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RohinGupta

Analyzing Maslow's model of motivation from the perspective of Objectivism

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Maslow’s theory of motivation claims that first motivators are physiological factors like food, shelter, etc., after that safety factors like rule of law and insurance(protection in general), then meaningful social relationships, then social status and reputation, and finally an individual’s need to find himself or herself. The final one being self-actualization.

From OEFO perspective, not a chosen few, but all adults are or should be motivated by self-actualization (OEFO refers to my book “Organizational Ethics from Objectivism”, from which the snippet is taken). The Central Purpose of Life (CPL) in Objectivist Ethics is quite similar to the concept of self-actualization. Other needs in Maslow’s model, ranging from physiological, safety-related, social, and emotional should be inferred and adjusted based on the CPL. For example, a CEO of an organizations will need a bigger social circle than a scientist(generally speaking), since the latter focuses more on in-depth study, and the former more on collaborative actions for building products and services. Safety is a negative factor and should not be the primary motivation. E.g., retiring early without having any clear CPL is not right. Also, the emotional part of the self should be fuelled using art or sports, such that one is sufficiently motivated to move towards their CPL. The same criteria is true for personal and other relationships. The contribution of each relationship towards the CPL should be evaluated.

True, there are adults who have very destructive CPLs. Communism in Soviet Russia and elsewhere, Socialism in Nazi Germany, or many Socialist intellectuals and politicians of the Indian Left are a few of the examples of those having destructive CPLs. Also, among millennials, the non-productive purpose of enjoying as an ultimate end is popular. However, this too is not right as a Central Virtue, because it’s not derived from the Virtue of Productivity: The creation of products and services as a priority. These CPLs can be contrasted from the CPLs of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates 1.0, the founding fathers of America, Walt Disney, Narendra Modi, etc. Overall, irrespective of the value or the disvalue of CPL, the fact remains that humans are, or should be motivated by purpose.
 
 

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