Abraham Maslow ABRAHAM MASLOW Born April1,1908 Abraham Maslow was the oldest of seven children born to his parents in Brooklyn New York. Feeling pressure from his parents to achieve academic greatness, Abraham went through early childhood with few friends. Focusing mainly on his studies Maslow had a quiet and unfulfilling adolescence. Abraham started off his college career by attending city college in New York were he began to study law, as his father had wanted him to do. He soon lost interest and transferred to the University of Wisconsin and studied psychology. Here Maslow received, in 1934, his Ph.D. During his college career Abraham married his cousin Bertha Goodman, his parents did not approve of the union and were saddened by it . While Maslow was at Wisconsin he met a man named Harry Harlow, Harlow had a great affect on Maslow and his thinking .
Another one of Maslows role models was E.L Thorndike who got him interested in human sexuality. Abraham took a job at Brooklyn College ,it is here were he took interest in humanistic psychology. And developed his theory on the “Hierarchy of Needs”, and the idea of self-actualization. Maslow would go on to be one of the greatest humanistic and behavioral psychologists to date. Trying to get up that great big hill hope for his destination Abraham Maslow created the hierarchy of needs.
Which takes us from basic physical needs to self -actualization. Maslow believed each person was born with his or hers mental, creative , and social potential. It is as if each person is given an empty glass. Each glass is a different size, some may be capable of holding 10oz others 20oz, it is only a matter of filling them up. The problem is overcoming the obstacles, fulfilling your needs in order to reach and achieve your full potential. these needs which must be reached are illustrated in the pyramid below.
At the bottom of the pyramid is the physiological needs those basic needs which ensure our survival. Water when we are thirsty, food when we are hungry, the ability of our body to produce protein and sugars for muscle development. These are the needs felt by all living creation not just humans, therefore the simplest. You could say these are our basic instincts. Then when these needs are met, we are able to move up the next rung of the ladder.
So know that I am not going to starve to death, I now am concerned about being killed. These are my safety and security needs. A person buys a house so he will be protected from the elements, we put locks on our doors so that no one can come in. And it is not just a matter of keeping your body safe, but also your hopes and dreams. People seek stability, for this they put money away for there retirement.
This is why we have rules and laws put into place, so that there might be limits and social order. So when our physical needs are met we then find something else to be concurred with fear. And when over come our anxieties we then divert our attention to that which other people think of us. Belonging needs are the next to be met on the pyramid. There you sit in your house, nice and safe, your fat and happy .
What do you need now? Somebody to share your bounty and safety with. Belonging needs our those feelings you have of wanting to be accepted. You feel the need for companions, friends, a lover, a wife, you want to be apart of something. These needs are met in a variety of ways, some good others bad. A person wanting to be apart of a community might join a sports team of some kind, A gang, club, job,a family. All are ways to meet this need. And if you do not meet these needs you might become lonely, sad and depressed.
As a wolf belongs to a pack so do we desire to be a member of society. Often times in order to feel that they belong, a person results to violence and angry outburst to get the attention of others. In order to be a part of a gang a person may have to kill some one as kind of test. When you do join that team you put up with hazing and abuse. So in order to advance up the pyramid you brought somebody down, or possibly even yourself.
Esteem needs, Maslow shows us two types of esteem needs. It is like a type A and a type B. B the lesser of the two is the need of respect . Not just being apart of the group but being needed by them. This is the type of need we see fulfilled by Glory, fame, wealth, riches, power over others.
The second type, type A have you, is self-respect. It is the ability step back and look at yourself and say well done. Confidence, that what you are is good. You have climbed and climbed and finally you have reached the summit. This is the point at which your cup is full. Self – actualization; Maslow says that when we are truly self-actualized you have reached your potential and in some sense fulfilled your destiny.
It is almost as if you have become a different person than you were before. Like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon. Your life, all the hard work and perseverance in meeting all of your other needs has finally paid off. You rise above the noise and confusion and are able to free. You are free to do what you have been called to do , as a singer must sing and a painter must paint so to can anyone do what they have been called to do. When going through Dr. Maslows mane points I find great similarity to religious beliefs.
