6.08.2017 Doc of the Day

1. James Madison, 1789.
2. George Sand, 1901.
3. Abraham Maslow, 1943.
4. Tim Berners-Lee, 1999.
Numero Uno“First.  That there be prefixed to the Constitution a declaration, that all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.That Government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.

Secondly.  That in article 1st, section 2, clause 3, these words be struck out, to wit: ‘The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative, and until such enumeration shall be made;’ and that in place thereof be inserted these words, to wit: ‘After the first actual enumeration, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number amounts to ——, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that the number shall never be less than ——, nor more than ——, but each State shall, after the first enumeration, have at least two Representatives; and prior thereto.’

Thirdly. That in article 1st, section 6, clause 1, there be added to the end of the first sentence, these words, to wit: “But no law varying the compensation last ascertained shall operate before the next ensuing election of Representatives.”

Fourthly. That in article 1st, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses, to wit: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.

The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good; nor from applying to the Legislature by petitions, or remonstrances, for redress of their grievances.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

No soldiers shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor at any time, but in a manner warranted by law.

No person shall be subject, except in cases of impeachment, to more than one punishment or one trial for the same offence; nor shall be compelled to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor be obliged to relinquish his property, where it may be necessary for public use, without a just compensation.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The rights of the people to be secured in their persons, their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation, to be confronted with his accusers, and the witnesses against him; to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

The exceptions here or elsewhere in the Constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people, or as to enlarge the powers delegated by the Constitution; but either as actual limitations of such powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.

Fifthly. That in article 1st, section 10, between clauses 1 and 2, be inserted this clause, to wit:

No State shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.

Sixthly. That, in article 3d, section 2, be annexed to the end of clause 2d, these words, to wit:

But no appeal to such court shall be allowed where the value in controversy shall not amount to —— dollars: nor shall any fact triable by jury, according to the course of common law, be otherwise re-examinable than may consist with the principles of common law.

Seventhly. That in article 3d, section 2, the third clause be struck out, and in its place be inserted the clauses following, to wit:

The trial of all crimes (except in cases of impeachments, and cases arising in the land or naval forces, or the militia when on actual service, in time of war or public danger) shall be by an impartial jury of freeholders of the vicinage, with the requisite of unanimity for conviction, of the right of challenge, and other accustomed requisites; and in all crimes punishable with loss of life or member, presentment or indictment by a grand jury shall be an essential preliminary, provided that in cases of crimes committed within any county which may be in possession of an enemy, or in which a general insurrection may prevail, the trial may by law be authorized in some other county of the same State, as near as may be to the seat of the offence.

In cases of crimes committed not within any county, the trial may by law be in such county as the laws shall have prescribed.  In suits at common law, between man and man, the trial by jury, as one of the best securities to the rights of the people, ought to remain inviolate.

Eighthly.  That immediately after article 6th, be inserted, as article 7th, the clauses following, to wit:

The powers delegated by this Constitution are appropriated to the departments to which they are respectively distributed: so that the Legislative Department shall never exercise the powers vested in the Executive or Judicial, nor the Executive exercise the powers vested in the Legislative or Judicial, nor the Judicial exercise the powers vested in the Legislative or Executive Departments.

The powers not delegated by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.

Ninthly.  That article 7th be numbered as article 8th.”       James Madison, “Amendments Offered in Congress;” 1789

potato diggers art solidarity worker

Numero Dos“This quaint old French verse, written under one of Holbein’s pictures, is profoundly melancholy.  The engraving represents a laborer driving his plow through the middle of a field.  Beyond him stretches a vast horizon, dotted with wretched huts; the sun is sinking behind the hill. It is the end of a hard day’s work.  The peasant is old, bent, and clothed in rags.  He is urging onward a team of four thin and exhausted horses; the plowshare sinks into a stony and ungrateful soil.  One being only is active and alert in this scene of toil and sorrow.  It is a fantastic creature.  A skeleton armed with a whip, who acts as plowboy to the old laborer, and running along through the furrow beside the terrified horses, goads them on.  This is the specter Death, whom Holbein has introduced allegorically into that series of religious and philosophic subjects, at once melancholy and grotesque, entitled ‘The Dance of Death.’

   * In toil and sorrow thou shalt eat
     The bitter bread of poverty.
     After the burden and the heat,
     Lo! it is Death who calls for thee.

In this collection, or rather this mighty composition, where Death, who plays his part on every page, is the connecting link and predominating thought, Holbein has called up kings, popes, lovers, gamesters, drunkards, nuns, courtesans, thieves, warriors, monks, Jews, and travelers,—all the people of his time and our own; and everywhere the specter Death is among them, taunting, threatening, and triumphing.  He is absent from one picture only, where Lazarus, lying on a dunghill at the rich man’s door, declares that the specter has no terrors for him; probably because he has nothing to lose, and his existence is already a life in death.

Is there comfort in this stoical thought of the half-pagan Christianity of the Renaissance, and does it satisfy religious souls?  The upstart, the rogue, the tyrant, the rake, and all those haughty sinners who make an ill use of life, and whose steps are dogged by Death, will be surely punished; but can the reflection that death is no evil make amends for the long hardships of the blind man, the beggar, the madman, and the poor peasant?  No! A n inexorable sadness, an appalling fatality brood over the artist’s work.  It is like a bitter curse, hurled against the fate of humanity.

Holbein’s faithful delineation of the society in which he lived is, indeed, painful satire. His attention was engrossed by crime and calamity; but what shall we, who are artists of a later date, portray? Shall we look to find the reward of the human beings of to-day in the contemplation of death, and shall we invoke it as the penalty of unrighteousness and the compensation of suffering?

No, henceforth, our business is not with death, but with life. We believe no longer in the nothingness of the grave, nor in safety bought with the price of a forced renunciation; life must be enjoyed in order to be fruitful. Lazarus must leave his dunghill, so that the poor need no longer exult in the death of the rich. All must be made happy, that the good fortune of a few may not be a crime and a curse. As the laborer sows his wheat, he must know that he is helping forward the work of life, instead of rejoicing that Death walks at his side. We may no longer consider death as the chastisement of prosperity or the consolation of distress, for God has decreed it neither as the punishment nor the compensation of life. Life has been blessed by Him, and it is no longer permissible for us to leave the grave as the only refuge for those whom we are unwilling to make happy.

There are some artists of our own day, who, after a serious survey of their surroundings, take pleasure in painting misery, the sordidness of poverty, and the dunghill of Lazarus. This may belong to the domain of art and philosophy; but by depicting poverty as so hideous, so degraded, and sometimes so vicious and criminal, do they gain their end, and is that end as salutary as they would wish? We dare not pronounce judgment. They may answer that they terrify the unjust rich man by pointing out to him the yawning pit that lies beneath the frail covering of wealth; just as in the time of the Dance of Death, they showed him his gaping grave, and Death standing ready to fold him in an impure embrace. Now, they show him the thief breaking open his doors, and the murderer stealthily watching his sleep. We confess we cannot understand how we can reconcile him to the human nature he despises, or make him sensible of the sufferings of the poor wretch whom he dreads, by showing him this wretch in the guise of the escaped convict or the nocturnal burglar. The hideous phantom Death, under the repulsive aspect in which he has been represented by Holbein and his predecessors, gnashing his teeth and playing the fiddle, has been powerless to convert the wicked and console their victims. And does not our literature employ the same means as the artists of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance?

The revelers of Holbein fill their glasses in a frenzy to dispel the idea of Death, who is their cup-bearer, though they do not see him. The unjust rich of our own day demand cannon and barricades to drive out the idea of an insurrection of the people which Art shows them as slowly working in the dark, getting ready to burst upon the State. The Church of the Middle Ages met the terrors of the great of the earth with the sale of indulgences. The government of to-day soothes the uneasiness of the rich by exacting from them large sums for the support of policemen, jailors, bayonets, and prisons.

Albert Durer, Michael Angelo, Holbein, Callot, and Goya have made powerful satires on the evils of their times and countries, and their immortal works are historical documents of unquestionable value. We shall not refuse to artists the right to probe the wounds of society and lay them bare to our eyes; but is the only function of art still to threaten and appall? In the literature of the mysteries of iniquity, which talent and imagination have brought into fashion, we prefer the sweet and gentle characters, which can attempt and effect conversions, to the melodramatic villains, who inspire terror; for terror never cures selfishness, but increases it.

We believe that the mission of art is a mission of sentiment and love, that the novel of to-day should take the place of the parable and the fable of early times, and that the artist has a larger and more poetic task than that of suggesting certain prudential and conciliatory measures for the purpose of diminishing the fright caused by his pictures.  His aim should be to render attractive the objects he has at heart, and, if necessary, I have no objection to his embellishing them a little.  Art is not the study of positive reality, but the search for ideal truth, and the ‘Vicar of Wakefield’ was a more useful and healthy book than the ‘Paysan Perverti,’ or the ‘Liaisons Dangereuses.’

Forgive these reflections of mine, kind reader, and let them stand as a preface, for there will be no other to the little story I am going to relate to you.  My tale is to be so short and so simple, that I felt obliged to make you my apologies for it beforehand, by telling you what I think of the literature of terror.

I have allowed myself to be drawn into this digression for the sake of a laborer; and it is the story of a laborer which I have been meaning to tell you, and which I shall now tell you at once.

I had just been looking long and sadly at Holbein’s plowman, and was walking through the fields, musing on rustic life and the destiny of the husbandman.  It is certainly tragic for him to spend his days and his strength delving in the jealous earth, that so reluctantly yields up her rich treasures when a morsel of coarse black bread, at the end of the day’s work, is the sole reward and profit to be reaped from such arduous toil.  The wealth of the soil, the harvests, the fruits, the splendid cattle that grow sleek and fat in the luxuriant grass, are the property of the few, and but instruments of the drudgery and slavery of the many.  The man of leisure seldom loves, for their own sake, the fields and meadows, the landscape, or the noble animals which are to be converted into gold for his use.  He comes to the country for his health or for change of air, but goes back to town to spend the fruit of his vassal’s labor.On the other hand, the peasant is too abject, too wretched, and too fearful of the future to enjoy the beauty of the country and the charms of pastoral life.  To him, also, the yellow harvest-fields, the rich meadows, the fine cattle represent bags of gold; but he knows that only an infinitesimal part of their contents, insufficient for his daily needs, will ever fall to his share.  Yet year by year he must fill those accursed bags, to please his master and buy the right of living on his land in sordid wretchedness.  Yet nature is eternally young, beautiful, and generous.  She pours forth poetry and beauty on all creatures and all plants that are allowed free development.

