Developing Human Potential
Copyright © 2002
Dr. Rodney H. Clarken
School of Education
Northern Michigan University
Definitions
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de•vel•op (di vel"*p), v.t. 1. to expand or
realize the potentialities of; bring gradually to
a fuller, greater, or better state.
hu•man (hy»"m*n), adj. 1. Of, relating to, or
characteristic of man or mankind.
po•ten•tial (p* ten"sh*l), n. 1. The inherent
ability or capacity for growth, development, or
coming into being.
Conceptual Framework, 1
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Development is a science, an art and a moral
act.
Humans have both material and spiritual
natures that interact in developing potential.
Purpose of existence is primarily spiritual: to
know, love and create; acquire virtues; and
carry forward an ever-advancing civilization.
Foundation of all development is spiritual and
moral training.
Conceptual Framework, 2
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Truth and human potential are relative and
progressive.
Development is a process of expansion,
integration and generalization.
Human capacities must be disciplined and
trained, and require development.
All natural capacities are good when
developed positively, but can be harmful
when not.
Conceptual Framework, 3
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Individuals have differing innate and inherited
potentialities that are actualized through
interaction with the environment.
We can learn to facilitate this process and
advance our development.
The principles and ideals of developing
human potential have been given in the
major religions and are beginning to be
studied by science.
Using Science and Religion
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Science and religion are both vital for
development, but, if perverted, can be
destructive.
Science provides a way to better determine
the validity and reliability of our perceptions
of reality and of cause and effect.
Religion provides the guidance and motive
force to develop potential.
Religion and Human Potential
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Veiled in My immemorial being and in
the ancient eternity of My essence, I
knew My love for thee; therefore I
created thee, have engraved on thee
Mine image and revealed to thee My
beauty.
Bahá’u’lláh
Human Potential?
Question: What potentialities did the
Creator engrave on us?
Hint: “I knew My love for thee;
therefore I created thee,
have engraved on thee Mine image ”
Knowing, Loving and Creating
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These basic human potentialities can be
found in the all the sacred scriptures and
science.
Developing these potentials is a lifelong
endeavor. The more we develop, the more we
want to and are able to develop, as it brings
increased happiness and fulfillment.
Human potentialities have been
conceptualized variously by philosophy,
psychology, religion, education and other
areas.
Human Potentialities
Knowing
See
Head
Mind
Truth
Logic/Epistemology
Truth
Cognitive Domain
Cognitive Psychology
Reason
Loving
Feel
Heart
Heart/Soul
Unity
Ethics/Aesthetics
Beauty
Affective
Humanistic
Compassion
Creating
Act
Hand
Body
Justice
Metaphysics
Good
Psychomotor
Behavioral
Courage
Truthfulness
Righteousness
Unity
Justice
Courtesy
Trustworthiness
Forbearance
Detachment
Selflessness
Kindliness
Service
Generosity
Wisdom
Purity
KNOWING
Humility
CREATING
Compassion
LOVING
Propeller of Potential
As our potentialities
grow and develop,
they are better able to
interact with the
environment to
develop the power
needed for change,
first for yourselves,
then for others.
Loving
Twirly Whirly
Model (TW)
TW Development Model
K
Body/
Physical
(-/+ charge)
C
L
Soul/
Spiritual
(+/- charge)
Twirly-Whirly Dynamics
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It is only in moving out on the TW that we
can gain a truer perspective of ourselves and
reality.
If we focus on material and selfish aspects of
life, the hub of our TW becomes over
developed and hampers development.
The more the KLC blades grow the more they
can turn the TW and develop our potential.
As we move away from the center selfattraction outward to higher powers, we
obtain a truer knowledge of self and become
a better person.
Development Model
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All three potentialities must turn
together for the individual and society
grow, develop and advance.
If blades try to turn in opposite ways,
problems result.
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love (>) falsehoods (<)
hate (<) truth (>)
know (>) hate (<)
Development Formulas
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K x L x C = V: Knowing (K) times Loving (L)
times Creating (C) equals Value (V)
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A zero in any capacity = zero value
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+K x +L x +C = +V
-K x +L x +C = -V
-K x –L x +C =+V
0(K)=ignorance, 0(L)=apathy, 0(C)=inactivity
3K x 2L x 0(C) = 0
Mathematical properties of potential
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Increased quantity in any variable=increased
value
Some Baha’i Formulas
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Love + conscious knowledge + practice of
good deeds = faith
Love  Knowledge Creation=Will
Knowledge + faithperfection and unity
Knowledge + volition + action =
accomplishment of any objective
Knowledge of God + Love of God + Goodwill
= Perfect Action
Knowing
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A disposition towards understanding
reality as it really is, rather than as how
we imagine it to be.
Those who better understand reality are
able to live more fully, happily,
effectively, honestly and successfully.
Each individual must independently
investigate truth.
