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Evolution of the Humanbecoming Paradigm

Rosemarie Rizzo Parse presents an alternative to both the conventional bio-medical and the bio-psycho-social-spiritual approaches presented in other theories of nursing. Parse first published her theory in 1981 as the "Man-living-health." The name was officially changed to "the humanbecoming theory" in 1992 to remove the term "man," after the change in the dictionary definition of the word from its former meaning of "humankind." The humanbecoming theory was developed as a human science theoretical perspective and evolved into a school of thought (Parse, 1998) in the tradition of Dilthey, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Gadamer. In 2014, Parse published “The Humanbecoming Paradigm: A Transformational Worldview.” The assumptions underpinning the humanbecoming paradigm specify fundamental beliefs about humanuniverse, the ethos of humanbecoming, and living quality. The theory of humanbecoming is structured around three abiding themes: meaning, rhythmicity, and transcendence.

The first theme, MEANING, is expressed in the first principle of humanbecoming, which states that "Structuring meaning is the imaging and valuing of languaging" (Parse, 2014, p. 37). This principle means that people coparticipate in creating what is real for them as shown in their expressions of living their values in a chosen way.

The second theme, RHYTHMICITY, is expressed in the second principle of humanbecoming, which states that "Configuring rhythmical patterns is the revealing-concealing and enabling-limiting of connecting-separating" (Parse, 2014, p. 43). This principle means that living paradox encompasses apparent opposite experiences that coexist in rhythmical patterns. It means that in living moment-to-moment one shows and does not show opportunities and limitations that emerge in moving with and apart from others.

The third theme, TRANSCENDENCE, is expressed in the third principle of humanbecoming, which states that "Cotranscending with possibles is the powering and originating of transforming" (Parse, 2014, p. 47). This principle means that moving with now moments is living the becoming visible-invisible becoming with the ambiguity of the continuous change of the emerging now.

The themes and principles of humanbecoming are permeated by four postulates: illimitability, paradox, freedom, and mystery (Parse, 2007, 2014). ILLIMITABILITY is "the indivisible unbounded knowing extended to infinity, the all-at-once remembering and prospecting with the emerging now" (Parse, 2014, p. 36). PARADOX is "an intricate rhythm expressed as a pattern preference" (Parse, 2014, p. 36). Paradoxes are not "opposites to be reconciled or dilemmas to be overcome but, rather, liv[ing] rhythms" (Parse, 2007, p. 309). FREEDOM is "contextually construed liberation" (Parse, 2014, p. 36). Humans are free and continuously choose ways of becoming with their situations. MYSTERY "is the unexplainable, that which cannot be completely known unequivocally" (Parse, 2014, p. 36). It is the inconceivable, unutterable, unknowable nature of the indivisible, unpredictable, everchanging humanuniverse (Parse, 2007, 2008).

Nurses and other health professional live the art of humanbecoming in true presence with the unfolding of illuminating meaning, shifting rhythms, and inspiring transcending (Parse, 2014, p. 92). Sciencing the art sheds light on the meaning of universal living experiences such as hope, taking life day-by-day, grieving, suffering, and courage. Dr. Parse has also set forth humanbecoming ethical tenets of human dignity (Parse, 2010, 2014) and developed community (Parse, 2003, 2014), leading-following (Parse, 2008a, 2014), teaching-learning (Parse, 2004, 2014), mentoring (Parse, 2008b, 2014), and family models (Parse, 2009, 2014) that are used worldwide.


Parse, R. R. (2003). Community: A human becoming perspective. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Parse, R. R. (2004). A human becoming teaching-learning model. Nursing Science Quarterly, 17, 33-35.

Parse, R. R. (2007). The humanbecoming school of thought in 2050. Nursing Science Quarterly, 20, 308-311.

Parse, R. R. (2008a). The humanbecoming leading-following model. Nursing Science Quarterly, 21, 369-375.

Parse, R. R. (2008b). A humanbecoming mentoring model. Nursing Science Quarterly, 21, 195-198.

Parse, R. R. (2009). The humanbecoming family model. Nursing Science Quarterly, 22, 305-309.

Parse, R. R. (2010). Human dignity: A humanbecoming ethical phenomenon. Nursing Science Quarterly, 23, 257-262.

Parse, R. R. (2014). The humanbecoming paradigm: A transformational worldview. Pittsburgh, PA: Discovery International Publications.

Parse, R.R. (2021). The humanbecoming paradigm: An everchanging horizon. A Discovery International Publication.


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