(b) Hierarchy of needs

      Although the biological, sociological, and psychological needs must all be satisfied by the same nervous system, they are naturally in harmony. According to Abraham Maslow, they are organized in a hierarchy.

      Biological needs are most potent; when they are satisfied, sociological needs become most potent; and, when those needs are satisfied in turn, psychological needs become most potent [8]. That is, you shift gears up the hierarchy as lower needs are satisfied. The biological and sociological needs are so easily satiated that, in a healthy person in a healthy society, most time is available for the less satiable psychological needs. Eating ruins your appetite. The satisfiers of sociological needs - namely, other people - are in plentiful (indeed, too plentiful) supply. The satisfaction of the survival needs provides pleasant periodic interludes from the rigors of satisfying the psychological needs. The priorities within the hierarchy of needs make sense. The necessity of surviving (biological and sociological needs) comes before the luxury of thriving (psychological needs). Perhaps psychological needs could be seen in terms of surplus energy, much as our economic luxuries can be seen in terms of surplus capital. Individual survival (biological needs) comes before species survival (sociological needs) since it is the individual who is arranging the priorities. Mother Nature may be more concerned with the survival of the species, but I am more immediately concerned with my survival and you with yours. However, this hierarchy is not rigid. Sociological needs can take precedence over biological needs (as attested by the suicide and the martyr) and psychological needs can take precedence over sociological needs (as attested by the hermit and the monk).

      I have expounded at perhaps too great length on the empirical evidence that there is an organic basis not only to biological needs, as argued by behaviorists, but also to sociological and psychological needs, as argued by humanists. However, such an exposition may be justified on the grounds that it establishes the empirical basis for replacing the basic proposition of behaviorism that 'The person has only extrinsic needs' with the basic proposition of humanism that 'The person has intrinsic needs'. It is this shift from extrinsic to intrinsic needs which is the foundation of the shift recommended in this chapter from the traditional outside-in point of view to an alternative inside-out point of view. The goal of human development, then, is not the satisfaction of biological needs in order to survive, as argued by the behaviorists, but the satisfaction of biological, sociological, and psychological needs to realize the full human potential built into the person at the moment of conception.

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