Certain people just shone as exemplars of wholeness, intensity, virtue, achievement, and delight; Maslow was left wondering what an entire society led by such men and women might achieve. This astonishment at the most remarkable human beings stoked his intellectual fires as nothing had before.
It would become Maslow’s life’s work to describe such people, to explain their excellence, and to spread the word to the multitudes that this richness was in fact an inborn human possession, lost to most by dint of social malfeasance and emotional attrition, recoverable on a wide scale by overthrowing the diminished and oppressive view of mankind that had passed for wisdom down the millennia. There are superb possibilities that men are intended to realize, and neither behaviorism nor Freudianism pointed anywhere near them. Maslow became confident that he would succeed where his predecessors had failed, not only in the scientific description of what man is, but in the moral prescription for the best that man can become.