities— that are unique to each of us. Intrinsic to everyone's abilities are work to do, duties to perform, roles to fulfill which are peculiarly his or her own; and which he or she must accomplish in order to genuinely feel successful.
To the extent that we are able to recognize, to develop, and to engage our natural abilities in productive and beneficial functions, we experience our lives as having meaning and significance. We feel good about ourselves.
Where, for whatever reason, we are not able to develop and to meaningfully engage our natural abilities — not able to maximize our creativity— we, naturally, sense our lives as deprived: meaningless; unsatisfactory; unfulfilling; without purpose; without direction. Historically, that tragic sense of deprivation has been the lot of the vast majority. And that, humanistic psychologists believe, explains why we are experiencing so many psychological problems: meaninglessness; futility; anxiety; self-doubt; depression; mental illness; suicide; addictions; avarice; destructiveness; hatred; violence; and more.
If, therefore, we are to solve the global epidemic of meaninglessness and the resultant psychological, social, economic, political, and ecological problems, it is essential that everyone be enabled to realize his or her potential — to accomplish his or her particular mission — and, thus, to genuinely feel himself or herself successful.
Creativity: Revealing the Truth about Human Nature— a foundational resource for self-understanding and personal development — puts you in touch with your innermost being and the authentic purpose of your life; so you can use the resulting personal insight to build a life that is really you: authentic, genuinely successful.
How could "the highest standard of living the world has ever known" leave practically everybody deeply unhappy: anxious, worried, scared and, in many cases, despairing of the future?
Rhetorically: "Why is it that the better things are, the unhappier people are becoming?"
The Human Predicament: Its Everyday Manifestations
The sorry state of the world and the resulting deterioration of the human condition remain a cause for global concern. Widely reported and deeply disturbing trends include:
"Emotionally disturbed children."
"Busy-yet-bored employees whose hearts are not in the work they are doing."
"Turned-off students” who say they "hate school," or describe their academic experience as "boring."
"Honored and well-educated but without ever having experienced what it means to be truly alive.”
Many people who have everything they ever wanted but, self-reportedly, still feel "empty inside," still look for "something" they say is "missing" in their lives.
Worldwide "epidemic" of stress, depression, burnout, and emotional breakdown. Resultantly, addictions, substance abuse; and the growing popularity of anti-depressants and various psycho-therapeutic procedures that, purportedly, “restore balance” in the lives of their users.
Prisons around the world that are “overflowing with inmates,” and mental hospitals with “cases.”
"Hundreds of troubled young people who have so much to live for [but decide to] take their own lives every year.”
"Ever more people today [who] have the means to live but not the meaning to live for.”
"The Forgotten Four-Fifths," who have neither the means to live nor the meaning to live for.
“Most of us [who] go to our graves with our music still inside, unplayed, [unheard].”
Mass uncertainty and anxiety in "a world where no one knows what to expect next."
Conventional wisdom generally interprets those tragic conditions as personal crises— the results of psycho-social factors to which solutions are to be sought at the level of the immediately affected individuals or groups.
Conventional explanations of the sorry state of the world attribute our difficulties to human inadequacies — to "innate depravity" or the so-called “human propensity to evil.”
Based on assumptions of human inadequacies, various person-centered, person-focused solutions have been proposed and tried, over time. They include: correction; counseling; deterrence; incarceration; indoctrination; internment; motivation; punishment; rehabilitation; reward; therapy; and more.
The limited success and, in many cases, counterproductivity of conventional punitive, correctional, and remedial approaches call into question the underlying assumption of those approaches — human inadequacies.
Much of the chaos the world is experiencing are the result of attempting to build human civilization on a view of human nature which is seriously mistaken or, at best, inadequate.
To the extent that fundamental misconceptions of human nature is valid, if we are to successfully resolve the dreadful situation the world is in and to achieve a viable and sustainable planetary future, the logical and necessary starting point is to set right the way we think about ourselves and the purpose of our life.
From: The view of human beings as: rational calculating; individualistic; self-interested; competitive; adversarial; materialistic; consumption-driven.
The view of human beings as: subjective; valuing; emotional; compassionate; altruistic; potential-actualizing; purpose-driven; community-seeking.
From: Wealth accumulation, material possession, economic consumption, power, and status, as the goal of life and measures of success.
To: Awareness, development, and engagement of one's highest potentialities inmeaningful and beneficial functions as the goal of life and the true measure of success — with economic consumption and material well-being as the means to that end.
This is certainly "the Great Work" and our collective challenge. And, in a very practical sense, it is key to genuine and enduring success in all people-related matters: parenting; education; leadership; management; governance; relationships.
2. The Great Waste: Seven Billion Locked Treasure Chests
Seven billion "locked treasure chests" are a terrible waste the world can no longer afford, ignore, or condone!
