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There's a wonderful quote by BF Skinner “Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten”. I‘m not sure what I really remember from my ‘formal education’ but just occasionally I realise that some things did stick.
One is Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. Learned in a business class but something that I remember and think of with surprising regularity in all sorts of situations. I thought about it this morning as I watched the news and listened to the terrible things that have happened and that are going on in the southern United States. And I thought of it the other day when reading a response in my blog. I think I might just revisit it myself, do a bit of homework, as I consider my own journey of ‘self-actualization’.
Background: Maslow was a humanistic psychologist in the 60’s who believed that people are motivated by unsatisfied needs and that certain lower level needs have to be met before a higher need can be satisfied.
These basic needs are:
These are our strongest instinctive needs because if they aren't met we think of nothing else until they are. Needs like oxygen, health, food, water, sleep, warmth, clothing, exercise etc.
When all our physiological needs are satisfied then our needs for things like safety and emotional security become active. Things like having a roof over our heads and protection from danger
Needs of Love, Affection and Belongingness
When our needs for safety and for physiological well-being are met, the next level of needs are for things like love, friendship, trust, affection and belongingness. Maslow felt that once people are fed and safe that they then seek to overcome their feelings of loneliness and alienation.
Needs for Esteem
When all those first three needs are met, then the need ego arises. People want to feel needed and important. They want a level of self-respect and respect from others, to feel self-confident and valuable as a person in the world. When people have all their basic needs in place but are not having their esteem needs met then they feel frustrated and inferior, weak, helpless and worthless.
Needs for Self-Actualization
When all of the above needs are met, then and only then can people start meeting their needs for self-actualization or reaching their full potential.
These needs make people start to feel on edge, tense, like something is lacking is their lives, in short, restless. They start to be motivated to be and do what they were born to do. "A musician must make music, an artist must paint, and a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be."
I think about my own levels today, where I am, where I am going. Don't get me wrong though, I don't spend all my time thinking . If anything, I need to do more.
Music ‒ Stereophonic's, Dakota. Loud. Very loudly.
9/3/2005 5:34 pm
Maslow was a rare man indeed: one who managed to put commonsense into a theoretical framework. His work was something I spent time on at University ... and it has never completely left me.|
And Dakota too, eh? That song lifts me up and crashes me down at one and the same time ...
9/4/2005 3:27 am
*Helga remembers covering Maslow's Hierachy in her Management Accounting tutorials this time last year!!* |
I think I need to go and remind myself... seems I might have forgotten already
9/4/2005 7:59 am
I need more beer |
9/4/2005 11:36 pm
I've had three at the bar, and I'm still thirsty.|
Guess I won't self-actualize today!
9/4/2005 11:42 pm
But seriously, it's a beautiful theory (I admit, never heard of|
it before - was I cutting classes?...)
Here's what I found - the needs of an self-actualizer:
(the sub-needs so to say?)
Truth, rather than dishonesty.
Goodness, rather than evil.
Beauty, not ugliness or vulgarity.
Unity, wholeness, and transcendence of opposites, not arbitrariness or forced choices.
Aliveness, not deadness or the mechanization of life.
Uniqueness, not bland uniformity.
Perfection and necessity, not sloppiness, inconsistency, or accident.
Completion, rather than incompleteness.
Justice and order, not injustice and lawlessness.
Simplicity, not unnecessary complexity.
Richness, not environmental impoverishment.
Effortlessness, not strain.
Playfulness, not grim, humorless, drudgery.
Self-sufficiency, not dependency.
Meaningfulness, rather than senselessness.
I guess science (psychology here) can be poetry sometimes...