Just a few minutes ago I responded to an article that put down Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but then created one just as complex. So I commented on it, and thought to paste that comment into here.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs made the error of viewing the self as an island, ultimately separate from others and separate from one’s environment. If we remove that bias, his Hierarchy can be summarized into three basic needs: to Survive, to Connect, to Co-Evolve.
Survival includes physiological and safety needs. These needs are met by the environment and/or by our connections. Without a healthy environment to meet our needs, we can not survive. Without our connections, we would be too busy re-inventing the wheel of survival to ever move beyond survival.
Connecting includes affiliation and esteem needs. It also includes connecting with our environment. If we rely on a healthy environment to survive, it helps to remember that we are connected to that environment; that what we do to the environment will cycle back and influence our survival abilities.
Co-Evolve includes creative, cognitive, aesthetics, and actualization needs. These are the cultural and personal memes. We are influenced by the memes of past generations, as well as the memes developed in the present. This reduces our need to constantly re-invent the wheel of survival. We also co-evolve with our environment. Changes we (and others) make to the environment influence changes we have to make within ourselves.
We are NOT islands. If we want to reach our potential, as individuals and/or as a species, we have no choice but to work with each other, and/or with our environment.