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A Theological Position in Positive Psychology

written by Nicholas Hall 6 March 2007

Nicholas Hall, MAPP '06, is the manager of the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Behavioral Lab. He consults on worker satisfaction and engagement, and sits on the advisory board of Omnirisk Management Tools. His research work focuses on work satisfaction, character strengths, and positive psychology, and is published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

Articles by Nicholas are here.

Robert Wright proposes in his book Nonzero that there may be a “natural law” that people move toward – a natural law of interdependence and win-win scenarios that promotes survival. Wright’s natural law that promotes survival and human flourishing is the same kind of natural law as 1 + 1 = 2.  When people work together in win-win scenarios, they move toward the highest Good and promote human flourishing.

According to Aristotle, there must be a Prime Mover, a Creator that set the whole universe in motion.  That motion’s ultimate goal, according to Plato, is the highest Good. Mathematics and physics are trying to unpack the natural laws of the universe. Psychology, including positive psychology, is trying to unpack these very same natural laws. These are the natural laws of the human mind. 

If we can follow these win-win laws and create positive states within ourselves and amongst ourselves, then perhaps we are achieving the highest Good, and perhaps the Creator really does lie within each of us.

Aristotle, McKeon, R. P. (Ed.) (1947). Introduction to Aristotle (Modern Library). McGraw-Hill.

Hamilton, E. (Ed.), Cairns, H. (Ed.), Cooper, L. (1961). The Collected Dialogues of Plato: Including the Letters Bollingen.

Wright, R. (2000). Nonzero: The logic of human destiny. New York: Vintage Press.

Parthenon courtesy of roblisameehan

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