Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Should We Trust Maslow?

I was listening to an education class the other day and heard the teacher talking about Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. I learned about Maslow in high school and college, in psych classes and in education classes. He created a pyramid that says that we have needs that must be met before we can move higher. First is food, water and shelter, then safety and up to self esteem and self actualization. In education, the idea is that students must have their basic needs met before they can perform well, so if a student is hungry, they can't learn math.  We make sure the kids are fed and feel safe so they can perform well. This is pretty accepted by most people.


Yes, I said it, Maslow is crap. The laboratory of real life demonstrates this is crap. Let's look as some examples. Exhibit A is found in any public school. Kids who have money and nice homes, are well provided for, even a little spoiled. They are cocky and think they are God's gift. According to Maslow, these kids should be superstars. Are they? The rich, spoiled, snooty kids, are they the best kids in the school? Are they the highest achievers?  According to Maslow, they should be, and the kids who live in shabby homes with two parents working and they struggle to make ends meet, they should never achieve well. We know that real life doesn't pan out.

Exhibit B, William Kamkwamba. He was born in poverty and was educated by visiting a school library. He learned about electronics and built a wind turbine to power some appliances in his home. He didn't have all the basics that Maslow says are required, yet he achieved great things.

The reality and our last exhibit, Exhibit C is human history. We achieved great things because we were in need of food, water and safety. Necessity is the mother of invention, and humans need motivation more that anything else. People learn, achieve, and succeed in the face of adversity, not in the absence of hardship. The main idea of Maslow is as we move upward in thinking and achieving as we take care of more basic needs. This is now what human kind has demonstrated. When societies have put his plan into effect (this is the basic of socialism and communism), people have not achieved. The socialist idea is that we provide for people, the government will take care of the basic needs and the people will begin to achieve and perform. Didn't work. It doesn't work. People achieve to fill needs, they don't achieve because needs are filled. We are not wired that way.

Sorry Maslow, you got it wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment