Letters to the Editor


[Some comments on this issue's leading article from Stephen Bray in Turkey and a suggestion in response from the Editor.]


From Stephen Bray


Dear Joe


Thank you for letting me review the Leading article on Maslow.   The model is factually exact. That's what Maslow thought.


But if we take Dilts' hierarchy of logical levels from NLP, we find Dilts believed that changing the higher level (lower as you have listed in Maslow's scale), the others must reorganize. In other words the higher level, in Dilts' terms is more powerful than the lower survival one. So a self-actualised person, (in Maslow's terms), would be less concerned with survival. Socrates was an example of such a person, as indeed was Viktor Frankl, and some, but not all, of those who lived and died in the death camps. A Buddhist monk wouldn't evolve very far spiritually if his first concern was begging for alms would he?


Your leader makes the point that it's usually middle class people who 'do good works', join the peace corps etc.  Kabir was born in low caste and worked as a weaver throughout his life, Jesus was the son of a carpenter as well as the son of God, (aren't we all), the current Dalai Lama is the son of a peasant, but brought up as a prince. John Bunyan had relatively humble antecedents and so do scores of unacknowledged people from poor backgrounds in the East who are motivated by the desire to act ethically due to their good natures. 


Maslow, and to some extent Freud borrow from Eastern psychology, but without an explicit acknowledgement of the Yoga, or spiritual model, that underpin the structure.  Jung comes closer. The result is an unhealthy favour in Maslow's case for the primacy of survival, (and by implication its close relatives fear and greed), as a primary motivator, in Freud's case this becomes confused with the power of the nipple and the anus to mould personality. No Yoga psychologist would accept such primacy, and Yoga psychology has a 5000 year heritage compared with barely 100 years for Freud and less for Maslow. It is undoubtedly true that fear and greed do motivate many people, and some cannot see beyond it. But that is not to say that the Maslow and Freud are correct, and indeed the culture of narcissm in which we currently live, may well owe much of its being to people's unquestioning acceptance of the ideas of Freud and Maslow.


Teamwork tends to rely on specialists working diligently in their own corners, for short term projects. For longer term projects this approach breaks down, and can break a team. Longer term projects require generalists who have one specialism but know something of the skills of others. Similarly their personalities need to be more 'rounded'. But these are generalizations and therefore untrue, so what merit is there in testing for them, unless some part of the test also applies to the organization in which the prospective team members are to work, and the two are calibrated. 


I don't know if you can incorporate the ideas I have added here, or if they are appropriate, but they are my immediate thoughts.


A response (of sorts) from Joe Sinclair


Thank you for this, Stephen.  I'm not going to respond to your comments, but I hope they may induce some sort of response from readers and provoke a bit of controversy in our Letters columns.


I would, however, like you to produce an article for a future issue on the Dilts's hierarchy as a sort of counter-weight to the current Leader.  I'm sure readers would like to see this too.


I have, incidentally, added some sceptical considerations to the end of that leading article, that you will not yet have read.


[You can have another look at the Maslow article by clicking here]