The Epigenetic Principle and Success
Human development can be described as an assembly line in the factory of life. Although we can try our best to understand the machines that propel the product down the line, all we know is what can be seen from outside the gates. There are several theories pertaining to how the factory operates, but we have no way of entering it. Some of the best theories come from Abraham Maslow and Erik Erikson who's conclusions relate well to the majority of humans. Maslow and Erikson both believe in a linear progression when it comes to human development. The main concept that binds these two theories are the epigenetic principle, which states that stages are mandatory, and must be met in order to proceed.
Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who had a humanistic approach to human development. Maslow believed that humans are internally motivated to achieve certain needs before others, this theory became known as the hierarchy of needs. The earliest and most widespread version of Maslow's hierarchy of needs emerged in 1943 and includes five motivational needs. These needs were placed inside a pyramid to illustrate that one need must be fulfilled to climb to the next. This five stage model can be divided into two categories, deficiency and growth needs.
The base and next three layers are all under the category of deficiency needs. The base of the pyramid is labeled physiological needs and includes air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex and sleep. These are all biological and physiological needs that must be met in order to move to the second level of the pyramid. “It is quite true that man lives by bread alone — when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?” (Maslow, 1943, p. 375). Maslow believed that if these needs are met, one must move to the next level of the pyramid.
The next level of the pyramid is safety and security which includes protection from elements, security, order, law, limits, and stability. This level is not as demanding as the previous, but is just as important when climbing the pyramid. Examples of security needs include steady employment, safe environment and health care. These needs can often be met if the first needs are met. This is most likely due to the fact that our society is driven by the dollar, which is needed to satisfy the biological and physiological needs. According to Maslow's theory, once a person feels secure, he or she will search for companionship. The third layer, known as social needs, is where a person has a need for relationships such as friendships, romantic attachments, and families. Although these needs are less then basic, they are still crucial when it comes to human development.
The last of the physiological needs is called the esteem needs and is the last step before self-actualization. Esteem needs are self-esteem, personal worth, social recognition, and accomplishment. These...