4. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is an psychological theory originated by the American psychologist Abraham Maslow that was revolutionary in that it concerned healthy people instead of the mentally handicapped.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
1 Self Actualization Needs
2 Esteem Needs
3 Love and Belongingness Needs
4 Safety Needs
5 Physiological Needs
In general, values reflect one's judgment and helps sort out what is important in life. Maslow described what he considered important values that defined one's Being. These important values were termed "B Values." Those who were self actualized tended to incorporate more B Values than those at lower levels. The B Values include:
Maslow helped to move psychology from spinal reflex theory of Sechenov (1863) and Pavlov (1927) and also from the non-introspective thinking of behaviorism originated by Watson (1913) and amplified by Skinner (1948). Maslow changed psychology forever by elevating psychology to a new and far deeper understanding of what is means to be human. Instead of trying to make sense of the insanity of broken minds, he explored the sanity that made people exemplary. For example, he explored what Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt had in common.
Instead of visiting the auto junk yard, he visited the auto show room!
One of the results from Maslow studies was that there were layers of needs. If basic needs are not met, then there is a tendency to ignore higher needs. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is often portrayed as a pyramid.
Adding Spiritual Needs
Spiritual Needs - They Need to be Included Too
I am not sure where to put spiritual needs. We can access them when we are at any level in the hierarchy. I put them on top to present their importance. They are the source of goodness.
Maslow could not be "scientific" if he included spiritual ideas directly in his theories. But his ideas of self actualization come close to those of a person connected with Source.
Putting a yellow cap on the diagram signifies that goodness flows to the other levels for us to identify our needs. Goodness is reference for selection at all levels. What is good for the body, what is the best way to be secure, how to have people like you, and how to like yourself are based on knowing goodness.
So what is goodness? Maslow created a list of Being Values (B-Values) that help define goodness. These values are the values that Maslow found that the best people had more or less in common. Some of the B-values include: love, direction, wholeness, integration, the need to finish and to have a true destiny point.
Without goodness, we don't have a clue, we are just dust in the wind, making choices without priority. Without reference, different parts of the mind will fight for their limited desires, and this leads to a divided mind and potentially to internal wars within the mind.
Maslow's Levels Detailed
Self Actualization -Fulfillment Needs This is the rare level where people have need of purpose, personal growth and realization of their potentials. This is the point where people start to become fully functional, acting purely on their own volition and having a healthy personality.
Ego -Self Esteem Needs We need to believe in ourselves and have healthy pride. At this level we need self-respect, and respect from others.
Social - Love and Belongingness Needs At this level the needs of love from family and friends are important.
Security - Safety Needs Here we might include living in a safe area away from threats. This level is more likely to be found in children as they have a greater need to feel safe.
Body -Physiological Needs On this level are the very basic needs for air, warmth, food, sleep, stimulation and activity. People can die due to lack of biological needs and equilibrium (homeostasis).
Self-Actualization is described by Maslow as an ongoing process involved in a cause outside their own skin. People on this need level, work at something very precious. This is a vocation or a calling in the old priestly sense. These people are very fine, healthy, strong, sagacious (that is, very smart) and creative.
Self Actualization was actually created by Kurt Goldstein in 1940 and later widely used by Carl Rogers. Self actualization is defined as a basic force which drives the person forward and onwards.
B and D Needs
Maslow also called self actualization need growth motivation or being needs (B-Needs) in contrast to deficit motivation (D-Needs). Maslow suggested that only two percent of the people in the world achieve self actualization. Maslow gave examples of people who met this criteria using biographical analysis. People who met this standard of self actualization included: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams, William James, Albert Schweitzer, Benedict Spinoza, and Almost Huxley
Self actualized people were reality and problem centered, and could distinguished what was fake and dishonest from what genuine. They realized that the means and ends are different, and thus the end did not always justify the means. They enjoyed being by themselves, and having deeper relationships with a few people instead of more shallow relations with many people. These people tended to be autonomous, relatively free from physical and social needs. They had a sense of what was true beyond their culture, and were highly resistant to enculturalization and thus enjoyed being themselves and did not worried about fitting in.
Their humor was never a threat, and they often were the brunt of their own jokes. They tended to be spontaneous and simple in their nonconformity while also having a certain humility and respect for others. They had freshness, a creative spirit and were original in the thinking. These people had experiences of being moved by forces larger than themselves to enjoin peak experiences.
In reality, these people were not perfect. Indeed they suffered from what ordinary people do. Their anxiety and guilt was about real things, and their moments of coldness were brief and often somewhat justified.
Others saw them as natural, and flowing with life. They appeared to rise above distinctions such as the spiritual and physical and were indifferent to what others perceived as masculine or feminine.
Maslow had comments on teaching children which included:
Deepermind -The Concept of Truth Vectors
Truth is like saying two and two are four. It is true, but so what. It becomes important only when we communicate to others for a purpose. So truth has a direction. It needs to fit in some matrix.
Maslow's ideas form a hierarchy and not a flat matrix. The concept of self actualization is on top.
But what make self actualization something good and true? It might be wiser to link the concept of self actualization towards a reference.
On the physical level, the brain is made of up of perhaps billions of computer like cells, all linked together to form a complex matrix. This matrix is not flat, as there has to be some control and authority to prevent wars between the cells trying to agree on things. When a war is going on in the brain, or a conflict in psychological speak. If one's conflict is resolved with one faction winning, this faction gains power.
If the winning cells continue in the march towards power, they can control the whole mind. Like a virus, the cells can then infect their point of view to the rest of the brain. In order to stop this problem, their needs to be a reference above all the cells which is not touchable. Often people call this reference "God" or "Nature".
Thus each cell or group of cells not only has a truth, but enforces this truth down the food chain. Thus its truth is not only a statement, but a directed statement aimed to all cells on the lower levels. These cells believe in this truth. So we can say that truth is pointed from the master cell who is the highest cell with this truth in the hierarchy to other cells at lower levels. Therefore truth is a vector and has direction.
When this truth vector is working it links all cells with messages based on love and knowledge.
In the vertical direction, the truth vectors seek to inform and request wise guidance. Thus we not only have self-actualizing concerns, but purpose concerns. With concentration, increasing numbers of cells link with each other on purpose.
What are these purposes? At the highest level, we are concerned with purpose, truth and other B-values. Purpose placed into action becomes a choice.
One the best collections of rules for creating purpose are Don Miguel Ruiz's (2000) Four Agreements:
Being impeccable: In terms of truth vectors: All information passed in the brain should reflect truth and thus one speaks the truth as there is nothing else available.
Why to I speak in terms of brain cells. I believe that for something to be true, it has to work on all levels including the material level.
What is true at the material level is also true at the spiritual level.
Our consciousness, our feeling of being alive is not produced by a bunch of brain cells, but by other forces that we do not currently understand. We are spiritual beings that know we are alive.
Not taking anything personally: Going up the food chain we do arrive at the spiritual being level, our true self. and we can love ourselves or not. If we love ourselves, we cannot be hurt by other's words.
Now our spirit can choose to love ourselves or not.
Not making assumptions: Yes, we have to go down the food chain and find the truth at the detailed level..
Always doing our best: Our true self, our spiritual self needs to do a good job. Armed with truth, love and purpose, there is no question that this is what will happen.
Maslow had a heart attack and passed away June 8, 1970.
The Hierarchy of Needs: A Theory of Human Motivation (1943).
Maslow, A. H. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Esalen Books. Viking Press (1971)
Maslow, Abraham H. Toward a Psychology of Being, New York: D. Van Nostrand Company (1968)
Copyright © 2009 by George Norwood