Pyramid Uses: REVERSED (Part 1)


PREVIOUS: Maslow’s pyramid & Music



In  “Geopolicraticus”, N.J. Nelson objects to Maslow & Erickson’s stages of personality development as too simplistic, even misleading, They can contribute to the insidious assumption that if you’re not following their stages, there’s obviously something wrong with you for not developing naturally or normally.

Instead Nelson states that:
“…I don’t believe that a person can get out of bed in the morning without implicitly having formulated a philosophical judgment that life is worth living and therefore there is a reason to get out of bed, and not merely to lie there and do nothing.”

His inverted pyramid puts raison d’être at the foundation, so that the fulfillment of emotional & psychological drives can eventually build up to the final satisfaction of physical drives & needs. This doesn’t deny the crucial need for food, water, air….. but they don’t automatically provide a motivation for successfully getting going every day, especially in the face of life’s many stressors. (ALSO…..)

Similarly, Arjun Paul (Flipkart Stories, India) suggests in this reverse pyramid – a person’s entire existence balances on a single point. “Esteem is something that can be sought only after a person has satisfied himself.”

It seems obvious to him that in order to provide all our human & personality needs, first we must have a reason to get out of bed every morning.  Why should we have to move through a hierarchy to achieve what is already in us? In our mind? Also, nothing in nature is linear, so why would our development as human beings be linear? ”

He places Maslow’s levels 1 & 2 as supports to the fundamental one, & continues:It is safe to assume that reason & the will to live, coupled with forming connections, are what make us humans, & differentiate us from AIs – so far. So unless the higher needs are met with the utmost care & balance, the whole pyramid tips over on its side.

Maslow’s original hierarchy only works if a person is free. This reverse pyramid is Ravi Agrawal’s theoretical model : Moving from the bottom up ⬆️, more & more people are involved in our life at each stage, while the restrictions to our freedom decrease ⬇️. This means we have more choices with more opportunity to decide what we want to do.

At the same time, what kind of impact a particular negative event will have in our life depends on which level it occurs in…. the broader the category (the bigger our life is), the more disruptive it can be.

1. Base NEEDS – Upbringing: Only a few people contribute at this level, & their actions have a profound impact on a person’s psyche & thought process

2. Subconscious – Whatever your needs are for functioning, must be met. If they’re not, the whole structure is thrown off balance

3. Personal – where your ethics & values come into play. … if the previous levels aren’t met, you might be willing to sacrifice them just to ensure you can fulfill them
Agrawal suggests Ethics & Values are formed by repeated sets of experiences. At this level, everything is transactional (interaction with others, especially influenced by the role as parent, child, or peer), & is judged by the face value of events. Doing things in a certain way (positively?) leads to improvement in one’s mental attitude

4. Association – This need is stronger than anything else, more than physical ones. Even with restricted access (limited connectivity), people still want to be a part of the group. Religion, nationality, professional organizations, gangs (in jail as well)…. are all associative groups we gravitate to, without questioning the drive

5. Forced (final level before freedom) – life situations causing real-world pressures, force us to act in ways that often sacrifice basic needs like food & sleep (get a degree, don’t get fired, feed your family….) in order to achieve a goal or passion
EXP: a business person rushing to a morning appointment without enough sleep or breakfast.

IMPLIED – FREEDOM to choose: Able to function optimally with less interference from the demands of others. (See Iceberg model of Competencies)

NEXT: Reversed #2

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