Knowledge and Faith
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"There are certain pillars which have
been established as the unshakeable
supports of the Faith of God. The
mightiest of these is learning and the
use of the mind, the expansion of
consciousness, and insight into the
realities of the universe and the hidden
mysteries of Almighty God."
Loving
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Love can be defined as an active force of
attraction, and, as such, can be considered
the most elemental force in the universe.
Considered the most fundamental element in
all of the world’s religions.
Love gives us energy and directs our actions.
On the highest level, love is the attraction to
good, beauty and truth.
The Hidden Words on Love
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I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have
engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.
Wherefore, do thou love Me, that I may name thy name and fill
thy soul with the spirit of life.
If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee.
If thou lovest Me, turn away from thyself; and if thou seekest
My pleasure, regard not thine own; that thou mayest die in Me
and I may eternally live in thee.
I desire to be loved alone and above all that is.
My love is My stronghold;he that entereth therein is safe and
secure, and he that turneth away shall surely stray and perish.
My love is in thee, know it, that thou mayest find Me near unto
thee.
AHW, #3-10
Four Kinds of Love
1. God to Human: the origin of all love, cause of all
life and creation, and of humans having eternal life
and being in the image of God.
2. Human to God: origin of all philanthropy, faith,
attraction to the Divine, enkindlement, progress, and
illumination.
3. God to Identity of God: the reality of love, through
it all other love exists.
4. Human for Human: prompted by the ideal of the
unity of spirits, attained through the knowledge of
God, attracted to Divine Love in others, and the
foundation of real unity. Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p.180-1
Creating
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Our actions are a form of creating/creation
and an expression of will.
We create goodness from interactions based
on love and truth, which create virtues such
as justice, righteousness and service.
Creation can be categorized hierarchically
from lower to higher: mineral, plant, animal
and human.
Creating and the Golden Rule
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Hurt not others in ways that
you yourself would find
hurtful.
Do unto others as you would
have them do unto you.
Blessed is he who preferreth
his brother before himself.
Do not to others what ye do
not wish done to yourself; and
wish for others too what ye
desire and long for yourself.
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
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What is hateful to you, do not
to your fellow man. That is
the entire Law; all the rest is
commentary.
No one of you is a believer
until he desires for his brother
that which he desires for
himself.
Choose thou for thy neighbor
that which thou choosest for
thyself.
From: Baha’i Faith, Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism,
Islam, Judaism
(Behavior + Character) +
(Knowledge) = +Value
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"Good behavior and high moral
character must come first, for unless
the character be trained, acquiring
knowledge will only prove
injurious. Knowledge is praiseworthy
when it is coupled with ethical conduct
and virtuous character; otherwise it is a
deadly poison, a frightful danger." Abdu’lBaha
Science and Human Potential
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“The last 20 years have witnessed
tremendous advances in theory and research
in developmental and cognitive psychology,
and on the emotional, motivational,
personality, and social processes of individual
learners that contribute to the dynamics of
the learning process.” (Spielberger, C., 1998, p. ix, In
N. Lambert & B. McCombs, Editors, How Students Learn.
American Psychological Association)
The Learner-Centered
Psychological Principles
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consistent with more than a century of
research on teaching and learning,
integrate research and practice in various
areas of psychology,
reflect conventional and scientific wisdom,
provide a framework for and lead to effective
schooling, positive mental health and a
realization of greater potential.
Principles for Developing
Human Potential
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The 14 learner-centered psychological
principles developed by the American
Psychological Association have been
used as the organizing structure for the
14 developing human potential
principles given below that are a
synthesis of my thoughts derived from
religion and science.
1. Never Stop Developing
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Learning and developing are the keys to
promoting human happiness and well-being.
Learning, loving and creating are as natural
and needed for human life as growing is for a
plant.
Use knowledge, love, power, truth, justice
and creativity to develop you potential.
2. Set Goals
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Goals give meaning to life. They direct energy
towards the things valued.
The more we are attracted to, understand
and are able and willing to work for our
goals, the more likely we are to achieve
them.
Develop goals, high resolve, purpose,
resilience, self-reliance and an internal locus
of control.
3. Build from your Experience
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Link to and build upon existing knowing,
loving and creating capacities.
Build upon effective and healthy ways of
knowing, loving and creating in relation to the
world, each other and yourself.
Use science and religion, like the wings of
one bird, to fly to higher levels of potential.
4. Think Strategically
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Develop strategic thinking in more complex,
expanded and unique situations.
Use consultation, reasoning, independent
investigation of truth, meditation, parables,
stories, metaphors, prayer and reflection to
develop potential.
Encourage hand, head and heart to work
together.
5. Improve Your Thinking
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Evaluate your thought processes and improve
them.
Use all four ways of knowing truth.
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senses or experiences
reasoning or logic
tradition or established knowledge
intuition or inspiration
Each is limited and open to error.
Used in conjunction, they allow for greater
likelihood of finding truth or reality.
