When the psychologist Abraham Maslow died, like the great architect Gaudi, he left his masterpiece unfinished. In his case it was not the Sagrada Familia, but perhaps a more important structure: the Pyramid of Maslow represents the hierarchy of human needs.
The Maslow Pyramid
Maslow had presented his pyramid in an article, "A Theory of Human Motivation" published in Psychological Review. It was 1943 and at the time the hierarchy of human needs looked like this:
Maslow, however, lived until 1970, and the pyramid of 1943 lacked the point of arrival that the evolution of his thought has reached.
In fact, in his last years of life, his "architect" added an element to the top of this pyramid: self-transcendence.
The Maslow Pyramid with its new summit
Nichol Bradford, CEO and founder of Willow Group, recently spent a period of study at Singularity University, whose mission is to be "a global community that uses exponential technologies to address the world's greatest challenges".
Eventually, she came out convinced that the most serious problems facing humanity are not technical. Although it is possible to design our way out of trouble, in fact, we will not succeed until we transcend ourselves, seeing beyond our individual well-being to the need of all of us.
The real summit, the best future
In summary, what concerns the final stage of the Maslow pyramid is this. Having met our basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid, having worked on our emotional needs in the middle and worked to reach our potential, Maslow felt that we had to transcend the idea that makes us perceive ourselves as islands.
We should come to see ourselves as part of the larger universe to develop common priorities that can enable humanity to survive as a species.
From the collective response to war or health emergencies to the colonization of space, the importance of coming together as a global community suggests that the very top of the pyramid is the only hope for our future.