The Theory of Holistic Needs Hierarchy
I would like to share with you two quotes that inspired this article.
“Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”
- Edward Snowden
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
- Benjamin Franklin
In this article, it is aimed to explain the new generation hierarchy of needs that emerged as a result of the permanent effects and habits of developing technology on human life. Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs was examined and explained, and later developed and Holistic Needs Hierarchy Theory was introduced.
1. The Evolution of the Hierarchy of Needs in the Real Interactive World
What is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs?
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a system created by Abraham Maslow in which people's needs are organized according to a hierarchy.
Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs theory has an important place in motivation theories. This theory argues that people's own internal needs are more motivationally effective than external factors. According to Maslov, rewards or punishments to be given from outside are not very effective on motivation. The important thing is the person's thoughts on his inner motivation.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs has been created in 5 main categories. (See Figure 1)
- Physiological needs
- Safety needs
- Love and Belonging
Physiological needs cover the basic biological and physiological needs of an individual to survive. When basic physiological needs are not met, reflexive or conscious behaviors that enable the person to meet these needs develop. The behavior of a newborn baby to turn towards the breast in order to reach milk and also turning his head when his cheek is touched are examples of reflexive behaviors aimed at meeting physical needs. System reflexes such as sucking, swallowing, hiccuping, coughing, and sneezing, which are controlled by the spinal cord, enable a person to survive from the moment of birth. ADH (Vasopressin hormone) secreted from the back of the hypothalamus provides osmo regulation depending on the signals coming from the osmo receptors in the capillaries. In this way, when the osmotic pressure of the blood increases, the person reflexively starts to look for water. When the osmotic pressure decreases, it expels excess water through excretion with the decrease in reabsorption in the kidneys.
The main purpose of all living things in nature is to ensure the continuation of their generation by transferring genes. Although individual reproduction is not an obligation, it is vital that each individual within the species contributes to the gene pool for the continuity of the human species. The sex hormones secreted by the hypothalamus controlling the pituitary gland enable the development of the gonads, enabling the human to reach sexual maturity and tend to sex. Thus, sperm and egg cells, which provide surface harmony with each other as a result of thousands of years of adaptation, combine under suitable conditions to ensure the continuation of the human generation.
According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, when the needs in a step cannot be met, the physiological needs must be met in order for the security, love / belonging, respect and self-realization needs at the upper level to be realized.
There are adaptations in nature that bring different advantages that living things have in order to survive. Some creatures have a sharp vision range, a wide range of frequencies, intense scent, feeling the wind and movement in the environment with their bristles and being alerted, displaying a poisonous appearance with their vivid colors, frightening their enemies, secreting and camouflaging various scents and chemicals in case of danger, or threatening their enemies. Homo sapiens is a creature that has physically lost many of its features and is unlikely to survive alone in nature. Therefore, people should have various defense mechanisms in order to feel safe in their environment.
First of all, creating a nest and protecting this nest from external factors is very effective in meeting the security need. In the modern world, people create their own spaces in various shelter types in planned cities and meet their security needs to some extent. Homo sapiens, which does not have the physical properties that can survive in nature, has compensated this gap with technology and engineering products that it established using its cognitive capacity.
The war technology developed by human beings to protect themselves from living things in nature and generally from each other has brought individual armament, but this situation has become dangerous when left unattended. Systematic communities have been established to control the uncontrolled behavior and attitudes of human beings (for example, military systems, police and law guardians, etc.) and within the framework of a written law, it is aimed to prevent the so-called crimes by observing social norms and to ensure the continuity of human beings and their species.
The need for safety includes not only the protection of physical requirements but also the need to protect the values at all stages in the pyramid.
Love and Belonging
In order to survive in nature, human beings did not only need technological requirements, but in fact have come to this day by developing a phenomenon that paves the way for all developments. This phenomenon is also sociability. Meeting all of his physiological needs, he established small communities by establishing a family, and ensured the safety of his offspring, who ensure the continuation of his generation in this community. Separated from other creatures in nature with his cognitive capacity, the human, namely the intelligent ape, communicated with his offspring based on love, increasing the offspring's intelligence level and increasing the offspring's survival probability. The bond of love established between spouses and other family members has created the social building blocks by keeping the family together. Individuals who did not feel belonging to their social group were isolated from the group and could not express their genes.
