PSYCHOLOGY OF
ASPIRATION
(Maslow)
How Should I Pursue My
Lifetime Goals?
PSYCHOLOGY
“The Study of Human
Behavior”
• PSYCHE - Self, Soul, Mind
• LOGOS - Word, Reason
“ology”: theory of, study of,
science of
Three contemporary
psychologists/philosophers
provide helpful understandings:
• Abraham Maslow
• Mihaly Csikszentmihayli
• John Rawls
MASLOW’S
THEORY OF
HUMAN
MOTIVATION
“Human beings are motivated
by a number of basic needs
which are species wide,
apparently unchanging, and
genetic or instinctual in origin.
They are intrinsic aspects of
human nature.”
Abraham Maslow
THE NEEDS
HIERARCHY
The human needs are arranged in
a hierarchy, while not a strict one.
Needs in the lower levels of the
hierarchy generally must be
satisfied before other needs
emerge as needs.
PHYSIOLOGICAL
NEEDS*
• Air
• Water
• Food
• Shelter
• Sleep
• Sex
*These needs are most basic and
most powerful, as they are the needs
we have for human survival.
SAFETY NEEDS
We need the security of a
consistent, predictable,
stable, and fair environment;
both physically and
psychologically
SOCIAL NEEDS
• Acceptance
• Belongingness
• Affection
• Love
“A person will hunger for
affectionate relations with
people in general, for a place
in a group, and will strive with
great intensity to achieve this
goal.”
“The need for love
characterizes every human
being born. No psychological
health is possible unless a the
inner nature of a person is
accepted, loved and respected
by others.”
Abraham Maslow
“Unless you love someone,
nothing else makes any
sense.”
e. e. cummings
American poet
EGO NEEDS
• Self-confidence
• Self-esteem
• Self-respect
This internalized validation of
ones self comes from the
acceptance, recognition,
esteem and respect of others.
And, the qualities are most
stable when it is recognized
that the external validation is
deserved.
SELF
ACTUALIZATION
NEED
• Self-Fulfillment
• Self-Realization
• Self-Development
• Creativity
“What a man can be, he must
be….to become more and more
what one is; to become
everything one is capable of
becoming.”
“Be all you can be.”
Abraham Maslow
NEEDS AS LIFETIME
GOALS
•
•
•
•
Physiologic Needs - Health
Safety and Security
Love and Be Loved
Self-Esteem and Esteemed by
Others
• Realization of Full Potential
as Human Being
ABRAHAM MASLOW’S
HIERARCHY OF NEEDS
Self Actualization
Truth
Goodness
Beauty
Aliveness
Individuality
Perfection
Necessity
Completion
Justice
Order
Simplicity
Richness
Playfulness
Effortlessness
Self Sufficiency
Meaningfulness
Self Esteem
Esteem by Others
Loving & Belongingness
Safety and Security
Physiological
Air, Water Food, Shelter, Sleep, Sex
The External Environment
Preconditions for need satisfaction
Freedom, Justice, Orderliness Challenge
(Stimulation)
*Growth needs are all of equal importance (not hierarchical)
BEING NEEDS
(Metamotivation)
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Wholeness: Integration, Centeredness
Completion: Fulfillment, Finality
Justice: Fairness, Lawfulness
Simplicity: Structure, Essentiality
Beauty: Rightness, Form
Goodness: Oughtness, Rightness
Uniqueness: Individuality, Novelty
Playfulness: Fun, Joy
Truth: Reality, Essentiality
Self-Sufficiency: Autonomy,
Independence
It is important to remember that
while Maslow creates a hierarchy of
needs, he argues against interpreting
it too narrowly or precisely. That is,
security does not emerge until the
need for food is entirely satisfied, or
that the need for love does not
emerge until the need for safety is
fully satisfied. Most people have
partially satisfied most of their basic
needs, but still have some unsatisfied
basic needs remaining
AN
EXISTENTIALIST
PERSPECTIVE
• The philosopher Ralph Ellis has
written a book entitled, Eros in a
Narcissistic Society, in which he
suggests that romantic love is an
essential ingredient in defining
meaning for our existence and
therefore critically important in a life
of happiness.
• He begins by suggesting that the
most prevalent dysfunction of the
modern psyche is the dysfunction
associated with understanding
romantic love—which he calls eros.
FINITUDE
• He understands the major
dysfunction of life to be the
existential anxiety associated
with finitude, which he defines
as the inevitable problems of
life: alienation, relative
powerlessness, relative
insignificance, and death.
• He suggests that eros, romantic
love, is the only means of
overcoming such and gaining a
sense of meaning for one’s life.
EROS
• While I have some degree of
sympathy for Dr. Ellis’s view, it
should be noted that the word eros is
typically defined differently by other
philosophers.
• It is generally understood as the
passionate drive (life force) to live
life to the fullest; the drive toward
self-actualization; the love of truth,
goodness, and beauty.
• Ironically, inappropriately, and
unfortunately, the word is used
colloquially to specifically reference
sexual passion.
NEED VERSUS DESIRE
• Ellis makes a distinction that Maslow does
not—that of need versus desire.
• Needs for Ellis are those things that reduce
a humans physiological requirements as a
human being—reduce their drives for food,
drink, sleep, sex. Those things required to
keep one alive and to bring about a state of
rest to the drive.
• But he says we also want to continue to
exist with a certain degree of intensity,
change, transformation, adventure and
‘aliveness.’ The nature of human
consciousness is to seek change and
transformation; therefore consciousness
cannot continue to exist by being what it is.
We must continually seek transformation.
Those aspects of existence that expand and
transform our consciousness are drives.
These would seemingly correlate with
Maslow’s “psychological needs,” or his
“growth needs.”
• Romantic love, eros, is, for Ellis, the
quintessential drive.
Discussion Questions
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•
•
•
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Maslow’s theory affirms that human needs are the
same throughout the species; the same regardless of
the cultural context. Do you agree? Why or why not?
Maslow uses the terms “need” and “desire”
interchangeably. Are they the same, or would you
draw distinctions between them?
Maslow affirms Carl Rogers’ definition of love: “that
of being deeply understood and deeply accepted.” What
is your view of this definition?
The chapter on Maslow’s theory quotes the note
psychiatrist, Karl Menninger, “love is impaired less by
the feeling that we are not appreciated than by a dread,
more or less felt by everyone, less others see through
our masks, the masks of repression than have been
forced on us by convention and culture. It is this that
leads us to shun intimacy, to maintain relationships on
a superficial level, to understand and fail to appreciate
others lest they came to appreciate us too well.”. In
your judgment, is this true?
How does Maslow explain the failure of so many to
actualisze (fulfill) their full potential? Does his
explanation seem reasonable?
Is it Maslow’s view that each of the “lower” order
needs must be satisfied before “higher” order ones can
be met? Explain.
What role does the environment or social conditions
in society play in Maslow’s theory of motivation?
Maslow distinguishes between basic or deficiency
needs and growth needs. What is the distinction?
Does Maslow’s theory have any relevance to the
health of the public?
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PSYCHOLOGY OF ASPIRATION