The Original Maslov CC by Better Works

Maslov Revisited

Welcome to the The Whole Systems Maslov.

Floris Koot
May 30, 2018 · 5 min read

For a while I’ve had this unease over all those who are deeply at work with self-actualization. Tantra, meditation, Guru’s, Mindfulness, working on yourself at the deepest level, seems to be regarded as the pinnacle of Self Development. My guts shouted just of Self, read ego. I hope this model makes you see why.


Human progress can’t happen in a vacuum. We know now Oxygen, Clean Oceans, Thriving Forests, a Healthy Living Environment isn’t a given. It is the foundation of all life. And we should support all those who help provide, protect or enrich it, like people who plant forests. I think the farther we work up the ladder of Maslov, the more we are actually in danger of getting out of touch. Pure self manifestation is too often pure ego. It’s sold to you as a desirable focus, that makes your SelfHelp Gurus millions and keeps attention away from your, even our purpose, making life on our planet richer as a living whole.

Because consider this promising so-called highest last step: when you are self-actualized, what is it for? To be the next Guru for whom people fly to Bali to personally see? Or might it to be in service of the living world, in whatever way, that fits you? Angry social activists may seem annoying, we all can feel the higher level Jane Goodall speaks from. She’s a spiritual activist and words from people like her, should outweigh any esteemed politician or self help Guru. If you climb the Maslov pyramid do so, while staying in touch with the basis, does this what I do strengthen the whole, and keep our eco-system healthy? Your progress should lead you to join Jane’s ranks, becoming a spiritual activist. These are the people committed to keep the whole healthy, not just a group of mindful followers. So if your climbing the Maslov pyramid doesn’t lead you there, you aren’t going anywhere.

Note: I speak harsh words about the Maslov model, but I hope you feel, I speak of corruption and mistakingly climbing a false ladder. Psychosocial wellbeing can only be truly achieved in a healthy environment, and through feeling you have meaning in this world. Even the Buddha, after reaching enlightenment sought to end all suffering, not offer cool mountain retreats for those who could afford it.

Whole Systems Maslov Model, where the top is clearly related to the bottom. Full Circle. cc by FlorisKoot

How going up, may mean you’re missing the point.

In this model we see roles and professions that provide certain levels. We most admire the totally seemingly actualized self help gurus. We hardly experience that they too sell us a product, often nothing more than a story. It also feels like we are taught to look down upon farmers, street cleaners, yet they carry us all. And we get even told healers, social activists are a nuisance. The current, very disturbing, increased amount of murders on social activists, on people who protect forests (Colombia is the worst currently) must be done by those deeply out of touch with the system as a whole. Same with many companies. The model makes you look up and claims climbing the ladder is the greater good. Yet no ladder makes sense when there isn’t any ground to place it on. Or no place where it’s leading to. So. Where are you climbing towards to? Do you feel ground or swamp under you?

The power of advertising rests on disconnection

Now we can see how advertising sells you thrifty empty stories of climbing ever higher, yet the product or service never truly satisfies. “Go higher, belong to the happy few who got on top!” We’ll leave you to choose between, CEO, enlightened, rich, president or successful anything. Your journey is basically empty, when it doesn’t strengthen the whole system. If it’s just about you, essential connections with what you are part of are missing. And advertisers and corporations are very quick to tell you, “It just feels empty, because you just haven’t gone high enough yet.” And too many just haven’t got the strength to admit that they are lost, superrich, super famous, but lost.

Esteem based on bought esteem is empty.

Also consider when Maslov took off. That was in the era when advertising and marketing became multimillion industries and the science of manipulation of consumers became very very hot. Not for nothing his interest in the satisfaction of needs. What to do, with people who seemingly have everything? What more can be sold. Thus jeans should not only keep you warm, they should also raise your (self)esteem. Hence the rise of branding.

Suddenly we can also understand people like Trump. He can’t go higher than esteem. When esteem is your highest, but out of touch with the system as a whole, you make esteem the most important. Then criticism is an attack. When self actualization is the highest, then becoming a very rich Guru is best you can do. And when you are out of touch with the system as a whole, you biggest possible dream is becoming one too. I dreamed about it. It never felt right. Now I know why.

The green at the top is truly the same as the green at the bottom, at best with a higher level of understanding.

You’ve reached the highest when you’re back at the bottom.

And this also helps to understand that those that push climbing as the preferred ambition, are also out of touch, or ignore the green aspects. The videos, books that tell you how to succeed are training in disconnection. They train you to make conscious steps according to a successful method. That’s the sociopathic approach to success. And esteem and admired self actualization is the highest that they can achieve. Because feeling deeper, being more in touch, experiencing the pain of the destruction of our eco-systems, crying for the loss of another species, being angry over the lack of corporate and political action to change is all coming from the deeper love, the really deeper knowing. Our world is one. There is not pinnacle to climb to. There’s a world be in.

An alternative way to look at our economy. What makes humans so persistent against change? And the price we pay for it, why our systems fail.

And why collaboration beats competition.

Floris Koot

Written by

Play Engineer. Social Inventor. Gentle Revolutionary. I always seek new possibilities and increase of love, wisdom and play in the world.

The Gentle Revolution

Towards a revolution we all want to dance in, for a flourishing planet.

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