Creative process can also be viewed as a humanistic force in ongoing growth and development - in actualizing one's potentialities. New research on creativity and health further underlines its value as a force in human wellbeing and development. Abraham Maslow, who spoke of self-actualizing persons, viewed self-actualization as a peak in his hierarchy of needs, and self-actualizing creativity (vs. special talent creativity) as linked to this. Maslow (1968) said:
SA creativity stresses first the personality rather than its achievements, considering these achievements to be epiphenomena... It stresses characterological qualities liked boldness, courage, freedom, spontaneity, perspicuity, integrity, self-acceptance... the expressive or Being quality... rather than its problem-solving or problem-making quality. (p. 145)
Hence self-actualizing creativity is almost a byproduct of a way of life that is healthy, open, more evolved, and attuned to what he called Being Values (e.g., truth, justice, beauty) rather than Deficiency Needs of the self-concerned individual. Maslow proposed that we are motivated to actualize our potentials and talents "toward fuller knowledge and acceptance of (our) own intrinsic nature" (p. 25). Celeste Rhodes extended Maslow's hierarchy to speak specifically of deficiency creativity -spurred by lower personal needs and wants - and beyond this, being creativity, that transcended more self-serving motives, toward universal themes, values, and altruistic motives. The first can indeed morph into the second, as in the author who writes of childhood traumas, first to heal, but later to connect with universal strands of pain, growth, and humanity
Self-actualizing creativity is often practiced, in more humble ways, "in the ordinary affairs of life ... like a tendency to do anything creatively: housekeeping, teaching, etc. (p. 137) Under the right conditions, one can imagine everyday creativity providing spur to a higher path of development. For some people it could even contribute to a spiritual path, through the rich simplicity of deeper knowing, beyond ego, in the present moment, manifesting in one's life in a way more consistent with Eastern models of creativity, as Zen Master Loori and others have described.
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