Hot off the press! Here's a little journal article I'm working on, for those interested in a much deeper understanding of human needs and healthy growth and development, and/or a simple and powerful map for effective problem solving...Maslow 2.0
Building upon the world of developmental psychologists, biologists, and even physics, we now have a more accurate and detailed version of how humans grow and what they need at each level to grow healthfully.
This gives us a very clear map for problem solving! The more we use this map for problem solving, the more easy problem solving will become, because we will be able to be very focused on addressing the root of the problem, rather than mucking about chasing secondary and tertiary symptoms like some kind of pointless whack-a-mole game. Initially, it might not be easy to make the changes necessary to use such a map, as it asks the user to fully abandon old habits of less effective problem solving that many in the world have gotten attached to. However, change is inevitable, and more and more people are seeing the value of starting over with a fresh map as they seek new ways of more effectively solving previously persistent problems.
The most current version of the theory of development, which I like to call Maslow 2.0, can be described in a variety of ways. The classic "hierarchy of needs" pyramid that Maslow himself used to describe the process is still a good, simple, aesthetically pleasing approach. Each level is described by what the individual's motivations and behaviors - personality traits - are generally like at that stage. Of course, complex living organisms such as humans are fractal, as we are made up of many, many smaller, somewhat independent, living cells/organisms/parts, and so motivations and behaviors naturally change on a moment by moment basis, as the individual reacts to the immediate internal and external environment, but the overall "personality" of the individual will be seen to change more slowly as the different levels are moved through over longer time periods. For example, most people will easily be able to tell the difference between someone who's primarily motivated to express themselves physically, like a hungry, crying baby would at level 1, and someone who's primarily motivated to act as a creative leader in global politics, as a mature adult would at level 7, or someone who's primarily motivated to create a unique self-identity, separate from their family, as a teenager does at level 5.
The modern version of this pyramid, which is somewhat of a poetic way of looking at things, looks like this:
Another approach to describing the levels of development is to consider what the individual is most aware of at a given time - in other words the complexity of consciousness at each level. As we grow, our ability to pay attention to more and more kids of things increases. Initially, we only have a very limited level of "consciousness" which many people would be more likely to classify as being "unconscious", yet it is a level of awareness nonetheless. The following levels are presented using binary numbers, to demonstrate the sets of levels, which represent different complexities of consciousness/awareness, starting at the most basic level of consciousness of the fetus, which we call level 0, where we all must start our journey. The ages listed are approximate, but are very likely more accurate than one might initially think!
0 - fetus to birth - aware of self input
1 - birth to 9 months old - aware of self output
10 - 9 months to 2 years old - aware of how others' (family/friends) outputs meet internal needs
11 - 2 to 3 years old - aware of how self and others' outputs can combine to create new things
100 - 3 to 7 years old - aware of how self and others' needs are met by society
101 - 7 to 13 years old - aware of self outputs combining with society's to meet others' needs
110 - 13 to 19 years old - aware of others' outputs combining with society's to meet self's needs
111 - 19 to 35 years old - aware of how self's, others', and society's outputs combine to make new things
1000 - 35 to 60 years old - aware that the planet's outputs meet self's, others', and society's needs
1001 - 60 to 102 years old - aware of how one's own outputs can meet the planet's needs!
The first two levels, 0 and 1, are the most primitive physiological level of consciousness, which all living things have. All living cells are aware of their environment to the extent that they are able to move towards and obtain things that are physically necessary for the cell's growth, and move away from or reject things that are physically detrimental for the cell's growth. This kind of consciousness is on contrast to non-living structures (inorganic matter) which have no particular preference for growth, and don't bother to be aware of how they interact with the environment.
The next two levels, 10 and 11, transcend and include the previous levels, adding the emotional complexity of social animals where relationships with others in one's environment become important as one becomes aware of how one's own life is affected by and affects others such as one's immediate family and close friends.
The third set of levels, 100 to 111, reflects the intellectual level of consciousness that the "higher" primates and other animals such as the whales and possibly some birds, have, when we attain the ability to plan for long term futures.
And the fourth sets of levels, starting at 1000, are what I most scientifically refer to as the "spiritual" set of levels, where one's consciousness extends far beyond the individual self, and becomes aware of the wh*** process of life itself, including evolution and the systems theory understanding of the planet itself as a living system.
Again, these collections of things that we call humans are fractal, and each moment brings a different level of awareness to the forefront of the individual's various parts, depending on the state of the external environment and internal self, but the overall "personality" traits of each level are generally quite stable and obvious when one looks at an individual human over a period of days, months, and years.
This growth of consciousness can be visually demonstrated by showing the linear process of the different kinds of input and output relationships that occur between the self (red), intimate companions (green - family and close friends), human society (light blue), and all species of Earthlings (dark blue).
Which brings me to my last most useful way to present the developmental stages, and that's the actual matter and energy needs for each stage. These can be broken down into input needs and output needs. At the physical levels, one's own body needs these things. At the emotional levels, all the members of one's intimate group (immediate family and/or friends) need these things. At the intellectual levels, the members of one's community~society need these things. And at the spiritual levels, all living things on the planet Earth need these things (in some general way).Access to healthy physical inputs
- Wh*** Food
- Clean Water
- Fresh Air
- LightThe freedom to express physical outputs
- Solids (poop, salt, etc.)
