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Dostoevsky and Maslow

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Sarah Medley Psychology 101/ Feres Short Paper #1 27 September 2010 Dostoevsky and Maslow: Needs in Life, How They Are Prioritized, and the Exceptions Dostoevsky has written, "Without a clear perception of his reasons for living, man will never consent to live, and will rather destroy himself than tarry on earth, though he be surrounded with bread." (The Grand Inquisitor) With indirect opposition, Maslow's idea on these needs is stated in his quote, "A person lacking food, love, and self-esteem, would most likely hunger for food more strongly than anything else." A number of instances stand as evidence to both Maslow and Dostoevsky's statements. First let us look at the claim Fyodor Dostoevsky has made. The Bible also has three references for a very similar idea. Scripture has expressed, in Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4, and Luke 4:4, that 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' ...read more.


(Myers) Order of prioritization is the foundation of contradiction between the two statements. Abraham Maslow's idea seems to be more realistic to a majority of the remaining population. How is it reasonable to think a person would have the capability to even find their identity or "the purpose in life" without the energy supplied by fulfilling basic needs, like eating? This was a common reaction I heard from peers and adults after telling of Dostoevsky's statement. Gandhi said, "Even God cannot talk to a starving man except in terms of bread." (Aldrich) Some needs take priority over others. (Myers) Our brain causes us to have feelings of motivation for needs; the most concrete are physiological needs, like our drive to eat. It would be unhealthy and tiring to suppress and ignore your bodies drive to eat while you find your identity. ...read more.


During this process an individual is forming part of their identity by developing and adopting a personalized method of reaching a need. For example, people at the esteem level seek out empowering information, and those at the safety level would need helping information. If Norwood's more currently proposed statement, that finding identity and satisfying needs are interrelated, is correct, then Maslow and Dostoevsky would both hart part in creating one universal statement. As for now, Fyodor Dostoevsky and Abraham Maslow's statements of needs in life and how they are prioritized stand separately. Across humanity, some people accept one over the other as true. In my research for the paper, I have been able to loosely affiliate certain groups of people with Maslow or Dostoevsky's claims. A number of instances stand as evidence to both statements. Each idea is held accountable in the correct situations. It is not a surprise to me how the controversy of deciding on a dominant idea has not been settled. ...read more.

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