Hierarchies of Brain and Being: Abraham Maslow and the Origins of The Hierarchy of Needs in German Brain Science




Coonan, Daniel J

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I tell the history of how a theory–that humans have a hierarchy of needs–emerged in 1943 from larger conflicts over the study of the brain and the human being. A stoic, yet passionate neurologist Kurt Goldstein who fled Nazi Germany inspired a young psychologist, Abraham Maslow, with a forceful critique of materialist science; in doing so, hierarchies of brain became hierarchies of mind and self. The theory is widely used in business schools today and by more than few everyday American’s looking for greater success, deeper experiences of spirituality, and, in some cases, release from the sufferings of contemporary American life. This story is about how we make sense of our lives by the “real” established by science and how very much belief in something, whether formula or faith, helps us make sense of the reality of the “real” and thereby create the communities in which we live and strive.



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