Maslow’s Hierarchy of NeedsPosted: October 6, 2015
Today we had a short lecture on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; a subject I have learnt about before in college but one which I was happy to rediscover. The theory explains the base needs we have, moving up to our more, for want of a better adjective, spiritual needs that come when our base needs are satisfied. I would like to think the diagram is open to interpretation but picking holes in philosophers’ work never really feels that productive without good reason or a good amount of time, caffeine and deep house music.
The hierarchy explains that:
Our basic physiological needs are to breathe, have food and water, sex (which I suppose is true but I would have thought it would be a little higher up myself), homeostasis and excretion.
Our safety needs include the security of family, health, property, body, employment, resources and morality. I would also put basic education into this category as well.
Then comes our need for love and belonging, (I am tolerating the word ‘love’ very loosely here because I find it to be a very undefinable term and one of which I do not entirely agree with. But that is an explanation for another post). These needs include friendship, family and intimacy (sexual and otherwise).
Our esteem needs come after we have established love and belonging. These include self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others and respect by others.
Then, finally, self actualisation: morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and lastly, acceptance.
Maslow explains how we can only achieve a higher level of needs once we have fulfilled the last. Fulfillment being the main, and first, topic of the lecture, with Ian Weir asking us if we felt we were ‘fulfilled’, to which Seb replied boldly “In what context?” Which, while taking Ian aback slightly, seemed a reasonable question for such a vague question. What is fulfillment really? The feeling of completing everything you planned to achieve? But when did you plan these things? And I can’t imagine that, except for the very content and unambitious, that there will ever be a time when people do not wish for more. Isn’t that just human nature? I personally do feel fulfilled, generally (that sounds so much more pretentious when it becomes an actual sentence on a screen), however this clearly wasn’t how the question was intended. I am content, happy with how I am and how I am moving forward. I am not moving towards some collection of experiences that will somehow define my worth, I am reaching towards tomorrow with the knowledge that tomorrow may never come and the things we want, we should take in the ‘now’, the present, before we are disappointed by time getting in the way. Sure, in the way that was meant, my career in the design industry is only just beginning, and there is potentially so much more to come and much more fulfillment to come from this area of advancement. But the idea that things will for some reason become more resolved, more complete, seems somewhat unrealistic. Life, to me at least, is a series of moments, of emotions, and I suppose achievements and mistakes. It is not linear, it is a spectrum of all things happening right now and I believe fulfillment should come in the appreciation of what we have and what we have become and built ourselves to be. It’s such a cliche but I believe that life is a lot more about creating yourself than finding yourself, and in this way, people need to take more responsibility for themselves in how they are now and less so for where they imagine themselves to be in this magical ‘end point’ where they will see themselves as fulfilled.
Saying that, there are things I aspire to do in the future, of course. Things which I can see ahead of me and that I am working towards, because as well as acknowledging the possibility of no tomorrows for us, we also have to take into consideration the fact that there will also, almost definitely be a thousand tomorrows, and preparation is rarely a bad thing. To list a short collection of my aims, after university I would like to travel to London and work with Carter and Wong Design. Failing this, a design company in or close to Cardiff or Swansea would be a decent substitute. I would like my photography business to properly kick off, and I would like to be selling my photos and have a collection of loyal clients and a full portfolio of work I am proud of. I would like to be able to support myself financially, consider having a long term partner (I disagree with the notion of marriage, yet another story for another post) and possibly starting a family and living in a home that I, or we both, own without debt. Because as much as I like to constantly move around, act the blindly reckless adventure prone type and reject the idea of settling down, deep down I think we all aspire towards stability and a calm, easy life.
This is where Es George came in and offered us all guidance with our ‘future plan’. She delivered a talk about our “escape strategy” and how important it is to potential employers that we are all proactive, excited little design elves before being released into the “outside world”. I didn’t really enjoy this section of the day, partially because it was very repetitive of last year and also because the idea of leaving uni, which Es George was prodding towards the front of our minds, and the thought of eventually having to actively make a substantial change to my lifestyle and nudge myself into the depths of the design world, as well as having to work for the next 45 years to just be able to get by, is more than a little bit terrifying.
After Es’s talk, Ian jumped straight into talking about the naming of our imaginary companies, that we have been assigned for this brief. As much as I feel the content of this day could have been conducted in a lot less time, I must admit to have taken, if nothing else, quite a bit of motivation from the lectures, especially towards the end of the day. After writing this post I am going to sort out my internet presence, ‘tidying up’ and possibly deactivating some of my more personal, carelessly written blogs and begin to invest more time in the more productive sites such as Behance and WordPress. I am also motivated to begin reading the second book out of the three I have bought with my birthday money and also to actively seek out design work I can be doing in my spare time (which was something Ian directly brought to our attention). I am striving to be more productive with my time as I feel I have become slightly lazier ‘intellectually’ over the last year, with the exception of Constellation, which kept me reading academically written texts and considering art styles and history. This being a very specialised area of my existence, but better than nothing at all.