The View and Feelings of Thomas Jefferson in The Inner Jefferson by Andrew Burnstein
According to Maslow self-actualized people exibit the same fifteen characteristics. The book, The Inner Jefferson, by Andew Burnstein, expressed the views and feelings of Thomas Jefferson. Using these as a guideline to his life, it is obvious, that Thomas Jefferson was a self-actualized individual.
One of the characteristics portrayed, is the ability to feel emotions more deeply than the average person. Jefferson placed himself and his family in a small circle of friends. That core of friends embodied the highest degree of love and responsibility. To Jefferson, qualitative circles of affection could be constructed; their associated "connections" comprised an individuals life. "The Circle of our nearest connections is the only one in which a faithful and lasting affection can be found, one which will adhere to us under all changes and chances," said Jefferson to his daugther after she was married for a year. (5)
Self-actualized individuals also have a renewed appreciation for the basic goods of life. "His artistry lay in the means by which he nourished his mind. Books and the pleasing society of compatible souls were life-giving. To James Madison and John Adams he often shared the stimulating thoughts that the newly digested readings provoked in him. No less, he found satisfaction in the reproducible pleasure of gardening, writing to Charles Willson Peale, "No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden."" (9)
Maslow also states that those who are self-actualized enjoy privacy and solitude to a greater extent than average. Jefferson had a second estate, called Poplar Forest. Where he "did not withdraw entirely to hermitage, but generously entertained old friends...Poplar Forest would become... a rustic escape from the busier and more cluttered Monticello. Jefferson journeyed here two to three times each year. He indulged easily in nostalgic thought, and the tranquility of retirement." (254)
Self-actualized individuals also have a genuine desire to help the human race. "He was the nation's first 'man of the people,' fighting privalege, embracing the rights of and placing trust in the ordinary citizen. (4) Jefferson also drafted the Declaration of Independence, along with other important political documents. This also shows his strong etical feelings. Another characteristic set by Maslow about self-actualized people.
Self-actualized individuals have an unuual ability to detect the spurios, the fake, and the dishonest in people. After reading a letter from George Rogers Clark, shortly after his wife died, he replied, "I perceive by your letter you are not unapprised that your services to your country have not made due impression on every mind. That you have enemies you must not doubt, when you reflect that you have made yourself eminent. If you meant to escape...