Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
42

The Way We Need Now

You may have heard of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, a list often presented in pyramid form which "describes human motivations from the most basic to the most advanced." Maslow's needs, arranged from the most basic, are physiological, safety, affection/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. But in our fast-paced world, with its new freedoms and technologies, does that list still represent human wants and desires? A couple of psychologists say no, and have rebooted the chart to better reflect our modern era.

The research team – which included Vladas Griskevicius of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Mark Schaller of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver – restructured the famous pyramid after observing how psychological processes radically change in response to evolutionarily fundamental motives, such as self-protection, mating or status concerns.

The bottom four levels of the new pyramid are highly compatible with Maslow's, but big changes are at the top. Perhaps the most controversial modification is that self-actualization no longer appears on the pyramid at all.

At the top of the new pyramid are three evolutionarily critical motives that Maslow overlooked – mate acquisition, mate retention and parenting.

So parenting is now the highest goal to aspire to. (We should refer to this as the Park Slope hierarchy of needs.) It does make sense when you think about it, since the whole purpose of human existence is to procreate, and if you have not you are an utter failure as a member of your species and are probably pretty lousy at some of the other elements in the new hierarchy, particularly the one about "retaining a mate." (Although if that new Jennifer Aniston movie teaches us anything, it's that you don't need a mate to be a parent. On the other hand (SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE WHO HAS NEVER SEEN A ROMANTIC COMEDY BEFORE), she does wind up married, so, yeah, if you don't have a kid you're still one of life's losers. Sorry. It's not me, it's Science. And Jen Aniston.)

Still, the new chart is causing controversy, particularly among barren, loveless psychologists who cannot accept that their empty apartments, devoid of the happy sounds of mate and child which signify human fulfillment, are an indictment of their pathetic existences. Additionally, there is the very valid criticism that the new hierarchy does not reflect the broad range of lifestyles we now live. Working closely with my own team of researchers, I have assembled an alternate pyramid which, I think, squares the circle. (Of pyramids.) I'm pretty sure this one is 100% accurate and should settle any disputes. I await my call from Stockholm.

This was a rush job, so excuse me if there are typos

42 Comments / Post A Comment

KarenUhOh (#19)

"Self-Actualization" has been replaced with "Twitter Book Deal."

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

Eye-opening. I had always assumed bourbon was implied by "immediate physiological needs."

Alex Balk (#4)

Oh it is. There's basic bourbon and then there's aspirational (or, as we say in Science, "more") bourbon.

Smitros (#5,315)

Aspirational is Sciencish for "small batch".

deepomega (#1,720)

s/bourbon/scotch and I'm all over this.

roboloki (#1,724)

deepomega, can we compromise and drink bushmills?

Art Yucko (#1,321)

so far this is a Cherry-flavor Red Stag kind of day.

Mindpowered (#948)

Typos indeed – Blowjobs.

keisertroll (#1,117)

Blowjob has always been my favorite Bond henchman.

garge (#736)

I can't seem to find the link for the print-resolution download.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

easy enough to whip out an .ai.

Matt (#26)

You forgot "The #DOODY tag."

jolie (#16)

That's *my* pyramid you're thinking of. It looks something like this:

CHOIRE!!!
Teddy
Weed & Orange Hostess Cupcakes
Linda Ronstadt
Le Creuset
The 'DOODY' Tag
Immediate Physiological Needs

Matt (#26)

God, how has no one else thought of this yet? Brilliant! Mine:

Batman
Warren Zevon
Zevons
'THIS FUCKING DAY'
Summer of Megadeth reblogging itself
Caprese
Immediate Headbanging Needs

Or, you know, this.

Tuna Surprise (#573)

My ovaries made we write this:

Bragging about perfect man and perfect babies
Babies!!!
Making love to that Man
Making that Man a Better Person
Finding a Man
Immediate Physiological Needs

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Needs more impulse shopping at others' expense.

saythatscool (#101)

Buy me a drink, sailor?

Art Yucko (#1,321)

-sighs- -tosses her a 29% APR credit card-

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@STC, @ArtY: Now you're talkin'. I'll even pick up something pretty for you while I'm out with your $$$.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

I can hardly wait for some ladies' magazines to pick this up so Edith Zimmerman can parody the letters that will be written about it.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

The ladies will object to the lack of thigh acceptance and chore sharing on this pyramid. It also does not address the notion of patent leather apres Labor Day.

garge (#736)

Blowjobs are the quickest route to thigh acceptance! Although, I look doltish in any kind of patent leather, so take the former with a grain of salt.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Blowjobs would have saved the Cathy comic strip. Let us be glad they did not.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Assuming you mean receiving and not giving for the second one. Or does it depend on Balkian whimsy day to day?

deepomega (#1,720)

Best to leave all options open. You'd hate to miss an important business opportunity because you were stuck on the direction of the blowjob.

Art Yucko (#1,321)

I prefer to think of Balk's whimsy as Balkan.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@Deep: I'm gonna need to see a bj flow chart.

deepomega (#1,720)

*call me

cherrispryte (#444)

Immediate Physiological Needs includes smokes, right?

keisertroll (#1,117)

I'm at "Slightly Dark Bar", which is a lot farther than I've ever been.

monkeyajb (#524)

Nominating "(SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE WHO HAS NEVER SEEN A ROMANTIC COMEDY BEFORE)" the best nested parenthetical aside of this day.

You had me at Hudson Hawk Avatar.

KarenUhOh (#19)

I got stuck to the side sliding down your pyramid.

C_Webb (#855)

Substitute "bacon" for "blowjob" (NOT PLAGIARISM!) and I've got this year's holiday greeting card. With copies of my kids' report cards enclosed, of course.

deepomega (#1,720)

Where do braggable report cards fall?

C_Webb (#855)

Dunno, but there's got to be a pyramid for us parents who like bourbon, blowjobs, bacon AND bragging.

Mindpowered (#948)

Definitely "Immediate psychological needs"

garge (#736)

I like this pyramid–it actually contains things I can feasibly achieve. I mean, eventually I will be able to afford cable, right?

deepomega (#1,720)

Maybe if you leverage some of the later steps.

kneetoe (#1,881)

In case of a blowjob isn't in the stars, you can pencil self-actualization back in every now and again.

kneetoe (#1,881)

Also, does the "…" at the top loop back to "Slightly Dark Bar"?

My hierarchy replaces the slightly dark bar with a cold corner to weep in. Otherwise, looks all-good from here.

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