Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a theory in psychology that Abraham Maslow proposed in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, which he subsequently extended. His theory contends that as humans meet 'basic needs', they seek to satisfy successively 'higher needs' that occupy a set hierarchy. Article originally from Wikipedia, but shortened version.
Maslows hierarchy of needs
maslows hierachy of needs, maslow hierarchy of needs
Does it do any good for Africans suffering from drought if I reduce my personal water consumption? Why should I reduce the CO2 emissions and save energy? Does it reduce starvation anywhere in the world if I eat less?
Living in moderation is «out» because it seems to be full of deprivations and limitations. Read here why it is on the contrary rather full of opportunities for the personal development. It is an indispensable precondition to get in perpetual harmony, joy and (self-)confidence.
We saw an increasing number of people searching for keywords like the meaning of life, purpose of life, spirit of life, philosophy of life, etc. on our site. Therefore we thought it could be helpful to write some sort of overview or summary where you can find information about the meaning of life on this site.
About the meaning of life
The question about the meaning of life is probably as old as human beings. And it is a very fundamental question, too. You shouldn't expect anybody to answer this question in one simple sentence. You have to deal yourself with questions about the meaning of life and with spirituality. Over time you will then hopefully find your own answer to the meaning of life. What matters most for you is actually the meaning and purpose of your own life and not a very general meaning of life.
We have so far considered the basic rights of existence on the earth as well as human development to a state of internal harmony and the consequences stemming from these considerations with respect to self-responsibility. At some stage the question arises as to how and when we could apply everything we have discussed to our personal life.
It is naturally the free choice of every person as to whether he would like to develop further towards living the basic rights of existence. If he should affirm that he does, it is again entirely his choice as to how and when and in what way he should start this process. The free choice of everyone is respected but every one of us is also responsible for the consequences of his decision.
At the start of this treatise we considered the needs of humankind and during this we referred particularly to the hierarchy in human needs using the example of the Maslow theory: At the lowest level were the existential needs of a person and at the highest level the achievement of a state of lasting happiness, self-realization, salvation of the soul, harmony within oneself or whatever we like to call this state. On the basis of these needs the human being sets his own personal goals according to this theory. If for example his existence is assured, he attempts to realize the needs of the next highest level of hierarchy by setting his goals accordingly. The hierarchy of needs, which we have referred to already many times, therefore corresponds with a similar hierarchy of objectives: Our own goals can also be hierarchically arranged.
In other words: According to the needs which we wish to satisfy, we should select our goals from the corresponding hierarchical level. What sounds so simple and logical is however frequently a cause of disappointment in our personal development: Needs and objectives don’t correspond but often even contradict each other in a flagrant way.
We can compare a person‘s development, as has already been touched on, by using as a model the construction of a high pyramid. There are an astonishing number of common features:
Figure 1: The pyramid of personal development
The pyramid represents the sense of harmony and unity within ourselves and with the environment to which we aspire. The individual building blocks of the pyramid are lessons we have already successfully completed, i.e. the ability we have already learned of how to live the basic rights of existence. As soon as the top of the pyramid has been built to the necessary height and the whole structure has been cleanly rendered the highest goal can be said to have been reached: The respective person is then in perpetual harmony with himself and his environment.
If we consider the effort which drives certain people to feel the abovementioned feeling of happiness, if only briefly, it becomes clear that many of us – probably for a long time – have been searching for ways of achieving perpetual inner harmony, that is the top level of our needs. Here is just a small selection of the ways which are undertaken:
- Overcoming the fear of death: People subject themselves to great danger in order to feel for a brief moment the indescribable feeling of happiness after surviving the situation. Thereby it is not usually very important whether this risk of death was objectively or only subjectively present. Examples of such activities are free climbing up a rock face (without safety gear), ski descents over vertical rock faces, diving into unknown water from a great height, white-water canoeing, boat trips over waterfalls, bungy-jumping, trips on certain types of ride in pleasure parks, as well as the playing of certain computer games.
- Achieving high performance levels: To be the first, the best, the fastest or the most beautiful, in whatever we have done or are still doing, also leads – at least for a short time – to a feeling of happiness of the sort «I am the greatest or the best». In these activities the public often plays an important role. It is at best necessary to be able to see the respective person so as to be able to identify with him. In this way part of this brief feeling of happiness is also transferred to the spectators. Examples: Top sporting events of all kinds, Miss World or similar competitions, Guinness Book of Records etc.
As can be seen from the above examples, very many of us are – as a rule unconsciously – looking for ways of achieving personal harmony, the top step in the priority list of human needs. Something draws us, we want to «find ourselves», «experience something» often without really knowing ourselves what we mean by this.
In no other branch of industry are the needs of human beings so intensively investigated than in advertising. If it is known what the potential consumer group which purchases a given product or service really strives for, where these people set their highest priorities, it is possible to respond exactly to these needs in the advertising and hence earn lots of money!
The striving for harmony and happiness, for a life spent in love and peace is therefore frequently exploited in advertising: First we see a suffering person who has an affliction, an illness or a problem, then a product (pill, ointment, food, drink, car, washing powder, software, computer, telephone, holiday place etc.) and finally we see the same person who – thanks to the use of the product shown – is happy. Often too the happy person is shown together with the product. Just try sometime to deliberately observe how frequently the advertising messages are set up in this way regardless of the product on offer.
What are the human needs? Why do most of us human beings go to work each day, why do we live with a partner, why do we have children? What are we trying to achieve in all of this? What indeed are we striving for? Is it merely to obtain food, to procreate, or do we want to purchase as many objects as possible, possess company shares, make careers for ourselves, go down in history, exercise power over others?
Much has already been written on the objectives and origins of human actions, we want here therefore to extract what we believe to be the most important of the different theories and to add our own thoughts to this.