maslow, links and bit of soap box

File:Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.svg

I thought maybe I misunderstood the Maslow concept of self-actualization, but after a little reading I think maybe not. I think I was first introduced to it by an engineer type person who sang in one of my choirs. He pointed out that engineers tend to be self-actualizers and that was the type of person who would motivate themselves to volunteer and be in a choir and spend time learning music and improving themselves.

A little reading and thinking led me to see that Maslow is simply articulating a basic wisdom, that first one must have one’s more basic needs addressed before one can pursue others.  Sounds like common sense to me.

Spent a good deal of time yesterday going from thrift shop to thrift shop buying bowls and serving utensils for my niece’s wedding on Saturday.

Holland, MI

She is using all thrift shop stuff to serve her guests on.

I also purchased pasta and some of those large foil serving trays. My plan is to have the pesto all ready to drop off and have her friends serve it room temp. Then all the stuff can either be discarded, kept or sent back to thrift shops with the rest of the stuff she has. But none of it needs to be returned to me.

A few links from yesterday:

Humanizing New York City Ballet Dancers –

This article describes how ballet dancers are emulating symphonic players and trying to connect more directly with their audiences via pre-concert chats and more humanized public relations. Very interesting to me. I like that concert etiquette is breaking down a bit, so that the artificiality of the ivory tower and inaccessible approach to great music is eroded. I think that the etiquette puts off Americans a bit and distances them from stuff they might like. On the other hand, I am attracted to the stiff traditional world of ballet class etiquette.

One of the dance teachers addressed this directly recently with the students, pointing out the etiquette between the sexes (essentially sexist… boy dancers always go last and help carry out the dance equipment). This etiquette she said is something that is important in dance,  but does not extend to her daily life in which she is more egalitarian.

DOES MINIMALISM MATTER? | More Intelligent Life

This article fascinated me because it discusses minimalism in art and doesn’t mention the concept in music. At the same time it concludes with a quote from Chopin: “After one has played a vast quantity of notes…it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.”


An Arizona Act of Kindness, Leaving Water for Immigrants, or an Offense? –

Finally, this little disheartening article about people who oppose leaving water in the desert for illegal immigrants.  I find the whole argument against illegal immigrants very disturbing. It reminds me so much of blaming those who are deprived for their deprivation. Not to mention empowering the mad concept of the “state” as a defining aspect of reality. Borders between countries seem to me to be imaginary lines thought up by humans at their worst. You step over a line and now you are in jail or worse.

The philosophical basis for nations and states is eroding as we discover we are all trapped in the same little fishbowl called earth. The incredible riches and privileges we have living in the United States and other “developed” countries are not only provided at the expense of other people in the world (what we have they do not, our pollution has poisoned the earth’s atmosphere for everyone). It also seems to have created a weird sense of entitlement that people who live in the USA should have infrastructure like roads and education without being taxed for it. Not to mentioning the hardening of hearts that says that poverty and ignorance are the fault of those who suffer from them.

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5 thoughts on “maslow, links and bit of soap box

  1. The problem with understanding the concepts by people like Maslow is that their theories are always subject to interpretation. My understanding of Maslow is that he was concerned more with people’s potential, which he based his research on (specifically those who are not necessarily psychologically unbalanced, but rather balanced in a higher sense of being). Most of the traits or concepts within the “self actualization” category are hardly achievable for most people, but that does not mean that humans innately do not have the potential. Example: “without prejudice” – this is a very hard concept to achieve as we as people have our prejudices both consciously and unconsciously. If one truly wants to be “without-prejudice”, one would need to tap into the unconscious part of our brains to address and correct or process this (that is if you believe in all that kooky Freudian/Jungian stuff, again open to interpretation). So following this logic, people rarely are able to achieve this sense of being “self-actualized” mostly do the preoccupation with the lower levels or needs. This is my understanding of Maslow and I base this not only on readings, but discussion with psychologists and academics for Maslow’s theories span across psychology, business, etc.. and is similar to other theories within psychology. I would argue that this is not “common sense”, but rather a philosophically interpretive point of view as many people (common) have most likely not heard or could care less about Maslow’s HON. Also, I would not be so quick to dismiss the value of the theory’s underpinnings. There is a lot we can continue to learn from theories such as this, regardless of the conventional wisdom that states otherwise. Your engineer friend may tend to want to be self-actualizing or strives for that ideal state of what he conceives as self-actualization, but just from what you describe it is obvious to me that he is not without-prejudice (attending religious gathering/promoting the idea that engineers are more “self-actualizers”, etc). Of course this is open to yours as well as mine interpretations of how you worded the story….. (is that killer circular stuff or what?)
    I actually get a lot of pop psychology stuff thrown at me when people hear the word “psychology” and associate it with me. I try to remind those I discuss this stuff with that psychology continues to strive to be recognized as a legitimate field of study even though it is soooooooo open to interpretation. When we get a sound theory that can be tested and disproved, it is one step closer to legitimizing psychology in the mainstream. Of course this is another reason why I am sooooo done with it. As I try and tackle another illegitimate field (public administration), I will keep in mind those lessons learned, which may be more than you are interested in right now. I digress…..

    in terms of the other comments and views on your blog today….im not even gonna go there….

  2. Yes, I retracted it because I’m having a day and I’m sort of off balance and was afraid that I might not be picking up on whether my comments are appropriate or clear enough. But here it is back:

    Thanks again for responding on my blog. I do enjoy the conversing. FWIW I do not think that you or I or my engineer friend have attained any sort of self-actualization in a complete manner. (I don’t know if you looked at my last comment from yesterday).But on the other hand I don’t think that any of us is completely immoral, uncreative, unspontaneous, incapable of solving problems, prejudiced, or unable to accept facts. Quite the contrary, I see us striving to realize some of our potential as humans in these areas.

  3. Sorry to hear you had an off day yesterday. Better luck today. Change the subject….put up shelves in the garage for my books. They need to be off the floor…I used garage type shelving with 7 ten inch wide and one 12 inch wide wood pieces. Also used thin cheap pieces of metal to put the shelves themselves on. Went to home depot and spent about $100 as opposed to spending double with built ins. Cynthia’s dad painted the shelves for me while I was at work. That was a nice gesture. I will most likely attach the shelves to the wall on one side to ensure they are earthquake significant….you know we like to shake shake shake out here. Also, got a board ready to put up to act like a quark board, basically made out of a piece of drywall and some cloth. I am getting closer and closer to getting my office type space ready so I can concentrate a bit more on the dissertation without having to go to the local panera or starbucks. I reinstalled Google chrome and it is working faster than I remember so I will probably stick with it. Downloaded about a dozen ebooks (classics like philosophy, business stuff, from this website: and with the help of the sister (liz) was able to locate a program to extract the ebooks so I can actually read them (in my spare time of course). Catherine’s arm is healing. Not sure if you heard, but she broke it. We had a bad experience with the medical care again but I won’t go into details here. Let me know if you want to run down and I will email it to you.
    Just a few notes to let your mind wonder about….something other than your daily trials and tribulations….

  4. I did not know that Catherine’s arm was broken. I am definitely interested an email when you get a chance (please copy to Eileen as well if you don’t mind). Not sure why your comment got classified as spam. I hand delete so I would have caught it anyway. Not sure I have this fixed. But rest assured if you make a comment and I find it in my spam (like I did today), I will put it up ASAP. Your bookshelves sound cool. Want to come build me some? Heh. Just kidding. Thanks for the chatty comment. My day is going a better today.

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