Saturday, March 1, 2014

Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs

Pictured above is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  If you ever study Psychology, at tome point this will be a focus in class, or reading.  Now from some extent this can be considered true, but the truth is by scientific standards it may or may not be the case.  But I want to discuss it just the same.  Who knows, it might help some of us better understand why some people simply roll over and die, rather than fight.

Now Maslow set everything based on what he felt belonged where, the most important things at the bottom, but in a way they are all equally important.  Honestly if one does not eat, one is not really concerned about reaching their full potential.  Makes sense, right?

Anyway his thoughts about motivation started with the physical stuff (Physiological Needs), but if you look you will also see the bottom is littered with the simple things, food, water, sleep, air to breath.  Without those we would be dead, so the more complex stuff is, well, kind of hard.  Just watch an episode of The Walking Dead if you don't believe me on that.  Anyway, I agree with this thoughts about those things, they are the most primal, basic, and instinctive needs we have.  Until we are secure in the majority of them, everything else plays second fiddle.

Slightly more complex are the Security Needs.  The need for safety and security, pesky things like a home, steady job, health car, living in a home that is not a DMZ.  I know this is early in the post to be asking but, do you see a pattern developing?  If one has no food, or has poor quality of food, they first not going to be in good health, or have steady employment because they are sick more often (of course without the steady job, no food would be present unless you are willing to beg or steal).

Next comes Social Needs.  This one has changed a great deal over the last sixty years.  Now we have Facebook, Google, Twitter, and so many social networking sites where we can find friends, places to belong that its not even funny.  But Social Needs also include the need for love and affection as well.  Something without the first two, cannot easily be obtained.  Single Jewish Homeless man, who is unemployed, but holds several degrees and diplomas looking for Single female.  Yeah, that is a major turn off on a dating site.

With Esteem Needs, a person starts to reflect on themselves; specifically how they feel about themselves, what they see themselves as being worth, what they have done with their lives, and what others see of them.  Most of us get to this point, and we are really starting to kick ourselves in the backside.  Not happy with any of those things?  Yeah, most of us can fool ourselves into it, or we are perfectly happy.  But without the previous needs on this list being checked off, we tend to ignore it all together. 

Finally we have Self-actualizing Needs, the highest level of enlightenment, or well motivation.  This is his stage where we become self aware, we alter our perception from surviving, to growing as a person, at this point in his hierarchy we become less concerned with what others think, but more concerned with becoming all we can be.  ~sings~ Be all that you can be... In the Army...  Okay that was random.  Anyway, at this point we want to fulfill our potential, that means when we hit this level, we want to do all the things we think we can do.

But Maslow had it wrong.  The mind he was, he had things wrong.  Hey, it happens.  See the problem is we do not always ascend the levels like he thought we did.  Certainly he started out right.  If we do not have the basics of life, we aren't really that concerned about the other things.  The problem is, the first two levels can really be combined.  If you are homeless, starving, with no job, you aren't so concerned about love, unless you have a significant other sitting right there starving next to you.  Then you might be concerned about the Social Needs, but lets be honest, its not even close to being on the list of needs. 

But here is the other problem with Maslow's Hierarchy, look at it again.  Look at the first word at the very top of the pyramid.  Morality.  Morality is something that we start learning when we are in the first stages of life, by the time we are into our late childhood, we have a very strong yet basic grasp of right and wrong.  As we age, these grasp of morality grows stronger, or it is completely disregarded.  The same is true about problem solving (for most of us), friendship, and others.  We tend to piecemeal it together, never firmly landing in one level, until all the others are successfully fulfilled.

Really the problem with Psychology, and using a theory of personality or motivation, few can actually stand alone, they all stand together.  Morals come from conditioning, personality comes from several different theories all together.  You cannot simple tag one theory as being correct, because each theory separately peg a person, and different people will display aspects of different theories.  But just like Maslow's Hierarchy, it gives an insight into a persons motivation, even if they do not exactly fit the theory.  You might find that Erikson's eight stages of development might be a better fit to describe someone's motivation.  And lets not get into Behaviorism, I could be here for six months and not even get into all of it. 

But now, to wrap this up.  I mentioned that this might help you understand why people roll over and give up.  For that, we need to look back at Maslow's Hierarchy, and then look at Adler's theories.  Now here is the thing, we are motivated to be superior to others, in his eyes.  But the problem is, if we get buried too deep, for too long as children and even as adults, we tend to develop an inferiority complex.  After a certain amount of time, we spend so much time beating ourselves up because we feel we do not measure up to society's standards, getting beat up by people who have a superiority complex, that we can no longer escape from our chains.  We are weak, we know we are weak, and there isn't much that can be done about it.  Sure people who have an inferiority complex can massively overachieve, we are over compensating, but the truth is, we are brow beating ourselves so much that the successes we have are largely ignored.