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- 7 Authentic Qualities (7)
- Abundance (3)
- Acceptance (10)
- Action (11)
- Adaptability (6)
- Adaptive Freedom Concepts (2)
- Alignment (6)
- Animation (4)
- Appreciation (4)
- Authenticity (15)
- Awareness (12)
- Behavior (2)
- Change (1)
- Compassion (1)
- Competence (1)
- Connection (3)
- Emotions (1)
- Excellence (1)
- Freedom (4)
- Holism (2)
- Holistic Nature (1)
- Human Condition (3)
- Meaning (1)
- Mind (3)
- Natural You (6)
- Nonconscious (3)
- Purpose (1)
- Reality (1)
- Relationships (2)
- Spirituality (2)
- Success (1)
- Values (3)
- Vision (2)
The prevailing disposition of human nature is essentially positive, directed towards harmony and a sense of internal unity, constantly seeking union or wholeness in and with other beings and the world.
Despite the evidence of some human behavior, at the central core of our being is the desire to seek what is laudable, hopeful or “to the good” for ourselves and others. Our essential nature urges us to do what is pleasing, valuable or useful both for ourselves and others.
As the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza wrote “You neither want nor strive for anything because you judge it to be good. On the contrary, you consider something to be good because you strive for it, want it and desire it.” What is good is right and what is right is good, and these constitute the essence of authenticity.
In many ways what is good is also what is whole or complete. Some use the term ‘wholesome’ to describe something that is physically or morally good, that it exhibits soundness in body, mind or composition. The sense of separation within us, and between us and others, and the emphasis in the world on separation and difference denies the unity and interdependence that is the true nature of the universe.
Good therefore, is right because it affirms and accepts our wholeness within the diversity and multiplicity of a world which we co-create daily with our fellow human beings. At a personal level this is more than just being good or doing good, but in its truest form is compassionate love for yourself and others.
The opposite of good is evil. Paradoxically evil is nothing other than a rejection of the good. Everything that exists comes originally from good. Everything is in some way good, and evil only exists in a secondary juxtaposition to good. Goodness is innate—evil isn’t.
The Christian saint and philosopher, Augustine of Hippo said that “those things we call evil are defects in good things and quite incapable of existing in their own right outside good things.” Those defects testify to the natural goodness of things.
According to Carl Jung evil is not a natural thing, it is the name given to the state of being deprived of goodness. Therefore there can be no good without evil, and there can be no evil without good. Good is what seems suitable, acceptable or valuable to you and evil is the opposite. Good is the inherent nature of things and evil is a defect in that nature.
The mixing of the compound takes place in your mind. All of these ingredients are psychological not physical features. They exist for the most part outside your conscious awareness and if you become aware of them at all it is in the form of a powerful longing or the feeling that something is missing.
They give purpose and direction to your behavior, motivate you to take action, and to pursue certain types of goals and avoid others. They are:
Category A - Basic Ingredients
1. Nurturance: To be cared for and to care for others. To be nourished in a caring way by our parents and/or primary carers is vital in childhood and a key indicator of our later development. As adults our children and the needs of others awaken our concern and interest and a desire to provide care and nurture for them.
2. Safety and Security: Personal safety is a deeply rooted instinct going back to when our ancient ancestors were in constant fear of attack from predators. Without safety life is threatened. Security is partly to do with this but nowadays it is also to do with emotional and financial stability--having sufficient to meet our needs.
3. Health: Good physical and mental health is a necessary prerequisite for all of the ingredients. Some people do of course survive and prosper in poor health with little prospect of attaining good health. But it is not the optimum state. To thrive and grow good health is important. This is an ingredient which is not entirely subjective. Others can discern the state of our health and there are accepted and useful universal guidelines for the maintenance of good health.
4. Play: This is the ingredient most evident in children—activity guided by imagination rather than by rules. Play is the part of us that seeks pleasure and enjoyment. It can be organised in the form of games or sporting activities or hobbies. But it also includes laughter, having a good time, relaxing, and light-hearted recreational activity for diversion or amusement.
Category B - Relational Ingredients
5. Affection: To love and be loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others is utterly fundamental to human existence. It includes the desire to be liked, to please other people, and meet the expectations of others. And it goes all the way to the deepest feelings of desire, attraction, passion, regard and affection for that special person whom we love and who loves us in equal measure.
6. Acceptance: We like to be liked. The respect and recognition of others is important to our wellbeing. It is good to be to be accepted and valued by others. Equally self-acceptance is essential to our maturity.
7. Affiliation: Active engagement with others is essential to acceptance but it is also intrinsic to our nature. To feel a sense of belonging, whether from our family, social group, colleagues, culture, religious group, professional organization, sports team, online community, or whatever other context is utterly central to human nature.
Category C - Developmental Ingredients
8. The thirst for Knowledge is a fundamental need of the human person that has persisted throughout time. It is intrinsic to our nature as essentially thinking animals. It is not enough for us to be and do but we also need to know—to understand why we are and why we act as we do.
9. Achievement orients us towards success, accomplishment, and overcoming obstacles. It entails consistently setting and meeting challenging but realistic goals. It is influenced by both an internal drive for action and the expectations of others.
10. Individuation is the need to which most of this book is directed—an underlying and irresistible urge toward the fulfillment of our inherent and highest potential. Individuation is the vast power and potential inside every person waiting to be revealed and realized.
11. Transcendence: the need to seek experience and awareness beyond the normal or physical level. This is realized by some in excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits, and by others as the possibility of spiritual transcendence in the modern world.
Category D - Power and Autonomy
12. The exercise of Personal Power is a basic necessity of a fully-functioning life. At its best power is both the natural companion and clearest mark of leadership. It is indicated by high levels of self-confidence, positive self-assertion, self-awareness, self-direction, competence, articulateness, communication and persuasive skills.
13. Autonomy (or our need for independence) is synonymous with freedom and individuality. It involves the exercise of self-direction and self-reliance, free will and the capacity for independent thought and action. Autonomy also entails our thirst for information, the need to ask questions and gain knowledge through learning and experience, and engage in analytical thinking.
Category E - Wellbeing and Self-worth
14. The state of Wellbeing or happiness is characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. This is the most prevalent desire in Western culture. We are instinctively driven by the desire for happiness in the sense of moving towards pleasure and away from pain or sadness. We innately know that happiness is good for us.
15. Self-worth directly contributes to wellbeing and defines the level of confidence we have in our own worth or abilities. It reflects our overall evaluation or appraisal of our own ‘value’ as a person and is synonymous with self-esteem and self-respect.
All of these ingredients of human nature apply in varying degrees to each of us. How to respond to them is a feature in one way or another of the Seven Pillars of the Freedom Code.