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We are all fuelled by our needs. The necessities of existence that drive us to achieve, or at least drag us out of everlasting stagnancy. But is survival all we work for or is there more to our priorities?
Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, sorted it all out in his hierarchy of needs, a theory which gives the precedence of motives that a human works for. It is represented as a pyramid with self-actualisation at the apex and physiological needs forming the base. It goes like this:
-self-worth and esteem
-a sense of belonging and love
Later aesthetic appreciation and the need to understand were also added below self-actualisation.
Maslow, in his theory, said that only after achieving the lower needs can one proceed to the higher levels of requirement. One who is harassed by constant hunger cannot hope to process ones understanding of the universe. Once the basic needs are satisfied a body naturally proceeds to achieve the next level wants. His statistic showed that only about 2% of the population reaches the stage of self-actualisation where one has achieved ones true potential and does not lack for needs.
But how far ranging is this theory really? Maslow studied the lives of 18 individuals that he deemed had reached the tip of the hierarchy pyramid. But surveillance of diverging cultures has brought to light that the ability to feel fulfilled does not necessarily require basic needs being met. Impoverishment and friendship can still go along. Several artists and pioneers like Rembrandt and Van Gogh had the motivation to feed their talent even in states of penury. Where then do the limitations, if they even do exist, truly lie?