Wouldn’t you like to achieve your highest potential in life?
How would it feel if you could tap into all the undiscovered greatness that lies within you? What if you could channel all that greatness into self-actualization? That is: what if you could become your best and highest self?
These were the ideas that filled the minds of people involved in the human potential movement.
The movement developed out of the obsession of awakening to a higher consciousness. Advocates for human potential believed that this movement would improve life for more than just the individual. They were also seeking large-scale, societal change.
Never heard of the human potential movement? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn about the history of the human potential movements, the movement’s core philosophies, and how human potential appears in today’s world.
History of the Human Potential Movement
It all started in Big Sur, California in the 1960s, at a place called Esalen.
The United States was swarming with “hippy” countercultures promoting good vibes and free love to all. The Beatles were singing that All You Need Is Love, and people were experimenting with psychedelic drugs. Interesting things were bound to happen.
It was from this environment that the Human Potential Movement was formed.
The beginning roots of the Human Potential Movement were located in the Esalen Institute. This institute, which has now become a famous spiritual and wellness retreat, was founded in 1962. The two men who started Esalen were Michael Murphy and Dick Price.
Never heard of those two Stanford graduates? Well, maybe you’ve heard of Aldous Huxley. He was the famous author of the books Brave New World and The Doors of Perception.
Huxley was also one of the most famous advocates for human potential. He even lectured on the human potential at the Esalen Institute.
Esalen was (and still is) considered to be a New Age “mecca.” Esalen was a place to learn all about the philosophies of the Human Potential Movement.
Esalen was also a place to learn about awakening human consciousness. It was and is a place to explore alternative ways of thinking and being.
Maybe the term itself is not so popularly recognized today. However, the philosophies of the human culture movement echo through time. These ideas are definitely still present in our culture today.
Many popular household names are people who were influenced by the teachings at Esalen. Some speakers, artists, and educators who passed through Esalen’s doors included people like Bob Dylan, Ken Kesey, Alan Watts, Joni Mitchell, Joseph Campbell, George Harrison, Timothy Leary, and more. Their cultural contributions are still important to us today!
Core Philosophies of the Human Potential Movement
Now you know how the Human Potential Movement started. You’ve read a bit about who was involved at the beginning of the movements. You’re probably wondering: what exactly are the philosophies of the Human Potential Movements?
You should first notice that we use the word “philosophies” and not “beliefs.” When someone talks about beliefs, it is more associated with a religion.
The Human Potential Movement, however, is not a religion. Rather, the ideas of human potential are rooted in humanistic psychology.
The name itself is self-explanatory. The philosophy of human potential is the idea that humans have a powerful, untapped potential within ourselves. Advocates for human potential felt that if humanity could tap into this potential, we could create fuller, happier, more beautiful lives for ourselves.
The ideals of the human potential movement are closely related to the psychology behind Maslow’s popular hierarchy of needs. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization. This is what the proponents of human potential were seeking.
To reach self-actualization requires that one reaches a sense of peace among all elements of one’s being. This includes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your personality.
Thus, followers of the human potential movement began to start thinking of themselves as fully interconnected, complex systems of being. They sought holistic ways to care for themselves in these different areas of life.
Humanistic therapy practices were closely tied to the human potential movement. Keep in mind that in the 1960s and 1970s, emotional therapy was not as widely accepted as it is today. Perhaps it was through the emergence of the human potential movement that today’s self-care and holistic wellness practices have become so mainstream.
The Human Potential Movement Today
You may not hear about many people going around talking about the human potential movement today. However, these philosophies of the movement are still alive and thriving.
Whether it’s through meditation, yoga, journaling, therapy, or other spiritual practices, many people all around the world are still learning how to reach their highest human potential.
Tony Robbins, for example, is a popular life coach who is also a well-known advocate for the human potential movement. His self-help strategies and psychologies are closely connected to the philosophies of the human potential movement.
It is not just Tony Robbins who has been influenced by the ideas of human potential. The entire booming self-help industry today shows the influences of the human potential movement. Today’s current fascination with astrology could even be connected to the principles of the human potential movement.
The Esalen Institute also continues to thrive in Big Sur. Thousands of visitors still go to Esalen regularly. These people go for workshops, conferences, programs, and other activities.
Esalen continues to teach about many wellness-related topics. Some of them are human creativity, meditation, yoga, spirituality, and others.
Marianne Williamson, Robert Reich, Dean Ornish, and Deepak Chopra are just a few of today’s influential people who have been involved at Esalen.
Find Your Highest Potential
Did you enjoy reading about the Human Potential Movement? Did you learn something new today? Maybe now you feel inspired to seek new ways to reach your own highest potential!
If you liked this article, be sure to check the site regularly to read more informative and enlightening articles like this one!
Shift Frequency © 2019 – What You Need to Know About the
Human Potential Movement