Who are you? What is your essential nature? What is your core human being? What will it take to make you happy? How, in other words, to be human? American Psychologist Abraham Maslow had some ideas about that. Way back in 1943, Maslow suggested that humans have a hierarchy of needs, two hierarchies in fact, and that if we are going to be happy and healthy, feel satisfied and whole, then at the very least, we have to meet all the needs in both hierarchies.[2] Maslow called his two hierarchies the Hierarchy of Basic Needs and the Hierarchy of Cognitive Needs.[3]

The first hierarchy of needs, the Hierarchy of Basic Needs, covers a range of biologically rooted needs, from the physiological need for food and shelter all the way up to the psychological need for self-actualization.[4] Maslow said that as humans, we need to eat, we need to sleep, we need to be loved, we need a sense of self-esteem, and we have to find a way to “self-actualize,” meaning we have to express our inner Self, our talents, etc. Shortly after publishing his first article, and probably as the result of his empirical investigations into peak experiences, Maslow added an additional biological need that he called the need for transcendence.[5]  Maslow felt that in order to survive, thrive, and be happy, we needed to meet all our basic needs, including our need for transcendence. A graphic of the hierarchy of basic needs, slightly modified to reflect my own thinking on the issue of human needs, is provided below.

Corrected Hierarchy of Basic Needs[6]

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow felt meeting all these basic needs was very important. Maslow said that you couldn’t be a healthy and happy human if these basic needs were not met. This raises the obvious question, how do we meet these needs. Unfortunately, meeting basic human needs is a complicated question that gets into parenting, socialization, education, politics, economics, and even (when you get up to the top and start talking about self-actualization and connection), human spirituality.[7] It is way too complicated to get into here.

We’ll explore the question of how we meet some of our needs later. Here we’ll just say this: you cannot meet any of your human needs alone. Whether it is the need for food, safety, love, self-esteem, self-actualization, or connection, you need others to help you along. This is just the way it is. This is the way it has always been. There has never been a time in the evolution of our species when we have not depended on others to assist us in the meeting of our needs. This is true of our very basic needs for food and shelter (the home you are in was built by a lot of different people), and even our “higher needs” for self-esteem (we need somebody to appreciate us, to have our self-esteem needs met) and love (we need somebody to love us to have our need for love met).

When you start to ask the question how to be human, and when you start to ask how to get your needs met, or how you help meet the needs of others, look to the quality and content of your familial, social, and economic relationships first. It is in human relationships that all our basic needs either get met or get thwarted.

Truth Needs

As noted, Maslow theorized two separate hierarchies. Maslow’s second hierarchy of needs, the Hierarchy of Cognitive Needs, had, according to Maslow, only two needs, these being the need to know and the need to understand[8]

The need to know is our basic biologically rooted need to know things, like why politicians act the way they way act, what’s 2+2, what the sparkly lights in the sky at night are, do I have a soul, etc. Maslow felt our need to know was powerful and constant. Maslow said that “even after we know, we are impelled to know more and more… “[9] Maslow said our need to know drove us deep into the details of why things work, and wide into the philosophy and even religion of who we are and why we are here.

Our need to know was important and powerful, but Maslow pointed out that just knowing things was never enough; we also need to understand, and we need meaning. According to Maslow:

The facts that we acquire, if they are isolated or atomistic, inevitably get theorized about, and either analyzed or organized or both. This process has been phrased by some as the search for “meaning.” We shall then postulate a desire to understand, to systematize, to organize, to analyze, to look for relations and meanings. [10]

As noted, Maslow called these two needs, our need to know and our need to understand, our cognitive needs. We would say that the need to know and understand are two parts of the same need, which is our human need for truth.

Hierarchy of cognitive needs
Human need for truth

Maslow's Hierarchy of Cognitive Needs

Maslow would say these truth needs, like all needs on the hierarchy, including transcendence, are biological/evolutionary needs, i.e., that they are rooted in the biology of the organism, and that is most certainly true. Knowing and understanding your environment is most definitely a survival thing. An organism that does not know and understand its environment is an organism not long for this world.

