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Taking Liberties with Maslow 2 Sep 2012

Most of us have heard of, or know a thing or two, about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Although some have said that Maslow himself never used a pyramid to depict this hierarchy, it is commonly represented as that rather well-known pyramid. The bottom four layers are supposed to represent the “Deficiency”, or “D” needs and the top refers to the ‘Being” or “B” needs. It is commonly thought that the needs at the bottom portions of the pyramid must be met first, before an individual will seek the fulfillment of the higher needs.

At first glance, that might seem true. After all, if a person is about to die of thirst, we take it as a given that he or she would care for nothing else but to be given water. However, as we contemplate that, we are also reminded of the Karen mothers, fleeing for two weeks through the mountainous jungle from armed terrorists, to arrive at the safety of refugee camps inside the Thai border, placing their babies in safe hands before letting go and dropping dead.

Maslow did refer to such individuals as being “metamotivated”. He had a premise that metamotivated people become so only after the first four basic levels of need have been met. (Green italics are my paraphrase).

I most certainly beg to differ! History is full of the examples of men and women who were extremely deficient in having their needs at the lower levels met, but who selflessly served others, risking, and perhaps losing, life and limb in so doing. Was Purun Bhagat such a person? Or would you say that he had already had all his basic needs met before he embarked on his spiritual journey? Be careful what you say in judgment. If you have not undertaken such a journey yourself, be assured that creature comforts, like gratitude, are the least deeply felt, and remembered, of all human experiences. Would you have endured two weeks of severe privations to save your baby? If you say yes, ask yourself what your stand on abortion is! Would you have pushed others out of the agonizingly freezing waters onto lifeboats as the Titanic sank? To me, the modern film version is a blasphemous attempt to sully the memory of those heroic men. Search truth out, and you will not be swayed by popular opinion.

Are you a highly-motivated person, or are you metamotivated? Is there a higher purpose that leads you onward and upward, or are you just thinking of putting food on the table or buying that new condominium? Find out what your personal significant purpose in life is, and you will be in a much better posture to influence those around you and Make Things Happen, too! Go well!

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