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Motivation and Self-Transcendence

A Tract Book Essay


Anthony J. Fejfar, J.D., Esq., Coif

© Copyright 2007 by Anthony J. Fejfar

Abraham Maslow, in his work on management and work motivation, states that

the highest level of motivation is that of “Self-Actualization.” I, on the other hand, argue that

the highest level of motivation is that of Self-Transcendence.

In his Book, “Motivation and Personality,” Abraham Maslow describes the levels of

motivation that humans have based on human needs:

1. Physiological Needs

2. Safety Needs

3. Belongingness Needs

4. Esteem Needs

5. Self-Actualization Needs

Thus, the most basic need for a human being is food, clothing, shelter, etc. Next, is the

need to be safe from attack or natural disaster. Next, is the need to belong. Next is the need to

have self-esteem, or to feel good or positive about what one has accomplished. Finally, there is

the need to self-actualize. The need to self-actualize is the need to actualize meaningful projects

in one’s life. But, I argue there is at least one more level of Need, and Motivation, that is, Self-


Thus, the scale of needs is as follows:

1. Physiological Safety Needs

2. Belongingness Needs

3. Esteem Needs

4. Self-Actualization Needs

5. The Need for Self-Transcendence

Jesuit Philosopher Bernard Lonergan argues in his work that humans have a need for Self-

Transcendence. This means that one must move beyond the ego to the Self, and, then,

Transcend with the Self. The Self is the Spiritual aspect of the person. Thus, Self-

transcendence means that one transcends the ego with the Self and chooses higher Spiritual

Values. I argue that this, level, Self-Transcendence, is the Highest Level of Human Motivation,

and that Maslow’s work needs to be revised.