It should be noted, Maslow was not saying anything particularly “sciency”, “revolutionalary”, or new when he said humans have cognitive needs.[11] To be sure, Maslow based his belief in these cognitive needs on his clinical research work, but even without that, the existence of these needs is self-evident. We mean, everyone with a toddler child above two can see that these needs do exist. Whenever a child asks the questions “What is that?” or “Why is that?” or “Why am I here?” they are attempting to learn truth. The need for truth is a powerful human need.

The Importance of the Hierarchy of Truth Needs

From the very beginning, Maslow thought (and we agree) that these truth needs were important enough to be included in their own separate, though closely and synergistically related, hierarchy. Indeed, Maslow spends significant time in his 1970 book[12] discussing the existence, significance, and core nature of these needs. For example, Maslow felt that these needs were evolutionary, pointing out that monkeys and other primates displayed curiosity and exploratory play.

Maslow also felt, and we wholeheartedly agree, that satisfaction of cognitive needs was a defining aspect of “psychologically healthy people,” and that unhealthy people were those who had their truth needs thwarted. Healthy people, he said, are “attracted to the mysterious, to the unknown, to the chaotic, unorganized, and unexplained.” Maslow said that those who have their need for truth thwarted get bored and depressed, experience intellectual deterioration, have lower self-esteem, and experience “psychopathological effects.” Maslow even suggested there were profoundly negative political implications when these needs were not met. He noted that in countries where “information, and…facts were cut off, and…where official theories were profoundly contracted by obvious facts, at least some people responded with generalized cynicism, mistrust of all values, suspicion even of the obvious, a profound disruption of ordinary interpersonal relationships, hopelessness, loss of morale, etc.”[13]  As you can see, serious consequences ensue when the need for truth is subverted.

We have to say, many children and adults do not have their need for truth met. This is, ironically, especially true in our current information dense global culture, where Google, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other elite media systems capture and direct human attention. Be that as it may, when pathology develops, fixing the problem is actually very easy. Maslow simply suggested Cognitive Therapy. That is, find interesting things to know and understand. Basically, find the truths of this world. Maslow suggested things like going to school, finding intellectually demanding hobbies, or finding more interesting work. Maslow said that when he applied cognitive therapy to people who were not having their cognitive needs met, he saw great improvement in their emotional and psychological well-being.

This all seems sensible enough. We would only add that in the end, even hobbies and education will not satisfy. Ultimately, we are driven to understand the spiritual truths of our existence as well. If we fail to understand the higher truths of our existence, we ultimately suffer dissatisfaction, existential angst, and possibly emotional and psychological pathology.

To summarize, Maslow thought that cognitive needs were very important. He thought these existed in all animals, that they were powerful enough to drive people to sacrifice their lives to satisfy them, that healthy development required their fulfillment, and that thwarting the cognitive needs led to psychopathology and even death. He even put forth the anti-capitalist/revolutionary notion that intellectual interests and satisfaction of curiosity were ends unto themselves, and that they didn’t need to be tied to “achieved results” (i.e. testing, product development, applied science, etc.). We would go farther and say that tying truth needs to economic or political agendas will lead to the subversion of the needs.[14] But that’s another story.

The Theory of How to be Human

It should be noted that Maslow’s theory of human needs is more than just a theory of biological drives. Maslow’s “theory” of needs is also:

  1. A theory of human health and wellbeing. For Maslow, happy, healthy people were the ones that met all their needs and moved up the hierarchy to the point of self-actualization (and later) “transcendence.” Unhappy people were the ones who had their needs thwarted.
  2. A theory of mental and emotional pathology and breakdown. For Maslow, you absolutely had to satisfy all your needs. If you did not, if lower and higher needs were thwarted in any way, the individual would be led to violence, aggression and emotional and psychological breakdown.
  3. An alternative theory of human nature. Maslow did not agree with the typical Christian->Machievellian->Freudian->scientific conception of humanity as sinful, savage, beasts evolving from a primitive past, beasts that needed to be bound, suppressed, and controlled. He argued that humans were basically good at core and that their instincts, their “needs” were basically functional and supportive of the actualization of “full humanness.” If humans were encouraged and supported in their development, thought Maslow argued they would grow up to be shining examples of human health, potential, and goodness.[15]
  4. A theory of utopia. Maslow felt that it was possible to create conditions that would encourage full human actualization and that if this could be accomplished, utopia would result. Maslow called his utopia Eupsychia, and he made programmatic statements about what would create such conditions (A. Maslow). Maslow notes “From the point of view…of fostering self-actualization or health, a good environment[16] is one that offers all necessary raw materials and then gets out of the way and stands aside to let the (average) organism itself utter its wishes and demands and make its choices.[17]

