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Monday, May 29, 2017

Maslow’s hierarchy revisited

Posted by steve on October 10, 2004

Porena follow up notes: Connection to Maslow and the Five Stresses

Regular readers will remember that in the Sustainable Society of PORENA, a lot of work was done to understand what they called the five stresses. These were in the areas of

1) Nutrition

2) Shelter, including clothing

3) Mechanical stress, including safety aspects

4) Societal, communal

5) Toxic

The theory was that there are limits in all these areas, and exceeding them is deleterious to human health. That is to say, it puts a stress on the human organism that the human cannot resist for a long time without a breakdown in health. The clearer these limits are understood, the better work, buildings, society, production, etc can be designed.

There’s more. If you could reduce stress levels in these areas, you would achieve a change in behaviour. There would be a rapid reduction in destructive behaviour, and consequently in sustainability reducing effects of this behaviour.


This is actually what Maslow wanted to say with his hierarchy model (above).It was a sustainability promoting invention. Psychology could contribute to development by illuminating how these basic needs could be met. By doing what it could to reduce these stresses, society would reduce destructive behaviour.

We have to find ways to side-step this gigantic supply chain using up energy and spewing out waste, that in our (the consumer’s) name is “helping us fulfill ourselves”.

To enjoy your life, to fulfill yourself does not have anything to do with what you work with. You work primarily to keep life supported. First two Maslow steps. End of.

Then, the other steps should be accomplishable with the minimum of consumption of energy and resources.

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