MASLOW – Pyramid ADDITIONS (Levels 6 & 7)

PREVIOUS: Maslow Level 5c

♦ Instead of focusing on what goes wrong with people (psychopathology), Maslow formulated a more positive account of human behavior which focused on what goes right.  Originally his Level #5 was: Self-actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth & peak experiences. (1943)

In his later years, Maslow changed his understanding of this level. He came to believe that the Self only becomes actualized by pursuing a higher goal outside itself – the need to connect to something beyond the ego, by helping others find self-fulfillment & realize their potential – & therefore transcendent in nature. But he also pointed out that it can go hand-in-hand with Level 1, because Belief is a great motivator.

In the 1970s he gave an expanded version of the Pyramid. Stages 1-4 remain the same, which – when provided for – help us develop “better life choices.” Between 4 & 5 he added 2 new ones, & a last one called ‘Transcendence’ – which Daniels (2001) thinks may be one of Maslow’s most important contributions to the study of human behavior & motivation. William G. HuittValdosta State University, GA

#5. Cognitive  – (mental) Maslow observed that humans have a hunger to increase their intelligence, for meaning, predictability…., which motivates them to chase knowledge. It’s basically the need for truth, made up of the needs to know & to understand (both required for survival). 

It comes with a curiosity to learn, explore, discover & create – to better understand the world around us, which requires an openness to experience. This type of growth – when not fulfilled – leads to confusion & identity crisis. Maslow considered it a defining aspect of psychologically healthy people, & the unhealthy were people who had their truth needs thwarted. (More….)

#6. Aesthetic  – (artistic) The need to appreciate & actively search for inherently pleasing forms & balances, aesthetically new things , & opportunities to express oneself in many creative ways.

Maslow believed that humans are refreshed by nature, forming an intimate oneness with it by carefully observing their surroundings, to absorb the beauty that the world has to offer – all part of the path towards Self-Actualization. And just as with other missing needs, when people with strong aesthetic needs are deprived of them, they can experience stress & sickness.

#7. Self-Actualization  – (psychological) realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth & peak experiences (previous posts)

At this level, the obvious question is: ‘If someone is already self-actualizing, what then motivates that person? In looking for an answer, Maslow (1969) came up with “motivation by intrinsic values” that go above & outside personal self-interests. Self-Actualization and Transcendence are considered Being qualities, or B-values, whereas the previous ones are Deprivation Needs (D) which must be filled in order to function.

#8. Self-Transcendence (spiritual) – made up of universal values such as Excellence, Fairness, Goodness, Justice, Perfection, Truth…..& can include aesthetic, altruistic, mystical, religious, sexual, scientific…. experiences  (More in next posts)

Peter K. Gerlach, MSW has proposed YET an ADDITIONAL level: 
which could be called “Recovery” needs

Much has been learned about human behavior & motivation since Maslow created the original pyramid in the 1940s. He & his clinical contemporaries seemed to be unaware of childhood trauma or about Grown Wounded Children  – (Explanation + video. GWCs = ACoAs).

The cycle of inherited wounds + low parental nurturance + lack of self-awareness = can keep both adults & children stuck in levels 1-4, which blocks them from thriving.  Like ground fog obscuring a mountain peak, such damage can prevent living with purpose, & even shorten life.  People with significant unhealed wounds often lose clear focus of purpose & prioritizing ability that the True Self would be able to provide.

The one Gerlack suggests would go between levels #3 (Belonging) & 4 (Esteem), using a list of basic human needs – to Reduce early-childhood Wounds, & free our inherent True Self to make its own life decisions.
“This is required in order to develop…..
• a clear personal identity (who am I?),
• genuine self-respect & self-worth (vs. shame & guilt), & to grow a …..
• ….. stable sense of self-love, self-respect & self-confidence (vs. self-neglect, shame & self-doubt)”

“People guided by their True Self & clearly aware of their primary needs – are more likely to make core attitude changes where necessary, bringing permanent behavioral shifts.”
Editorial comment: YEAH for him!

NEXT: Pyramid Growth

2 thoughts on “MASLOW – Pyramid ADDITIONS (Levels 6 & 7)

  1. Thank you for creating this series of posts about Maslow and related work. I stumbled upon the pyramid a couple of years ago and was amazed by its clarity and positivity. It helped me identify some of the promises coming true in my own recovery. I appreciate your dedication to exploring this topic (and many others) using language that is accessible and familiar. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom!


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