Abraham Maslow created a hierarchy of needs in 1943 called Theory of Human Motivation. Today we know it as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is a scale that shows the different needs that people need. There are certain needs that must be met before others can be actualized and so you have a hierarchy of needs. It is kind of like the song that Tevye sings in Fiddler On The Roof, “If I were a rich man.” Tevye says if I were a rich man he could do many things even study the holy book. In other words if his basic needs like food and protection were taken care of he could focus more on his spirituality.
So there are several levels within the hierarchy and it starts off with the Physiological level that includes Breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. Maslow proposed that if these needs are not met a person will not have any desire or motivation to even look at other needs that he may or may not need. These are the very basic of needs that must be met in order to survive.
The next level is Safety, which includes security of: body, employment, resources, morality, the family, health, and property. Once a person’s physical needs are met they can move onto meeting their safety needs. Think about what happens to people when these needs are not being met such as during natural disaster, war, terrorist attacks, family violence, childhood abuse, and economic crisis. I think we are all familiar with one or more of these especially right now during the economic crisis.
The next step is love/Belonging, which includes friendship, family, and sexual intimacy. This is an interesting need because at times it overrides the other needs in the hierarchy especially in childhood. There was an experiment done with monkeys in which a baby monkey had to choose between food and the comfort of a mother monkey. The monkey chose the comfort over the food. So this level is very powerful when going off of instinct alone. It is also a good lesson too parents that attention is one of the things that kids crave the most.
Okay that is enough for today I will talk about the rest tomorrow. Are the needs of your characters being met? What are your thoughts on the hierarchy?