Maslowian Psychological Movement

The basic theory of the Maslowian philosophy, originated and advocated by psychologist Abraham Maslow, deals with motivation. The theory describes the development of individuals from fundamental needs to much higher needs of self-actualization.
  1. Maslow’s philosophy views man as able to progress through different stages of being and able to reach his greatest potential, self-actualization.
  2. The Maslowian movement’s position on character motivation is that all such motivation and behavior relies on individual processes. Maslow believed that as one gets closer to self-actualization, the outside motivation lessens because one grows into doing things just for the sake of doing them more than to further some purpose. This is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of motives that establish human behavior. The hierarchy starts with physiological needs, followed by safety and survival needs, such as food and oxygen, then feelings of belonging, including companionship and other social needs, then esteem needs, like competence and prestige, and finally, self-actualization.
  3. This psychological movement appears optimistic, which is shown through Maslow’s belief that people can fulfill their highest potential by progressing through the hierarchy of motives.
  4. According to this theory, the past, present, and future are all connected through the hierarchy because a person must, at some time in the past, have reached the levels below the present one, from which one looks to the future levels, including the highest one of self-actualization.
  5. According to Maslow’s theory, the individual has as much control as he/she wants in making changes in his/her life because the level of potential that is reached depends largely on the individual’s own motivation and will.
  6. Maslow believed the studies and theories about the subconscious to be too theoretical and involved with underlying sicknesses of the brain. He did not include anything about subconscious forces being responsible for one’s behavior in his theories; in fact, Maslow basically said personality processes dealing with the whole person, not just any one part such as the subconscious, are responsible for behavior.
  7. Knowledge of the Maslowian psychological movement might be helpful to a literary critic because Maslow’s theory of motivation is apparent in several works of literature, such as Tonio Kroger and Father Sergius, novellas in which the main character starts out concerned with basic things, like feelings of belonging, but moves on to human needs such as love and esteem, and then self-actualization.