simply put, satisfaction of various needs is not dependent on the completion of any prior needs. all the needs are equal, even though some are neccessary to survival (it has been argued that self actualization is not necessary to all people). there is no order to which the needs are fulfilled and are fulfilled independently. yes, you can be self actualized while starving for example.
it is unfortunate that all too often "equals" get mis-grouped into hierarchies.
I agree with you, but I also see the logic to Maslow's thinking. Generally speaking I think Maslow is right but certainly as individuals those needs can be varied in their fuldillment.
When I think of that hierarchy however I think like this.
As an human animal like all animals we need FOOD to survive physically. We need shelter from the elements and we need security from predators. Needs for our physical health and welfare.
After we have secured our physical life, then we can focus on our needs od self actualization.
Those other needs Maslow talks about are needs based on our human sentience, they deal with our emotional health and welfare.
If you have not satisfied your need for food shelter and security you would be DEAD and couold not satisfy your self actualization needs.
The fact that you are alive is testimony that for the present moment you have satisfied those primary physical needs.
Logic paints another picture of those hugher needs as well.
Many humans kill themselves because they feel there is no purpose to their lives.
And what purpose is there in life? Obviously to have a purpose you must be needed. If no one needs you, then you have no purpose in life. Look at Curt Cobain. He had it ALL , Fame,. Fortune, Family! And yet he claimed there was no reason to live because he had attained all his goals. All HIS goals. I don't like to speak ill of the dead, but what a SELFISH attitude. If he cared about OTHERS, he would still be alive today because MILLIONS of people need US all!
Curt Cobain could have used his Fame and Fortune to HELP OTHERS. what a glorious PURPOSE for ones life. Briinging JOY to children, to the lonely, to the sick, to the elderly, to those in hospitals and prisons. All they need is a friend. Someone to love them.
List some "purposes" of life and see how many of them involve OTHERS. Pleasing them, helping them, impressing them, challenging them.
And before you can accomplish something like winning a race, you need to have your nutritional needs met if you expect to have any success, just for one example of why some needs have to be met before others can be.