- Liquids (pee, sweat, etc.)
- Gases (CO2, etc.)
- Energy (movement, sounds, static charge, etc.)
Focusing on getting more high quality versions of these detailed matter and energy needs for yourself every day is a great way to start using the map.
And for those who want to dive even further into Maslow 2.0, there are other, more visually stimulating ways to look at the growth patterns as waves, both digital and analog
, if you're interested. Or you can simply let all of this sit with you as you absorb all the information and see how it applies to your own life, work, play, and everything else.
And, for more posts about things that people believe are going to make a huge difference in the world, or to post your own "best idea", take a look at Samiran's post What will change everything? (LearnX for Evoke Agents)
So, for example, when a mature adult is consistently prevented from expressing themselves physically in any way (threatened when they speak, sweat, pee, burp, etc.) they will become more and more like a baby, eventually having tantrums and being incapable of thinking logically, until they are given freedom again by their environment.
So if someone is "behaving like a child" and you want them to be more mature, you have to help them meet all of their needs up to the level they are biologically capable of being at. And since most people living on the Earth these days are deficient in even the basic bottom level needs of wh*** food, clean water, fresh air, warmth, and light, that's always a great place to start. :-) A wh*** lot of folks don't realize how deficient they and everyone else is in these things, because we've been brainwashed into thinking that "everything is ok, and that the government is taking care of us" when it comes to things like food and water and air quality. But the truth is most of it is polluted (toxic) and/or missing in important elements (most "food" is empty calories!), and anyone who works inside a building normally is lacking in sunlight (important for healthy metabolism as well as vitamin D), and there are still some people who are regularly threatened by cold (and wet) environments. So, seriously, nearly all social problems have their roots in those five simple, and crucial, elements of food, water, air, warmth, and light.
It is useful to interpret the world, and our reactions to it, in light of maslow's ages of man schematic. And, as you note, the input, output, emotional needs can mimic the developmental stages as described. Dependencies can be explained (@ Ken--fixations) with relevance to internexus of behavior with one or another of the cross-related stages (horizontal and vertical typologies).
but in this 21st century, with the mounting pressures of realizing that we live in a finitely-resourced world, and have consumed perhaps 1/3 of those resources; that we live in an increasingly interdependent and intercultural world, where developmental stages may blur and not be nearly as well-defined; that the existing schemas and associations informing our congnitive processes have increased in number and depth, almost exponentially, I would really love to hear/read your analysis of what maslow might interpret to be the correlations between chronological age, experiential age, and intellectual age in this era of AI (computer-enhanced cognitive development, and enhanced development of computers which appear to exhibit intelligence themselves).
Obviously each age has its innovative, philosophical, and philanthropic giants, individuals who are able to ascend to the topmost levels of the behavioral pyramid while yet youthful enough to accomplish great deeds for the betterment of themselves, their world, mankind.
In this age of increased awareness, higher-frequency and higher-intensity knowledge sharing, interdependence, and augmented assimilation capabilities, could the variants of maslow's hierarchy of needs, especially the needs for self-actualization and transcendence, be available to, and needed by, people who are increasingly challenged by the unanswered questions and external stimulii (including the very real possibility that crises of development may overtake us before sufficient solutions have been found and enacted)? would factors such as resisting potential, as well as accelerated actualization, come into relevance?
Thank you for your post--I look forward to your response, if you have time!!
But I'm going to take a stab at a couple of general responses. Firstly, while I initially had imagined that the timing of these stages were flexible, I'm starting to see too much evidence that they are effectively fixed, at least in the human being, to continue with that idea. I know and pretty convinced that humans biorhythms are mostly predetermined, not just on the daily circadian rhythm of sleeping and waking, and the gestation period, but also for pretty much every other structural, developmental change in the body (including changes in the development of the brain). So as a way to explain the continued growth of knowledge in humans, I'm simply suggesting that it's the horizontal aspects that are increasing, while the vertical are staying stable. So while a 5 year old kid of today might be far, far more advanced intellectually than a 30 year old 5000 years ago, it's not the people are moving through the stages any faster, it's that the starting point people begin the game at has moved. :-) So we still have to get those basic needs met during the same ages in life that all other humans and hominids throughout the past millions of years, and if we don't get them met, we get sick, and that stunts our growth (mental and physical). A five year old human today really isn't any more advanced stage-wise than a 5 year old human hundred's of thousands of years ago, and the modern child needs to experience a healthy community that takes good care of the child's family just as much as the wild, tribal child did, in a way that it totally unrelated to how much the child knows about math, reading, writing, computers or any other intellectual information. So it appears that there really isn't accelerated actualization at all. The progress of gaining greater depth of awareness seems to remain stable, while the breadth of awareness (more data about the same kind of thing) can expand greatly with more communication and sharing of information.
And of course, thanks for the application to the evokation!
Also, check this out perhaps - this guy makes a point a against maslow's hierarchy, though not really a full argument,
I posted my response to his comment about Maslow on the TED discussion under the video, if you want to read it...