We are sure you will agree, this is all very fascinating. Unfortunately, although Maslow mentioned both these hierarchies in his seminal 1943 article published over sixty years ago, modern psychology is largely absent of a consideration of the second hierarchy of needs. If Maslow thought these needs were so important, and if he stated the existence of a second hierarchy in the same place he stated the existence of his basic needs hierarchy, why has his second hierarchy been all but ignored? [18]

As sociologists, we would say it comes down to one thing and one thing only, the uncomfortable implications of his second hierarchy for the economic status quo. If we accept the existence and implications of Maslow’s second hierarchy, then a lot of the status quo things we do to maintain the perverse economic system, like spending billions of dollars to manipulate consumption patterns, running a class-based education system,[19] or creating leviathan monsters like Google and Facebook, become psychologically, sociologically, and even spiritually misinformed, not to mention emotionally/psychologically toxic, and even deadly as well.


Be that as it may, Maslow’s theory of cognitive needs carries some profound implications, which we’d like to gloss over right now.

  1. Implications for psychological theory. Maslow says that humans are driven by curiosity. We search for truth, we seek to understand, and we strive for self-actualization and transcendence. If this is true, and we believe it is, the past few decades, which have seen psychology preoccupied with behaviorist perspectives that disenchant and reduce human experience to a combination of environment and genetics, and which have largely become established mainstream psychology these days,[20] seems misplaced and grossly misinformed. The needs for self-actualization, transcendence, truth, and understanding are pretty much ignored by behavioral and cognitive psychology (maybe things have changed?). If Maslow was right and we have a deep drive for truth and understanding, then you can no more understand the full range of human motivation, behavior, psychopathology, and potential with theories of conditioning, reward, genetics, and punishment as you can understand a rabbit by looking at a rock. You absolutely need humanistic, transpersonal, and other more “elevated” perspectives. If Maslow is right, psychology has a lot of repair work to do.

Implications for education: If the need to know and the need to understand are powerful, if we all have a biological drive for truth, and if getting the Truth is a question of life or death, then our K12 education system is going to have to change in fundamental ways. We are going to need to move beyond an economic-class based educational system, like the one the planet currently has,[21] and move to one more focused on human curiosity and play. This is happening now, with pedagogical innovations like “Makerspaces” (Hughes), but there is much more work to do. We have a need for truth, and the education system should reflect that need.

This might not seem like an issue for some, but our education system is aimed primarily at instrumental ends and capitalist/industrial priorities. Things that don’t contribute to capitalist priorities (like an empowered and creative humanity) are ejected from the curriculum. Likewise, aspects that might undermine the capitalist political agenda are actively suppressed, especially in the lower class system. This is not a particularly new or controversial position. Maslow himself noted that the extant education system neglected cognitive discovery “in favor of achieved results, learning, etc.” (1960a). Accepting Maslow’s second hierarchy means we need to transform the education system. In a system submissive to the capitalist economic system, certain truths will always be subverted.

  1. Implications for psychological practice: If subverting truth and human creativity needs leads to psychopathology, one of the goals of psychological therapy must be for a client to achieve a connection to truth and reality. This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but in fact psychological therapies often ignore painful realities and the actions that would change these realities in favor helping to reduce conflict and to help the client “fit in.” If a worker is experiencing psychological distress because of a toxic work environment, the therapist (who works for the employer) will generally not challenge the employer, but instead will try to fit the patient in by subscribing therapies and drugs that encourage avoidance, repression, and numbing.

