Kao's book has the makings of a fascinating study, but it ends up pretty much a lockstep of academic labels and psychological truisms. In the context of the contemporary encounter between East and West, Kao aims to discover a relevant concept of human maturity. The quest takes him through post-Freudian psychology, Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. The ideal that emerges is internal psychic integration and external harmony with nature and one's fellow men. This depends on a central paradox running through the several philosophical traditions--that the self becomes whole precisely as it is transcended. There are many variations on this theme to be sure--from the Christian insight that one finds one's life by losing it to the Buddhist goal of a selfless ego loving without desire. But Kao's wooden prose and rigid format fail to probe much below the surface of the assembled ideas, and the grandiose concluding attempts to compare the patterns of personal growth with the maturing of nations, religions, and humanity as a whole are strained and naive. Vaunted as a vital spiritual journey, the trip is in fact a travelogue of commonplaces which sound more exotic.