A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham Maslow - HTML preview

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[1] As the child grows up, sheer knowledge and familiarity as well as better motor


make these 'dangers' less and less dangerous and more and more manageable.


life it may be said that one of the main conative functions of education is this neutralizing of

apparent dangers through knowledge, e. g., I am not afraid of thunder because I know

something about it.

[2] A 'test battery' for safety might be confronting the child with a small exploding

firecracker, or

with a bewhiskered face; having the mother leave the room, putting him upon a high

ladder, a

hypodermic injection, having a mouse crawl up to him, etc. Of course I cannot seriously

recommend the deliberate use of such 'tests' for they might very well harm the child


tested. But these and similar situations come up by the score in the child's ordinary day-


living and may be observed. There is no reason why those stimuli should not be used

with, far

example, young chimpanzees.

[3] Not all neurotic individuals feel unsafe. Neurosis may have at its core a thwarting of


affection and esteem needs in a person who is generally safe.

[4] For further details see (12) and (16, Chap. 5).

[5] Whether or not this particular desire is universal we do not know. The crucial


especially important today, is "Will men who are enslaved and dominated inevitably feel

dissatisfied and rebellious?" We may assume on the basis of commonly known clinical


that a man who has known true freedom (not paid for by giving up safety and security

but rather

built on the basis of adequate safety and security) will not willingly or easily allow his

freedom to

be taken away from him. But we do not know that this is true for the person born into


The events of the next decade should give us our answer. See discussion of this

problem in


[6] Perhaps the desire for prestige and respect from others is subsidiary to the desire for


esteem or confidence in oneself. Observation of children seems to indicate that this is

so, but

clinical data give no clear support for such a conclusion.

[7] For more extensive discussion of normal self-esteem, as well as for reports of various

researches, see (11).

[8] Clearly creative behavior, like painting, is like any other behavior in having multiple,

determinants. It may be seen in 'innately creative' people whether they are satisfied or


happy or unhappy, hungry or sated. Also it is clear that creative activity may be


ameliorative or purely economic. It is my impression (as yet unconfirmed) that it is

possible to

distinguish the artistic and intellectual products of basically satisfied people from those of basically unsatisfied people by inspection alone. In any case, here too we must

distinguish, in a

dynamic fashion, the overt behavior itself from its various motivations or purposes.

[9] I am aware that many psychologists md psychoanalysts use the term 'motivated' and

'determined' synonymously, e. g., Freud. But I consider this an obfuscating usage.


distinctions are necessary for clarity of thought, and precision in experimentation.

[10] To be discussed fully in a subsequent publication.

[11] The interested reader is referred to the very excellent discussion of this point in


Explorations in Personality (15).

[12] Note that acceptance of this theory necessitates basic revision of the Freudian


[13] If we were to use the word 'sick' in this way, we should then also have to face

squarely the

relations of man to his society. One clear implication of our definition would be that (1)

since a

man is to be called sick who is basically thwarted, and (2) since such basic thwarting is


possible ultimately only by forces outside the individual, then (3) sickness in the

individual must

come ultimately from sickness in the society. The 'good' or healthy society would then be

defined as one that permitted man's highest purposes to emerge by satisfying all his


basic needs.