She owns the secret of happiness, of which no one has ever robbed her. The happiest of men would be he who, knowing the full meaning of his labor, should, while working with his hands, find his happiness and his freedom in the exercise of his intelligence, and, having his heart in unison with his brain, should at once understand his own work and love that of God, The artist has such delights as these in contemplating and reproducing the beauties of nature; but if his heart be true and tender, his pleasure is disturbed when he sees the miseries of the men who people this paradise of earth. True happiness will be theirs when mind, heart, and hand shall work in concert in the sight of Heaven, and there shall be a sacred harmony between God’s goodness and the joys of his creatures. Then, instead of the pitiable and frightful figure of Death stalking, whip in hand, across the fields, the painter of allegories may place beside the peasant a radiant angel, sowing the blessed grain broadcast in the smoking furrow. The dream of a serene, free, poetic, laborious, and simple life for the tiller of the soil is not so impossible that we should banish it as a chimera. The sweet, sad words of Virgil: “Oh, happy the peasants of the field, if they knew their own blessings!” is a regret, but, like all regrets, it is also a prophecy. The day will come when the laborer too may be an artist, and may at least feel what is beautiful, if he cannot express it,—a matter of far less importance. Do not we know that this mysterious poetic intuition is already his, in the form of instinct and vague reverie? Among those peasants who possess some of the comforts of life, and whose moral and intellectual development is not entirely stifled by extreme wretchedness, pure happiness that can be felt and appreciated exists in the elementary stage; and, moreover, since poets have already raised their voices out of the lap of pain and of weariness, why should we say that the labor of the hands excludes the working of the soul? Without doubt this exclusion is the common result of excessive toil and of deep misery; but let it not be said that when men shall work moderately and usefully there will be nothing but bad workers and bad poets. The man who draws in noble joy from the poetic feeling is a true poet, though he has never written a verse all his life.

My thoughts had flown in this direction, without my perceiving that my confidence in the capacity of man for education was strengthened by external influences. I was walking along the edge of a field, which some peasants were preparing to sow. The space was vast as that in Holbein’s picture; the landscape, too, was vast and framed in a great sweep of green, slightly reddened by the approach of autumn. Here and there in the great russet field, slender rivulets of water left in the furrows by the late rains sparkled in the sunlight like silver threads. The day was clear and mild, and the soil, freshly cleft by the plowshare, sent up a light steam. At the other extremity of the field, an old man, whose broad shoulders and stern face recalled Holbein’s plowman, but whose clothes carried no suggestion of poverty, was gravely driving his plow of antique shape, drawn by two placid oxen, true patriarchs of the meadow, tall and rather thin, with pale yellow coats and long, drooping horns. They were those old workers who, through long habit, have grown to be brothers, as they are called in our country, and who, when one loses the other, refuse to work with a new comrade, and pine away with grief. People who are unfamiliar with the country call the love of the ox for his yoke-fellow a fable. Let them come and see in the corner of the stable one of these poor beasts, thin and wasted, restlessly lashing his lean flanks with his tail, violently breathing with mingled terror and disdain on the food offered him, his eyes always turned toward the door, scratching with his hoof the empty place at his side, sniffing the yokes and chains which his fellow used to wear, and incessantly calling him with melancholy lowings. The ox-herd will say: “There is a pair of oxen gone;’ this one will work no more, for his brother is dead. We ought to fatten him for the market, but he will not eat, and will soon starve himself to death.” The old laborer worked slowly, silently, and without waste of effort His docile team were in no greater haste than he; but, thanks to the undistracted steadiness of his toil and the judicious expenditure of his strength, his furrow was as soon plowed as that of his son, who was driving, at some distance from him, four less vigorous oxen through a more stubborn and stony piece of ground.

My attention was next caught by a fine spectacle, a truly noble subject for a painter. At the other end of the field a fine-looking youth was driving a magnificent team of four pairs of young oxen, through whose somber coats glanced a ruddy, glow-like name. They had the short, curry heads that belong to the wild bull, the same large, fierce eyes and jerky movements; they worked in an abrupt, nervous way that showed how they still rebelled against the yoke and goad, and trembled with anger as they obeyed the authority so recently imposed. They were what is called “newly yoked” oxen. The man who drove them had to clear a corner of the field that had formerly been given up to pasture, and was filled with old tree-stumps; and his youth and energy, and his eight half-broken animals, hardly sufficed for the Herculean task.

A child of six or seven years old, lovely as an angel, wearing round his shoulders, over his blouse, a sheepskin that made him look like a little Saint John the Baptist out of a Renaissance picture, was running along in the furrow beside the plow, pricking the flanks of the oxen with a long, light goad but slightly sharpened. The spirited animals quivered under the child’s light touch, making their yokes and head-bands creak, and shaking the pole violently. Whenever a root stopped the advance of the plowshare, the laborer would call every animal by name in his powerful voice, trying to calm rather than to excite them; for the oxen, irritated by the sudden resistance, bounded, pawed the ground with their great cloven hoofs, and would have jumped aside and dragged the plow across the fields, if the young man had not kept the first four in order with his voice and goad, while the child controlled the four others. The little fellow shouted too, but the voice which he tried to make of terrible effect, was as sweet as his angelic face. The whole scene was beautiful in its grace and strength; the landscape, the man, the child, the oxen under the yoke; and in spite of the mighty struggle by which the earth was subdued, a deep feeling of peace and sweetness reigned over all. Each time that an obstacle was surmounted and the plow resumed its even, solemn progress, the laborer, whose pretended violence was but a trial of his strength, and an outlet for his energy, instantly regained that serenity which is the right of simple souls, and looked with fatherly pleasure toward his child, who turned to smile back at him. Then the young father would raise his manly voice in the solemn and melancholy chant that ancient tradition transmits, not indeed to all plowmen indiscriminately, but to those who are most perfect in the art of exciting and sustaining the spirit of cattle while at work. This song, which was probably sacred in its origin, and to which mysterious influences must once have been attributed, is still thought to possess the virtue of putting animals on their mettle, allaying their irritation, and of beguiling the weariness of their long, hard toil. It is not enough to guide them skilfully, to trace a perfectly straight furrow, and to lighten their labor by raising the plowshare or driving it into the earth; no man can be a consummate husbandman who does not know how to sing to his oxen, and that is an art that requires taste and especial gifts. To tell the truth, this chant is only a recitative, broken off and taken up at pleasure. Its irregular form and its intonations that violate all the rules of musical art make it impossible to describe.

But it is none the less a noble song, and so appropriate is it to the nature of the work it accompanies, to the gait of the oxen, to the peace of the fields, and to the simplicity of the men who sing it, that no genius unfamiliar with the tillage of the earth, and no man except an accomplished laborer of our part of the country, could repeat it. At the season of the year when there is no work or stir afoot except that of the plowman, this strong, sweet refrain rises like the voice of the breeze, to which the key it is sung in gives it some resemblance. Each phrase ends with a long trill, the final note of which is held with incredible strength of breath, and rises a quarter of a tone, sharping systematically. It is barbaric, but possesses an unspeakable charm, and anybody, once accustomed to hear it, cannot conceive of another song taking its place at the same hour and in the same place, without striking a discord.

So it was that I had before my eyes a picture the reverse of that of Holbein, although the scene was similar. Instead of a wretched old man, a young and active one; instead of a team of weary and emaciated horses, four yoke of robust and fiery oxen; instead of death, a beautiful child; instead of despair and destruction, energy and the possibility of happiness.

Then the old French verse, “À la sueur de ton vis-aige,” etc., and Virgil’s “O fortunatos… agricolas,” returned to my mind, and seeing this lovely child and his father, under such poetic conditions, and with so much grace and strength, accomplish a task full of such grand and solemn suggestions, I was conscious of deep pity and involuntary respect. Happy the peasant of the fields! Yes, and so too should I be in his place, if my arm and voice could be endowed with sudden strength, and I could help to make Nature fruitful, and sing of her gifts, without ceasing to see with my eyes or understand with my brain harmonious colors and sounds, delicate shades and graceful outlines; in short, the mysterious beauty of all things. And above all, if my heart continued to beat in concert with the divine sentiment that presided over the immortal sublimity of creation.

But, alas! this man has never understood the mystery of beauty; this child will never understand it. God forbid that I should not think them superior to the animals which are subject to them, or that they have not moments of rapturous insight that soothe their toil and lull their cares to sleep. I see the seal of the Lord upon their noble brows, for they were born to inherit the earth far more truly than those who have bought and paid for it. The proof that they feel this is that they cannot be exiled with impunity, that they love the soil they have watered with their tears, and that the true peasant dies of homesickness under the arms of a soldier far from his native field. But he lacks some of my enjoyments, those pure delights which should be his by right, as a workman in that immense temple which the sky only is vast enough to embrace. He lacks the consciousness of his sentiment. Those who condemned him to slavery from his mother’s womb, being unable to rob him of his vague dreams, took away from him the power of reflection.

Yet, imperfect being that he is, sentenced to eternal childhood, he is nobler than the man in whom knowledge has stifled feeling. Do not set yourselves above him, you who believe yourselves invested with a lawful and inalienable right to rule over him, for your terrible mistake shows that your brain has destroyed your heart, and that you are the blindest and most incomplete of men! I love the simplicity of his soul more than the false lights of yours; and if I had to narrate the story of his life, the pleasure I should take in bringing out the tender and touching side of it would be greater than your merit in painting the degradation and contempt into which he is cast by your social code.

I knew the young man and the beautiful child; I knew their history, for they had a history. Everybody has his own, and could make the romance of his life interesting, if he could but understand it. Although but a peasant and a laborer, Germain had always been aware of his duties and affections. He had related them to me clearly and ingenuously, and I had listened with interest. After some time spent in watching him plow, it occurred to me that I might write his story, though that story were as simple, as straightforward, and unadorned as the furrow he was tracing.

Next year that furrow will be filled and covered by a fresh one.  Thus disappear most of the footprints made by man in the field of human life.  A little earth obliterates them, and the furrows we have dug succeed one another like graves in a cemetery.  Is not the furrow of the laborer of as much value as that of the idler, even if that idler, by some absurd chance, have made a little noise in the world, and left behind him an abiding name?

I mean, if possible, to save from oblivion the furrow of Germain, the skilled husbandman.  He will never know nor care, but I shall take pleasure in my talk.

At length, on Sunday morning, when mass was over, his mother-in-law asked Germain what encouragement he had had from his sweetheart since the conversation in the orchard.’Why, none at all,’ answered he; ‘I have n’t spoken to her.’

‘How can you expect to win her if you don’t speak to her?’

“I have spoken to her but once,” replied Germain. “That was when we were together at Fourche, and since then I have n’t said a single word. Her refusal gave me so much pain that I had rather not hear her begin again to tell me that she does n’t love me.”

“But, my son, you must speak to her now; your father gives his approval. So make up your mind. I tell you to do it, and, if need be, I shall order you to do it, for you can’t rest in this uncertainty.”

Germain obeyed. He reached Mother Guillette’s house, hanging his head with a hopeless air. Little Marie sat alone before the hearth so thoughtful that she did not hear Germain’s step. When she saw him before her, she started from her chair in surprise and grew very red.

“Little Marie,” said he, sitting down near her, “I come to trouble you and to give you pain. I know it very well, but the man and his wife at home [it was thus after the peasant fashion that he designated the heads of the house] wish me to speak to you, and beg you to marry me. You don’t care for me. I am prepared for it.”

“Germain,” answered little Marie, “are you sure that you love me?”

“It pains you, I know, but it is n’t my fault. If you could change your mind, I should be so very happy, and certain it is that I don’t deserve it. Look at me, Marie; am I very terrible?”

“No, Germain,” she answered, with a smile, “you are better looking than I.”

“Don’t make fun of me; look at me charitably; as yet, I have never lost a single hair nor a single tooth. My eyes tell you plainly how much I love you. Look straight into my eyes. It is written there, and every girl knows how to read that writing.”

