Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs: Where We Go Wrong

For those keeping up with my Deep series, chapter 6 is on its way. I just think that this article is of greater importance so I’m posting it first. This article is essentially a response and expansion of this post. Please read all of it and watch the video.

When I was in nursing school, we were taught the value of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is essentially a diagram or chart that takes the form of a triangle or pyramid that lists down the many needs of human beings. The triangle/pyramid is then divided into five horizontal sections that categorize people’s needs.


Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

Here are those five categories of needs and what each of them entails:

  1. Physiologic Needs: The base and largest part of the triangle/pyramid and also the most essential. Also called “animalistic” needs by my peers in college, these are noted for being the most basic of all needs. This includes stuff like air, water (no, alcohol does NOT count) and food which we require on a metabolic level. Then there’s clothes and shelter to protect us from the elements. These are, by far, the most important of our needs as our survival depends on them.
  2. Safety Needs: The layer just above physiologic needs. If physiologic needs is about survival, “safety” needs are for the continuation or maintenance of survival.  This includes things such as health needs or making sure that one is free from diseases or any potential health risks. This also includes financial security which often translates to having a job with a steady income.
  3. Social Needs: Smack in the center of the pyramid. Like they say, no man is an island and everyone needs others in their lives. These include friends, family or a significant other.
  4. Esteem Needs: Esteem needs revolve around things like something we can be proud of. Esteem includes things like getting a prestigious education, a nice house, a cool car and some fame. This is the second to the highest of the needs and its pursuit is not as essential as that of the others.
  5. Self-Actualization Needs: Pursuit of moral ideals, prestige as well as creativity and artistry.

The thing is, the Hierarchy of Needs doesn’t teach us what is most important in life as we are all allowed to ascribe value to the aspects of life in whatever way we want. What it does teach us is the order of what we should prioritize in our daily lives. When I look at the nuances of our society, it is often the poor understanding and prioritization of our needs that further worsen our condition as a nation. While yes, I certainly think that the Philippines has the resources necessary to provide plenty for its people, it is the mismanagement of said resources that has led to the stagnation, poverty and general misery that many of our countrymen are now mired in.

In one sermon I attended (one of the few I actually liked), the priest presented an interesting theory on how Jesus fed the hungry. Instead of miraculously creating bread from nothing or making the bread ultra-nutritious, he simply inspired other people to bringing more food. Seeing a little boy who was probably pretty hungry himself give up his own food for others pulled the heart-strings of people who were more well-to-do, inspiring them to provide donations as well. I think that Pinoys have a lot of what they need right in front of them, they just either refuse to share or don’t know what to prioritize. Allow me to provide some valid points so that you can better see what I’m talking about here.

Pinoys Are Breeding Themselves To Death

One of the biggest problems in the Philippines is our runaway population expansion. Now, this might work to our advantage if we could provide a good education to each and every Filipino but that is a task that might as well be impossible with the way national funds continue to be mismanaged.

We can of course blame the Catholic Church, at least partially about this as they tend to be very critical regarding contraception. However, if anyone will ask me, I think this can all be traced back to the over-romanticism of our media. Yes, you heard that right. Yes, you are also welcome to call me a single and bitter old coot if you want to.

But look here. Our songs, films and TV series are almost always centered on romance with little regard for consequences. Because of this, people are geared into thinking that they must always be seeking that significant other and that they are inferior people if they fail to find that “someone” in their lives. You can see it in the influx of local films being made from cheesy and implausible love stories on Wattpad.

At the end of the day, our media only convinces our youth to breed like rabbits in their pursuit of that “special someone”, resulting in a population explosion. Then you have cases like the one where some dumb mother who calls herself “Ayra Dela Cruz Francisco” who’s too young to understand what mothering is really about has the hot idea of treating her baby like a dog.

While I have nothing against romance shows and stories, it’s preposterous to have it as the only thing available to our youths. I’m not saying that it should be taken off the air or internet. I’m only asking that it be minimized and other concepts, such as responsibility and consequences, also be introduced in our mainstream media. Remember, being twenty-six and watching cartoons isn’t immature, being sixteen and pregnant is.

Pinoys Are All About “Yabang”

Another sad fact is the very concept of “Pinoy Pride”. See, unlike say British or Japanese Pride which is more about having a sense of duty and a dedication to excellence, Pinoy Pride is more about being as loud as possible to the point of being an annoyance to others. We flaunt our perceived “achievement” at others no matter how silly it may all seem.