The obvious referent here is the vast majority of people who live and die without ever realizing why they lived at all. Everyday illustrations of this colossalwaste include:
Billions of geniuses who never achieve their potential — billions of richly endowed men and women who live and die unrecognized either by themselves or by society.
Successive human civilizations, including our own, that selectively recognize, selectively develop, selectively celebrate, and selectively reward certain human abilities; and, perhaps inadvertently, ignore an infinite array of human potentialities and possibilities. As a result, an inestimable number of human abilities that, as yet, are not recognized, not developed, and not productively engaged. Still other human capabilities that are artificially constrained by ignorance and circumstances, pitifully underdeveloped, grossly underutilized.
Most people who never find their authentic life’s purpose — the vast majority of us who live and die without ever knowing who we really are and why we lived at all.
"Ordinary" men and women who don't seem to believe that they have the potential to positively affect the world — to make significant contributions to society and the planet.
So many cultures, societies, institutions, and organizations where it is not safe to be original or different. Consequently, masses of people who are virtually stripped of their natural aptitude for imagination and creativity, and who therefore function on minimal capacities for excellence.
The dominance of tradition and entrenched views and values in many institutions and organizations, where established knowledge is cherished to the exclusion of creativity — where new ideas are suspect, and seldom get a hearing.
Incalculable number of great ideas that simply perish with no record — trampled by ignorance, fear, cruelty, or jealousy; stifled by psychological and socio-cultural pressures both within the individual and his or her society; starved to death by "benign neglect" or by lack of resources, encouragement, and support.
Erroneous but generally accepted belief that creativity is a matter for the arts and music — a belief that tends to discourage people who work in other areas and disciplines from developing and engaging their natural abilities, since they do not believe that they are creative.
The unfortunate division of humanity into the creative few and the "uncreative" many — distinctions like "genius," "creative individuals,' "honor students," "best and brightest," "gifted and talented," etc. that set a few individuals apart, while discouraging the vast majority from ever discovering or ever realizing their own personal genius and creativity.
The rise of individualism and economic self-interest. Correspondingly, growing disdain for the notion that the primary purpose of human life is to create — to bring about something original and beneficial that serves the greater good.
Finally, the tangled web of life-threatening and mutually reinforcing global crises. Resultantly, "a world where no one knows what to expect next."
3. Global Creativity Crisis: World's Underlying Problem
The precarious state of the world is all to obvious. A terrible combination of mutually reinforcing crises threatens our very survival and the planetary future, unless appropriate solutions are found — and within sufficient time.
In near-total despair of the future, leading global observers variously portray our predicament as:
"evolution or extinction"
"change our ways or perish"
"species maturation or collective suicide"
And so on.
Erich Fromm's gloomy but all too prescient observation succinctly summarizes the global dread and growing despair. Fromm's words:
"This time, mankind is at one crossroad where the wrong step could be the last step."
We are not heading for another mass extinction; we are already in one — and the rate is accelerating.
Dire and deeply troubling!
What is even more troubling, however, is the growing ineffectiveness of traditional approaches to apprehend the seemingly many and life-threatening crises. Hence the twin questions:
Are the modern crises and the global predicament unsolved because they are impossible, or too difficult, to solve?
Or, might it be that we've been tackling the wrong problems?
Contrary to popular belief, the modern crises and the global predicament are not “economic,” “social,” “political,” or “environmental” crises, per se. Our difficulties are not separate crises, either. And they are not due to widely assumed “human depravity” or “human propensity to evil.”
This is the inability of the vast majority of people to realize their innate potentialities—inability to discover, to develop, and to engage one's natural abilities in significant and beneficial functions —and, resultantly, a global epidemic of meaninglessness of which many psychological, social, economic, political, and ecological crises are the symptoms, or facets.
To the extent that Global Creativity Crisis is valid, if we are to successfully resolve the dreadful situation the world is in, and to achieve the viable and sustainable global future that everyone wishes to see, the logical and necessary starting point is to correct the prevailing misconceptions of human nature that, evidently, are at the root of many (probably, most) of our difficulties.
4. Higher-Order Human Needs that Clamor for Fulfillment
This is the inability of the vast majority of people to reach their full potential — inability to recognize, to develop, and to engage one's natural abilities in meaningful and beneficial functions. Resultantly, widespread sense of futility (meaninglessness), of which many (probably most) psychological, social, economic, political, and ecological crises are the symptoms.
Significantly more attention to creativity and inner development of people — including, in particular, ethical, moral, social, and ecological responsibility — with economic consumption and material well-being as the means to those ends.
Goals for mankind and Planet Earth that everyone sees as universally beneficial to both humans and nature and, therefore, worthy of the commitment of their time, talents, and creative energies.
Social-economic-political systems in which all the Earth's (currently) seven billion inhabitantsare able todevelop and to contribute their natural abilitiesand, thus, to experience their lives as having meaning and significance —to genuinely feel good about themselves.