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Chapter 10.1

Abraham Maslow
 (1904 - 1970)

American psychologist Abraham Maslow broke new ground in psychology by putting emphasis on the best people instead of broken people.  Instead of studying cars in a junk yard, he moved to a new car showroom.  Prior to his time, psychology was limited to the spinal reflex theory of Sechenov (1863) and Pavlov (1927), the behaviorism of Watson (1913) and Skinner (1948).

While contemporary psychology at the time was wallowing in the mud of human misery, Maslow studied the values of the best men and women in history.  He asked "What made people like Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt exemplary?"

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Behind everything thing we do is a need that wants to be satisfied.  We have instincts that keep us alive and continue our species.  But there are other needs that go beyond our body's instincts.  Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs starts at the basic physiological needs we need just to stay alive.  Once these are made we have a need for safety, then we want love and affection.  Within our group we want to have self esteem. Finally we have a need of satisfying our full potential that Maslow calls Self Actualization.

 The five needs in Maslow's Hierarchy include:

1 Self Actualization -Fulfillment Needs (full potential) This is the rare level where people have need of purpose, personal growth and realization of their potentials.  People on this level are fully functional, acting purely on their own volition and have a healthy personality.

2 Ego -Self Esteem Needs  (self respect, personal worth, autonomy) On this level, people act from their ego needs.  They value the options of others, in order to believe in themselves.  It is a matter of self-respect through respect from others.

3 Social - Love and Belongingness Needs  (love, friendship, comradeship) On this level, people need to feel loved.  Here loving one's self has not been fully discovered.  Some families are tightly bond.  If this need is very strong, there can be a rush to fulfill this need resulting in less than ideal partner selection.

4 Security - Safety Needs (security; protection from harm) 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. Those who worry about small things, such as drinking out of plastic glasses have strong security needs.

5 Body -Physiological Needs (air, food, sleep, stimulation, activity) People on this level tend to be sick or in emergency type situations. They have biological needs for physical equilibrium (homeostasis).  People with lack of shelter, clothing, food focus on these needs.  People often neglect some of these basic needs in normal life when they eat junk food, go without sleep, don't exercise, or do not simulate their minds.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is not strictly true.  When a person is exposed to safety needs, the person may be used to it, and experience higher needs in spite of feeling somewhat on edge.

Also as will be discussed, people have spiritual needs which are not the same as being self actualized. Above the self actualized level, there can be an idealized level driven by the spirit.


Maslow's B Values

In life we have to sort out what is important and make determination of our and others best course of action. We can chose plan A or plan B.  How do we determined what to do?  

We need a reference Maslow called B Values.  We compare this reference to the situation at hand.  For instance is something reflecting unity, perfection, richness and honesty?  As we ascend Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, more B Values are considered. Self-actualized people are most likely to reflect on them.

  • Wholeness/Unity/
  • Oneness
  • Perfection/Just-so-ness
  • Completion/Finality/Ending
  • Justice/Fairness
  • Aliveness/Full-Functioning
  • Richness/Intricacy
  • Simplicity/Essential/Honesty
  • Beauty/Form/Richness
  • Goodness/Oughtness
  • Uniqueness/Idiosyncrasy/Novelty
  • Effortlessness/Ease/Perfect
  • Playfulness/Joy/Humor
  • Truth/Reality/Beauty/Pure
  • Self-Sufficiency/Independence
D Needs

D Needs or deficiency needs are needs we notice by their absence.  A D Need of air is quickly noticed.  We do not have to think about needing air, we just need it.

Teaching Methods

Maslow had comments on teaching children which included:

  • Be authentic.
  • Transcend their cultural conditioning and become world citizens.
  • Find their vocation and right mate
  • Know that life is precious.
  • Be good and joyous in all kinds of situations.
  • Learn from their inner nature.
  • See that basic needs are satisfied.
  • Refresh their consciousness; appreciate beauty and other good things in life.
  • Understand that controls are good, and complete abandon is bad.
  • Transcend trifling problems
  • Grapple with serious problems such as injustice, pain suffering and death
  • Be good choosers
  • Be given practice in making choices, later allowing choices in their religious beliefs.

Self Actualization

Self Actualization can occur when people reflect on their B 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 Aldous 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 has much more to offer in his books:

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)

The term "Self Actualization" was not created by Maslow, but was coined by Kurt Goldstein in 1940 and later widely used by Carl Rogers.  Maslow died from a heart attack on June 8, 1970.
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Challenges to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

It is obvious that many people believe in a religion and are spiritually actualized instead of being self actualized. 

Many religious people are seldom self actualized, but are actualized by their belief in their religion.  These people have never been born again so that they have never started over in the search for truth.  They are the true believers, who know they have the truth.  The true believers have been indoctrinated to the point, their truth is a frozen crystal as hard as rock.

