It can be seen from Maslow’s Theory that the highest development is when an individual acquires self-actualization. In this context a developing adult acquires spiritual fulfillment, self-esteem, and self-acceptance. S/he is able to accommodate others, love and even get involved in innovative activities. S/he will be productive, realistic, autonomous, spontaneous and playful, engage in profound relationships, develop concern for the entire human family, and importantly, s/he internalizes morality and stops being a conformist.
It is worthwhile to reflect on the moral stages that an individual undergoes in the development process. At preconventional stage, there is no internalization of moral values. Such values are reinforced through punishment and external motivations. This takes place mainly in childhood stages. However, later in life, the individual abides by specific standards outlined by others, for example, the parents or teachers or the government through its laws. In the long run, the individual internalizes morality and in so doing becomes fully authentic in his/her moral judgments. S/he will explore alternatives and choose which moral code to go by. In summary, the three stages are: preconventional reasoning, conventional reasoning, and postconventional reasoning.
The individual also undergoes development in his/her religious journey of life. At the early stages, the individual intuitively develops images of good and evil. Then, in the middle ages, the individual puts in some reason and understanding in his/her faith such that it leads to a coherent belief system. This leads to a more responsible individual in his/her religious convictions and beliefs. Then, s/he develops more opposing viewpoints and attains an openess to paradox. In the long run, the individual experiences universality in his/her faith where s/he goes beyond the set belief systems in order to achieve harmony and oneness with all being.
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