Passing of Edward Kennedy, Trans-generational Values, Maslow’s Hierarchy, Maturity in a Family Line – Part 2:

Now switch to a description of maturity offered by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, (see Wikipedia.)

The model shows 5 levels of maturity. The most basic level includes absolute material components to assure life itself: food, clothing, shelter, air, physical capacity for the body to stay alive. If/when these are assured, the individual is able to shift attention to level 2: material security, health, resources – Maslow includes ‘morality’ at this level, a curiosity to me. (Maslow’s Hierarchy does have criticism, I do not know if placing ‘morality’ at level two is a target of these and am wondering if he may mean what I would consider a ‘simplistic’ moral view based in prescribed, somewhat rigid, ‘rules’ or conduct – a can of worms I’m not opening in this discussion.)

Once material fundamentals are  assured at level two, the individual feels secure and turns his/her attention to personal relationships – close at hand: family, friends, (level 3).

With these somewhat in place, the individual shifts attention to level 4. Maslow labels this level as “esteem”. It is demonstrated in confidence, achievement, shared respect.

As the individual develops within level 4, toward greater maturity of understanding of self and other, she/he begins to demonstrate ‘transcendent’ interests and practices. “Morality” again enters the list of qualities, but this time is based in “lack of prejudice”, “acceptance of facts”. At level 5, the individual is “into” “creativity, spontaneity, problem solving”. Maslow’s named individuals representing this level of maturity included “Albert Einstein, Jane Addams, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Frederick Douglas.” Level 5 is one in which valuing ‘whole humanity’ need, well beyond one’s personal whims, is demonstrated.

Maslow’s Hierarchy, as a good generalized model, suggests a somewhat clear development path for the individual. Real life for most individuals is much more murky – one can be involved in altruistic choice in public life, and – quite frankly – be a ‘jerk’ in private. The opposite is also true (jerk in public, generous and kind in private).

My point is not to argue the merits of Maslow’s Hierarchy, but to accept it as a good general description of any individual’s process of maturity. (Indeed, in my work in education, this is how we applied the model.)

(See – same title, part 3)


About maggieannthoeni

A description once given of me was "rooted in the earth while roaming the stars" - and this has felt 'right'. I believe in something akin to this for each of us. I am a passionate supporter of discovering the autonomous self while serving the whole as primary intent. I believe in discovery of innate principles, clearing the overlay of socialization that obscures this from us. I believe it is our responsibility to leave no one behind - most particularly to respond to suffering as best we can whereever we find it, whenever we are made aware. I believe in this for the insect as well as the most magnificent form of humanity. I believe in brother/sisterhood without boundary. I believe in righteous indignation when it is appropriate, but do not believe in an enemy. I believe in consciousness, in intelligence, in logic, in rationality, in emotion, in transcendence - and am convinced until we generally practice explore and honor all this in ourselves, we remain profoundly immature. (I believe real maturity is known and practiced by many young children, and not enough adults!)
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