Emotional Literacy as Ortho-Education with Abraham Maslow by Mark Zimmerman.

Abraham Maslow, Emotional Literacy and Ortho-Education

Abraham Maslow, Emotional Literacy and Ortho-Education
How to Make the World a Better Place Chapter 6
by Mark Zimmerman

Go To:
Chapter 1 Emotional Literacy Education and Self-Knowledge
Chapter 2 Emotional Literacy Language and Vocabulary
Chapter 3 Emotional Literacy Education Teaching Compassion
Chapter 4 Emotional Literacy Education Understanding Fear
Chapter 5 Emotional Literacy Education, Hate, Violence & September 11, 2001
Chapter 7 A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham Maslow
Chapter 8 Self-Knowledge Learning Needs vs. Maslow's Self-Actualization Skills
Chapter 9 National Standardized Test, FCAT Testing and State Tests
Chapter 10 The Cause of War and a Solution

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What is Ortho-Education?

"Ortho" means to correct, as in to correct a deficiency or something lacking that normally needs to be. Ortho-Education means to provide students with the skills they lack to survive in society. It means to correct deficiencies in students by teaching them basic living skills. Ortho-Education corrects deficiencies in students with relationship to the society of adults. That is, giving children what we, as adults, know will help them best survive and succeed in life. It means giving children the skills adults already have. Some of these skills include reading, writing and arithmetic.

Ortho-Education also means to correct deficiencies in the educational system. By what standard does one assess deficiencies in education? By studying the social problems, it is clear that education is not providing all the skills a child needs to live a happy and productive life.

The following is an example of the importance of the word "Ortho." Used as a term in medicine by Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, he showed us that illness, as we normally know it, needs to be redefined. I think to most people the word disease means to contract a bacteria or virus like the common cold. Linus Pauling showed us that certain negative manifestations occur in the body, when needed vitamins and nutrients are not provided in optimum quantities.

In Linus Pauling's ground breaking book, "How to Live Longer and Feel Better," he lays out the scientific research, which shows the benefits of orthomolecular medicine. In his view many physical illnesses are caused by vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies. In his later research he came to believe that heart disease was caused by vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies. He believed heart disease was a kind of vascular scurvy. Lacking proper amounts of vitamin C, arterial walls weaken. Pressure from inside blood vessels cause damage to the weakened blood vessel walls. Cholesterol acts to repair the damage. He believed the damage could be prevented by taking optimum levels of vitamin C, and that the damage could be repaired by taking lysine and megadoses of vitamin C.

Linus Pauling used the term orthomolecular medicine to describe achieving and maintaining health through taking the right "ortho" amounts of vitamins and nutrients. His approach was twofold: 1. deficiencies of vitamins and nutrients cause illness in the body, and deficiencies could be prevented by providing the correct "ortho" amounts of vitamins and nutrients. 2. illnesses which were manifested in the body as a result of a lack of vitamins and nutrients could be treated with megadoses of vitamins. Linus Pauling's approach was to look at what health is, and find ways to achieve and maintain health.

Psychology normally concerns itself with psychopathology. The word psycho means mind. It means the mental activities and processes. Pathology means the scientific study of the nature of diseases. Psychopathology is the study of the origin, development and manifestations of mental or behavioral disorders.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote, "My original question was about psychopathogenesis. 'What makes people neurotic?' My answer...was, in brief, that neurosis seemed at its core, and in its beginning, to be a deficiency disease; that it was born out of being deprived of certain satisfactions which I called needs in the same sense that water and amino acids and calcium are needs, namely that their absence produces illness. Most neurosis involved, along with other complex determinants, ungratified wishes for safety, for belongingness and identification, for close love relationships and for respect and prestige. My 'data' were gathered through twelve years of psychotherapeutic work and research and twenty years of personality study. One obvious control research...was on the effect of replacement therapy which showed, with many complexities, that when these deficiencies were eliminated, sicknesses tended to disappear." Toward a Psychology of Being (p. 27)

Abraham Maslow wrote, "So far as motivational status is concerned, healthy people have sufficiently gratified their basic needs for safety, belongingness, love, respect and self-esteem so that they are motivated primarily by trends to self-actualization (defined as ongoing actualization of potentials, capacities and talents, as fulfillment of mission [or call, fate, destiny, or location], as a fuller knowledge of, and acceptance of, the person's own intrinsic nature, as an unceasing trend toward unity, integration or synergy within the person)." Toward a Psychology of Being (p. 31)

Abraham Maslow wrote, "This is then a chapter in the 'positive psychology,' or 'orthopsychology,' of the future in that it deals with fully functioning and healthy human beings, and not alone with normally sick ones. It is, therefore, not in contradiction to psychology as a 'psychopathology of the average'; it transcends it and can in theory incorporate all its findings in a more inclusive and comprehensive structure which includes both the sick and the healthy...." Toward a Psychology of Being (p. 85)

Abraham Maslow believed in looking at mental problems as the result of what he called "deficiency needs." Toward a Psychology of Being (p. 28)

He thought that needs which are not fulfilled or thwarted become psychopathologies. That these mental problems could be prevented from developing if these basic needs were satisfied especially in early childhood development.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow wrote, "It is such considerations as these that suggest the bold [p. 394] postulation that a man who is thwarted in any of his basic needs may fairly be envisaged simply as a sick man. This is a fair parallel to our designation as 'sick' of the man who lacks vitamins or minerals. Who is to say that a lack of love is less important than a lack of vitamins? Since we know the pathogenic effects of love starvation, who is to say that we are invoking value-questions in an unscientific or illegitimate way, any more than the physician does who diagnoses and treats pellagra or scurvy? If I were permitted this usage, I should then say simply that a healthy man is primarily motivated by his needs to develop and actualize his fullest potentialities and capacities. If a man has any other basic needs in any active, chronic sense, then he is simply an unhealthy man. He is as surely sick as if he had suddenly developed a strong salt-hunger or calcium hunger."

