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The theory that all human beings have an implicit hierarchy of motives in all their conscious actions. The hierarchy, it is said, ranges in ascending order as follows: physiological needs, personal security, social relations, prestige, power possession, self-actualization, and the need for knowledge, aesthetic and religious needs. Somewhat different sequences are proposed by various writers, but they agree that, unless people are morally perverse, they recognize the priority of the spiritual over the bodily and of the religious over what concerns only space and time.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.