Influential Past Teachers

Place of Birth
Brooklyn, NY USA

Foundation of Teaching
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Psychology, Self-Actualization

Example of Teaching
“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.”



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Abraham Maslow

Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and changing the view of human nature and human possibilities.  His influence continues to grow, especially in the fields of health, education, and management theory.  The basis of his lifelong research and thinking about mental health and human potential was inspired by two mentors, anthropologist Ruth Benedict and Gestalt psychologist Max Wertheimer, whom he met while teaching at Brooklyn College.

Maslow began taking notes about them and their behavior.  He wrote extensively on the subject, borrowing ideas from other psychologists but adding significantly to them, especially the concepts of a hierarchy of needs, metaneeds, self-actualizing persons, and peak experiences. Maslow became the leader of the humanistic school of psychology that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s, which he referred to as the “third force” beyond Freudian theory and behaviorism.

Maslow saw human beings’ needs arranged like a ladder. The most basic needs, at the
bottom, were physical — air, water, food, sex. Then came safety needs –security, stability — followed by psychological, or social needs — for belonging, love, acceptance. At the top of it all were the self-actualizing needs — the need to fulfill oneself, to become all that one is capable of becoming. Maslow felt that unfulfilled needs lower on the ladder would inhibit the person from climbing to the next step.

Maslow used the term metamotivation to describe self actualized people who are driven by innate forces beyond their basic needs, so that they may explore and reach their full human potential.Peak experiences are profound moments of love, understanding, happiness, or rapture, when a person feels more whole, alive, self-sufficient and yet a part of the world, more aware of truth, justice, harmony, goodness, and so on. Self-actualizing people have many such peak experiences.


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  1. "When people appear to be something other than good and decent, it is only because they are reacting to stress, pain, or the deprivation of basic human needs such as security, love, and Self-esteem."
  2. "Getting used to our blessings is one of the most important nonevil generators of human evil, tragedy and suffering."
  3. "It seems that the necessary thing to do is not to fear mistakes, to plunge in, to do the best that one can, hoping to learn enough from blunders to correct them eventually."
  4. "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail."
  5. "Self-actualizing people have a deep feeling of identification, sympathy, and affection for human beings in general. They feel kinship and connection, as if all people were members of a single family."
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