Hesse's Siddhartha as it Parallels Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

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Hesse's Siddhartha as it Parallels Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Several parallels can be drawn between the psychologist Abraham Maslow's theoretical hierarchy of needs and the spiritual journey of Siddhartha, the eponymous main character in Herman Hesse's novel. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is somewhat of a pyramid that is divided into eight stages of need through which one progresses throughout one's entire life. During the course of his lifetime, Siddhartha's personality develops in a manner congruent with the stages of Maslow's hierarchy. Siddhartha's progress from each of the major sections of the hierarchy is marked by a sharp change in his life or behavior.

Siddhartha is the story of a young man's journey in search of
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He specialized in the study of human personality and development. One of his major contributions was the development of a theoretical hierarchy of needs as a model for understanding the development of an individual's personality. The eight steps in Maslow's hierarchy of needs, from the most basic requirements for survival to the most abstract, are as follows:

Group One

ˆ Physiological needs: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts, etc

ˆ Safety/security: out of danger

ˆ Belongingness and love: affiliate with others, be accepted

ˆ Esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval

Group Two

ˆ Cognitive: to know, to understand, and explore

ˆ Aesthetic: symmetry, order, and beauty

Group Three

ˆ Self-actualization: to find self-fulfillment and realize

one's potential

ˆ Transcendence: to help others find self-fulfillment and

realize their potential

Not every individual, according to Maslow, will progress through every stage, nor will an individual necessarily work through each stage in sequence or only once.

Siddhartha rose through the early stages of development early in life. In fact, the book begins with Siddhartha already having mastered the first four stages. Because Siddhartha was born into a well-to-do upper caste family, he was able to satisfy such…