Marie looked into Germain’s eyes with playful boldness; then of a sudden she turned away her head and trembled.

“Good God,” exclaimed Germain, “I make you afraid; you look at me as though I were the farmer of Ormeaux. Don’t be afraid of me, please don’t; that hurts me too much. I shall not say any bad words to you, I shall not kiss you if you will not have me, and when you wish me to go away, you have only to show me the door. Must I go in order to stop your trembling?”

Marie held out her hand toward the husbandman, but without turning her head, which was bent on the fireplace, and without saying a word.

“I understand,” said Germain. “You pity me, for you are kind; you are sorry to make me unhappy; but you cant love me.”

“Why do you say these things to me, Germain?” answered little Marie, after a pause. “Do you wish to make me cry?”

“Poor little girl, you have a kind heart, I know; but you don’t love me, and you are hiding your face for fear of letting me see your dislike and your repugnance. And I? I dare not even clasp your hand! In the forest, when my boy was asleep and you were sleeping too, I almost kissed you very gently. But I would have died of shame rather than ask it of you, and that night I suffered as a man burning over a slow fire. Since that time I have dreamed of you every night. Ah! how I have kissed you, Marie! Yet during all that time you have slept without a dream. And now, do you know what I think? I think that were you to turn and look at me with the eyes I have for you, and were you to move your face close to mine, I believe I should fall dead for joy. And you, you think that if such a thing were to happen, you would die of anger and shame!”

Germain spoke as in a dream, not hearing the words he said.  Little Marie was trembling all the time, but he was shaking yet more and did not notice it.  Of a sudden, she turned.  Her eyes were filled with tears, and she looked at him reproachfully.  The poor husbandman thought that this was the last blow, and without waiting for his sentence, he rose to go, but the girl stopped him, and throwing both her arms about him, she hid her face in his breast.

‘Oh, Germain,’ she sobbed, ‘did n’t you feel that I loved you?’

Then Germain had gone mad, if his son, who came galloping into the cottage on a stick, with his little sister on the crupper, scourging the imaginary steed with a willow branch, had not brought him to his senses.  He lifted the boy and placed him in the girl’s arms.

‘See,’ said he, ‘by loving me, you have made more than one person happy.'”       George Sand, The Devil’s Pool; “The Author to the Reader,” “The Tillage of the Soil,” “The Belle of the Village,” 1901

the-dance-class-degas impressionist art

Numero Tres“I. INTRODUCTIONIn a previous paper various propositions were presented which would have to be included in any theory of human motivation that could lay claim to being definitive.  These conclusions may be briefly summarized as follows:

1. The integrated wholeness of the organism must be one of the foundation stones of motivation theory.2. The hunger drive (or any other physiological drive) was rejected as a centering point or model for a definitive theory of motivation.  Any drive that is somatically based and localizable was shown to be atypical rather than typical in human motivation.

3. Such a theory should stress and center itself upon ultimate or basic goals rather than partial or superficial ones, upon ends rather than means to these ends.  Such a stress would imply a more central place for unconscious than for conscious motivations.

4. There are usually available various cultural paths to the same goal.  Therefore conscious, specific, local-cultural desires are not as fundamental in motivation theory as the more basic, unconscious goals.

5. Any motivated behavior, either preparatory or consummatory, must be understood to be a channel through which many basic needs may be simultaneously expressed or satisfied.  Typically an act has more than one motivation.

6. Practically all organismic states are to be understood as motivated and as motivating.

7. Human needs arrange themselves in hierarchies of pre-potency.  That is to say, the appearance of one need usually rests on the prior satisfaction of another, more pre-potent need.  Man is a perpetually wanting animal.  Also no need or drive can be treated as if it were isolated or discrete; every drive is related to the state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of other drives.

8. Lists of drives will get us nowhere for various theoretical and practical reasons.  Furthermore any classification of motivations must deal with the problem of levels of specificity or generalization the motives to be classified.

9. Classifications of motivations must be based upon goals rather than upon instigating drives or motivated behavior.

10. Motivation theory should be human-centered rather than animal-centered.

11. The situation or the field in which the organism reacts must be taken into account but the field alone can rarely serve as an exclusive explanation for behavior.  Furthermore the field itself must be interpreted in terms of the organism.  Field theory cannot be a substitute for motivation theory.

12. Not only the integration of the organism must be taken into account, but also the possibility of isolated, specific, partial or segmental reactions.  It has since become necessary to add to these another affirmation.

13. Motivation theory is not synonymous with behavior theory.  The motivations are only one class of determinants of behavior.  While behavior is almost always motivated, it is also almost always biologically, culturally, and situationally determined as well.

The present paper is an attempt to formulate a positive theory of motivation which will satisfy these theoretical demands and at the same time conform to the known facts, clinical and observational as well as experimental. It derives most directly, however, from clinical experience. This theory is, I think, in the functionalist tradition of James and Dewey, and is fused with the holism of Wertheimer (19), Goldstein (6), and Gestalt Psychology, and with the dynamicism of Freud (4) and Adler (1). This fusion or synthesis may arbitrarily be called a ‘general-dynamic’ theory.It is far easier to perceive and to criticize the aspects in motivation theory than to remedy them. Mostly this is because of the very serious lack of sound data in this area. I conceive this lack of sound facts to be due primarily to the absence of a valid theory of motivation. The present theory then must be considered to be a suggested program or framework for future research and must stand or fall, not so much on facts available or evidence presented, as upon researches to be done, researches suggested perhaps, by the questions raised in this paper.[p. 372]


The ‘physiological’ needs. — The needs that are usually taken as the starting point for motivation theory are the so-called physiological drives. Two recent lines of research make it necessary to revise our customary notions about these needs, first, the development of the concept of homeostasis, and second, the finding that appetites (preferential choices among foods) are a fairly efficient indication of actual needs or lacks in the body.

Homeostasis refers to the body’s automatic efforts to maintain a constant, normal state of the blood stream. Cannon (2) has described this process for (1) the water content of the blood, (2) salt content, (3) sugar content, (4) protein content, (5) fat content, (6) calcium content, (7) oxygen content, (8) constant hydrogen-ion level (acid-base balance) and (9) constant temperature of the blood. Obviously this list can be extended to include other minerals, the hormones, vitamins, etc.

Young in a recent article (21) has summarized the work on appetite in its relation to body needs. If the body lacks some chemical, the individual will tend to develop a specific appetite or partial hunger for that food element.

Thus it seems impossible as well as useless to make any list of fundamental physiological needs for they can come to almost any number one might wish, depending on the degree of specificity of description. We can not identify all physiological needs as homeostatic. That sexual desire, sleepiness, sheer activity and maternal behavior in animals, are homeostatic, has not yet been demonstrated. Furthermore, this list would not include the various sensory pleasures (tastes, smells, tickling, stroking) which are probably physiological and which may become the goals of motivated behavior.

In a previous paper (13) it has been pointed out that these physiological drives or needs are to be considered unusual rather than typical because they are isolable, and because they are localizable somatically. That is to say, they are relatively independent of each other, of other motivations [p. 373] and of the organism as a whole, and secondly, in many cases, it is possible to demonstrate a localized, underlying somatic base for the drive. This is true less generally than has been thought (exceptions are fatigue, sleepiness, maternal responses) but it is still true in the classic instances of hunger, sex, and thirst.

It should be pointed out again that any of the physiological needs and the consummatory behavior involved with them serve as channels for all sorts of other needs as well. That is to say, the person who thinks he is hungry may actually be seeking more for comfort, or dependence, than for vitamins or proteins. Conversely, it is possible to satisfy the hunger need in part by other activities such as drinking water or smoking cigarettes. In other words, relatively isolable as these physiological needs are, they are not completely so.

Undoubtedly these physiological needs are the most pre-potent of all needs. What this means specifically is, that in the human being who is missing everything in life in an extreme fashion, it is most likely that the major motivation would be the physiological needs rather than any others. A person who is lacking food, safety, love, and esteem would most probably hunger for food more strongly than for anything else.

If all the needs are unsatisfied, and the organism is then dominated by the physiological needs, all other needs may become simply non-existent or be pushed into the background. It is then fair to characterize the whole organism by saying simply that it is hungry, for consciousness is almost completely preempted by hunger. All capacities are put into the service of hunger-satisfaction, and the organization of these capacities is almost entirely determined by the one purpose of satisfying hunger. The receptors and effectors, the intelligence, memory, habits, all may now be defined simply as hunger-gratifying tools. Capacities that are not useful for this purpose lie dormant, or are pushed into the background. The urge to write poetry, the desire to acquire an automobile, the interest in American history, the desire for a new pair of shoes are, in the extreme case, forgotten or become of sec-[p.374]ondary importance. For the man who is extremely and dangerously hungry, no other interests exist but food. He dreams food, he remembers food, he thinks about food, he emotes only about food, he perceives only food and he wants only food. The more subtle determinants that ordinarily fuse with the physiological drives in organizing even feeding, drinking or sexual behavior, may now be so completely overwhelmed as to allow us to speak at this time (but only at this time) of pure hunger drive and behavior, with the one unqualified aim of relief.

Another peculiar characteristic of the human organism when it is dominated by a certain need is that the whole philosophy of the future tends also to change. For our chronically and extremely hungry man, Utopia can be defined very simply as a place where there is plenty of food. He tends to think that, if only he is guaranteed food for the rest of his life, he will be perfectly happy and will never want anything more. Life itself tends to be defined in terms of eating. Anything else will be defined as unimportant. Freedom, love, community feeling, respect, philosophy, may all be waved aside as fripperies which are useless since they fail to fill the stomach. Such a man may fairly be said to live by bread alone.

It cannot possibly be denied that such things are true but their generality can be denied. Emergency conditions are, almost by definition, rare in the normally functioning peaceful society. That this truism can be forgotten is due mainly to two reasons. First, rats have few motivations other than physiological ones, and since so much of the research upon motivation has been made with these animals, it is easy to carry the rat-picture over to the human being. Secondly, it is too often not realized that culture itself is an adaptive tool, one of whose main functions is to make the physiological emergencies come less and less often. In most of the known societies, chronic extreme hunger of the emergency type is rare, rather than common. In any case, this is still true in the United States. The average American citizen is experiencing appetite rather than hunger when he says “I am [p. 375] hungry.” He is apt to experience sheer life-and-death hunger only by accident and then only a few times through his entire life.

Obviously a good way to obscure the ‘higher’ motivations, and to get a lopsided view of human capacities and human nature, is to make the organism extremely and chronically hungry or thirsty. Anyone who attempts to make an emergency picture into a typical one, and who will measure all of man’s goals and desires by his behavior during extreme physiological deprivation is certainly being blind to many things. It is quite true that man lives by bread alone — when there is no bread. But what happens to man’s desires when there is plenty of bread and when his belly is chronically filled?

At once other (and ‘higher’) needs emerge and these, rather than physiological hungers, dominate the organism. And when these in turn are satisfied, again new (and still ‘higher’) needs emerge and so on. This is what we mean by saying that the basic human needs are organized into a hierarchy of relative prepotency.

