The Missing Apex of Maslow’s Hierarchy Could Save Us All
Maslow never got around to publishing the final tier of his pyramid: self-transcendence.
When psychologist Abraham Maslow died, he wasn’t quite finished with his famous hierarchy of human needs.
He’d presented his pyramid in a paper, "A Theory of Human Motivation" published in Psychological Review. Here’s the hierarchy as it seemed to him when it was published in 1943.
Maslow’s original Hierarchy of Human Needs
Maslow lived until 1970, though, and the pyramid above doesn’t represent his final thoughts on the matter. In his later years, he added a new apex to the pyramid: self-transcendence.
Maslow's revised Hierarchy of Human Needs
Nichol Bradford, CEO and founder of Willow Group, recently spent a summer at Singularity University, whose mission is to be “a global community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.” While there, she had the opportunity to hear talks by a stream of experts and forward-thinkers. At the end, she came away convinced that the most serious problems facing humanity aren’t technical: Although engineering our way out of trouble is possible, it can’t happen until we transcend ourselves, seeing beyond our own individual well-being to the needs of us all.
This is what the final stage of Maslow’s pyramid is about: Having met our basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid, having worked on our emotional needs in its middle and worked at achieving our potential, Maslow felt we needed to transcend thoughts of ourselves as islands. We had to see ourselves as part of the broader universe to develop the common priorities that can allow humankind to survive as a species.
Maslow saw techniques many of us are familiar with today — mindfulness, flow — as the means by which individuals can achieve the broader perspective that comes with self-transcendence. Given the importance of coming together as a global community, his work suggests that these methods and others like them aren’t just tweaks available for optimizing our minds, but vitally important tools if we hope to continue as a living species.
Don't underestimate the power of play when it comes to problem-solving.
- As we get older, the work we consistently do builds "rivers of thinking." These give us a rich knowledge of a certain kind of area.
- The problem with this, however, is that as those patterns get deeper, we get locked into them. When this happens it becomes a challenge to think differently — to break from the past and generate new ideas.
- How do we get out of this rut? One way is to bring play and game mechanics into workshops. When we approach problem-solving from a perspective of fun, we lose our fear of failure, allowing us to think boldly and overcome built patterns.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
The surprising results come from a new GLAAD survey.
- The survey found that 18- to 34-year-old non-LGBTQ Americans reported feeling less comfortable around LGBTQ people in a variety of hypothetical situations.
- The attitudes of older non-LGBTQ Americans have remained basically constant over the past few years.
- Overall, about 80 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ people.
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