Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Essay

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Essay

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Abraham Maslow proposed a theory concerning human motivations that was based upon a hierarchy of needs. Basic physiological drives like thirst, hunger and sleep, as well as the need for safety, shelter and some feeling of security are the motivational needs that must first be met. They provide the foundation for higher level of motivations to become present and available as needs the indvidual is aroused to attain.

Each higher order of motivational need is built upon a more basic need. After physiological and safety needs are met then the individual looks to belong and be accepted by peers and groups that they identify with. Once accepted, one looks to improve their self-esteem and garner the respect and esteem of their peers and the groups to which they belong. Finally an individual is driven by the need to become self-actualized, becoming all that one has the potential of becoming.

A brief case study of an interesting individual might make for a good way of exploring Maslow's hierarchy in more detail. Let's move Sigmund Freud through the five original levels of Maslow's hierarchy and see what we might learn of both Maslow's theory, and Sigmund Freud.

Maslow's foundation need, the one upon all others are built upon, is physiological need. Air to breathe, food and water, and adequate sleep are all basic biological needs that the individual must have met. Not only to be motivated by the next level of need in the hierarchy, but to survive. The body's biological drives to fulfill these needs will predominate all other activities, as the very life of the organism is at stake.

Built just atop these biological needs is the basic need for safety. Shelter is imperative for the survival and growth of the individual and his fam...


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...that they are capabale, fulfilling the potential that lies within the person. Unlike the previous needs, which are driven by deficits, that once they are filled, bring nothing more to the individual other than the opportunity to feel the next need, self-actualization is a growth need. The more one puts into the attainment of self-actualization the more that the individual becomes actualized. It is a rare achievement as the person must not only have all of his more basic needs met, he must be aroused enough by the motivation to make the attempt at fulfilling the need.

While it seems Freud did make efforts toward self-actualization, it was mainly through his own efforts of self analysis. It could be argued then, that even if Freud were to become fully actualized, it would only be within his own framework that has been proven to be flawed given further advancements.

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