One main implication of this phrasing is that gratification becomes as important a concept as deprivation in motivation theory, for it releases the organism from the domination of a relatively more physiological need, permitting thereby the emergence of other more social goals. The physiological needs, along with their partial goals, when chronically gratified cease to exist as active determinants or organizers of behavior. They now exist only in a potential fashion in the sense that they may emerge again to dominate the organism if they are thwarted. But a want that is satisfied is no longer a want. The organism is dominated and its behavior organized only by unsatisfied needs. If hunger is satisfied, it becomes unimportant in the current dynamics of the individual.

This statement is somewhat qualified by a hypothesis to be discussed more fully later, namely that it is precisely those individuals in whom a certain need has always been satisfied who are best equipped to tolerate deprivation of that need in the future, and that furthermore, those who have been de-[p. 376]prived in the past will react differently to current satisfactions than the one who has never been deprived.

The safety needs. — If the physiological needs are relatively well gratified, there then emerges a new set of needs, which we may categorize roughly as the safety needs. All that has been said of the physiological needs is equally true, although in lesser degree, of these desires. The organism may equally well be wholly dominated by them. They may serve as the almost exclusive organizers of behavior, recruiting all the capacities of the organism in their service, and we may then fairly describe the whole organism as a safety-seeking mechanism. Again we may say of the receptors, the effectors, of the intellect and the other capacities that they are primarily safety-seeking tools. Again, as in the hungry man, we find that the dominating goal is a strong determinant not only of his current world-outlook and philosophy but also of his philosophy of the future. Practically everything looks less important than safety, (even sometimes the physiological needs which being satisfied, are now underestimated). A man, in this state, if it is extreme enough and chronic enough, may be characterized as living almost for safety alone.

Although in this paper we are interested primarily in the needs of the adult, we can approach an understanding of his safety needs perhaps more efficiently by observation of infants and children, in whom these needs are much more simple and obvious. One reason for the clearer appearance of the threat or danger reaction in infants, is that they do not inhibit this reaction at all, whereas adults in our society have been taught to inhibit it at all costs. Thus even when adults do feel their safety to be threatened we may not be able to see this on the surface. Infants will react in a total fashion and as if they were endangered, if they are disturbed or dropped suddenly, startled by loud noises, flashing light, or other unusual sensory stimulation, by rough handling, by general loss of support in the mother’s arms, or by inadequate support.[1][p. 377]

In infants we can also see a much more direct reaction to bodily illnesses of various kinds. Sometimes these illnesses seem to be immediately and per se threatening and seem to make the child feel unsafe. For instance, vomiting, colic or other sharp pains seem to make the child look at the whole world in a different way. At such a moment of pain, it may be postulated that, for the child, the appearance of the whole world suddenly changes from sunniness to darkness, so to speak, and becomes a place in which anything at all might happen, in which previously stable things have suddenly become unstable. Thus a child who because of some bad food is taken ill may, for a day or two, develop fear, nightmares, and a need for protection and reassurance never seen in him before his illness.

Another indication of the child’s need for safety is his preference for some kind of undisrupted routine or rhythm. He seems to want a predictable, orderly world. For instance, injustice, unfairness, or inconsistency in the parents seems to make a child feel anxious and unsafe. This attitude may be not so much because of the injustice per se or any particular pains involved, but rather because this treatment threatens to make the world look unreliable, or unsafe, or unpredictable. Young children seem to thrive better under a system which has at least a skeletal outline of rigidity, In which there is a schedule of a kind, some sort of routine, something that can be counted upon, not only for the present but also far into the future. Perhaps one could express this more accurately by saying that the child needs an organized world rather than an unorganized or unstructured one.

The central role of the parents and the normal family setup are indisputable. Quarreling, physical assault, separation, divorce or death within the family may be particularly terrifying. Also parental outbursts of rage or threats of punishment directed to the child, calling him names, speaking to him harshly, shaking him, handling him roughly, or actual [p. 378] physical punishment sometimes elicit such total panic and terror in the child that we must assume more is involved than the physical pain alone. While it is true that in some children this terror may represent also a fear of loss of parental love, it can also occur in completely rejected children, who seem to cling to the hating parents more for sheer safety and protection than because of hope of love.

Confronting the average child with new, unfamiliar, strange, unmanageable stimuli or situations will too frequently elicit the danger or terror reaction, as for example, getting lost or even being separated from the parents for a short time, being confronted with new faces, new situations or new tasks, the sight of strange, unfamiliar or uncontrollable objects, illness or death. Particularly at such times, the child’s frantic clinging to his parents is eloquent testimony to their role as protectors (quite apart from their roles as food-givers and love-givers).

From these and similar observations, we may generalize and say that the average child in our society generally prefers a safe, orderly, predictable, organized world, which he can count, on, and in which unexpected, unmanageable or other dangerous things do not happen, and in which, in any case, he has all-powerful parents who protect and shield him from harm.

That these reactions may so easily be observed in children is in a way a proof of the fact that children in our society, feel too unsafe (or, in a word, are badly brought up). Children who are reared in an unthreatening, loving family do not ordinarily react as we have described above (17). In such children the danger reactions are apt to come mostly to objects or situations that adults too would consider dangerous.[2]

The healthy, normal, fortunate adult in our culture is largely satisfied in his safety needs. The peaceful, smoothly [p. 379] running, ‘good’ society ordinarily makes its members feel safe enough from wild animals, extremes of temperature, criminals, assault and murder, tyranny, etc. Therefore, in a very real sense, he no longer has any safety needs as active motivators. Just as a sated man no longer feels hungry, a safe man no longer feels endangered. If we wish to see these needs directly and clearly we must turn to neurotic or near-neurotic individuals, and to the economic and social underdogs. In between these extremes, we can perceive the expressions of safety needs only in such phenomena as, for instance, the common preference for a job with tenure and protection, the desire for a savings account, and for insurance of various kinds (medical, dental, unemployment, disability, old age).

Other broader aspects of the attempt to seek safety and stability in the world are seen in the very common preference for familiar rather than unfamiliar things, or for the known rather than the unknown. The tendency to have some religion or world-philosophy that organizes the universe and the men in it into some sort of satisfactorily coherent, meaningful whole is also in part motivated by safety-seeking. Here too we may list science and philosophy in general as partially motivated by the safety needs (we shall see later that there are also other motivations to scientific, philosophical or religious endeavor).

Otherwise the need for safety is seen as an active and dominant mobilizer of the organism’s resources only in emergencies, e. g., war, disease, natural catastrophes, crime waves, societal disorganization, neurosis, brain injury, chronically bad situation.

Some neurotic adults in our society are, in many ways, like the unsafe child in their desire for safety, although in the former it takes on a somewhat special appearance. Their reaction is often to unknown, psychological dangers in a world that is perceived to be hostile, overwhelming and threatening. Such a person behaves as if a great catastrophe were almost always impending, i.e., he is usually responding as if to an emergency. His safety needs often find specific [p. 380] expression in a search for a protector, or a stronger person on whom he may depend, or perhaps, a Fuehrer.

The neurotic individual may be described in a slightly different way with some usefulness as a grown-up person who retains his childish attitudes toward the world. That is to say, a neurotic adult may be said to behave ‘as if’ he were actually afraid of a spanking, or of his mother’s disapproval, or of being abandoned by his parents, or having his food taken away from him. It is as if his childish attitudes of fear and threat reaction to a dangerous world had gone underground, and untouched by the growing up and learning processes, were now ready to be called out by any stimulus that would make a child feel endangered and threatened.[3]

The neurosis in which the search for safety takes its dearest form is in the compulsive-obsessive neurosis. Compulsive-obsessives try frantically to order and stabilize the world so that no unmanageable, unexpected or unfamiliar dangers will ever appear (14); They hedge themselves about with all sorts of ceremonials, rules and formulas so that every possible contingency may be provided for and so that no new contingencies may appear. They are much like the brain injured cases, described by Goldstein (6), who manage to maintain their equilibrium by avoiding everything unfamiliar and strange and by ordering their restricted world in such a neat, disciplined, orderly fashion that everything in the world can be counted upon. They try to arrange the world so that anything unexpected (dangers) cannot possibly occur. If, through no fault of their own, something unexpected does occur, they go into a panic reaction as if this unexpected occurrence constituted a grave danger. What we can see only as a none-too-strong preference in the healthy person, e. g., preference for the familiar, becomes a life-and-death. necessity in abnormal cases.

The love needs. — If both the physiological and the safety needs are fairly well gratified, then there will emerge the love and affection and belongingness needs, and the whole cycle [p. 381] already described will repeat itself with this new center. Now the person will feel keenly, as never before, the absence of friends, or a sweetheart, or a wife, or children. He will hunger for affectionate relations with people in general, namely, for a place in his group, and he will strive with great intensity to achieve this goal. He will want to attain such a place more than anything else in the world and may even forget that once, when he was hungry, he sneered at love.

In our society the thwarting of these needs is the most commonly found core in cases of maladjustment and more severe psychopathology. Love and affection, as well as their possible expression in sexuality, are generally looked upon with ambivalence and are customarily hedged about with many restrictions and inhibitions. Practically all theorists of psychopathology have stressed thwarting of the love needs as basic in the picture of maladjustment. Many clinical studies have therefore been made of this need and we know more about it perhaps than any of the other needs except the physiological ones (14).

One thing that must be stressed at this point is that love is not synonymous with sex. Sex may be studied as a purely physiological need. Ordinarily sexual behavior is multi-determined, that is to say, determined not only by sexual but also by other needs, chief among which are the love and affection needs. Also not to be overlooked is the fact that the love needs involve both giving and receiving love.[4]

The esteem needs. — All people in our society (with a few pathological exceptions) have a need or desire for a stable, firmly based, (usually) high evaluation of themselves, for self-respect, or self-esteem, and for the esteem of others. By firmly based self-esteem, we mean that which is soundly based upon real capacity, achievement and respect from others. These needs may be classified into two subsidiary sets. These are, first, the desire for strength, for achievement, for adequacy, for confidence in the face of the world, and for independence and freedom.[5] Secondly, we have what [p. 382] we may call the desire for reputation or prestige (defining it as respect or esteem from other people), recognition, attention, importance or appreciation.[6] These needs have been relatively stressed by Alfred Adler and his followers, and have been relatively neglected by Freud and the psychoanalysts. More and more today however there is appearing widespread appreciation of their central importance.

Satisfaction of the self-esteem need leads to feelings of self-confidence, worth, strength, capability and adequacy of being useful and necessary in the world. But thwarting of these needs produces feelings of inferiority, of weakness and of helplessness. These feelings in turn give rise to either basic discouragement or else compensatory or neurotic trends. An appreciation of the necessity of basic self-confidence and an understanding of how helpless people are without it, can be easily gained from a study of severe traumatic neurosis (8).[7]

The need for self-actualization. — Even if all these needs are satisfied, we may still often (if not always) expect that a new discontent and restlessness will soon develop, unless the individual is doing what he is fitted for. A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy. What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization.

This term, first coined by Kurt Goldstein, is being used in this paper in a much more specific and limited fashion. It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.[p. 383]

The specific form that these needs will take will of course vary greatly from person to person. In one individual it may take the form of the desire to be an ideal mother, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in still another it may be expressed in painting pictures or in inventions. It is not necessarily a creative urge although in people who have any capacities for creation it will take this form.

