IV) The organism has one basic tendency and striving — to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism. Rather than many needs and motives, it seems entirely possible that all organic and psychological needs may be described as partial aspects of this one fundamental need. It is difficult to find satisfactory words for this proposition. The particular phrasing is from Snygg and Combs. The words used are an attempt to describe the observed directional force in organic life — a force which has been regarded as basic by many scientists, but which has not been too well described in testable or operational terms. We are talking here about the tendency of the organism maintain itself—to assimilate food, to behave defensively in face of threat, to achieve the goal of self-maintenance even when the usual pathway to that goal is blocked. We are speaking of the tendency of the organism to move in the direction of maturation, as maturation is defined for each species. This involves self-actualization, though it should be understood that this too is a directional term. The organism does not develop to the full its capacity for suffering pain, nor does the human individual develop or actualize his capacity for terror or, on the physiological level, his capacity for vomiting. The organism actualizes itself in the direction of greater differentiation of organs and of function. It moves in the direction of limited expansion through growth, expansion through extending itself by means of its tools, and expansion through reproduction. It moves in the direction of greater independence or self- responsibility. Its movement, 25 Angyal has pointed out (9, pp. 32-50), is in the direction of an increasing self-government, self-regulation, and autonomy, and away from heteronymous control, or control by external force. This is true whether we are speaking of entirely unconscious organic processes, such as the regulation of body heat, or such uniquely human and intellectual functions as the choice of life goals. Finally, the self- actualization of the organism appears TO be in the direction of socialization, broadly defined. The directional trend we are endeavoring to describe is evident in the life of the individual organism from conception to maturity, at whatever level of organic complexity. It is also evident in the process of evolution, the direction being defined by a comparison of life low on the evolutionary scale with types of organisms which have developed later, or are regarded as farther along in the process of evolution. Thus the directional tendency which we are discussing will be defined most adequately by comparing the undeveloped with the developed organism, the simple organism with the complex, the organism early or low on the evolutionary scale with the organism which has developed later and is regarded as higher. Whatever generalized differences are found constitute the direction of the basic tendency we are postulating. Ideas similar to this proposition are being increasingly advanced and accepted by psychologists and others. The term self-actualization is used by Goldstein (69) to describe this one basic striving. Mowrer and Kluckhohn stress the “basic propensity of living things to function in such a way as to preserve and increase integration” (137, p.74). This is a slightly different concept, but directional in nature. Sullivan points out that “the basic direction of the organism is forward” (205, p.48). Horney gives a vivid description of the force as it is experienced in therapy: “The ultimate driving force is the person’s unrelenting will to come to grips with himself, a wish to grow and to leave nothing untouched that prevents growth” (90, p.175). Angyal sums up his thinking on this point in the following statement. Life is an autonomous dynamic event which takes place between the organism and the environment. Life processes do not merely tend to preserve life but transcend the momentary status quo of the organism, expanding itself continually and imposing its autonomous determination upon an ever increasing realm of events”. (9, p.48) It is our experience in therapy which has brought us to the point of giving this proposition a central place. The therapist becomes very much aware that the forward-moving tendency of the human organism is the basis upon which he relies most deeply and fundamentally. It is evident not only in the general tendency of clients to move in the direction of growth when the factors in the situation are clear, but is most dramatically shown in very serious cases where the individual is on the brink of psychosis or suicide. Here the therapist is very keenly aware that the only force upon which he can basically rely is the organic tendency toward ongoing growth and enhancement. Something of oar experience has been summarized by the writer in an earlier paper. As I study, as deeply as I am able, the recorded clinical cases which have been so revealing of personal dynamics, I find what seems to me to be a very significant thing. I find that the urge for a greater degree of independence, the desire for a self-determined integration, the tendency to strive, even through much pain, toward a specified maturity, is as strong as — no, is stronger than — die desire for comfortable dependence, the need to rely upon external ; authority for assurance.. .. Clinically [find it to be true that though an individual may remain dependent because he has always been so. or may drift into dependence without realizing what he is doing, or may temporarily wish to be dependent because his situation, appears desperate, I have yet to find the individual who, when he examines his situation deeply, and feels that he perceives it clearly, deliberately chooses dependence, deliberately chooses to have the integrated direction of himself undertaken by another. When all the elements are clearly perceived, the balance seems invariably in the direction of die painful but ultimately rewarding path of self-actualization or growth. (168, p. 218) It would be grossly inaccurate to suppose that the organism operates smoothly in the direction of self-enhancement and growth. It would be perhaps more correct to say that the organism moves through struggle and pain toward enhancement and growth. The whole process may be symbolized and illustrated by the child's learning to walk. The first steps involve struggle, and usually pain. Often it is true that the immediate reward involved in taking a few steps is in no way commensurate with the pain of falls and bumps. The child may, because of the pain, revert to crawling for a time. Yet, in the overwhelming majority of individuals, the forward direction of growth is more powerful than the satisfactions of remaining infantile. The child will actualize himself, in spite of the painful experiences in so doing. In the same way, he will become independent, responsible, self-governing, socialized, in spite of the pain which is often involved in these steps. Even where he does not, because of a variety of circumstances, exhibit growth of these more complex sorts, one may still rely on the fact that the tendency is present. Given the opportunity for clear-cut choice between forward-moving and regressive behavior, the tendency will operate. One puzzle that is not adequately solved by this proposition is the question, "Why must the factors of choice be clearly perceived in order for this forward-moving tendency to operate?" It would seem that unless experience is adequately symbolized, unless suitably accurate differentiations are made, the individual mistakes regressive behavior for self-enhancing behavior. This aspect will be more fully discussed in Proposition XI and following.