Basic Needs and Fulfilling Human Potential

  • Darcia NarvaezEmail author


Maslow spends a great deal of thinking and writing about human fulfillment, including reaching one’s potential. After studying exemplars in literature and biography, as well as personal acquaintances, he described the nature of “self-actualization.” The assumption of basic needs fulfillment is that one can then focus on self-actualization. We review his description and contrast the descriptions with our ancestral context, small-band hunter-gatherer societies. Then we examine the human capabilities approach which also emphasizes adult needs. We suggest that meeting the needs of babies is fundamental to potentialities for self-actualization and human capabilities. Meeting the needs of babies means following the evolved nest for the young. To make this clear, we present a baby bill of rights.


Self-actualization Human capabilities Evolved developmental niche Baby bill of rights Human potential 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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