India's Mission to Mars and Human Self-Actualization

Sep 24, 2014

Given ongoing climate change here on earth, could Mother Earth turn out someday to be Mother Mars?

PSYCHIATRIC VIEWS ON THE NEWS

One of my saddest reactions to political decisions in recent years was that of curtailing our space program. To me, it was a decision that put limits on our self-actualization-- the highest level in meeting our psychological needs according to Maslow. Besides, given the future danger to our planet with our climate, could humans someday need a new planet to survive?

So, I was so excited to read the news today online on The Conversation about India's just-launched Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). MOM couldn't be a better acronym, could it? Mother Earth could turn out someday to be Mother Mars? Paradoxically, India's use of fossil fuels is thought by climatologists to be a major contribution to global warming.

The headline indicated how both individuals and, I think, countries can feel self-actualized: "Billion people hold their breath as India becomes the first Asian country to reach Mars." Of course, both individual and national pride only has greater meaning when the values of the achievement is considered. Those in Nazi Germany certainly felt self-actualized for a time. Perhaps adding a moral value like that of Dr Albert Schweitzer, which we discussed previously, is necessary. That might leave us with this simple formula for human potential:

HP = SA+RL, or Human Potential equals Self Actualization plus Reverence for Life

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