The same dynamic is present in toxic families, where members spend a lot of time constructing veneers that hide toxic realities and protect toxic members. This is particularly obvious in families where there is sexual assault of children. We have seen family members (mothers, sisters, aunts, etc.) engage in herculean attempts to erase awareness of the reality/truth that their husband, brother, aunt, grandparent, etc., is a sexual predator raping children. This denial of reality inevitably has serious psychological and emotional consequences for everybody involved, in particular the victims of all forms of violence, not just sexual assault.

  1. Implications for families and schools: There are obvious implications for parents and teachers. If we do have a powerful need for truth, then quality parenting requires attention not only to basic needs, but to the need for truth as well. If you take both hierarchies seriously, it seriously raises the bar on what counts as adequate parenting. Basic biological needs would have to be met, but so would needs for safety, self-actualization, transcendence, and truth. We’re not talking enriched environments here, we’re talking total transformation of how we parent and school our children. Children require safe and non-violent environments at home and school, not toxic environments and toxic socialization[22]. Children need parents who nurture and support, not shame and assault.[23] This obviously makes parenting and teaching even harder jobs than they already are. So, note. This is not a judgment on parents or teachers. This is a plea for economic change so we can properly support the two most important institutions on this planet, the family, and Remember, no single person or single couple can provide for the full spectrum of the needs of the child. The entire village needs to be on board.
  2. Implications for society: At this point, we can see that Maslow’s needs have powerful implications, for psychology, psychological therapy, family, education, and so on. Maslow’s hierarchies also have powerful implications for capitalism. Our planet is now dominated by a capitalist system of accumulation that is destroying not only the planet,[24] but the human psyche as well. Built on the exploitation of human needs, and the invocation of human addiction,[25] Putting primary emphasis on enriching a few, while denying the needs of the many, the System eats through the planet, corrupts human motives, shackles human needs to economic growth, and destroys the human psyche.  As Hollywood’s “B-Movie teaches”, the only thing that matters to the System, and those who benefit from it, is that you show up to work on time, and you buy “things” when you’re not there.
  3. Implications for self: If the sorts of things Maslow said about human needs are true, then we all got work to do. Speaking for ourselves, we emerged from unsafe childhood environments at home and at school with unmet needs and damaged psychological, emotional, and physical structures, structures damaged partly by neglect of our needs. Based on emerging research about the prevalence of toxic childhood environments,[26] we can safely assume, so has everybody reading these words. It is has taken us years of work to a) meet unmet needs for ourselves, b) fix the emotional/psychological things that were broken, and c) change our behaviors so we can create environments that support and nurture rather than undermine and disable. It has been a struggle and a challenge. And note, we’re not wagging fingers and casting judgment; we’re just saying, if satisfaction of human needs is something we, as a species, need (for the sake of our individual and collective emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health) to focus on, then we all got a lot of work to do not only to overcome the toxic legacy, but to make the world around us a more ideal and human place, capable of actuating full human potential.


In this article, we note that Abraham Maslow originally proposed two needs hierarchies, a hierarchy of basic needs and a hierarchy of cognitive needs. The hierarchy of cognitive needs, though arguably important, has largely been ignored primarily, we feel, because it has uncomfortable personal implications for many, and because it presents significant personal, familial, institutional, economic, and global challenges. To follow the implications through means a) facing uncomfortable truths about how we operate and b) engaging in revolutionary transformation at all levels of society. Anything else is a suppression and repression of truth, which we would argue leads to broad economic, political, psychological (read human) pathology.

So what to do? Five years ago, significant change would have seemed hopeless. But now, as the #metoo and #timesup movements explode (and might we also suggest #nomorelies), and as even more dramatic tectonic quakes line on the horizon, there is hope. If we may be so bold, the first step forward is to recognize what it means to be human. We’ve known the answer to that for decades, if not millennia. To be human means to satisfy, from food and safety all the way up to truth and transcendence, all our biologically rooted needs. Once we realize that, then the second step forward is to transform ourselves, our families, our institutions, and the planet so that we can meet the human needs of everyone, not just the privileged few, wherever you may be. If we want to “graduate” out of the current, spiraling, self-destructive chaos that seems to be sweeping your lives, this planet, that’s what you need to do.