Abraham Maslow wrote, "If we were to use the word 'sick' in this way, we should then also have to face squarely the relations of man to his society. One clear implication of our definition would be that (1) since a man is to be called sick who is basically thwarted, and (2) since such basic thwarting is made possible ultimately only by forces outside the individual, then (3) sickness in the individual must come ultimately from sickness in the society. The 'good' or healthy society would then be defined as one that permitted man's highest purposes to emerge by satisfying all his prepotent basic needs."

I would like to introduce a new word to Education. The approach we are proposing in education is "Ortho-Education." Ortho-Education holds to Maslow's theory that mental diseases result from various deficiency needs. Ortho-Education teaches children and adults skills that show them how to better satisfy their needs.

I would also like to introduce a new word to psychology, "need-emotion." The deficiency needs outlined by Maslow are experientially "need-emotions." For example, a deficiency in the safety needs is experienced as fear by many people. How this would be written is, "deficiency + safety = need-emotion + fear." When safety needs are met, fear disappears. As Maslow has pointed out, when need is satisfied, a new "higher" need emerges. In this case we might see the "love needs" arise in which one needs to be courageous. In this sense fear is replaced by courage - which has with it its own set of needs and values. How this would be written is, "safety + fulfillment = need-emotion + courage."

I propose two fundamental approaches to education. 1. That deficiency needs in children can be prevented through education in need fulfillment skills. 2. Children and adults that suffer deficiency needs can be helped by learning need fulfillment skills.

The words disease, sickness and psychopathology are not a part of the Ortho-Education and Emotional Literacy Vocabulary. We see deficiency needs as skill deficiencies that can be corrected through the education of need fulfillment skills. This, we believe, is the means to achieve and maintain mental health. Many psychologists in the Emotional Literacy movement are from the old school of psychology. They view human problems as mental diseases. This view, in my opinion, does not suit, nor does it clearly define education - which is clearly the teaching of skills to the student. We do not say, for example, that the illiterate five year old is mentally ill because they do not read. When a psychologist comes to the classroom, it should be for the purpose of helping the most severely need deficient students. They should be treated as children who need to be taught survival, academic, economic and need fulfillment skills.

Emotional Literacy Education is Ortho-Education. It is a process by which children use their experiential knowledge. They are taught to receive consciously their own emotions, thoughts and behaviors. They learn how to process these emotional states and use that information to interpret their own need fulfillment level and make adjustments. This is achieved by providing them with an emotional vocabulary and language - which helps them to identify their emotions, and act accordingly to fulfill their needs. They will learn how to satisfy their own needs by becoming aware of them, and by showing them ways to be responsible for their own need fulfillment.

Below you will find hyper-text graphs. Clicking on an area of a graph will give you more information. In the first graph, the dashed colored lines represent the maximum level that can be achieved for each need.

Emotional Literacy Education Goals

The next graph below represents the average psychological state of western culture. On this subject Abraham Maslow wrote, "Thus man is a perpetually wanting animal. Ordinarily the satisfaction of these wants is not altogether mutually exclusive, but only tends to be. The average member of our society is most often partially satisfied and partially unsatisfied in all of his wants. The hierarchy principle is usually empirically observed in terms of increasing percentages of non-satisfaction as we go up the hierarchy."

Dashed lines represent the need-emotion fulfilment level. Notice that the safety needs in western culture appear to be in a state of satisfaction. This is only true when approached from one perspective - that is most of the time we are not immediately being threatened. If one looks at it from a longer term point of view, uncertainty arises into the equation. The further into the future one looks, the more opportunities there are for a threat to occur including physical threat and illness. If we project to the end of a person's life, then safety is 100% deficient, because one cannot ultimately protect oneself from death. Here we clearly run into uncertainty (need-emotion doubt), because the mind can project. It can and does bring the uncertain future to the present. Although the threat is not actual, our minds can respond as if there is an immediate threat, and fear arises even when the safety needs are immediately satisfied. In this case we would require a different graph that would put the safety needs of western culture, psychologically as the need-emotion of unhappiness.

Abraham Maslow Theory Human Motivation

In conclusion, western culture is struggling with need deficiencies in safety, love, esteem and self-actualization. These deficiency needs are experienced by the individual, in a conscious state, as the need-emotions of unhappiness. It is the deficiencies in these needs from which the need-emotion deficiencies are manifested, mostly unconsciously, in the individual and throughout the society.

Additional online books and articles by Mark Zimmerman
Format - Real Audio The Old Man of the Holy Mountain
Format - Real Audio & Text The Book that Changed My Life
Subtitle: The Making of The Old Man of the Holy Mountain

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