Maslow´s Hierarchy of Needs

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Social Studies

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My hypothetical person’s name is Timothy Avarise. Avarise was born to a dentist and a model, but did not consider himself to have a “wealthy” childhood. However, even he will admit he never struggled to find physiological needs met in his life. He is now 30, and works for an investment firm based in Chicago, and while he likes to think he exists in the rough concrete jungle of Chicago, his suburban home and trophy wife might suggest otherwise. Based on my previous statement, it is obvious that his safety needs are met, and met adequately. While some may accuse Timothy of moral crimes, he does feel that he belongs, especially to his country club, and his group of assorted friends from work and college. He even receives plenty of perhaps undeserved love from his trophy wife, his Brazilian mistress, and his New Jerseyite secretary. In terms of his esteem needs, he really dwells on this level. His degree from Harvard is always being interjected into conversations, and his primly cut lawn sneers out at his neighbors. While undoubtedly his income and his possessions reflect success, he feels he does not get the respect he deserves, and is far too caught up in appearance. While people’s lack of respect for him usually stems from his own greed, but he is blind to this, and constantly is looking for the next item to bring him more esteem. He is still far from self-actualized, and it appears he well remain this way until Avarise can see past his own avarice.

One example of a person who defies Maslow’s theory is Malcolm X. When in prison, physiological needs are barely met, except for sex, which isn’t. Safety needs are completely and utterly neglected, due to constant fear and harm always being around the corner, as are belongingness needs, as there are no real friends in prison. In terms of esteem needs, you are supposed to be exactly the same as everyone else, so only righteous or credible actions would bring esteem, but Malcolm X wasn’t concerned with this, only reading and absorbing as much information as he could. Malcolm was self actualized because he saw the path to become more enlightened and took it on his own, creatively shaping his new beliefs through an understanding of other great beliefs. He tried as hard as he could to reach his full potential, as opposed to being a petty criminal before, and showed great independence and a focus on how to solve his community’s (and subsequently the world’s) problems.

Self Actualization is when all the previous needs have been fulfilled. Creativity is emphasized in this stage, and the goal of creative fulfillment. Also, obtaining one's full potential is stressed. Some characteristics of an actualized person are realism, focusing on others’ problems, spontaneity,independence, and continued sense of external appreciation.

Esteem needs focus a lot on how others perceive the individual. Basic human needs to be valued by others. Some examples are being respected, achievement, independence, and status.

Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs

Safety needs are exactly like they sound. These include shelter (again), a job that pays bills, freedom from fear, a safe environment, and some form of health service. Belongingness needs are all social. This is the humanrelationship element, fitting in somewhere and being a part of an accepting community. Some examples are intimacy, love, belonging, family, and friends.

Physiological Needs are the most basic necessities of the human body. These things include water, sex (for some reason), food, air, shelter, warmth, sleep, and other survival needs. If we can’t find one of these things, little else matters.

Many criticisms of Maslow’s work fall in the “lack of research” area. He was not very scientific, and most of his findings were in his lists, not tables or charts. He never provided any data to prove his theory, and while he said that it applied to every healthy person he knew, this was a valid complaint.


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