Of course, that’s going to be a challenge, not only because creating a society where we meet all our needs is going to push up hard against, and require transformation of, the economic status quo, but also because it is going to require deep self-reflection, and fundamental behavioral changes, reflection and change that, we dare say, is going to cause quite a bit of personal, professional, and global discomfort. But what choice do we have? If Maslow is right, if we’re right, if in order to be healthy, happy, and fully human we have to meet all our needs, then the truth and nothing but the truth, discovered in warm, safe, loving environments that nurture self-esteem, encourage self-actualization, and support transcendence, will do.








Need Notes

The Physiological Needs, include the need for water, nutrients, rest, exercise, constant blood temperature, etc.

Safety needs are psychological needs for safety, including the need for security of body, security of employment, security of morality, security of health, and security of property. Manifested, according to Maslow, in the need for routine. Belied by quarreling, physical assault, separation, divorce, or death.

It is perhaps easier to understand safety needs by considering what an unsafe environment looks like. For Maslow, unsafe environments were environments where there was quarreling, physical assault, separation, divorce of parents, emotional assault, name calling, rough handling, and/or other threats of violence and assault. Safety means being in an environment where one is not being hurt. For Maslow and others, proper development means feeling safe and secure in low stress and loving environments.

Love needs are psychological and emotional needs for love, affection, and belonging. Like all basic needs, these are powerful and failure to satisfy needs for love, affection, and belonging lead to maladjustment, neurosis, and other forms of psychopathology, including serious psychopathy (Maslow, 1943).

Esteem needs are psychological and emotional needs to feel good about oneself. Need for self-respect, need for high evaluation of self, need for the esteem of others. According to Maslow, “All people in our society…have a need or desire for a stable, firmly based, (usually) high evaluation of themselves, for self-respect, or self-esteem, and for the esteem of others.” As with all the basic needs, satisfaction of needs led to positive psychological health, while thwarting of needs led to serious neurosis and psychosis. As Maslow said, “…thwarting of these needs produces feelings of inferiority, of weakness and of helplessness. These feelings, in turn, give rise to either basic discouragement or else compensatory or neurotic trends. An appreciation of the necessity of basic self-confidence and an understanding of how helpless people are without it, can be easily gained from a study of severe traumatic neurosis”.[27] (Maslow, 1943, pp. 381-382).

Self-Actualization is the need to manifest the inner self, the true self.  The need to manifest who you are inside. The individual must do “what he is fitted for.” “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization” (Maslow, 1943, pp. 382).

The term self-actualization, or more appropriately Self-actualization, was originally coined by Kurt Goldstein, refers specifically to the “desire for self-fulfillment” (Maslow, 1943, pp. 382).

Transcendence includes two key things: Self-transcendence, moving beyond the boxed in little “s” self and participating in bigger things. Including attachment to “a cause beyond the self and to experience a communion beyond the boundaries of the self through peak experience,” and also “mystical experiences and certain experiences with nature, aesthetic experiences, sexual experiences, and/or other transpersonal experiences, in which the person experiences a sense of identity that transcends or extends beyond the personal self”[28]

Environmental transcendence, which included mastery of an environment but also transcendence of that environment. Power to assert self over and above the confining/defining/limiting influences of one’s environment. As Maslow noted, “…the authentic or healthy person is being defined not in his own right, not in his autonomy, not by his own intra-psychic and non-environmental laws, not as different from the environment, independent of it or opposed to it, but rather in environment-centered terms; e.g., of ability to master the environment, to be capable, adequate, effective, competent in relation to it, to do a good job, to perceive it well, to be in good relations to it, to be successful in its terms. To say it in another way, the job-analysis, the requirements of the task, should not be the major criterion of worth or health of the individual… We must not fall into the trap of defining the good organism in terms of what he is “good for,” as if he were an instrument rather than something in himself, as if he were only a means to some extrinsic purpose…. I feel we must leap beyond these statements, admirable though they may be, to the clear recognition of transcendence of the environment, independent of it, able to stand against it, to fight it, to neglect it, or to turn one’s back on it, to refuse it or adapt to it”.[29]





Allman, Lorraine S., et al. “Psychotherapists’ Attitudes toward Clients Reporting Mystical Experiences.” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 29 4 (1992): 564-69.