Although the elderly individual does not seem to contribute to the group in social groups, the behavior of respecting the elderly and meeting the needs of the elderly in the group, which is also seen in monkeys, is mainly to benefit from the experiences and to care for the young individuals.
When human beings establish a family and meet the need for love and belonging, they want to feel valuable and gain social respect. Meeting the need for respectability basically enables us to have a voice in the society and to get more shares from resources. Respected people in the community can hold certain levels of government, thus achieving higher status. As a result of this status, it can access resources that low status people cannot reach and gain control by managing resources.
Those who have met their physiological needs, who have passed the safety, love/belonging and esteem needs in a way that the minimum need rates are met, according to Maslow, having a good moral (having a universal moral level according to Piaget), not taking an artificial attitude and self-as-is. It reaches the level of exhibiting, not being prejudiced against other individuals with whom it coexists in the society, the ability to solve existing problems by increasing its cognitive capacity, and to see and express itself as it is by accepting the reality.
Self-actualization does not require the previous steps to be completely completed.
2. The Evolution of the Hierarchy of Needs in a Cyber Interactive World
When we adapt Maslow's methodology in the hierarchy of needs to today's cyber-interactive world, the stages specified in the image below occur.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs was examined in 5 main categories while adapting it to the Cyber Interactive World. (See Figure 2)
- Physiological needs
- Safety needs
- Love and Belonging
The most basic need in the cyber-interactive world is the need to have it physically. An individual who does not have electricity, the internet and a technological device that can be connected to it will be unable to meet his physiological needs.
Individuals stepping into the cyber-interactive world are faced with many threats. The theft of their accounts, the capture of their personal information, the involuntary use of all virtual data belonging to them, etc. like. Against such problems, people have elements such as internet security, device security, physical security (security of electrical installation, etc.) and these safety elements are one of the basic elements for people to interact healthy in the cyber-interactive world.
Love and Belonging
Just as we create social environments in order to survive in the real interactive world, in the cyber-interactive world, individuals need to belong, meet the need for love and socialize. In this step, people can now use social media accounts (facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, etc.), communication programs (whatsapp, telegram, sms, call, viber, etc.), various electronic devices (phone, computer, tablet, etc.) etc.) and socializing through them, satisfying the need for love/belonging, and satisfying.
People's profiles on social media platforms can represent their real-life status, even more important. The more hits the profiles in the social media accounts get, the interaction rates of the posts, and the more liked the interactions, represent the respectful step. The number of views of profiles and movements can be equivalent to the respect people and individuals will have for themselves. At the same time, the people who develop for information systems should share what they do and satisfy the sense of success.
The idea that every living thing has a purpose for life is peculiar to human beings. This complex thinking skill makes people think that they should live for a purpose. Having completely open source interactions called open-source in the cyber-interactive world, being alert to and not acting according to fake contents, opposing social inequalities, realizing social responsibility projects and most importantly, not judging oneself and sustaining their life freely according to the reputation in social media, self-realization. It is considered as.
3. The Theory of Holistic Needs Hierarchy
The cyber interactive world is the shadow of the real interactive world. Due to the technological and cybernetic habits of life that we have come to today, one cannot imagine a life without each other. With technology entering our lives so much, the need for a new hierarchy of needs has become inevitable. Based on this need, "Holistic Needs Hierarchy Theory" was formed.
In the holistic needs hierarchy, each step in Maslow's hierarchy of needs has been associated with its counterpart in the cyber world. According to this theory, although one cannot move to a higher level without meeting the needs at a basic level (not necessarily all), while a higher level requirement is met, the need at the lower level continues.
For example, an individual who wants to ensure internet safety continues to need internet access.
