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Maslow’s Pyramid. Where does it come from?

by Agata Dzierżawa
A graphic Maslow Pyramid depicting a man climbing a ladder.

Perhaps you are wondering if what happens to you as a result of the midlife crisis also happens to others. Does it have any scientific justification? Is this normal? Where does it all come from? Have you ever heard about Maslow’s Pyramid?

Maslow’s Pyramid.

In the middle of the twentieth century Abraham Maslow, a pioneering developmental psychologist, caused a ground-breaking shift in the field of psychology when he presented his hierarchy of needs. It has shifted the study of a human psyche from pathology focus to growth focus and contributed to the emergence of a new force called transpersonal psychology. 

In this article you will:

  • Learn what Maslow’s pyramid of needs is.
  • Discover the need for self-realization.
  • Learn what a self-realizing man is characterized by.

It is an approach that includes the ability of self-fulfillment, self-transcendence, and self-awareness.


Maslow called a need something that, if it is not met, would create a disease pathology in a human being. For example, food, if you do not provide it, you will have problems with your body.

So the need is not a luxury or something that you want, but a part of you that you have to address. You can not leave it without an answer.

Hierarchy of needs – Maslow’s Pyramid.

At the very bottom of the pyramid, Maslow has placed physiological needs: food, shelter, sleep, etc.

When you satisfy them, you begin to have a tendency to worry about your safety, in some cases, you start to have power, your own impulsive drives, and needs.

When you also satisfy them, you begin to get more involved in things that actually involve you becoming a part of something bigger, organization, religion, political party, some kind of movement, relationship and you start to enter into various love relationships. These kinds of needs make you exceed your own urges and desires and begin to engage you in larger interconnected networks.

If you satisfy them, you will start to want to stand out in your individuality and actually participate in something. You start to bring something and achieve different things that will be your contribution to the world, making it a better, happier, and more fulfilled place, it also includes you. If you satisfy all these needs, there will be premises for self-realization.

Not all people go beyond the scope of basic needs and do not always strive for continuous improvement. 

All these needs showed Maslow in the shape of a pyramid because for example when you are starving, have no food and you don’t satisfy this need then you will not be worried about your love life or self-esteem because the only thing that will interest you is food. Only when you satisfy this need then it will allow some of the higher needs to appear.

The need for self-actualization.

The need for self-actualization is at the very top of this pyramid. It consists in striving to realize your potential, develop talents and opportunities. This is a process of achieving internal cohesion, unity with yourself, fulfillment, and your destiny or calling. It applies to everything that is really crucial to our own being, consciousness, and fulfillment.

A human being can then experience a literally deep awaking, metamorphosis, or satori. Life will turn out to be a dream from which you can wake up. It will change the way you look at yourself and your life. Through these activities, you can find the real purpose of your life, its meaning. Find out why you are here.

A self-actualizing person.

According to Ken Wilber, an outstanding contemporary philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist, creator of transpersonal psychology, a self-actualizing person is characterized by specific features:

  • Has a better perception of reality, more objective, and less influenced by their conditioning. This means that they is able to look at the truth about the situation, not their prejudices or narratives about what they wants the situation to be, or what they was told it is. They is able to free themselves from the shackles of conditioning to look at things clearly.
  • Has a greater sense of autonomy, individuality, and sovereignty. They is moving through life with their own compass.
  • Is comfortable being themselves. They is not seeking approval from other people and trying to conform all the time.
  • Has better interpersonal relationships. They can listen better, understand others, communicate better with others, and thus create more satisfying and nutritional relationships.
  • Has increased identification with humanity.
  • Is more creative and innovative. They has greater access to the creative and spontaneous part of themselves. They can experiment, play, and invent great creations.
  • Cultivates their unique skills and talents. They has life long impulse towards learning, they is flexible and they is constantly growing.
  • Lives on purpose with a sense of mission.
  • Has a higher frequency of peak experience or altered states of consciousness.
  • Constantly moving towards unity, integration, and synthesis of all truths that they can grasp.
  • Lives a completely different life. It is a transition from the needs of scarcity to being needed because hit transforms in them. Lives more freely, autonomously with an authentic goal and integration.

As you can see, the state in which you found yourself is quite a natural state. Psychologists have been studying it for about a hundred years. The need for spirituality is deeply rooted in us, it is a part of our existence.

You have satisfied all the needs of the lower order in your life. You have a wardrobe stuffed with clothes, a flat, love or friends, dinners in the city, ahead stuffed with impressions from all your journeys, entertainments, and you still feel that you’re missing something? It is because the time has come for self-actualization now.


Science of Self-Actualization Course with Ken Wilber 24th of May 2019 Sacred Media LLC

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