Article by DrL.Michael Hall and Shawn Dwyer ~

The Hierarchy of Needs begins with the survival needs for food, air, water, shelter, vitamins, trace chemicals, reproduction—needs which can be satisfied at the tangible level of things. These need-satisfactions can be quantified and measured. They can be calculated in terms of body weight, time, amount, etc. We can measure the needs, in part, using thermometers, by taking blood pressure, doing a blood analysis, etc.

Second Level of Needs

At the second level of needs, however, we move to a set of needs that are less tangible and that can be satisfied by less tangible things—the safety and security needs. These needs govern our sense of safety and security. How do we operationalize the terms? One way to begin is by measuring a person’s sense of relaxation versus the stress responses of the general arousal syndrome. Hence by examining the amount of adrenalin in the body, the amount of activation of the thyroid, thyalmus, etc. Of course to measure the need for control, stability, safety begins to introduce the role of each person’s psychology into the picture. Here, as with beauty, control, safety, etc. is in the eye of the beholder.

Next, we come to the third level of needs—the love and affection needs.

And while these are even less tangible, there are some ingenious ways to measure them. Harlow’s studies of the terry-cloth versus the wire mother monkey showed the role that touch and “warmth” played in the mental-emotional health of chimpanzees. Further studies of nurseries have indicated the crucial role of touch and stroking on infants. That “failure to thrive” and even death can result from the lack of touch and “bonding” of the infants. By these studies we today recognize that “love,” touch, connection, bonding, human “warmth,” etc. are needs and are necessities that we can demonstrate. To benchmark these we would inquire about how many touches we need, how often, by whom, in what contexts, etc.

At the fourth level Maslow put the self-regard and respect needs.

This speaks of the need to be recognized, acknowledged, and validated. It is sensed and felt as the sense of dignity, worth, and value. To describe this we use such terms of as self-esteem, self-value, self-acknowledgment, etc.
And the converse of this is more easily recognized. Therefore, when we treat someone (or a sub-group of people) as “not a person,” as “invisible” and disenfranchise that person economically, socially, or politically, we act as if his or her views, opinions, welfare, and person are irrelevant. These experiences generate in people a sense of a violation of their value, worth, and importance. Hence the need to be seen, acknowledge, and validated. Accordingly, some of the worst punishments we can experience includes isolation, solitary confinement, and excommunication from a community. So while we can observe the results of showing disrespect, the sense of self-regard is almost entirely intangible.

Finally, we arrive at the highest of all needs—the self-actualization needs.

This is the need for meaningfulness in life. So to find and be oneself. And to keep growing and developing as a human being, to become everyone you can become. It is the need to make real (actualize) what you sense within are possibilities and potentials. Therefore, it is the need to make real the capabilities that lurk within for music, beauty, art, order, justice, excellence, perfection, honor, knowledge, etc. This is the drive for fully expressing yourself and for creating your sense of self and reality. And again, while we can recognize the pathologies that arise when people live in ugliness or suffer meaninglessness, these needs are entirely intangible. They are needs of your spirit, not of your body.

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