“A hungry man is more interested in four sandwiches than four freedoms.”
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
A human need is something that is essential to survive and to survive in a decent, happy and fulfilling manner. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often represented as a pyramid, with the lowest or most fundamental needs at the bottom. He distinguished 5 types of needs:
- Physiological needs such as food, water and sleep
- Safety needs such as security of the body, health and property
- Social needs such as friendship, family, belonging and identity
- Esteem needs such as recognition, self-esteem, confidence, justice and respect
- Growth or self-actualization needs such as creativity, problem solving, art, beauty, personal fulfilment and freedom.
The assumption of the hierarchy is that the lower needs have to be met first, and are preconditions for the realization of the higher needs, although a temporary insufficiency in the lower levels will not undo the aspirations of the higher levels. For example, a surgeon who normally has no problem satisfying his or her physiological or safety needs, and instead focuses on recognition, may be forced to concentrate temporally on his or her health without sacrificing the overriding importance of recognition.
Conversely, someone who normally has problems satisfying lower level needs, will not find the resources necessary to focus on higher level needs.