Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), American-born theorist in the field of psychology, was a founding figure in the branch of that discipline known as Humanistic Psychology - aka "Third Force Psychology" (Goble, 1970, pp. 10-13). His work gained enormous popularity in the decade preceding his unexpected death by heart attack; it spawned what has since been referred to as the "human potential movement" that bloomed in the 1970s and through today under the guise of various "New Age" aliases (Hoffman, 1988, pp. 335-336). Popularity and its oversimplifications aside, Maslow's work in psychology represented a distinct and optimistic alternative to the other mainstreams of opinion that were established during his lifetime.
As befits scientific disciplines developed on the cusp of modern technology and its associate 20th century thought, the history of psychology is both young and rife with division. Unlike other sciences, having replaced (or at least become serious competition to) religion as the mode of understanding the human "soul," psychology has been forced to shoulder a quasi-mystical burden. Followers of one stream of thought disagree with their heretic brethren with a fervor recollecting the intolerance of past centuries' religious wars - to the disservice of the discipline itself. By mid-century two main strains of thought had divided psychologists: Freudianism and Behaviorism (Fine, 1979, p. 112).
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the father of modern psychoanalysis, focused on the role of emotion in influencing what is learned. According to his theories, behavior is unconsciously motivated by frustrated needs. Moreover, Freud contended that there was a basic instinct of hostility of men toward one another (Goble, 1970, pp. 5-6).
Whereas Freud's theories were developed primarily from listening to his patients and from the psychoanalyst's subjective interpretation of their neuroses, Behaviorist theory concentrates on the stri...