Anyon, Jean. “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work.” Journal of Education 162 1 (1980).

Hermanns, William. Einstein and the Poet. Boston: Branden Books, 1983.

Hughes, Jannette. “How to Help Kids Innovate from an Early Age.” The Conversation 2017.

Jackson Brown, Freddy, and Duncan Gillard. “The ‘Strange Death’ of Radical Behaviourism.” Psychologist 28 1 (2015): 24-27.

Koltko-Rivera, Mark E. “Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research, and Unification.” Review of General Psychology 10 4 (2006): 302-17.

Maslow, A. H. “The Farther Reaches of Human Nature.” Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 1 1 (1969): 1-9.

—. “Lessons from the Peak-Experiences.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 2 1 (1962): 9-18.

—. Motivation and Personality (2nd Ed.). New York: Harper & Row, 1970.

—. “Toward a Humanistic Biology.” American Psychologist 24 8 (1969): 724-35.

Maslow, A.H. “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Psychological Review 50 4 (1943): 370-96.

Maslow, Abraham. “Eupsychia—the Good Society.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 1 2 (1961): 1.

Maslow, Abraham H. “Health as Transcendence of Environment.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 1 1 (1961): 1-7.

Sharp, Michael. The Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt. St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press., 2016.

Sosteric, Mike. “Emotional Abuse.” The Socjournal September  (2012).

—. “Endowing Mediocrity: Neoliberalism, Information Technology, and the Decline of Radical Pedagogy.” Radical Pedagogy 1 1 (1998).

Money Moksha. 2017. Sosteric, Mike.

—. The Science of Ascension: A Neurologically Grounded Theory of Mystical/Spiritual Experience.

—. “Toxic Socialization.” Socjourn   (2016).

Sosteric, Mike, Gina Ratkovic, and Mike Gismondi. “The University, Accountability, and Market Discipline in the Late 1990s.” The Socjournal June  (1998).

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qQ6_RV4VQ

[2] A.H. Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Psychological Review 50.4 (1943).

[3] Saul McLeod from Simply Psychology suggests, in an article entitled “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,” that cognitive needs were developed later “It is important to note that Maslow’s five stage model has been expanded to include cognitive and aesthetic needs and later transcendence needs” (McLeod, 2007).

In fact, Maslow introduced the second hierarchy in his 1943 article.

“Once these desires [to know and understand] are accepted for discussion, we see that they too form themselves into a small hierarchy in which the desire to know is prepotent over the desire to understand. All the characteristics of a hierarchy of prepotency that we have described above, seem to hold for this one as well” (A.H. Maslow, 1943).

[4] Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation.”, A. H. Maslow, Motivation and Personality (2nd Ed.) (New York: Harper & Row, 1970).

[5] Mark E. Koltko-Rivera, “Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research, and Unification,” Review of General Psychology 10.4 (2006). A. H. Maslow, “Lessons from the Peak-Experiences,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 2.1 (1962), A. H. Maslow, “Toward a Humanistic Biology,” American Psychologist 24.8 (1969), A. H. Maslow, “The Farther Reaches of Human Nature,” Journal of Transpersonal Psychology 1.1 (1969).  

[6] We would make two slight modifications to this basic hierarchy. We would add the human need for power alongside the human need for self-esteem, and we would reconceptualize transcendence as simply connection, discussing connection in terms of consciousness quotient (CQ), connection events, etc. Mike Sosteric, The Science of Ascension: A Neurologically Grounded Theory of Mystical/Spiritual Experience.

[7] We define spirituality as the quality of being concerned with connection. See https://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/Spirituality.

[8] Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” 385.

[9] Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” 385.

[10] Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” 385.