Holistic Needs Hierarchy Theory was examined on 2 surfaces and 5 main categories. (See Figure 3)
- Physiological needs
- Safety needs
- Love and Belonging
In order for a person to survive, he must meet his basic needs such as breathing, nutrition, excretion, digestion, reproduction and sleep, which are regulated by his metabolism. In today's cyber-interactive world, in addition to these basic needs, the person needs specific needs of the cyber-interactive world such as access to the internet, having a technological device, access to electricity and a full battery.
With the introduction of Facebook in our lives since 2004 and the inclusion of many social media elements in our lives, human communication has also been brought to the cyber interactive world. Now we compare our quality of life not only with the clothes we wear but also with the quality of our social media. It has become a necessity to meet the basic needs at this stage in the real interactive world, where people who do not exist in the cyber-interactive world and who do not have social media profiles are not even recruited.
In order to be in communication and to exist in the cyber-interactive world, we must first have our electricity, access to the internet and a technological device (that can be connected to the internet).
In today's world, we can observe how important the cyber-interactive world is when asking the question of what stages a person follows while moving to a new home. While moving to a new house, we first start subscription transactions to meet our basic needs such as electricity, water, natural gas, etc., and subscription to the internet is also initiated. Internet is as important as water, natural gas and electricity.
As an individual who has completed all the physiological needs of the real interactive world during the day will not be able to meet his physiological need in the cyber-interactive world when his phone runs out, he also feels this deficiency in the real interactive world.
When access to certain sites is blocked, people show real physiological deprivation symptoms in situations such as internet outages, power outages, network downtime and the person's internet quota is over.
All technologies in the cyber-interactive world are created by examining nature or humans. Therefore, commodities that exist in the real interactive world also exist in the cyber-interactive world. For example, just as we pass through the door when we enter a cafe, we pass through a virtual door called a port when entering a website. For this reason, all threats that exist in the real interactive world (thieves, etc.) are also present in the cyber-interactive world.
Again, sampling a person who has moved to a new house has an important place in understanding the subject. The person who moved to his new home only has the key to the door of his house. In this way, he can keep the malicious people who will enter his house away. In the cyber interactive world, this key is the passwords used. Everyone has their own password, and to some extent, they provide security.
In the cyber-interactive world, people need internet security, the security of the devices they use, physical security (installation security, etc.) and protection against threats (antivirus, etc.). This need is in line with the real interactive world. For example, the physiological reactions of a person who breaks into his house and whose belongings are stolen, and the reaction of a person who enters the device he uses and whose data is stolen and disclosed are almost the same.
When it comes to security, one's own security is not the only question. Consider the reaction of a mother who takes her child to the park in a real interactive world when a stranger approaches her child. He thinks of bad scenarios that may happen to his child, releases adrenaline, breathing speeds up, heartbeat accelerates and reacts to the stranger by automatically withdrawing the child. In social media, accounts opened to young children are completely vulnerable to strangers. Many pedophilia patients can interact with young children through social media accounts and harass them in the real world. In this context, it is as important for our security in the cyber interactive world as well as security in the real interactive world.
While parents avoid the eyes of their children under the age of 13 in the real interactive world, it is observed that social media accounts are opened for newborn babies in the cyber-interactive world. Failure to comply with the 13 age limit of social media giants such as Facebook is actually one of the security gaps caused by human violations.
Love and Belonging
Humankind, which has increased the probability of survival by living in social groups, has met the need for love and belonging in its nuclear and extended family for many years. Humans, who switched from gathering to agriculture, settled down and established small villages with their family. After the industrial revolution, with the start of migration from the village to the city, the concept of extended family, which includes family members such as grandmother, grandfather, aunt and uncle, has been transferred to the concept of nuclear family consisting of mothers, fathers and children.
Nowadays, in the city life, people have less children due to getting married at a later age or not getting married, and the concept of family has narrowed considerably. Most people prefer to live alone. This loneliness hinders social life and causes individualization.
Since the socialization needs of people are not met in the real interactive world today, when individualization is at its maximum, this open social media accounts and communication programs are met in the cyber interactive world.