The people how have reexamined their faith, and searched through many religions and philosophies are self actualized, but when they find their truth after their own personal search, it is a far deeper understanding, with tolerance and respect for people  who have found another truth.

So in the diagram below, there is another level added to the top of the hierarchy of needs pyramid.  This is the spiritual need.  This need expresses itself through spiritual emotions .

In the comparison table earlier presented, the 7th Chakra, the Crown Chakra does not have any correspondence in Maslow's Hierarchy. In strongly spiritual and religious people, this is a very important need. It is the need to do God's work.  Perhaps we could add a 6th level beyond Self Actualization and call it "Spiritual." 

A Modified Maslow Hierarchy


Comparison of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs with Chakras and Transactional-Analysis Ego States

In the chart below we can compare Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to the Seven Chakras and the Transactional Analysis (TA) Ego States.  The row reflecting the Spiritual Needs has been added.

Maslow's Hierarchy
 of Needs
The Seven Chakras TA Ego State
Spiritual Needs (Added)

Hinduism - Nirvana - Complete, fully realized, free for desire and pain

Buddhism - Enlightenment -Avoid extremes such as pleasure and deprivation. Take the middle

Judaism - Fulfilling the Law

Christianity -Spreading the Gospel

Islamic Faith -Serving Allah

Baha'i Faith -Harmony and Unity, To know and love God

Individual Spirituality -Belief in a personal belief system
7th Chakra (Crown)

Link to God, Understanding, Will
knowing, Higher Consciousness

6th Chakra (Eye)

Intuition, Creation, Imagination,
Awareness, Self-Reflection
Spiritual (Added)
Having a knowing above the parent state
Self Actualization-Fulfillment Needs

Morally, Creativity, Spontaneity,
Problem solving, Lack of prejudice,
Acceptance of facts

5th Chakra (Throat)

Communication, Teaching,
Connection, Rhythm, Use of language

Rules, Values, Being
Ego-Esteem Needs

Confidence, Achievement, Respect of others, Respected by others
4th Chakra (Love)

Self-Acceptance, Balanced
prospective, Compassion

Uses analysis, Scientific
Social-Love and Belongingness Needs

Family, Friendship and sexual intimacy
3rd Chakra (Solar)

Leadership, Esteem, Position
Security and Safety Needs

Concerning the body, Resources,
Family, Health, Employment, Property
2nd Chakra (Sacral)

Sex, Sexual Attraction, Addiction, Judgmental, Campy, Melodramatic

Emotional, Primitive
Body-Physiological Needs

Breathing, Food, Water, Air, Sex, Sleep, Homeostasis, Excretion
1st Chakra (Root)

Anal, survival and safety

This table is abbreviated, but it does show that there is hierarchy suggested by the chakras  should not be taken too literarily. Its main function is to show that there is a correspondence between levels in the Maslow's Hierarchy and the different Chakras and TA ego states.

The Parent, Adult and Child ego states are useful in understanding communications between two people. A cross Transactions in Transactional-Analysis (TA) occur when, for example, a person in their Parent Ego state communicates with a person in their Child Ego state. If instead, the two people are in their Adult Ego state, their feeling towards each other are not filled with disruptive emotions.

A shown in the chart above, the TA states have been expanded to a four level system.  Many spiritual people who are in their spiritual state have trouble relating to people in one of the other states. For example, if a person is in their child state, asking them to detach will be met with hostility and misunderstanding. This is similar to having a person in their adult state talk to a person in their child state (a cross transaction) by saying "You should...".

The idea of cross transactions can be extended to the seven Chakra states as well. For example, if a person is in their Crown Chakra, and taking with a person in their Throat Chakra, it usually does not go very well.

Why Hierarchies Might be Fundamental to Understanding the Brain

Consider that the brain is made up of billions of small neurons. Each neuron or group of neurons has a small job to do. If that was all there was to it, the neurons would defend themselves, have their own agendas, and might wall of themselves from the rest of the brain.
For the neurons to cooperate with each other, they must have use some type of organization. It could be like the Internet, with no one group in charge. Or it could be built like a company, with different levels of management.

A better analogy might be government, with not only a hierarchy, but different branches, and a balance of power at the top. The organization usually has a police department that can keep everyone from hurting each other managers who can fire employees that do not perform well.

The president or CEO, must have a vision, a direction for the organization. With this type of reasoning, the brain must have some top brain cells that make sure the person is generally doing what is good.

The top brain cells reference a belief system. This belief system could range from hedonistic to a true believer. These brain cells might communicate with a higher power through their imagination. But here imagination is not taken as making something up, but a channel to a higher spirit or spirits.
When a person loses their internal mental government, they can become mentally ill. Their brain can be spilt with different brain cells at cross purpose with other brain cells.
We do not know how many hierarchies might be in a brain, and if there is a pattern found in most people. Some interesting research could be done in this area.

Recommended  books which support many of my ideas.

Feel free to write me if you have questions or

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