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Metadata of Note

Type:🍃 Leaf [Nomenclature present here.]

Source (Article): Rediscovering the Later Version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Tags: #Maslow’s Hierarchy #History #randomfact #psychology

Date: April 22nd, 2022


Every single [Maslow’s Hierarchy] pyramid I’ve seen has had 5 levels, with the fifth level being “self-actualization.” The entire discourse around the epitome of human life has been influenced by Maslow’s hierarchy, with “self-actualization” touted to be the highest order of what one can achieve/aspire to achieve.

First of all, Maslow Never Created the Pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and the “pyramid” is a misleading representation of his model. But keeping that aside for now, based on research conducted by Mark E. Koltko-Rivera, and many others along with a video from Maslow himself where he describes it, it’s clear that there’s another layer here.

The layer of self-transcendence.

Below is a rectified version of his theory from the paper,


Interesting Excerpts (along with fun entries from Maslow’s diary!):

  • “Originally, Maslow thought that Being-cognition [the term he gave for “peak experiences” such as mystical/aesthetic / emotional experiences] was the province of self-actualization, although in a very paradoxical way: Peak experiences often led the self-actualizing individual to transcend the personal concerns of the very self that was being actualized.”

Maslow’s diary entry: “That is, the greatest attainment of identity, autonomy, or selfhood is itself simultaneously a transcending of itself, a going beyond and above selfhood. The person can then become relatively egoless. (Maslow, 1961/1999b, p. 117, footnotes omitted)”

  • “Maslow here surmised that, in describing self-actualization, he had contaminated that construct with notions that belonged to another, as-yet-unnamed motivational level. The contaminant was Being-cognition, which properly belonged somewhere on a level above self-actualization on the hierarchy (i.e., “beyond health”). In this journal entry, Maslow related an insight: He had mistakenly put forth, as examples of self-actualization, people who seemed to exhibit Being-cognition, even though these people had gone beyond self-actualization and operated from a higher state of motivation.”
  • “Maslow made an important distinction: one could be self-actualizing and “healthy,” yet still not experience Being-cognition, which characterizes certain peak/mystical/transcendent experiences. Those who were satisfied with self-actualization without Being-cognition were, according to Maslow, at a lower stage of motivational development than those who were motivated to seek experiences of Being-cognition. Over the next 3 months, Maslow refined these insights into a public presentation. On September 14, 1967, in San Francisco, Maslow delivered a public lecture, titled “The Farther Reaches of Human Nature,” in which he described the higher levels of his by-then familiar needs hierarchy.”

Excerpt from Maslow’s speech: There are people who do feel loved and who are able to love, who do feel safe and secure and who do feel respected and who do have self-respect. If you study these people and ask what motivates them, you find yourself in another realm. This realm is what I have to call transhumanistic, meaning that which motivates, gratifies, and activates the fortunate, developed, 关i.e., already兴self-actualizing person. These people are motivated by something beyond basic needs. The . . . point of departure, into this transhumanistic realm, comes when they answer the following kind of questions: “What are the moments which give you . . . the greatest satisfaction? . . . What are the moments of reward which make your work and your life worthwhile?” The answers to those questions were in terms of ultimate verities….关For example,兴truth, goodness, beauty. . . and so on.

    • There is a clear connection between what Maslow says here and what [[Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi]] says in [[The Flow]].
  • “These implications include more comprehensive approaches to (a) personal and cultural conceptions of the purpose of life; (b) the motivational underpinnings of altruistic behaviour, social progress, and wisdom; and (c) suicidal terrorism and religious violence; in addition, the rectified theory provides a basis for (d) closer integration of the psychology of religion and spirituality into both personality and social psychology and (e) a more multiculturally integrated approach to psychological theory.”


It’s also worth noting that this new addition by Maslow goes against the extremely [[Capitalism]] view of the world today, focused on money and profits and success to be the height of aspiration.