Though Abraham was not a religious person, I find many aspects alike between the hierarchy of needs and Buddhism , Christianity and other world religions. For instance, Buddha taught that in life we must overcome our self-centeredness, you must transcend your earthly desires in order to reach enlightenment. This state is Nirvana, a freedom from worry and Sin a release of the self. Almost like the pyramid, starting at the bottom and reaching the top. Almost the opposite yet very similar is Christianity.
Instead of starting at the bottom a Christian in a kind of way starts at the top. God says that when we put our faith and trust in Him, He will provide all our needs. He gives us love , He provides the wife or husband should have, He will make sure we don’t go hungry. And with most of our needs we are not aware of them until we do not have them. You are not hungry until you have no food , you do not have low self -esteem until you are made fun of an hurt. All these things you do not feel there effect of their presence until they are gone.
On the other han you do not Know the effect God has on your life until you have Him as you Savior. Maslow goes onto say that about only two percent of all society actually becomes self-actualized. And of these few , are some of the greatest and most influential of all people. Examples can be seen in Ghandi , Einstein, Aristotle, Mother Teresa and so on. Some great thinkers, others fighters of humanity but all true to themselves and their calling (as far as we Know).
So does this mean you must be famous to become self -actualized? I found a quote which expresses my feelings on that matter. Do not confuse notoriety and fame with greatness. Many of the titled in today’s world obtained there fame and fortune outside their own merit. On the other hand, I have met great people in the most obscure roles in life. For you see greatness is a measure of ones spirit, not a result of ones rank on human affairs.
Nobody least of all mere , humans, confers greatness upon another, for it is not a price but an achievement. And greatness can crown the heads of a janitor just as readily as it can someone of high rank. – Anonymous One criticism of the higher hierarchy of needs is the people Maslow feels are self actualized. Some of these people did not meet their basic needs instead just went without them moving up to the next level. Ghandi would fast and put himself in the way of harm. Mother Teresa was poor and without husband or lover.
Yet these two lived some of the greatest most fulfilling lives of all time. So I feel it is possible to Become “self-actualized” without going in that exact order or those exact needs. Another theory brought to us by Maslow is that of “The third force”. An idea stating that in the beginning(birth, conception, creation) we as individuals are intrinsically good. Meaning are sin, wrongdoings, bad choices and decisions we make are truly not of our human nature.
Instead the reason for our actions is that of the society and environment we grew up in. Maslow did a study were he placed people in rooms by themselves for a given amount of time. Here they were given food choices some good and healthy others tasty sweet and fattening. And after a certain amount of time alone the people slowly started to eat more and more healthy until they had a completely nutritious diet. Maslow would say that the reason for this would be, without the influence of others the individuals true nature (good) would surface and overcome that which society had taught them. It is often believed just the opposite which Maslows theory supports.
In today’s society many feel we are evil almost animal like in nature. There even have been movies made about such behavior. Lord of The Flies is the first I can think of. Here you Have ten or more young boys stranded on an island all alone with technology or adult supervision. The results of there isolation is a tribe of wild men who kill and fight one another for pleasure. In response to this I would think Maslow would say it was the group that was bad not the individual still maintaining his idea that we are good at heart.
As you pointed out though in class if each member of the group is good then wouldn’t the group as a whole be good also? There is a very good point and a flaw to this theory I feel. Maslow could not have left such a huge gap in his theory, there must be an explanation. I thought, Maslow did not say each person was perfect but good. So this means the individual still good has faults. And even if individual has only one actual sin, put six billion of those people together and they will learn from one another.
So the individuals sin becomes the fall of the society as a whole. That is just my thought on the matter. Toward a Psychology of being(1968) People and Decisions http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/bhmas l.html Maslows Hierarchy of needs http://www.connect.net/georgen/maslow.htm Encarta encyclopedia http://www.encarta.msn.com/find/Concise.asp Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia volume 17 (1983) Psychology Essays.