Virtues and needs


Nice integration of Maslow’s hierarchy with the four cardinal virtues.

Curlew River

Maslow's hierarchy, as depicted by Factoryjoe. Maslow’s hierarchy, as depicted by Factoryjoe.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a popular framework for depicting the elements of a healthy, integrated personality, and the way in which the different “needs” of such a personality depend on one another.

It’s not one that commands universal support. This reworking of it as “Maslow’s plughole of narcissism” may be harsh, but it makes an important point: namely, that Maslow’s hierarchy can function in a rather individualistic way, moving “from shared need and social support to personal thoughts and individual wants” (even if it is arguable that this was not Maslow’s intention, as set out in his original paper on the subject).

When I linked to that “plughole” image the other day on Twitter, I was upbraided by someone asking “Why is it narcissistic to want to be a good person?” That, of course, rather begs the question: the criticism being made of the…

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