Aristotles’ Philosophy of Man – Self-Realization Brief History about Aristotle Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher. He was a student of Plato and a teacher of Alexander the Great. Aristotle wrote a lot covering subjects which include physics, metaphysics, theater, poetry, music, linguistics, rhetoric, logic, politics, ethics and biology. His writings were among the first to be considered a comprehensive system of Western philosophy encompassing logic, morality, politics and metaphysics. Along with Socrates and Plato, Aristotle is one of the most important founding individuals in Western philosophy.
Aristotle’s father was in the medical profession. This perhaps made an impact on Aristotle as his philosophy laid its principal stress on biology unlike Plato whose emphasis is on mathematics. “Aristotle regarded the world as made up of individuals (substances) occurring in fixed natural kind (species). Each individual has its built-in specific pattern of development and grows toward proper self-realization as a specimen of its type. Growth, purpose, and direction are thus built into nature. Although science studies general kinds, according to Aristotle, these kinds find their existence in particular individuals.
Science and philosophy must therefore balance, not simply choose between, the claims of empiricism (observation and sense experience) and formalism (rational deduction). ?One of the most distinctive of Aristotle’s philosophic contributions was a new notion of causality. Self-Realization Explained Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines self-realization as “the fulfillment by oneself of the possibilities of one’s character or personality. ” The theory of self-realization is that a life of excellence is based on the actualization of human potentialities.
In psychology, this is called “self-development. ” Oftentimes, we interchangeably use the following: self-realization = self-development = self-actualization The basic premise of self-realization is that there exists an authentic self which has to be discovered by psychological or spiritual self-striving. Self-realization can be gradual or instantaneous phenomena depending on the school of thought but in all cases it involves extensive preparation of mind and emotions to recognize self-realization when it occurs.
Self-realization is a maturing of the ego or personality to accept its own evanescence and thus allow space for the true Self to reveal itself. The moon veiled by clouds is an apt metaphor for the Self’s apparent absence in our everyday lives. The dissolution of the ego’s obsessive, internal pre-occupations with its psycho-somatic complexes frees the psyche’s energy to directly experience Reality of the world as it is, free of any assumptions. Eastern Philosophy For the Hindu religion, self-realization (atma-jnana) is knowledge of the true self beyond both delusion and identification with material phenomena.
Thoughts on Aristotle’s Theory Aristotle felt that to fully be a man, one must imitate the gods, or immortalize themselves. This will free one from the restrictions of mortal thought. According to Aristotle “man possesses a natural want for knowledge. Immortalizing oneself aides the desire for knowledge and self-realization. Self-realization leads to happiness. ” We can find similar theories in modern day psychologists like Maslow. In his theory of hierarchy of needs, Maslow places self-actualization as the last achievement before reaching true happiness.
One issue raised against the ethics of self-realization is that life is not long enough to actualize all our potentials or be “all that we can be. ” The challenge is to live significantly and meaningfully in the here and now, and to matter to people around you. For example, you have the capacity to give each person in Metro Manila a flyer on recycling but it is doubtful that this capacity is one that ought to be developed. Moreover, every year on a particular agreed date, cyclists or bikers all over the country use their bike in an attempt to achieve a feat in the Guinness Book of World Records.
From the preceding paragraph, we now ask which capacities should one develop? It is said that “we must become intimately, passionately, subjectively aware of everything about our existence. One has to take the leap of faith that full living requires – to make yourself vulnerable to all that can happen. Three perspectives in on which capacities should be developed 1. Variety pattern of self-realization: becoming a well-rounded person, learning and doing a little of everything. 2. Dominant theme pattern: concentrate on one major interest and build other interests around it. . Maximum fulfillment of desires: people are born (naturalism) with innate purposes, ends, and goals, and excellence is achieved by fulfilling these natural human wants. We now posit the ideal of self-realization: the maximally coherent system of mutually harmonious fulfillment, either of the Variety or Dominant Theme Pattern, depending upon one’s personality and abilities. Another thing to consider is that the activities we do should be consistent with society and the activities do us no harm.?
Carl Rogers’ definition of a full-functioning person runs along the statement that “any experience, emotional, perceptual, or rational, should be consistent and congruent with the person’s concept of who he is. ” In sum, self-actualization is a process of discovering important needs and goals, both personal and social, finding creative and enjoyable ways of meeting these goals – this is the way the individual attains significance. Self-Realization in Business Today Self-realization is defined as the drive to become what one is capable of at his or her fullest potential, often-aligned in management parlance with self- fulfillment.
The self-realized person is characterized as having a high level of self-knowledge, an integrated personality that allows for self-expression, an acceptance and tolerance of human nature, and a greater awareness of the human condition. The actualization of personal moral ideals affects participation in socially useful and ethically acceptable work. Simms, Michele. “Self–Realization. ” Encyclopedia of Business Ethics and Society: “The discussion of self-realization, with its roots in humanistic psychology, suggests that the concept be examined at a deeper level to fully realize its role in informing business ethics and society.
For one, humanistic psychology emphasizes the role of personal change in self-discovery and in the identifying of one’s place in society. There is a continuing need to remind business and society of the dignity and worth of being human—something that gets lost in the day-to-day machinations of doing business. In a broader sense, the question of what it means to be human is quite relevant at a time of assessing the impacts of corporate megamergers and multinational and transnational companies, which can leave employees feeling disenfranchised, adding to the feelings of alienation.
Maintaining self-realization as part of management and business practice keeps the focus on human capital as a resource that benefits business and society. Second, the role of self-realization in workplace autonomy, creativity, and innovation suggests that managers understand that people are not only productive assets but also social beings. There is recognition that employee performance is related to employee achievement of personal effectiveness. The conditions that lead to peak performance and peak experience, associated with high-performing teams and effective leadership, are part of the operationalizing of self-realizing individuals.
Third, inherent in the work of self-realizing is the articulation of those virtues that comprise and guide one’s ethical choices. Entering into an understanding of one’s own potential reveals the larger network of relationships that has shaped one’s worldview. For example, a person’s religion, family, ethnic, and cultural affiliations influence and shape his or her attitudes to and behaviors comprising right and wrong. This is not an abstract reality; rather, it shapes the strategic choices that culminate in daily business operations.
Since business does not function independent of its social environment, the actions that result from self-realized individuals inform the social contract. Finally, self-realization is often linked to transformation. Transformation occurs when ordinary perspectives shift and the person gains new insights and self-understanding. Self-realization as a transformative process is about how a person can reach his or her fullest potential and how that potential translates as service to society. Today’s social entrepreneurs and social venture partners are examples.
Noted as part of the citizen sector movement committed to closing the business-social gap, social entrepreneurs and social venture partners bring entrepreneurial talent to the addressing of social problems. The need for a strong ethical fiber is cited as a necessary ingredient to the success of these ventures. Self-realization is about one’s own authenticity and values and how those values influence one’s daily ethical approach to business transactions. This is in contrast, and perhaps an antidote, to the excessive greed and egoism evident in many corporate organizations today.