The clear emergence of these needs rests upon prior satisfaction of the physiological, safety, love and esteem needs. We shall call people who are satisfied in these needs, basically satisfied people, and it is from these that we may expect the fullest (and healthiest) creativeness.[8] Since, in our society, basically satisfied people are the exception, we do not know much about self-actualization, either experimentally or clinically. It remains a challenging problem for research.

The preconditions for the basic need satisfactions. — There are certain conditions which are immediate prerequisites for the basic need satisfactions. Danger to these is reacted to almost as if it were a direct danger to the basic needs themselves. Such conditions as freedom to speak, freedom to do what one wishes so long as no harm is done to others, freedom to express one’s self, freedom to investigate and seek for information, freedom to defend one’s self, justice, fairness, honesty, orderliness in the group are examples of such preconditions for basic need satisfactions. Thwarting in these freedoms will be reacted to with a threat or emergency response. These conditions are not ends in themselves but they are almost so since they are so closely related to the basic needs, which are apparently the only ends in themselves. These conditions are defended because without them the basic satisfactions are quite impossible, or at least, very severely endangered.[p. 384]

If we remember that the cognitive capacities (perceptual, intellectual, learning) are a set of adjustive tools, which have, among other functions, that of satisfaction of our basic needs, then it is clear that any danger to them, any deprivation or blocking of their free use, must also be indirectly threatening to the basic needs themselves. Such a statement is a partial solution of the general problems of curiosity, the search for knowledge, truth and wisdom, and the ever-persistent urge to solve the cosmic mysteries.

We must therefore introduce another hypothesis and speak of degrees of closeness to the basic needs, for we have already pointed out that any conscious desires (partial goals) are more or less important as they are more or less close to the basic needs. The same statement may be made for various behavior acts. An act is psychologically important if it contributes directly to satisfaction of basic needs. The less directly it so contributes, or the weaker this contribution is, the less important this act must be conceived to be from the point of view of dynamic psychology. A similar statement may be made for the various defense or coping mechanisms. Some are very directly related to the protection or attainment of the basic needs, others are only weakly and distantly related. Indeed if we wished, we could speak of more basic and less basic defense mechanisms, and then affirm that danger to the more basic defenses is more threatening than danger to less basic defenses (always remembering that this is so only because of their relationship to the basic needs).

The desires to know and to understand. — So far, we have mentioned the cognitive needs only in passing. Acquiring knowledge and systematizing the universe have been considered as, in part, techniques for the achievement of basic safety in the world, or, for the intelligent man, expressions of self-actualization. Also freedom of inquiry and expression have been discussed as preconditions of satisfactions of the basic needs. True though these formulations may be, they do not constitute definitive answers to the question as to the motivation role of curiosity, learning, philosophizing, experimenting, etc. They are, at best, no more than partial answers.[p. 385]

This question is especially difficult because we know so little about the facts. Curiosity, exploration, desire for the facts, desire to know may certainly be observed easily enough. The fact that they often are pursued even at great cost to the individual’s safety is an earnest of the partial character of our previous discussion. In addition, the writer must admit that, though he has sufficient clinical evidence to postulate the desire to know as a very strong drive in intelligent people, no data are available for unintelligent people. It may then be largely a function of relatively high intelligence. Rather tentatively, then, and largely in the hope of stimulating discussion and research, we shall postulate a basic desire to know, to be aware of reality, to get the facts, to satisfy curiosity, or as Wertheimer phrases it, to see rather than to be blind.

This postulation, however, is not enough. Even after we know, we are impelled to know more and more minutely and microscopically on the one hand, and on the other, more and more extensively in the direction of a world philosophy, religion, etc. The facts that we acquire, if they are isolated or atomistic, inevitably get theorized about, and either analyzed or organized or both. This process has been phrased by some as the search for ‘meaning.’ We shall then postulate a desire to understand, to systematize, to organize, to analyze, to look for relations and meanings.

Once these desires are accepted for discussion, we see that they too form themselves into a small hierarchy in which the desire to know is prepotent over the desire to understand. All the characteristics of a hierarchy of prepotency that we have described above, seem to hold for this one as well.

We must guard ourselves against the too easy tendency to separate these desires from the basic needs we have discussed above, i.e., to make a sharp dichotomy between ‘cognitive’ and ‘conative’ needs. The desire to know and to understand are themselves conative, i.e., have a striving character, and are as much personality needs as the ‘basic needs’ we have already discussed (19).[p. 386]


The degree of fixity of the hierarchy of basic needs. — We have spoken so far as if this hierarchy were a fixed order but actually it is not nearly as rigid as we may have implied. It is true that most of the people with whom we have worked have seemed to have these basic needs in about the order that has been indicated. However, there have been a number of exceptions.

(1) There are some people in whom, for instance, self-esteem seems to be more important than love. This most common reversal in the hierarchy is usually due to the development of the notion that the person who is most likely to be loved is a strong or powerful person, one who inspires respect or fear, and who is self confident or aggressive. Therefore such people who lack love and seek it, may try hard to put on a front of aggressive, confident behavior. But essentially they seek high self-esteem and its behavior expressions more as a means-to-an-end than for its own sake; they seek self-assertion for the sake of love rather than for self-esteem itself.

(2) There are other, apparently innately creative people in whom the drive to creativeness seems to be more important than any other counter-determinant. Their creativeness might appear not as self-actualization released by basic satisfaction, but in spite of lack of basic satisfaction.

(3) In certain people the level of aspiration may be permanently deadened or lowered. That is to say, the less pre-potent goals may simply be lost, and may disappear forever, so that the person who has experienced life at a very low level, i. e., chronic unemployment, may continue to be satisfied for the rest of his life if only he can get enough food.

(4) The so-called ‘psychopathic personality’ is another example of permanent loss of the love needs. These are people who, according to the best data available (9), have been starved for love in the earliest months of their lives and have simply lost forever the desire and the ability to give and to receive affection (as animals lose sucking or pecking reflexes that are not exercised soon enough after birth).[p. 387]

(5) Another cause of reversal of the hierarchy is that when a need has been satisfied for a long time, this need may be underevaluated. People who have never experienced chronic hunger are apt to underestimate its effects and to look upon food as a rather unimportant thing. If they are dominated by a higher need, this higher need will seem to be the most important of all. It then becomes possible, and indeed does actually happen, that they may, for the sake of this higher need, put themselves into the position of being deprived in a more basic need. We may expect that after a long-time deprivation of the more basic need there will be a tendency to reevaluate both needs so that the more pre-potent need will actually become consciously prepotent for the individual who may have given it up very lightly. Thus, a man who has given up his job rather than lose his self-respect, and who then starves for six months or so, may be willing to take his job back even at the price of losing his a self-respect.

(6) Another partial explanation of apparent reversals is seen in the fact that we have been talking about the hierarchy of prepotency in terms of consciously felt wants or desires rather than of behavior. Looking at behavior itself may give us the wrong impression. What we have claimed is that the person will want the more basic of two needs when deprived in both. There is no necessary implication here that he will act upon his desires. Let us say again that there are many determinants of behavior other than the needs and desires.

(7) Perhaps more important than all these exceptions are the ones that involve ideals, high social standards, high values and the like. With such values people become martyrs; they give up everything for the sake of a particular ideal, or value. These people may be understood, at least in part, by reference to one basic concept (or hypothesis) which may be called ‘increased frustration-tolerance through early gratification’. People who have been satisfied in their basic needs throughout their lives, particularly in their earlier years, seem to develop exceptional power to withstand present or future thwarting of these needs simply because they have strong,[p. 388] healthy character structure as a result of basic satisfaction. They are the ‘strong’ people who can easily weather disagreement or opposition, who can swim against the stream of public opinion and who can stand up for the truth at great personal cost. It is just the ones who have loved and been well loved, and who have had many deep friendships who can hold out against hatred, rejection or persecution.

I say all this in spite of the fact that there is a certain amount of sheer habituation which is also involved in any full discussion of frustration tolerance. For instance, it is likely that those persons who have been accustomed to relative starvation for a long time, are partially enabled thereby to withstand food deprivation. What sort of balance must be made between these two tendencies, of habituation on the one hand, and of past satisfaction breeding present frustration tolerance on the other hand, remains to be worked out by further research. Meanwhile we may assume that they are both operative, side by side, since they do not contradict each other, In respect to this phenomenon of increased frustration tolerance, it seems probable that the most important gratifications come in the first two years of life. That is to say, people who have been made secure and strong in the earliest years, tend to remain secure and strong thereafter in the face of whatever threatens.

Degree of relative satisfaction. — So far, our theoretical discussion may have given the impression that these five sets of needs are somehow in a step-wise, all-or-none relationships to each other. We have spoken in such terms as the following: “If one need is satisfied, then another emerges.” This statement might give the false impression that a need must be satisfied 100 per cent before the next need emerges. In actual fact, most members of our society who are normal, are partially satisfied in all their basic needs and partially unsatisfied in all their basic needs at the same time. A more realistic description of the hierarchy would be in terms of decreasing percentages of satisfaction as we go up the hierarchy of prepotency, For instance, if I may assign arbitrary figures for the sake of illustration, it is as if the average citizen [p. 389] is satisfied perhaps 85 per cent in his physiological needs, 70 per cent in his safety needs, 50 per cent in his love needs, 40 per cent in his self-esteem needs, and 10 per cent in his self-actualization needs.

As for the concept of emergence of a new need after satisfaction of the prepotent need, this emergence is not a sudden, saltatory phenomenon but rather a gradual emergence by slow degrees from nothingness. For instance, if prepotent need A is satisfied only 10 per cent: then need B may not be visible at all. However, as this need A becomes satisfied 25 per cent, need B may emerge 5 per cent, as need A becomes satisfied 75 per cent need B may emerge go per cent, and so on.

Unconscious character of needs. — These needs are neither necessarily conscious nor unconscious. On the whole, however, in the average person, they are more often unconscious rather than conscious. It is not necessary at this point to overhaul the tremendous mass of evidence which indicates the crucial importance of unconscious motivation. It would by now be expected, on a priori grounds alone, that unconscious motivations would on the whole be rather more important than the conscious motivations. What we have called the basic needs are very often largely unconscious although they may, with suitable techniques, and with sophisticated people become conscious.

Cultural specificity and generality of needs. — This classification of basic needs makes some attempt to take account of the relative unity behind the superficial differences in specific desires from one culture to another. Certainly in any particular culture an individual’s conscious motivational content will usually be extremely different from the conscious motivational content of an individual in another society. However, it is the common experience of anthropologists that people, even in different societies, are much more alike than we would think from our first contact with them, and that as we know them better we seem to find more and more of this commonness, We then recognize the most startling differences to be superficial rather than basic, e. g., differences in style of hair-dress, clothes, tastes in food, etc. Our classification of basic [p. 390] needs is in part an attempt to account for this unity behind the apparent diversity from culture to culture. No claim is made that it is ultimate or universal for all cultures. The claim is made only that it is relatively more ultimate, more universal, more basic, than the superficial conscious desires from culture to culture, and makes a somewhat closer approach to common-human characteristics, Basic needs are more common-human than superficial desires or behaviors.

