In Psych class we are studying motivation and needs. Maslow's hierarchy is presented as a neurotypical model. It got me thinking about my autistic hierarchy of needs. Initially, I was wholly internally motivated because the outside world made no sense to me. Primary needs I understood first. My needs were seen through a primitive and often inaccurate schema of understanding. Kitchen meant food. Car meant drink (because a ride often produced a drink in process). Motivation had nothing to do with planned interactions with the world. Everything was a matter of random gifting from God. In that sense my hierarchy differed from Maslow. Maslow's hierarchy seems premised on the concept of people having some understanding of control over their needs. In the absence of control, needs take on a different meaning and importance. My first need was companionship. Odd you may think for an autist? And I would argue that Maslow's attachment is an entirely different need, one based in physical not emotional. As a sensory sensitive child attachment as physical was an aversive to me. A hug did not translate to safety and security, isolation did. Attachment was not a need, disattachment was. Esteem was likewise an impossibility because I experienced no sense of a physical personhood. Cognitive preceded esteem and esthetic preceded cognitive as a need. The act of being took all precedence in the active sense of experiencing the moment and intrinsic beauty of God's creation, whether it be the sound of raindrops or the deep colors of the world's tapestry.
When forced to intereact with the world, escape became my primary motivation; escape back to the higher valued goals of esthetic being and the warmth of companionship I found with God. You may question my goal of companionship with God, but I assure you God was there with me in my autistic home. He does not abandon us at birth. Rather, we abandon him for the distractions of the physical world. I find it interesting that Maslow puts transcendence at the top of his chart as being the last and hardest for us to achieve. My experience is it is a gift we ignore not a goal/need to be sought.
My life focus is therefore different from the start. God is my motivation; living out his purpose in life for me. His purpose is sometimes clear, sometimes elusive. A cognitive understanding of life is a prerequisite to living it with intent. But I also believe we live out our purpose regardless. The process is for our benefit/advantage not God's; the being is his benefit, in all its aspects. My motivation is God's experience through me; it is an act of love to live it.
The only true rejection of God is suicide as a rejection of God's living through you. Suicide stems from a lack of emotion,not depression, but an apathy for life sustaining. That may be counter to prevailing theory, but it is mine. Often suicide is misunderstood as an escape, but it is not. To self end is to circumvent the purpose of a life that requires a redo for individual soul advancement. I just know it,is my best explanation to you.
But to finish the question, in practical every day, Mom is the motivation and director of life's plan. I now cooperate, but I still have a way to go in self seeking motor action. Cognitive I see as offered in opportunity; to learn I love as an extension of being. Self-determination I seek in all its meaning of personhood. I work at it on my own, tiny steps at a time I make that need to climb a mountain. But it goes back to a love of God's gift of being. I hope that makes sense to you.
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