“Basta importante may ipagyayabang ka.” (What’s important is that you have something to boast about.) Sound familiar?

This is the all too common mindset of the typical Pinoy. This is why you have people who bankrupt themselves just so they can throw a prestigious party. This is why some people prioritize gadgets over things like food for their children. This is why there are people who think having cool shoes is better than having a good education.

It’s always about “yabang” (boasting) and not anything practical like proper resource management and plans for the future. Majority of Pinoys simply like to party like there’s no tomorrow with little regard for what will actually happen tomorrow. All to sate our need to look “cool” in front of our others and not for the possible future of our following generations.

Pinoy Implausible Ideals

Everyday, I hear news about Pinoys protesting about justice, freedom and democracy. Unfortunately, I’m going to point out that not all Pinoys even know the meaning of justice, freedom and democracy. For some even, justice is simply about getting even with people who hurt you, freedom is about doing what you want regardless of the consequences and democracy is about choosing your own leader even if they are apparently incompetent and inbred louts.

As a certain British expat states out loud, we try to reach for these ideals even when we have no idea what they actually mean. So instead of pursuing the basics first and making a secure foundation for our future, we create a flimsy society built on lies and deception. It all reminds me too much of the wise man (who built his house on a solid foundation) and the foolish man (who built his house upon unstable ground) in the Bible.

7 Replies to “Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs: Where We Go Wrong”

  1. I really do think that Maslow’s pyramid doesnt work for Filipinos because Maslow’s pyramid only works in a society where the individual is really free. And thats not the case with Filipinos.

    4. Esteem needs: Esteem needs revolve around things like something we can be proud of. Esteem includes things like getting a prestigious education, a nice house, a cool car and some fame. This is the second to the highest of the needs and its pursuit is not as essential as that of the others.

    All humans have a need to feel respected; this includes the need to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. These activities give the person a sense of contribution or value. Low self-esteem or an inferiority complex may result from imbalances during this level in the hierarchy. People with low self-esteem often need respect from others; they may feel the need to seek fame or glory. However, fame or glory will not help the person to build their self-esteem until they accept who they are internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can hinder the person from obtaining a higher level of self-esteem or self-respect.

    Most people have a need for stable self-respect and self-esteem. Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs: a “lower” version and a “higher” version. The “lower” version of esteem is the need for respect from others. This may include a need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The “higher” version manifests itself as the need for self-respect. For example, the person may have a need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence, and freedom. This “higher” version takes precedence over the “lower” version because it relies on an inner competence established through experience. Deprivation of these needs may lead to an inferiority complex, weakness, and helplessness.

    Maslow states that while he originally thought the needs of humans had strict guidelines, the “hierarchies are interrelated rather than sharply separated”. This means that esteem and the subsequent levels are not strictly separated; instead, the levels are closely related.

    Pinoys are breeding themselves to death
    I wish you stop blaming those TV series. Everything is a responsibility of the individual human being. The fact that kids are not taught about responsibility by their own parents speaks volume.

    Every behavior starts at the bottom, the roots. So you have to start with the parents.

    1. As Grimwald said, Filipinos put the need for esteem even higher than the need for food. I’ve met dozens of Pinoys who spend and spend and spend (using ‘borrowed’ money, of course) simply so they can pretend they’re rich. Parents mooch off their children so they can buy pointless geegaws and show off how ‘successful’ they are to the neighbours. Utter madness.

  2. Abraham Maslow’s study of the Hierarcy 0f Needs, is the study of motivation and personality.
    He studied the 1% “cream of the crops”, of people.

    “Not the mentally ill, immature or neurotic people…which. if you study these kinds of people; will only yield to crippled psychology and cripple Philosophy…” as stated by Maslow.

    The highest of these needs is : self actualization and self-transcendence. The second is self esteem.

    Our leaders are :thieves, political opportunists and liars. They have low self esteem.

    Aquino is mentally ill and immature…

    Maslow Theory does not apply in the Philippines..

    1. Hayden,
      it does also APPLY in/to your country. But it will only WORK if and when PH society will become (more) individual centered/focused. With most or all being so family focused it wont work, but it does apply because also you are a human being. But most of them are NOT free. And by the time, PH individuals reach the stage/phase of self-esteem and self-actualization, then and only then your government has to and will change as well. So in short, you have the power and nobody else.

      As long as the family focus stays the culture as it is now, the government, the media will keep on laughing at you. You are simply an easy target, an easy victim for both of them.

  3. Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.