The human brain is driven by a basic instinct to survive. This need trumps all others. Thus it’s easy to see how obvious biological and physiological needs, such as food, drink, shelter, warmth, and sex, formed the basis of Maslow’s pyramid.
As Maslow’s hierarchy continues, the second level is made up of the safety needs, such as protection, security, order, limits, stability, and predictability.
The third level is where Maslow’s model placed the belongingness needs like family, affection, relationships, work groups, and community.
The fourth level is what we might consider more the ego-centric needs of achievement, relationships, responsibility, and reputation.
And finally, at the top is self-actualization, or the desire for personal growth and fulfillment.
But here’s the problem with Maslow’s hierarchy. None of these needs — starting with basic survival on up — are possible without social connection and collaboration.
None of Maslow’s needs can be met without social connection
Humans are social animals for good reason. Without collaboration, there is no survival. It was not possible to defeat a Woolley Mammoth, build a secure structure, or care for children while hunting without a team effort. It’s more true now than then. Our reliance on each other grows as societies became more complex, interconnected, and specialized. Connection is a prerequisite for survival, physically and emotionally.
Needs are not hierarchical. Life is messier than that. Needs are, like most other things in nature, an interactive, dynamic system, but they are anchored in our ability to make social connections.
Maslow’s Model Rewired for Social Media
Maslow’s model needs rewiring so it matches our brains.
Belongingness is the driving force of human behavior, not a third tier activity. The system of human needs from bottom to top, shelter, safety,sex, leadership, community, competence and trust, are dependent on our ability to connect with others. Belonging to a community provides the sense of security and agency that makes our brains happy and helps keep us safe.
- Pamela Rutledge