God, Abram and Abraham Maslow

“Leave your country, your people and your father’s household
And go to the land I will show you.
I will make you into a great nation
And I will bless you
I will make your name great
And you will be a blessing
I will bless those who bless you
And whoever curses you I will curse
And all nations on earth
will be blessed through you.”

Genesis 12:1-3, NIV

The above passage is referred to as God’s promise to Abram. In it God tells Abram all the needs that will be fulfilled in Abram’s life if he simply depends on God to fulfill his physiological needs. God would eventually rename Abram to Abraham.

A few thousand years after this was written, Abraham Maslow came up with his renowned “hierarchy of needs”. This hierarchy had the five following components:

  1. Physiological
  2. Safety
  3. Belonging
  4. Esteem
  5. Self-Actualization

When I looked at this hierarchy the alarm bells went off, because I was deeply familiar with the book of Genesis and God’s promise to Abram in particular.

Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you fulfills the physiological requirement.

I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you fulfills the belonging requirement.

I will make your name great and you will be a blessing fulfills the esteem requirement.

I will bless those who bless you and those who curse you I will curse fulfills the safety requirement.

All nations on earth will be blessed through you fulfills the self-actualization requirement.

So, what is it that Maslow revealed to us that the authors of the Old Testament haven’t already recognized as fundamental needs? It appears to me that Maslow at best reinvented the wheel. At worst he plagiarized and secularized a Bible passage.

On further examination of this passsage and of Maslow’s hierarchy we can find that there is a defining quality between the physiological and the remaining needs. The physiological need does not require social interaction, the four remaining needs do. This produces another tetrad.


God, Abram and Abraham Maslow digg

8 Responses to “God, Abram and Abraham Maslow”

  1. Sam Cannon Says:

    Quite a stretch. Another way to interpret the Genesis
    would be to look at it as if it were Hitler re-inventing
    the Journey. But it’s sure nice to see this area getting
    churned up, because we’re headed for eugenics again,
    and Maslow will help us to see how to properly think
    about it.

  2. Sam Cannon Says:

    What’s interesting is that in order to evolve a better
    society and better world, we might need to split off
    from that which we have now. Remember Oceania?
    If we can put criminals in Georgia, why not good
    folks in Ohio?

    Thanks for your observation. Maybe it will make some
    folks think about these vectors. In terms of your field, if
    you add a little stoichiometry, you might like the “tuple-like”
    quote from A. Huxley: “We are all individual molecules in a great social gas.” What Google and Spock do with that remains to be seen.

  3. grant czerepak Says:

    Yes, it is a stretch in some ways, others not. I think the fundamental concepts for understanding humanity are repackaged over and over again.

    Thanks for the Huxley quote. Yes, humanity is a system and each human a subsystem.

  4. Sam Cannon Says:

    Sorry so chatty, but look at Maslow’s B-values
    in terms of design elegance. What else would
    you include?

  5. grant czerepak Says:

    Hard to say. I haven’t given as much attention to the B-values as I have to the needs hierarchy. I am tempted to say that some of the values are products of others.

  6. Maslow’s B-Values and Predictability « relationary Says:

    […] 26th, 2007 Along with the Hierarcy of Needs, Abraham Maslow also compiled a set of Being […]

  7. Jerald Bausman Says:

    I appreciate you taking the time to create this post. It continues to be really useful to me indeed. Enjoy it.

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