Multiple motivations of behavior. — These needs must be understood not to be exclusive or single determiners of certain kinds of behavior. An example may be found in any behavior that seems to be physiologically motivated, such as eating, or sexual play or the like. The clinical psychologists have long since found that any behavior may be a channel through which flow various determinants. Or to say it in another way, most behavior is multi-motivated. Within the sphere of motivational determinants any behavior tends to be determined by several or all of the basic needs simultaneously rather than by only one of them. The latter would be more an exception than the former. Eating may be partially for the sake of filling the stomach, and partially for the sake of comfort and amelioration of other needs. One may make love not only for pure sexual release, but also to convince one’s self of one’s masculinity, or to make a conquest, to feel powerful, or to win more basic affection. As an illustration, I may point out that it would be possible (theoretically if not practically) to analyze a single act of an individual and see in it the expression of his physiological needs, his safety needs, his love needs, his esteem needs and self-actualization. This contrasts sharply with the more naive brand of trait psychology in which one trait or one motive accounts for a certain kind of act, i. e., an aggressive act is traced solely to a trait of aggressiveness.

Multiple determinants of behavior. — Not all behavior is determined by the basic needs. We might even say that not all behavior is motivated. There are many determinants of behavior other than motives.[9] For instance, one other im-[p. 391]portant class of determinants is the so-called ‘field’ determinants. Theoretically, at least, behavior may be determined completely by the field, or even by specific isolated external stimuli, as in association of ideas, or certain conditioned reflexes. If in response to the stimulus word ‘table’ I immediately perceive a memory image of a table, this response certainly has nothing to do with my basic needs.

Secondly, we may call attention again to the concept of ‘degree of closeness to the basic needs’ or ‘degree of motivation.’ Some behavior is highly motivated, other behavior is only weakly motivated. Some is not motivated at all (but all behavior is determined).

Another important point [10] is that there is a basic difference between expressive behavior and coping behavior (functional striving, purposive goal seeking). An expressive behavior does not try to do anything; it is simply a reflection of the personality. A stupid man behaves stupidly, not because he wants to, or tries to, or is motivated to, but simply because he is what he is. The same is true when I speak in a bass voice rather than tenor or soprano. The random movements of a healthy child, the smile on the face of a happy man even when he is alone, the springiness of the healthy man’s walk, and the erectness of his carriage are other examples of expressive, non-functional behavior. Also the style in which a man carries out almost all his behavior, motivated as well as unmotivated, is often expressive.

We may then ask, is all behavior expressive or reflective of the character structure? The answer is ‘No.’ Rote, habitual, automatized, or conventional behavior may or may not be expressive. The same is true for most ‘stimulus-bound’ behaviors. It is finally necessary to stress that expressiveness of behavior, and goal-directedness of behavior are not mutually exclusive categories. Average behavior is usually both.

Goals as centering principle in motivation theory. — It will be observed that the basic principle in our classification has [p. 392] been neither the instigation nor the motivated behavior but rather the functions, effects, purposes, or goals of the behavior. It has been proven sufficiently by various people that this is the most suitable point for centering in any motivation theory.[11]

Animal- and human-centering. — This theory starts with the human being rather than any lower and presumably ‘simpler’ animal. Too many of the findings that have been made in animals have been proven to be true for animals but not for the human being. There is no reason whatsoever why we should start with animals in order to study human motivation. The logic or rather illogic behind this general fallacy of ‘pseudo-simplicity’ has been exposed often enough by philosophers and logicians as well as by scientists in each of the various fields. It is no more necessary to study animals before one can study man than it is to study mathematics before one can study geology or psychology or biology.

We may also reject the old, naive, behaviorism which assumed that it was somehow necessary, or at least more ‘scientific’ to judge human beings by animal standards. One consequence of this belief was that the whole notion of purpose and goal was excluded from motivational psychology simply because one could not ask a white rat about his purposes. Tolman (18) has long since proven in animal studies themselves that this exclusion was not necessary.

Motivation and the theory of psychopathogenesis. — The conscious motivational content of everyday life has, according to the foregoing, been conceived to be relatively important or unimportant accordingly as it is more or less closely related to the basic goals. A desire for an ice cream cone might actually be an indirect expression of a desire for love. If it is, then this desire for the ice cream cone becomes extremely important motivation. If however the ice cream is simply something to cool the mouth with, or a casual appetitive reaction, then the desire is relatively unimportant. Everyday conscious desires are to be regarded as symptoms, as [p. 393] surface indicators of more basic needs. If we were to take these superficial desires at their face value me would find ourselves in a state of complete confusion which could never be resolved, since we would be dealing seriously with symptoms rather than with what lay behind the symptoms.

Thwarting of unimportant desires produces no psychopathological results; thwarting of a basically important need does produce such results. Any theory of psychopathogenesis must then be based on a sound theory of motivation. A conflict or a frustration is not necessarily pathogenic. It becomes so only when it threatens or thwarts the basic needs, or partial needs that are closely related to the basic needs (10).

The role of gratified needs. — It has been pointed out above several times that our needs usually emerge only when more prepotent needs have been gratified. Thus gratification has an important role in motivation theory. Apart from this, however, needs cease to play an active determining or organizing role as soon as they are gratified.

What this means is that, e. g., a basically satisfied person no longer has the needs for esteem, love, safety, etc. The only sense in which he might be said to have them is in the almost metaphysical sense that a sated man has hunger, or a filled bottle has emptiness. If we are interested in what actually motivates us, and not in what has, will, or might motivate us, then a satisfied need is not a motivator. It must be considered for all practical purposes simply not to exist, to have disappeared. This point should be emphasized because it has been either overlooked or contradicted in every theory of motivation I know.[12] The perfectly healthy, normal, fortunate man has no sex needs or hunger needs, or needs for safety, or for love, or for prestige, or self-esteem, except in stray moments of quickly passing threat. If we were to say otherwise, we should also have to aver that every man had all the pathological reflexes, e. g., Babinski, etc., because if his nervous system were damaged, these would appear.

It is such considerations as these that suggest the bold [p. 394] postulation that a man who is thwarted in any of his basic needs may fairly be envisaged simply as a sick man. This is a fair parallel to our designation as ‘sick’ of the man who lacks vitamins or minerals. Who is to say that a lack of love is less important than a lack of vitamins? Since we know the pathogenic effects of love starvation, who is to say that we are invoking value-questions in an unscientific or illegitimate way, any more than the physician does who diagnoses and treats pellagra or scurvy? If I were permitted this usage, I should then say simply that a healthy man is primarily motivated by his needs to develop and actualize his fullest potentialities and capacities. If a man has any other basic needs in any active, chronic sense, then he is simply an unhealthy man. He is as surely sick as if he had suddenly developed a strong salt-hunger or calcium hunger.[13]

If this statement seems unusual or paradoxical the reader may be assured that this is only one among many such paradoxes that will appear as we revise our ways of looking at man’s deeper motivations. When we ask what man wants of life, we deal with his very essence.


(1) There are at least five sets of goals, which we may call basic needs.  These are briefly physiological, safety, love, ‘esteem, and self-actualization.  In addition, we are motivated by the desire to achieve or maintain the various conditions upon which these basic satisfactions rest and by certain more intellectual desires.

(2) These basic goals are related to each other, being arranged in a hierarchy of prepotency.  This means that the most prepotent goal will monopolize consciousness and will tend of itself to organize the recruitment of the various capacities of the organism.  The less prepotent needs are minimized, even forgotten or denied.  But when a need is fairly well satisfied, the next prepotent (‘higher’) need emerges, in turn to dominate the conscious life and to serve as the center of organization of behavior, since gratified needs are not active motivators.

Thus man is a perpetually wanting animal.  Ordinarily the satisfaction of these wants is not altogether mutually exclusive, but only tends to be.  The average member of our society is most often partially satisfied and partially unsatisfied in all of his wants.  The hierarchy principle is usually empirically observed in terms of increasing percentages of non-satisfaction as we go up the hierarchy.  Reversals of the average order of the hierarchy are sometimes observed.  Also it has been observed that an individual may permanently lose the higher wants in the hierarchy under special conditions.  There are not only ordinarily multiple motivations for usual behavior, but in addition many determinants other than motives.

(3) Any thwarting or possibility of thwarting of these basic human goals, or danger to the defenses which protect them, or to the conditions upon which they rest, is considered to be a psychological threat.  With a few exceptions, all psychopathology may be partially traced to such threats.  A basically thwarted man may actually be defined as a ‘sick’ man, if we wish.

(4) It is such basic threats which bring about the general emergency reactions.

(5) Certain other basic problems have not been dealt with because of limitations of space.  Among these are (a) the problem of values in any definitive motivation theory, (b) the relation between appetites, desires, needs and what is ‘good’ for the organism, (c) the etiology of the basic needs and their possible derivation in early childhood, (d) redefinition of motivational concepts, i. e., drive, desire, wish, need, goal, (e) implication of our theory for hedonistic theory, (f) the nature of the uncompleted act, of success and failure, and of aspiration-level, (g) the role of association, habit and conditioning, (h) relation to the [p. 396] theory of inter-personal relations, (i) implications for psychotherapy, (j) implication for theory of society, (k) the theory of selfishness, (l) the relation between needs and cultural patterns, (m) the relation between this theory and Alport’s theory of functional autonomy.  These as well as certain other less important questions must be considered as motivation theory attempts to become definitive.”        Abraham Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation;” Psychological Review, 1943

network computer internet web

Numero Cuatro“It’s a great pleasure to be addressing you on this 35th anniversary.  Of course, it’s a 35th anniversary of LCS, and it’s also the 35th anniversary of the Web, if you count in Web years. [Laughter.]


I will say a little bit about where I’m coming from, what the original idea was, because I don’t want to talk about the future as a prediction.  I don’t give predictions.  That I leave to Bob.  It’s dangerous: you end up eating your articles, and so I will stick to talking about what I would like to see partly because when there are a bunch of people from LCS in the audience, the next thing you find is somebody has come around to your office, knocked on the door, and said that, by the way, they’ve done it.

When I’m talking about what I would like to see, you know, it hasn’t changed very much in ten years.  So if I talk about where I’m coming from, what I wanted to see then, then, that’s two-thirds of my hopes for the future.  I’ll give a little bit of history of how where the World Wide Web Consortium came to LCS, and then I’ll talk a bit about the Web and about an interesting distinction between what we used to call documents, and what we used to call data.

The basic ideas of the Web is that an information space through which people can communicate, but communicate in a special way: communicate by sharing their knowledge in a pool.  The idea was not just that it should be a big browsing medium.  The idea was that everybody would be putting their ideas in, as well as taking them out.  This is not supposed to be a glorified television channel.  Also everybody should be excited about the power to actually create hypertext.  Writing hypertext is good fun, and being with a group of people writing hypertext and trying to work something out, by making links is a different way of working.  I hoped that it would be a way that soon, for example, the European Particle Physics Laboratory at Geneva, Switzerland, where I was at the time.  I’d hoped it would be a way for us to much more efficiently use people who came and went, use student work, use people working remotely.  And leave a trail, not a paper trail, but a trail in hyperspace.

So I had hoped that the Web would be a tool for us, understanding each other and working together efficiently on larger scales. Getting over the problem which befalls the organization that was so fun when it was a start-up of six people (many of you will know about this phenomenon). When you get to 60 people it is still great fun, and you’re still rollerblading in the parking lot. And then when you get to 61 people, you worry that you don’t know that person’s name, and the difficulties of scaling the organization set in.

