The Real Da Vinci Code: The Vitruvian Man Supports Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

By: Allen Rubin


Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, and his concept of self actualization, is a very popular model in psychology and business.

Leonardo's Vitruvian Man (in a circle, triangle and square) has many similarities, in form and function, to Abraham Maslow's Pyramid Hierarchy of Needs (consisting of a square base, triangular side, and point at the top).

Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man (the Da Vinci Man with four arms and four legs in a square and circle) is the most popular secular symbol in the world. My ten years of research suggests that the Vitruvian Man is a universal symbol for greater love, relationships, success, health and the new age 21st century paradigm of indivisible wholeness, the paradigm for world peace. A New Renaissance! The Vitruvian Man corresponds to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man is his real secret code. It is a map to show each person how to live a balanced life in all dimensions. The two cojoined Da Vinci forms bring a sense of harmony and balance, the key to great health. This is similar to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

The Da Vinci Man and Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
It may be simplistic to say it, but life can be divided into the two major areas of love and work. In the best sense, this means unconditional love and living on purpose (our love-purpose). This is represented by the two cojoined Da Vinci forms and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

The two cojoined Da Vinci forms in the square (representing our survival needs) and circle (representing our needs for love, self-actualization and transcendence) are related to Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Da Vinci and Maslow both suggest primary areas of life that need to be balanced:

1) Survival Needs: for food, clothing and shelter;

2) Love-Belonging Needs: the need for unconditional love at home, with friends and at work;

3) Self-Actualization Needs: the need for meaning in life and the need to live on purpose;

4) Transcendence or Spiritual Needs.

When all four of these needs are met, both physical and emotional needs are met and balance is achieved. This results in good physical health.

Health comes from the word "wholeness" or balance. Lack of health indicates that we are not whole in some way. Something is out of balance. We may not be getting enough rest. Our love and work life may be out of balance. A disease is often nature's reminder that our soul is not easy with our attitudes or behavior.

The Da Vinci Man and Maslow's Pyramid
Abraham Maslow is famous for his Hierarchy of Needs. Imagine a pyramid with a square at the bottom, triangle shape along each of its sides, and at the top a circle.

The square, our foundation, represents the survival and physical needs of each person. The need for food, clothing and shelter. The triangle represents our emotional needs for belongingness and self-actualization. The circle represents our spiritual needs for transcendence and unity.

Abraham Maslow's Pyramid of the Hierarchy of Needs is related to the Da Vinci Man. The square of the Da Vinci Man is related to the square at the bottom of the pyramid. The square represents our "four-square" needs for survival; food, clothing, shelter and physiological requirements (good health). These also represent our "Having" needs.

The triangle on each side of the pyramid is related to the equilateral triangle formed by the outstretched legs of the Da Vinci Man. This triangular movement allows the Da Vinci man to fit into the circle. It is an act of doing or becoming that allows the Da Vinci Man to experience being (Da Vinci Man in the circle). It is a transition from our physiological to our spiritual needs. The triangle also represents our needs for love-belongingness and self-actualization. Great health and emotional well-being happens when we are actualizing our purpose. This is part of our "Doing" needs

The Da Vinci Man in the circle represents our spirituality. This is our need to transcend and find unity with the Divine, Divine Creation and all Humanity. This is the hidden circle of the pyramid, the eye within the pyramid. Great health happens when we experience this unity. This represents our "Being" needs.

At this level, where all sides of the pyramid come together in a point, we truly feel one with the Divine, Divine Creation and all Humanity. The need for transcendence, and the connectedness to our environment that we experience from it, became the basis for Transpersonal Psychology. Abraham Maslow was one of the Founding Fathers of Transpersonal Psychology.

Wholeness, Da Vinci Man and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
When sitting cross-legged (or in a lotus posture) the human form resembles a pyramid (square). The legs create the bottom of a pyramid. The triangular shape continues from waist to head. The circular shape is represented by the head.

Our legs and waist give us a foundation and contribute to our survival (square) needs. The best parts of ourselves we assign to our heart (love and emotional, triangular) and mind (spiritual, mind connected to heart, circular). Yet we need our legs and waist to give us a foundation.

We already are whole and complete human angels. Sometimes, often as a result of family and peer pressure, we feel cut off from our greatness.

When we allow ourselves to experience our wholeness, we come from our heart and compassionate-clarity (unity of heart and mind). Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a gift to help individuals experience this wholeness in every area of their life. This includes wholeness between body, mind, heart and soul. This is the very basis for our inner happiness, peace and success in our life.

The Da Vinci Man and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs represent physical (square), emotional (triangular) and spiritual (circular) wholeness. The experience of indivisible wholeness is essential to the experience of our own renaissance, meaning "rebirth." Rebirth happens when we awaken from the illusion of separation (atomism, the fading scientific paradigm) to the experience of indivisible wholeness (holism, the dawning scientific paradigm).

We sometimes feel cut off from ourselves. When we were young, we were taught to not express ourselves. Out of survival needs, we repressed the "golden child" within us. We lost our voice through shame.

As a result, we may disconnect between body and soul, heart and mind, work and love, compassion and clarity. When we were young our society, parents and peers expected us to behave in such a way that made us disconnect from certain parts of our self. We had to do this or we would not have been able to survive. We had experiences that made us feel disconnected. We stopped believing in our self. Emotional health happens when we are able to reclaim these parts of our self that we had to push away.

Being supports becoming in the integrated personality. The person is not fighting against herself or himself. The mind is settled in the heart. The person acts with congruency and authenticity. Mind, body and emotions are one.

David Bohm found inspiration for the unity of creation in the central prayer of the Shema, which emphasizes unity of heart, mind and soul. (David Bohm is the grandfather of Bell's Theorem, the proof of which indicates we are all interconnected).

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Allen Rubin is author of "The Da Vinci Man Code: Leonardo's Real Secret Code" with 400 illustrations. View entire article series and sample chapter at www.davincimancode.com Please review the New Renaissance Project!

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