The experience of self-transcendence in social activists
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-10, 05:55 authored by Carol Barton, Rona Hart
Every day the wellbeing of disadvantaged individuals and communities is being transformed through the activities of self-transcendent social activ-ists. The positive contagion generated by their actions is felt globally through influence, replication, leadership training and education. These people are visionary, brave, and describe their lives as joyful, deeply ful-filled, and impactful. Seeking no personal recognition or accolade, born from a deep feeling of connectedness and a vision of how life could be better, participants describe the factors that influenced their decision to dedicate their lives to serving the greater good. Using Constructivist Grounded Theory, in-depth semi structured interviews were carried out with eight participants who self-identified as self-transcendent social ac-tivists, who have initiated non-mandated and not-for-profit community action. Data was analyzed to explore participant’s personal experiences of self-transcendence and how being self-transcendent has manifested their life choices. The findings present a definition of ‘self-transcendent social activism’ and a theoretical model that explains the development of par-ticipants’ activism: trigger, activate, maintain and sustain, resulting in impact experienced at three levels - individual, community and global. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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