There’s a second half to the dream really, and I must admit that originally I was a little bit careful about expressing this. But the second half is the hope that when we’ve got all of our organization communicating together through this medium which is accessible to machines, to computer programs, that there will be some cool computer programs which we could write to analyze that stuff: to figure out how the organization really runs; and what is its real structure, never mind the structure we have given it; and all kinds of things like that. And to do that, of course, the information on the Web would have to be understandable to some extent by a machine and at the moment it’s not.

Here is a very basic history overview. I originally wrote a proposal. That’s the piece of paper which I dropped into the time capsule, for those of you who were at the party. I wrote the proposal in 1989 and tried to explain that I thought the global hypertext would be a great idea. Now, the world is full of people writing these proposals and since Vennevor Bush started in 1945 and it was published in the Atlantic Monthly and still nobody developed a global hypertext system. And then Doug Enbgelbart actually showed people how to do it two decades later, and still it didn’t happen because he just didn’t happen to be in the right place at the right time. But I was.

I was in right place in that the European particle physics community was full of people with machines on their desk — now just about starting to be Internet worked: connected to the Internet as opposed to all sorts of proprietary networks. And I was at a place where my boss Mike Sandel and his boss David Williams, who is sitting down here, were prepared to not say no. They let me go ahead and do it, “even though we can’t actually justify it.” That happened actually in 1990 when I bought one of those new NeXT machines, which was a great programming environment in lots of ways. I could actually put together a hypertext editor, (browser/editor; it was the same thing—It was modeless) pretty quickly. And then in the summer of ’91 we actually released the code, put it up on an FTP server and drew people’s attention to the first Web site and the first Web client and started to try to push this. It was still very difficult, you know, to explain how exciting global hypertext is if you only have a couple of Web pages. That may seem silly now and obvious, but it’s very difficult to show the excitement in one Web page.

The excitement of a hypertext link is that it can point to anything out there. When there’s nothing out there then that is just difficult to demonstrate. So for several years it’s a question of first trying to justify my existence. In fact I wasn’t working on anything else, and the other people who had got onto the team one way or another. They sort of slipped through, working in different places, working across the world collaborating over the Internet. And persuading people to put out Web browsers was tricky. It involved all kinds of doing sneaky things, suggesting that they needed a Web browser for a very specific application so that they would get it and then that they would be—they would just increase the number of clients out there which would increase the incentive for somebody to put up a server and vice-versa. And eventually the thing started snowballing.

Now, in 1992 it was clear that it was taking off. It still wasn’t clear that it would, for example ever take over from the Internet Gopher, which was another system expanding exponentially on the Internet. But people were already starting to come into my office. Alan Kotok from Digital came with three colleagues, unannounced. Now, people don’t generally drop in Geneva unannounced, particularly Americans. We found a conference room quickly and he explained that they were starting to investigate what Digital should do, how Digital should address this “Internet” and the World Wide Web. “We’re concerned about stability and we understand that it all hinges on some specifications which you have stored on a disk somewhere..”. They wondered how stable they were and how we get to insure their continued stability and their evolution.

I started talking with them and other people about what sort of a body we needed to make sure that the Web would evolve into something we could use—now it was becoming a serious thing. They were very adamant, like everyone else, that there should be some neutral forum where people could meet. I started shopping around. I looked at a number of different possibilities: setting it up as a company; joining a large company and setting it up base there, setting it up at some other institution. I traveled around a bit and talked to a lot of people and there’s one place which came up with checks in all the boxes. In fact it was on a bus going from a conference dinner in Newcastle in northern England on one rainy night to a small hotel that I sat next to David Gifford from LCS, who listened to the story politely and said I should mail this Michael D something—mld@hq.lcs.mit.eduand he might be interested.

I did and next thing Michael dropped in in Zurich and from then on I discovered that not only could I sell him the idea of setting up as a base in the U.S. but I could sell him on the idea of setting it up as an international thing. He was just as enthusiastic as me about that. So that’s the story of how the Web Consortium came to LCS. And the rest is more or less history and acronyms, and I won’t to into the acronyms in case you are frightened about them. But basically things have been happening.

The fundamental thing about the space—about this Web, as I said, is that anything can refer to anything. Otherwise it’s no fun. You’ve got to be able to make the link to anything. It’s no good asking people to put things on the Web, saying that anything of importance should have this “URL”,if you then request anything else. To make such an audacious request you have to then release anything else. So that requires that the Web has completely minimalist design. We don’t impose anything else. It has to be independent of anything. The great challenge, really the raison d’etre initially for getting the Web protocols out, was to be independent of hardware platform: to be able to see the stuff on the mainframe from your PC and to be able to see the stuff on the PC from the Mac. To get across those boundaries was at the time so huge and strange and unbelievable. And if we don’t do things right it will be huge and strange and unbelievable again: we could go back down that route very easily.

It was important to get it should be independent of software. The World Wide Web originally was a client program called “World Wide Web”. I eventually renamed the program because I didn’t want the World Wide Web to be one program. It’s very important that any program that can talk the World Wide Web protocols—(HTTP, HTML,…) can provide equivalent access to the information.

It’s very important to be independent of the way you actually happen to access this information. We’re using a rather large screen here but it works just as well on this small screen. It should also work if you need to have these read to you, because maybe you’re visually impaired or maybe you’re driving along. 20 percent of the people who have access to the Web have some sort of impairment; maybe they can see the screen fine but they can’t use a mouse. So it’s very important that we separate the content from the way we’re presenting it. This slide is just an HTML file, but it has a style sheet that says it needs to be big and it should be white on blue according to the guidelines.

It’s important that the Web should be independent of language and culture, and I could now talk for two hours just about that. In the Consortium, just as we have a Web accessibility initiative addressed the question of accessibility, we have an activity which looks specifically about internationalization. But then you have to add culture, then you’re talking about a whole lot more than just using Unicode and just making sure that you can make the letters go up and down the page instead of across the page.

It’s important that the Web should be independent of quality of information. I don’t want it to be somewhere where you would publish technical reports only after you had finished. If you can link to anything I want this to be part of the process. So the review of the technical report and the scribbling of the original note which led to the idea that became the project which resulted in the technical report should all be there and they should all be linked together. So it’s very important that you should be able to instantly go in there and edit. (Now actually I’m very sorry that this is not my machine so I’m not using my editor. Otherwise I would be able to just go into this slide and put the cursor in the middle and edit the slide.) At the same time, when I use the word “quality,” it’s important to remember that the idea of quality is completely subjective. So the Web shouldn’t have in it any particular built-in notion of what quality means at all.

There are one, two, three, four, five, six dimensions I have mentioned along which documents on the Web can vary. Throughout all the history and through the future evolution it’s been very important to maintain this invariance with all the fancy new ideas that came in. Every now and again we get a new suggestion that flagrantly violates one of these areas, and we have to find ways to turn it around and express it in a way which does not.

The last dimension of independence is an interesting one. There’s a difference between documents and data. This division that David Williams used to lead originally was called “Documents and Data.” There was a feeling around the organization that it was a very funny old name, and it should be renamed as “Computing and Networking,” and now it’s probably being renamed as “Information Technology,” or “Information Systems”. But at one point it was Documents and Data. And perhaps that was the silliest name at all, but perhaps it was the most insightful. Because on the Web you find “documents” of the sorts of things people read and write, and you find “data” out there which is the sorts of things machines read and write. And that distinction is interesting. And it’s important that the Web should allow everything on that spectrum as well; that we should have things which are very specifically aimed at people, caligraphy and poetry. At the same time we should have hard data which is processable very efficiently, and logic which can be analyzed by a machine. And things in between. A lot of the Web is sort of things in between. When you hit a Web page which has stock prices on it, there is data on there. You’re looking for data. When you look for the weather you’re looking for data but it comes in this sort of dressed up fashion with a nice pink flashing border and a few ads at the top in a way that’s designed to appeal to you and entice you to buy things.

So you could think of it, if you like, as three layers: at the top, there is the presentation layer. For this slide it’s defined by style sheet. And in the middle there’s content, a funny word which seems to be popular on the Web nowadays. This, the HTML code, which says that this thing which in fact the style sheet had turned yellow is a first level heading, and this thing is an unordered list. And then underneath—there isn’t a lot on this page I would say would be data. There’s a metadata at the top which gives the relationship between this slide and the other slides. But the data are the things like the stock prices and who actually wrote this and when it was created, and what we think the weather is going to be like tomorrow in Boston and things like that.

I’m going to contrast these two sides a little bit. Because when we’re looking at the way forward and also when we’re assessing how far we’ve got, those are the two benchmarks.

How well are we doing? Are we doing human communication through shared knowledge? Let’s look through the document side. On this side the languages are natural language. They’re people talking to people. So the language is you just can’t analyze them very well. And this is the big problem on the net for a lot of people, is the problem for my mother and your mother and our kids. They go out to search engines and they ask a question and the search engine gives these stupid answers. It has read a large proportion of the pages on the entire Web (which is of course amazing) but it doesn’t understand any of them — and it tries to answer the question on that basis. Obviously you get pretty unpredictable results. However, the wonderful thing is that when people communicate in this way, this kind of fuzzy way, people can solve problems intuitively. When people browse across the Web and see something expressed in natural language, they think, “Aha!” and suddenly solve a totally unrelated problem due to the incredible ability that the human brain has to spot a pattern totally out of context by a huge amount of parallel processing.

It’s very important that we use this human intuitive ability because everything else we can automate, but we’re not very good at automatically doing that. I wanted the Web to be what I call an interactive space where everybody can edit. And I started saying “interactive,” and then I read in the media that the Web was great because it was “interactive,” meaning you could click. This was not what I meant by interactivity, so I started calling it “intercreativity”. (I don’t generally believe in making up words to solve problems, so I’m sorry about this one.) What I mean is being creative with others. A few fundamental rules make this possible. As you can read, so you should be able (given the authority) to write. If you can see pictures on your screen, why can’t you take pictures and very easily and intuitively put them up there? You feel that you know how to use the Web? Somebody yesterday asked me, “What’s the problem? The Web is so intuitive. Hasn’t it solved that problem?” I asked,
“Do you take digital photographs?”
“So how long does it take you to get them on a Web page so the rest of the family can see them?”
“Oh, I wouldn’t know how to do that.”

We’re certainly not there. At the moment I certainly cannot put the cursor in the middle of this slide and correct a spelling mistake. So in fact there’s a huge amount we have to do. One of the reasons this is difficult is that it’s actually hard. The research community produced group editors which would allow you to edit documents and share a document. And while two people are working at the same time—we know how to do that; we the academic community. But I don’t have it here now. I can’t edit this so that somebody watching this on a broadcast can see the edit at the same time.

So one of the reasons is that it’s actually hard to get the software working seriously, as a product. It also needs a whole lot of infrastructure. We need a lot more stability. We need people to learn to stop changing URL’s, so links don’t break. That’s just a question often of hygiene and making an organizational commitment, when you put something on the Web, to keeping it there. But also, underneath, we need digital signature. We need digital signature so that when you share things with your colleagues you know that you’re sharing it with your colleagues and you’re not sharing it with just anybody, any hacker who happened to turn up on that strip of Ethernet. So if you ask me what is the most important thing for us to do over the next 35 years, that I would hope in the next five to ten years we can fix this. We can fix this so that you can use the Web intuitively as the way that you express an “aha!”, a thought, the moment that you think of something. And I can fix this slide the moment I realize it’s got garbage on the bottom.

