This Article works toward a theory of self-transcendence that leads to social change. The Maslow self-transcendence hypothesis is reformulated. The old hypothesis, when applied to self-transcendence in humans, has two major problems: (1) it posits an erasure of the Self that was motivated to achieve the self-actualization state, i.e., the self-transcendence process causes erasure of the self-actualized Self as the individual moves toward gratifying self-transcendence motivational needs (ego-less, seeking communion with the transcendent, service to others, acting in more collectivist ways, coming to identify with something greater than the purely individual self); and (2) it does not adequately explain when self-transcendence values—as guiding principles for individual, social, or cultural action—can be expected to be observed and when not.
A reformulation of the self-transcendence hypothesis proposes to resolve these inadequacies. According to this reformulation, the process of self-transcendence produces a unitive identity under peak experience conditions resulting in the erasure of self-aggrandizement, yet the self-actualized Self persists with full agency. Furthermore, an acceptance of the unknown/unknowable (in contrast to communion with) causes an awareness and acceptance of maturity, growth, and health motivational values emanating through peak experiences.
Moreover, one achieves gratification of the self-transcendence universal human unitive needs, expressed as guiding principles for individual, social, or cultural action. The implications for this self-transcendence reformulation are also outlined. Self-transcendence, peak experience, Being-cognition, agency, structure, Being-values, and other concepts are explored as theoretical support. Oppositional Cultural Practice™ (OCP) as peak experience can lead to achievement of this reformulated self-transcendence, as well as social change. This Article exemplifies the possibility of grounding a scholarly voice in the material, aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual experiences of humans. Of specific intsocierest to law students and practitioners is the benefit of experiencing justice in the now.
Kim E. Clark, DEMARGINALIZING THE INTERSECTION OF SPIRITUALITY AND LAW: OPPOSITIONAL CULTURAL PRACTICE™ THEORY, SELF-TRANSCENDENCE, AND SOCIAL CHANGE, 40 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 225 (2018), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol40/iss2/3