6. Improve Your Environment
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Create the best conditions and
environment to develop your potential
knowing, loving and creating capacities.
The first and primary interaction and
environment is the self with the self.
Changing yourself is the best way to
affect the learning and becoming
process.
7. Develop Emotional
Capacities
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Emotions are expressions of our loving
capacity, and affect motivation.
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Happiness: near, well-treated, pleased.
Sadness: removed, hurt, grieved.
Anger: mistreated, threatened, wronged.
Fear: threatened, insecure, at-risk.
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Disgust: violated, offended, made repulsive.
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Understanding these forces of love can help
us to regulate and direct their influence in
ways that are beneficial to ourselves and
others.
8. Increase Intrinsic
Motivation
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The higher the value (V), the higher and
more sustaining the intrinsic motivation (IM):
KxLxC=V=IM.
Extrinsic motivators, though needed and
useful, are limited, and can actually hinder
motivation, especially if intrinsically
motivated.
Self-actualization and motivation occur when
all three capacities are fully and actively
engaged.
9. Strive
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KxLxC  Motivation & Effort  Will 
Factors that positively affect striving: 
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relevance, success, ability, consequences, options,
concern, attraction, discipline, self-regulation, goal
directedness, responsibility, resolution, endurance,
perseverance, constancy, strength, determination,
firmness of purpose, courage, service, prudence,
nobility, integrity, humility, certitude, character.
Growth requires effort. CauseEffect.
10. Develop as a Process
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Development is the process of
potentiality (KxLxC) becoming realized
incrementally and in stages.
Differentiation, integration and
generalization are the processes of
learning and development.
Diagnose and prescribe what is needed
to encourage optimal development.
11. Develop Positive
Relationships
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It is primarily through social interactions that
knowing, loving and creating are exercised
and developed.
Positive relationships are:
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courteous, creative, caring, compassionate,
consultative, complementary, chaste, collaborative
and cooperative.
Positive social environments are:
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safe, secure, service-oriented, just, unified,
peaceful, hopeful, respectful and refined.
12. Develop Your Individuality
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Each person has unique endowments,
powers, responsibilities, talents, interests and
capabilities based on innate, inherited and
acquired characteristics which they are
ultimately responsible to develop.
We have all been created noble. Do not
abase anyone, let others abase anyone or
themselves, or let yourself be abased.
What, why, how, and how much each person
knows, loves and creates is unique.
13. Appreciate Diversity
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Our similarities are greater than our
differences, but we are all unique.
Our unique endowments, experiences and
heredity lends to the beauty of the world and
the development of others.
Each person is a mine filled with precious
gems and minerals. Discover, refine and share
your gems with the world.
Unity in diversity is guiding principle for
development.
14. Have High Standards
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The evaluation of all things depends
upon justice and equity.
We show the results of our learning
through our lives, deeds and actions.
Aspire to achieve excellence in all things
and to become the most you can.
Work on yourself, overlook others’
faults.
Education and Developing
Potential
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Education is the foundation of human
excellence, prosperity, joy and glory. Its
acquisition is incumbent upon everyone.
Knowledge is as wings to life and a ladder for
our ascent.
The root of wrongdoing is ignorance.
To be effective, education must address our
knowing, loving and creating capacities.
References
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The ideas in this presentation have been
heavily inspired by or come from the Baha’i
writings and the Learner-Centered
Psychological Principles developed by the
APA: http://www.apa.org/ed/lcp2/
Website with this presentation and related
papers, materials and links: wwwacademic.nmu.edu/education/rclarken
Gravity of Self
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Just as the earth attracts everything to the
center of gravity…so also material ideas and
worldly thoughts attract man to the center of
self. Anger, passion, ignorance, prejudice,
greed, envy, covetousness, jealously and
suspicion prevent man from ascending to the
realm of holiness imprisoning him in the
claws of self and the cage of egotism. Abdu’l-Baha
Be God-Centered,
not Self-Centered
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Help ye the one true God, exalted be His glory, by
your goodly deeds, by such conduct and character as
shall be acceptable in His sight. He that seeketh to
be a helper of God in this Day, let him close his eyes
to whatever he may possess, and open them to the
things of God. Let him cease to occupy himself with
that which profiteth him, and concern himself with
that which shall exalt the all-compelling name of the
Almighty. He should cleanse his heart from all evil
passions and corrupt desires, for the fear of God is
the weapon that can render him victorious, the
primary instrument whereby he can achieve his
purpose. GWB, p.272
Human nature.
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Material
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Body
Physical capacities
Genetic, environment
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Spiritual
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Soul
Spiritual capacities
Intellect, heart and
will
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Five physical and five spiritual
senses.
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PHYSICAL
Sight
Hearing
Taste
Smell
Feel
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SPIRITUAL
Psyche/Soul
Imagination
Thought
Comprehension
Memory
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Developing Human Potential