Kazimierz Dabrowski was a Polish psychiatrist and psychologist who observed the characteristics of people at various levels of development, from the lowest levels seen to the highest. In describing the exemplars of the highest development, he emphasized the intensity of their emotions, their sensitivity and the tendency toward emotional extremes, as part and parcel of their psychological makeup.
A person must examine his or her essence and subsequently make existential choices that emphasize those particular aspects that are of a higher order and “more central to self” while at the same time, inhibiting those aspects that are of a lower order or “less central to self.”
thirst for knowledge, curiosity, concentration, capacity for sustained intellectual effort, avid reading, keen observation, detailed visual recall, detailed planning
Penchant for probing questions and problem solving
search for truth, and understanding, forming new concepts, tenacity in problem solving
thinking about thinking, love of theory and analysis, preoccupation with logic, moral thinking, introspection (but without self-judgment), conceptual and intuitive integration, Independence of thought (can be critical)
Capacity for strong attachments, deep relationships
strong emotional ties and attachment to persons, living things, places; attachment to animals difficulty adjusting to new environments, compassion, responsiveness to others, sensitivity in relationships, loneliness
Well differentiated feelings toward self
inner dialogue and self-judgment
While all five overexcitabilities are important, intellectual, imaginational, and especially emotional are considered the most important.
As development takes place, a transition from a unilevel perception to multilevel perception occurs, allowing for the discrimination of higher versus lower aspects of life.
Dabrowski’s idea of development differs from Maslow’s concept of Self-Actualization : Maslow suggested actualizing one’s self as is – Dabrowski believed that one has to see the differences between the lower aspects from the higher and to choose/actualize the higher while inhibiting or transforming the lower.