Individuals who have social media accounts put their friend groups in their social media accounts instead of small villages when they settled down. Thus, they form a kind of extended family for themselves.
Social movements such as belonging to a community, establishing relationships with others, meeting new people or even getting married are now mostly carried out on social media. According to the holistic hierarchy of needs theory, it is not possible for the new generation of children born to technology to socialize in the real interactive world without the cyber interactive world in the future.
All of the facts and events that individuals living in a large family have learned from the experiences of their family elders in the past are learned by watching videos shot by people called YouTubers through applications such as YouTube. On the sites called forums, users who use a product share their experiences with each other. The concept of neighborhood has been replaced by such applications in the cyber-interactive world.
Individuals who have completed the basic minimum requirements in the first three steps in both worlds now want to complete their needs in the respect/appreciation level. The way to see value and gain respect in the real interactive world is through social media accounts in the cyber-interactive world. A person who shares a photo / video of an event or experience during the day on his social media accounts feels valuable with the likes and comments he receives on this photo, and meets the need for socialization by providing social interaction.
Again, the high number of followers of a person in social media accounts can enable that person to make sponsored agreements, and in this case, it can both gain prestige and access financial resources.
In applications such as YouTube, which are paid per view, people both meet the need to be valued, increase their recognition and respect, gain prestige and sustain their lives by receiving financial funds by creating content.
Today, people do not even greet the people they see during the day, but they like the content on the social media accounts of the same people and write comments to them.
In the real interactive world, when a person is respected by his environment, he or she will be promoted quicker in the business life, so the higher salary can bring more resources to his family. As the person meets the needs of his family and himself, he will be respected by his family. Thus, a chain reaction takes place.
In social media, some profiles increase their reputation by increasing the number of followers and making regular posts, and thus they participate in events such as signature days, seminars and symposiums in the real interactive world and interact with real people.
The phenomenon called self-actualization is an activity with one's own cognitive structure. For this reason, the self-realization step in the real interactive world and in the cyber interactive world has the same quality.
A self-actualized person does not judge himself by outside comments in the Real interactive world. Likewise, he knows that the number of likes or hits of his profile in the cyber-interactive world does not matter.
Individuals in the self-actualization step do not allow their experiences in the real interactive world to interact with their experiences in the cyber-interactive world. For example, while he does not make his day worse with negative comments on his social media profile, he does not feel the need to share his experience on social media while having a bad day.
A person in the love/belonging/socializing and respecting/valuing step tries to transfer all real interactive world experiences to the cyber-interactive world. For example, he feels the need to satisfy his feelings of affirmation, belonging and being liked by sharing photos of every place he goes and everything he eats. An individual who is in the stage of self-realization is experience-oriented in all the locations he goes. By sharing everything he experiences, he does not get stuck in points such as interest, belonging and being liked.
Realizing yourself is going beyond individualization. Self-actualized individuals do not focus on royalties, earning money and obtaining rents. They generally prefer non-profit actions such as striving to share information at the highest possible level, developing open source projects, creating or participating in social responsibility projects, and transferring their experience to less experienced individuals for free.
As a Result
With the introduction of the cyber-interactive world into our lives, our perception of reality has deteriorated more than ever. For this reason, it would be insufficient to talk about the needs of the real interactive world alone, to describe the experiences and needs of human beings after the 2000s. Holistic Needs Hierarchy Theory aims to explain the needs arising from the new life habits created by the permanent changes of today's technology on human life.
Although the needs existing in the real interactive world continue to exist, it is not sufficient to complete the physical, spiritual and emotional integrity of the human being alone. Human is a social entity. Before the cyber-interactive world, people who only socialize with their immediate surroundings can socialize without being dependent on distances, can be experienced from the experiences of others, and as a result of their social interactions, they can reach the stage of self-realization by meeting their needs such as love, respect, belonging, valuing, gaining prestige and acquiring resources.
And as a result, the world we live in is a holistic world that is the combination of the real interactive world and the cyber-interactive world.
Serhan W. Bahar & Yasemin Bahar