I agree that the most basic of human needs are physiological and can be stated as the need for food, water, warmth, movement, and sleep. Many of us are motivated to satisfy these basic needs with the possible exception of severe drug addicts and the mentally ill who may disregard some of these basic needs at their own peril.
I prefer to classify other needs as motivating DESIRES for many but not for all. The supposed need for security or safety motivates many but there are the gamblers, the risk takers, thrill seekers, pleasure seekers, and entrepreneurs for whom too much security is not exciting enough and does not offer enough of a reward for living. Risk takers often prefer an adrenalin rush or the hope of making a great profit to too long a duration of a secure but relatively boring existence. Hedonistic promiscuous males and those involved in extreme sports are examples of risk taking deviance.
Many desire intimate or close relationships but many also fail at true intimacy which requires integrity, dependability, good communication skills, financial responsibility, and competence. Many more probably desire but not that many know how to develop trusting enduring relationships with the same or opposite sex. In a modern age of accepted promiscuity and some immorality intimate committed relationships are fast becoming an endangered species.
The desire to be praised, respected, and loved or a basic desire to have one’s ego lifted can almost be considered to be a basic need and source of motivation for many. Unfortunately many hope to get their self-esteem boosted by external things like just looking good, wearing the right clothes, having a nice car or furniture, having an interesting hobby, and having many acquaintances since many do not have such fulfilling good paying jobs or careers which they can feel proud about.
The desire to be respected and admired is fulfilled by being in a leadership position or having a reputable good paying career which you enjoy or can be creative in. Celebrities are often admired but not always respected since few of them have the morality and integrity to survive the temptations and drawbacks of celebrity status in the long duration.
Cognitive and aesthetic desires or the desire to think and search for beauty are relatively uncommon desires and motivates very few common men and women who have a tendency to judge based on past experience and not think and a tendency to accept authority figure judgments of what is beautiful.
Transcendence is defined as existence beyond the normal or physical level and we enter the badly defined area of spiritual experiences with no logical connection to reality other than brain activity of some kind which not that many desire to dwell in for very long.
True needs are mostly physiological and ego boosting. The rest of Mazlow’s needs are just desires that many have which motivate their lives and the order of priority varies in many individuals. There is no structural pyramid of needs for all humans.
There are those severely addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, sex, overeating, shopping, etc. These severe addictions can become true personal needs with priority number one which make Mazlow’s pyramid of needs crumble to dust because even basic physiological needs are no longer fully met in some extreme addiction cases, especially in some drug addictions.
The basic error in Mazlow’s theory is that he has failed to accurately differentiate between a human need and a human desire. A human need is a desire for a subset(s) which is frequently essential. A need then is usually just an essential desire.
Desire: v. to mentally sense a need to achieve a goal(s) and frequently making that future achievement more probable and it originates in the survival instinct
Need: v. to desire a subset(s) which is frequently essential
Finally what many humans basically want or desire is to be happy and the type of goals which you strive to achieve will either increase your happiness in the short and/or long duration or increase your misery in the short and/or long duration.
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