Day 5: The Great Pyramid
Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs, distill the commonalities of the human spirit into a colorful pyramid. What does it say? Maslow does an amazing job of intuitively laying out humans needs into 5 levels. The most basic level is comprised of the physiological needs. This primal level includes things that, under a given circumstance, we would fight and even kill for: breathing, food, water, sleep and excretion. Without these basic needs met, we will never move forward to meeting other needs.
The second level is safety: employment, health, resources and family. Also very important, the second level is about the security of our physical, mental, emotional and social well-being. The next level is love and belonging. This includes more than just a partner, but also your relationships with family and friends. Does someone care about me? Who is in my tribe?
The 4th level is ‘status’ or ‘esteem’ which is more than just how others see you, but also self-respect, achievement and how you treat others. And at last, the peak of the pyramid is self-actualization and transcendence. Your paradigm shifts dramatically on this level from ‘the self’ to others. Money, status, resources and network are all adjusted to benefit others in the maximum efficiency.
What Maslow does so beautifully is how he clearly states that it is impossible to rush through the levels and that most people will never truly reach the upper levels. He states that it’s not about meeting the needs of each level, but mastering them. Under complete mastery of these levels, true happiness permeates throughout your being and you become a positive light that leads. In transcendence, you become your truest self, you let go of all worldly possessions, seeing them only as a means to help others self-actualize. Does this mean that people in lower levels are worse people? Not at all, it is simply the path that they are walking. What level are you on and how can you master it?