The trouble with models.

David Simoes-Brown reflects on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and wonders about the possible selfishness involved in the top layer of self-actualising. He finds Maslow himself elaborates on this.

I was prompted to check the wikipedia entry for criticism and found some closely related argument that the conventional hierarchy reflects an individualist rather than a collectivist mindset.

Some also question the notion of hierarchy at all, and I’m inclined to agree. This model is so well established that I think we take the implicit idea as a given. I think this is the trap with all models and techniques; they may initially offer insight and then quickly start to filter the way we experience the world.

1 thought on “The trouble with models.

  1. Richard Millwood

    You’re right, and it means we must delight in finding fault with models, not be a slave to them. For me they provide a springboard for creative criticism. If they are good, this is harder, if they are poor, easier, but either way models are useful intellectual tools if we remember our responsibility. To develop this critical faculty, we must be ready to debate models’ application to particular contexts and also recognise that we make our own – often tacitly – and ‘out’ them!


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