[11] Way before Maslow, Einstein said that “There is a mystical drive in man [sic] to learn about his [sic] own existence William Hermanns, Einstein and the Poet (Boston: Branden Books, 1983)..

[12] Maslow, Motivation and Personality (2nd Ed.).

[13] Maslow, Motivation and Personality (2nd Ed.).

Maslow is probably talking about Nazi Germany above, but the relevance of his statements to the current global situation is obvious. If true, we can expect the citizens of the United States (citizens who are currently having their need to know and understand thwarted by an administration and corporate-controlled media system that display profound disregard for truth), to experience growing cynicism, rejection of values, disruption of their intimate relationships, and probably increasingly desperate aggression and violence. Anger, and maybe even growing hatred, may be the result. Cleary, the hierarchy of truth needs is important and it should not be ignored, by psychology, by therapists or by anybody wanting to know what it means to be human.


[14] Mike Sosteric, Gina Ratkovic and Mike Gismondi, “The University, Accountability, and Market Discipline in the Late 1990s,” The Socjournal June (1998), Mike Sosteric, “Endowing Mediocrity: Neoliberalism, Information Technology, and the Decline of Radical Pedagogy,” Radical Pedagogy 1.1 (1998).. https://www.academia.edu/25085664/

[15] Recent research has confirmed Maslow’s early theorization. See the Nature of Things episode, Born to Be Good  (http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/born-to-be-good-1).

[16] A right environment, we would say.

[17] Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” 277.: emphasis added

[18] For those familiar with the history of psychology, we actually think humanistic/transpersonal psychology as a whole had unwelcome implications for the status quo, and it was killed as a result. It is notable that there was a time when humanistic and transpersonal perspectives where on the ascendant in psychology. Maslow was involved in founding both the Journal of Humanistic psychology and the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. It was rising fast, but subsequently stalled and fell out of favor. What happened? It was certainly not simply replaced with something better. Lorraine S. Allman, Olivia de la Rocha, David N. Elkins and Robert S. Weathers, “Psychotherapists’ Attitudes toward Clients Reporting Mystical Experiences,” Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 29.4 (1992). suggests humanistic/transpersonal psychology was, after a concerted effort, marginalized and its influenced greatly reduced (murdered, in other words) by conservative interests. It is certainly plausible. Colonization of the academy by status quo interests is an ongoing academic issue  Sosteric, “Endowing Mediocrity: Neoliberalism, Information Technology, and the Decline of Radical Pedagogy.”.

Tangentially, we find Maslow’s notions of actualizing the self, his notion of needs, and his conceptualization of self-actualization and transcendence akin to Marxist notions of species being, only presented without a political/sociological awareness of social class. Perhaps this is not as odd a juxtaposition as one might first think when we consider both Maslow and Marx concerned themselves with ideas about how to actualize full human/spiritual potentially and attain [planetary] utopia  Abraham Maslow, “Eupsychia—the Good Society,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 1.2 (1961).

[19]  Jean Anyon, “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work,” Journal of Education 162.1 (1980).

[20]  Freddy Jackson Brown and Duncan Gillard, “The ‘Strange Death’ of Radical Behaviourism,” Psychologist 28.1 (2015).

[21]  Anyon, “Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum of Work.”

[22]  Mike Sosteric, “Toxic Socialization,” Socjourn  (2016).

[23] Mike Sosteric, “Emotional Abuse,” The Socjournal September (2012).

[24]  Michael Sharp, The Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt. (St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press., 2016).

[25] See the video short Money Moksha at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opwUrGVc8dA.  Money Moksha, dir. Mike Sosteric, 2017.

[26] Sosteric, “Toxic Socialization.”

[27] Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” 381-2.

[28]  Koltko-Rivera, “Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Self-Transcendence and Opportunities for Theory, Research, and Unification,” 303.

[29]  Abraham H. Maslow, “Health as Transcendence of Environment,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 1.1 (1961): 1-2.

Written by Mike S.

Just another loud mouth sociology professor, teaching sociology courses. Check me out here at the Socjourn, over there at The Conversation and at academia.edu.

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