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Psychology (1,303)
PSYCH 3BA3 (49)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2

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McMaster University
Richard B Day

Chapter 2 – Eastern and Western Perspectives on Positive Psychology AMatter of Perspective - Origins of positive psych. more reflective of Western perspectives o Constructs such as hope, optimism, and personal self-efficacy are particularly valued - Recently, Eastern perspectives are becoming more valued and have helped in addressing different human strengths - “Agood fortune may forebode a bad luck, which may in turn disguise a good fortune.” o Both good and bad times will occur at some point o Eastern view = desire of balance - Enlightenment: being able to see things clearly for what they are - Easterners seek to transcend the human rewards and look towards the spiritual ones o Contrary to westerners who tend to seek rewards in the physical world Historical and Philosophical Traditions - Western culture = optimal function takes place within the mind (intrapsychically) - Eastern culture = optimal function is a spiritual journey that includes others and results in transcendence and enlightenment - Spiritual transcendence = pursuit of better life on Earth Western Influences: Athenian and Judeo-Christian Traditions  Athenian Views o Plato’s 11 moral virtues  Courage, moderation, generosity, munifence (spending at an appropriate level), magnificence (“greatness of soul”), even temper, friendliness, truthfulness, wit, justice, friendship o Aristotle included intellectual virtues o Both emphasized the influence of politics within a community  polis  Helps all individuals (both rich or poor) self-actualize in terms of virtue  Can only occur in a life of order and sanction o Aristotle believed that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the development of virtue is implemented in a community via education in childhood and training  Judeo-Christianity o Old Testament virtues: fortitude, justice, temperance, wisdom, faith, hope, and charity (ThomasAquinas) o Commandments prohibited the act of going against a virtue o Strengths mentioned all throughout the Bible  The Book of Romans, the Book of Proverbs, the Beatitudes Eastern Influences: Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism  Confucianism o Leadership and education are the central processes of morality (said by the Confucius, a.k.a. the Sage) o Morality as a potential cure for evil o Encourage looking out for others o Five virtues central to moral existence 1. Jen (humanity) 2. Yi (duty to treat others well) 3. Li (etiquette and sensitivity for other’s feelings) 4. Zhi (wisdom) 5. Xin (truthfulness)  Taoism o Must live according to the Tao (“the Way”)  Tao: the energy that surrounds everyone and is a power that “envelops, surrounds, and flows through all things” o Difficult to fully understand because it cannot be taught o Understanding comes by experiencing the Way by oneself through fully participating in life (both the bad and the good) o Goal: achieve naturalness and spontaneity in life o Virtues: humanity, justice, temperance, and propriety  Buddhism o Suffering is brought on by the emotion of human desire o Nirvana: the state in which the self is freed from desire for anything  2 states of nirvana possible: premortal (similar to “the good life”) and postmortal (similar to the Christian idea of heaven) o Brahma Viharas: the most important virtues  Maitre (love)  Compassion (karuna)  Joy (mudita)  Equanimity (upeksa) o Goal: achieve nirvana  Hinduism o No specific founder and no clear beginning in history o Teachings around the harmony
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