Monday, July 8, 2019

The Hierarchy of Betrayal

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is familiar. It can be depicted using a pyramid. On the bottom of the pyramid are needs like food, sleep, sex, and temperature regulation. Next up there are social needs and emotional needs. When we have satisfied the lower needs, we can then worry about and try to satisfy the needs the next level up.

Perhaps the need to be loved can sometimes be at the very bottom of the pyramid, and sex can be a level up -- "no one died from not having sex", some say, while babies that are emotionally neglected fail to thrive. I think Maslow may have meant not that we really need sex but that if we don't satisfy that need, it's all we think about until we do, thus it is a subjective need, if not really an objective need. Maslow put "self-actualization" as the top need of the pyramid, to be sought when all others have been satisfied, but perhaps there is even something higher.

The "Hierarchy of Betrayal" works like this: when someone is trustworthy with the more basic things, they can then betray you on deeper, higher-on-the-pyramid ways. The glowering person in the street might stab you, but won't break your heart, and only a real sweetheart can gradually lead you away from your deepest values.

1 comment:

  1. This is actually profound when you think of abusive relationships and why people get into them/stay in them.