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Criticizing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Updated: May 22

Contrary to popular belief, I don't think Maslow's hierarchy of needs is objectively universal to all human beings, as it was meant to appear. I disagree that these needs are in the correct priority for all human beings, and for some humans, they might not need some of the needs mentioned in the hierarchy.

Humans are subjective beings, so naturally an objective hierarchy of needs, for subjective entities, is quite pretentious and overgeneralizing in my opinion. There are some people, for example, that have various special needs, needs that do not appear in Maslow's hierarchy, making his theory not really universal and correct for all people that have lived, that are living, and will live.

Also, I disagree with Maslow's definition of self-actualization, as it is technically impossible to actualize oneself to the fullest, i.e., actualize the self perfectly.

According to this logic, even by asking this question, you have successfully actualized your authentic desire to find knowledge, and I have successfully actualized myself by granting you knowledge.

Therefore, I don't really think you can actually know for sure if you have actualized yourself in accordance to Maslow's theory, because the term "full potential" is a very vague term. Logically, however, "achieving oneself to the fullest" could mean dedicating every second of your existence to self-actualization, and if you have missed even one second of self-actualization, you technically failed in "achieving yourself to the fullest."

This is because the term "fullest" follows the same logic as "everything," "perfect," and "nothing" do—it's enough for one thing to oppose the rest of the things (or, in the case of "nothing," the rest of a void) in order for each of the terms to be incorrect.

Hence, the most logical solution I find to this issue is that the present moment is enough to create the phenomenon of the desired definition. If you express yourself in an honest way, then doing so, whether once or regularly, is enough for the phenomenon of self-actualization to occur.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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