Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

This pyramid is used in every social science, from psychology to nation-building. The theory is, you need the bottom layer before you can get to the second layer, then to the third, etc.

I'm working on a longer post on Haitian aid, but it's fun and instructive to look at this for your own life, and as a way to understand the actions of Haiti's desperate people--and the strategies for aid.

You can see that food comes before security--which is why people continued to loot grocery stores, even when a police officer with a rifle was ordering them away.  Aid workers see security as primary, because their more basic needs are either met or deferred in a selfless action. Once they are assured some security, the camaraderie can develop between organizations, and so forth.

Pretty cool, huh? How does it apply to you at home? (click on it to see the fine print).

Image from bk one web site


Bob G. said...

My God...I haven't heard about Maslow since the rearly 70s!

And that pyramid seems to work just fine at our house.
Interesting to so aptly apply it to the Haitian situation.

Very well thought out!


Ann T. said...

Dear Bob G.,
I learned about him in my fairly recent master's program in international relations. He gets kicked around a little, but the advertisers still quote him like Shakespeare.

You know, Bob, the first interaction we ever had in electronic space was "Ann, My God! I thought nobody used the words noblesse oblige anymore"--remember?

You and I are working from similar memory banks!

Ann T.

The Observer said...

Dear Ann T.

This is really sad, I have spent a lot of time dwelling in the bottom three tiers of the pyramid the past year or so, yet trying to reach the items on the top. No wonder I feel partially nuts.

Some Christians think Maslow is anti Christian but I think there is a lot of truth in the pyramid. I think Jesus would have liked the hierarchy of needs work of Maslow. Maybe his other stuff was off the wall, but this is all I remember him for.

Thanks for the post.

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
I've spent entirely the same amount of time on the bottom two, skipped the third, and headed up. This house of cards just keeps plopping down.

I'm guessing Maslow seems to dismiss the deep faith that many people have that does not rely on the other levels. (?) And yet religion encourages order, congregation, textual study, service with status (e.g., deacons, apostles, et cetera), builds spaces with high ceilings (aesthetics)and has liturgies with heightened prose.

For self-actualization, I go straight to the parable of the talents. But perhaps these Christians have a point if they say transcendence can come at any stage.

I hadn't thought about this, so my remarks are off the cuff. I can certainly see how Maslow would seem manipulable . . . or, compassionate, depending on how it is used.

Very interesting! Thank you!

Ann T.