Developed by Abraham Maslow in the 60s. Basic needs are at the bottom, and must be satiated before moving on. The needs concerned with our highest potential are at the top. Though sometimes discredited today, it's still referred to in many debates and discussions. Thus, I synopsize it here:

    The Needs:
  1. Physiological Biological needs for oxygen, food, water, and a comfortable body temperature. These needs are the strongest because if deprived, the person would die.
  2. Safety Fairly self-evident. In affluent societies most adults don't have obvious security needs, but children may display these needs.
  3. Love / Affection / Belongingness Possibly many Everythingians are here and achieve some measure of satisfaction from the Everything community?
  4. Esteem Self-respect and respect from others. A sense of worth.
  5. Self-actualization Devotion to a calling, being able to focus outside the self.
It's usually drawn in a pyramid, with (1) at the broad base and (5) at the apex. Please imagine it.

I was first introduced to Maslow's hierarchy in Mexico, by a well meaning pedagogue.
And it was only at a later date, again in Mexico, that it became clear to me how deeply flawed it was. People just don't work that way.
A mexican example: a woman, cleaning houses, makes about $150 USD per month. This is just about enough to keep house in a poor part of Mexico City and feed the children.
One day her husban, a vicious alcoholic bastard that regularly beats her and spends the money that she earns on beer, dies. This same day she asks for a $1000 USD loan.
Why? Because when someone dies in her community you have to have a splendid funeral, invite people at your home and feed them well for one week of funerary celebration.
If you don't, you lose face in front of the community. And what is one without his community in Mexico City? A lost person.

This is just one example to which I will personally testify. But in human history and daily life there are countless examples of people that jeopardize the satisfaction of their "lower" needs in order to satisfy their "higher" needs; consider, for example, the military that accept to suffer in their Physiological and Safety needs, in order to attain Self-actualization.
Maslow's system , in short, does not account for altruism nor social pressure - at least not in the form in which it is usually vulgarized.

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