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Is the pursuit of self-actualization a right?

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The answer to this depends on how you define what a right is.  The pursuit of self-actualization is not a legal right that is protected by the Constitution of the United States.  However, you could argue that it is a human right that people have even if it is not...

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The answer to this depends on how you define what a right is.  The pursuit of self-actualization is not a legal right that is protected by the Constitution of the United States.  However, you could argue that it is a human right that people have even if it is not explicitly granted to them by any government. 

It is possible to argue that a right is something that is guaranteed by law.  In other words, we in the United States have the right to freedom of speech because the First Amendment clearly says that we do, but we do not have the right to wear whatever kind of clothing we want because there is no specific right to do so that is protected by law. By this definition, there is no right to pursue self-actualization.  The Constitution sort of implies that we have this right since we are able to say what we want, to read what we want (freedom of the press), and to worship however we want.  But it does not say that we have a right to pursue self-actualization.

It is also possible to argue, however, that there are rights that exist even if no government recognizes them.  If such rights do exist, the right to pursue self-actualization could certainly be one of them.  As human beings, we are constantly trying to improve ourselves.  It seems clear that we have an impulse in this direction.  Therefore, self-actualization is a basic human function much like the desire to procreate or the desire to be loved.  If this is true, then the pursuit of self-actualization would be a human right.

From this, we can see that the pursuit of self-actualization is not a formal right granted by the government, but it may be a basic human right.

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