Now a look on the other side. The other side is very different. Data has very well-defined meaning. So typically a huge number of Web pages are generated from databases. The people who produce the databases may, when they started it with a little spreadsheet, have had a vague idea of what the columns meant, but by now have a very good idea of what the columns mean. The database expresses well-defined relationship between things in the columns. When you had a weather server to pick up the temperature in Massachusetts, in fact the person behind it knows that this is the temperature in degrees Centigrade measured at seven o’clock in the morning at Logan Airport using this little thermometer four feet above the ground by that little bench that you see on the television. So there is well-defined data and there are well-defined things you do with it. When you write a digital check a fairly well-defined thing has got to happen. And when you look at your bank statement after having written the check and the check having even been cashed, there’s got to be a very simple logical relationship between those things. You don’t generally send pieces of poetry, which should give the bank a feel for the amount of money to pay to the payee.

At the moment there’s a very strange phenomenon going on. The data is being exported as Web pages. There are programs which want to process that data, who want to, for example, analyze the stock prices, who want to look at all the bookstores and find out where you can get that book cheapest and then present you with a comparative shopping list—and there are lots of Web sites out there. If you’re not using one, do: you could save yourself some money. What’s happening is that they are often going out to a Web site which may or may not be cooperative: it may just be putting that information on the Web. Sometimes the Web sites that they are scraping for data, would not cooperate if asked to. But the data is out there; it’s available. And so you have one program which is turning it from data into documents, and another program which is taking the document and trying to figure out where in that mass of glowing flashing things is the price of the book. It picks it out from the third row of the second column of the third table in the page. And then when something changes suddenly you get the ISBN number instead of the price of a book and you have a problem. This process is called “screen scraping,” and is clearly ridiculous, and the fact that everybody is doing it shows to me that there is a very very clear demand for actually shipping the data as data. So that if somebody wants to do an SQL query, if somebody wants to query an object out here, they don’t have to go through this whole simulation of a very simple query in order to actually get at the data.

The idea of “the semantic Web” is the side of the Web where data has meaning. What’s meaning? I’m not suggesting that you should program your computer to understand the meaning of life right now. I am using meaning in the sense that either there is a program which knows somehow how to pay a check and therefore can just process a check, or somebody has to find a relationship between what the documents, the checks, call price and what this catalog calls price. So there has been a link made between the meaning of one column and the meaning of another. So meaning in general on the semantic Web is defined relatively. Just like in a dictionary.

Don’t panic. I’m not becoming relativist about my morals. I’m just pointing out that all definitions that we use at the moment are relative to other definitions and so on just as in a dictionary. One of the things which we are doing now is we are moving to a state when all documents will be self defining, self describing. So with the top of a document which uses all kinds of tags like price and shoe size there will be a URL of the document that defines exactly what shoe size means in this context. We won’t have remove this ambiguity which happened when we extended HTML and started putting cool things like tables into HTML. People who were around in those days will rememeber how the word spread that it would be really nice to have tables in HTML: you couldn’t put a table in a Web page before that. But everybody started doing it at once and when anyone started a table they marked up in the HTML code with “<TABLE>". So when you read “<TABLE>” you had no idea what sort of markup was coming in. And that lasted until we organized a global meeting of all the people involved to agree on it.

Now, we can’t—every time somebody wants to think of a new idea, a new term, a new column in a database—have a global meeting to decide about it. We have to let people invent new terms all the time as they do anyway, but just make sure there’s no ambiguity. Also we have to allow people to combine more than one vocabulary in the document. We don’t just want to make something which works; we want to make something which can evolve. This is very important from the point of view of the World Wide Web Consortium cutting itself out of the loop as much as possible.

We have 320 members, various types—companies, organizations, individuals—all coming together to discuss global status. and we can’t do that when you want to invent languages for pharmaceuticals, languages for whatever your favorite new database application may be. What we need to be able to do is to be able to send documents around which use standard vocabulary, and add extensions in in a well-defined way; which mix in the extensions, so that somebody who understands the standards but doesn’t an extension can figure out whether this is a problem. And in the case that the data is in fact just informational data on the side, can process the rest. This in fact allows us to move from using one vocabulary to another vocabulary.

This partial understanding sounds like a failure. But in fact partial understanding is what allows us to actually function in the world. If you think of an invoice, if you send an invoice from one company to another, when it’s paid, the person who allows that to be paid and sends the check off, checks various fields on that invoice and checks that it’s been authorized an appropriate person. They check the amount, but when they look at the parts they don’t have to understand exactly what a “lower left-hand engine bearing cover bolt bracket” is, because that part of the document is in fact completely ignorable for purposes of paying the invoice. A huge amount of information, stuff we read, everything that runs our business, is like that. There are documents going around in which different people understand different parts. And that is how we can extend the language. And that is how we can evolve the whole of society that uses this language. If we’re going to be moving to the semantic Web we have to be able to do that.

We’ve talked a lot during this fest about digital signature. And, of course, digital signature, if we were only allowed to do it, would be fundamental to this. And it will be fundamental to this. We have, in fact, directly following this on Thursday and Friday, at the Consortium, a workshop about signing XML, the basic language for data, with digital signatures.Digital signature on top of the semantic Web turns it into a Web of trust in which a computer can not only reason and make deductions, using not only the logic of it, but also the model of trust. I could also talk to you about this for six hours, but I won’t.

Let’s look about what happens as we scale these things up. Remember the human side that when the Web was difficult to sell not only because looking at two hypertext pages wasn’t sufficient to make people very excited, but also there was a certain fear that the Web would break structures. There was a lot of people I spoke to initially wanted the Web to be hierarchical because they wanted the hierarchical feeling of control. Or they decided the best documentation system for them was a matrix. In fact the Web broke out of the box and allowed you to express a hierarchy or a matrix equally well, but it allowed you to express other things, too, which was a little bit frightening. It’s been a dramatic change for the individual. I am, of course, very interested in whether it can be a dramatic change for society. And I’ve got a feeling that I could talk for two hours about most of these points.

A really exciting thing would be if we could scale that ability to make intuitive leaps. I’ve always wanted to be able to do this with a group, of very bright, very enthusiastic people really interested in specific overlapping areas, say LCS, or all the people who are trying to find a cure for AIDS, or whatever. A typical thing researcher tries to do is to get as much into his or her head at once and then hope that the solution forms, the penny drops, that connection is made, and they can write it down before they go to sleep. How can you get a group of people to do the same thing? Maybe if we can use the Web as a very low bandwidth ineffective small set of neural connections which connect the people. Imagine that one person surfing the Web can leave a trail. In other words, if somebody, as they’re surfing the Web and they notice an interesting association and connection can represent that with a link, then another person surfing the Web on another topic maybe find that link and use it and as a result bring a new communal path a little bit further on. And so the group as a whole after a while will be able to make that “Aha!”. That’s something I would find very exciting.

On the other side, promoting the machine communication is running across all the same hopes and fears as promoting the human communication. The same problems that—when suggesting this to somebody, it’s very difficult to explain how if you, instead of just putting a database on the Web you put it on in a way that everything has a URL and it’s part of a Web—that when all the databases are linked together, and when there are links meaning—when there are links between the meaning of this column and the meaning, well, that’s not very exciting when I just described it as, you know, the last name in this is the same as the last name in this. But imagine that all the last name columns in all the databases on the Web were all directly or indirectly linked together by links. Then effectively you’d be able to join any databases that talk about the last name of a person on that together. You’d be able to query the whole Web as all the data on Web is one huge database. Which would be very very powerful, and I’m glad we talked about privacy yesterday. So the same rules have to apply. Anything can refer to anything. Wherever there was an identifier in your data language suddenly you have to be able to use a URI, and there’s a certain amount of resistance to that. Because people want to maintain the fact that the systems are predictable. They don’t want the language to become too expressive, because computer science is all about—this is perhaps a little unfair—the art of designing languages which are sufficiently constraining so that you can only write solvable problems in them. If you look at a particular query or you look at the language of writing what you can ask an ATM to do it’s very simple, because an ATM can only do a few things. But when you link together all the data you end up with a representation of the world, and the world is a very complex place, and you need an arbitrarily expressive language for expressing that.

We end up with this tension between that and systems which we will be producing which will be predictable, like checks. We will have to constrain the checks so that you can only put an integer in there. You cannot put an expression, say that this is “pay the bearer on demand the smallest number expresseable in two distinct ways as the sum of two cubes”, or something which Ron will cook up you can only calculate it in 35 years. People want that check to terminate. They want the payment to happen in a finite time. They’re very worried when we suggest that the underlying structure for this will be very expressive. But in fact, when you put all these systems together, the result will be all the independent machines — Michael’s bulldozers— taken together will be a huge very very complex map of the world.

I used to say that the Web would mimic the world.  In fact, it ends up being the world to a certain extent.  So the well be on their heuristics, we will not have to use heuristics, don’t panic, in order to pay checks.  But it will be a very exciting place to explore algorithms which break what we call the closed world assumption of the people who try to export things in boxes without any breathing holes.   Of course, the really exciting thing happens when we mix the two worlds.  I don’t know we can solve any serious problems unless we do.  I’m not asking for the machines to join the human world with artificial intelligence.  I’m happy for other people to ask for that.  But I’m just saying that if we as humans, when we have gone already to the trouble of putting data into databases, putting our schedules, our appointments into a schedule database—we’ve already in other cases done that; it’s in a very well-defined form.  Let’s not lose that information.  Let’s not lose that semantics.  Let’s use it.  Let’s digitally sign it.  Let’s allow machines to start operating on it.  And with this mixture of predictable mechanisms of heuristics I think it should be very exciting.   For me the fundamental Web is the Web of people.  It’s not the Web of machines talking to each other; it’s not the network of machines talking to each other.  It’s not the Web of documents.  Remember when machines talked to each other over some protocol, two machines are talking on behalf of two people.  The Consortium has a whole technical domain ‘Technology and Society’ which recognizes that, at the end of the day, if we’re not doing something for the Web of People, then we’re really not doing something useful at all.

Originally it was social need that drove me to make the Web in the first place.  In the future one of the exciting things is finding what I call social machines.  We know about working groups and we know about social voting structures and we know about all sorts of social systems, and a lot of people are very excited about what sort of new social systems we can make on the Web, which maybe can be run by little machines; things that you can log onto and become part of and progress, just as we progress documents along standardization tracks, as we endorse things.  We can invent new forms which maybe will allow us to exploit the fact that we don’t have geographical boundaries anymore.   I’m very interested in a more fractal, less hierarchical structure arising in society, allowing us to operate using the web of trust.  Perhaps we can, now that we’ve got machines that can help us find out individually where we best fit, how we can weave ourselves into the Web to contribute best to society.  Maybe we can continue another very small step along that path that we started when we stopped (some of us, most of the time) using violence to settle or to decide things, and moved on to using money, or in some cases stopped using money and started actually thinking about what other people were feeling and trying to do, and sharing their goals.   Maybe we can find new systems based on peer respect, in which we work together and appreciate that we are all in fact trying to go in the same direction.  To me that would be very exciting and make the whole thing worthwhile.  Thank you very much for your attention.”        Tim Berners-Lee, a transcript of a presentation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 1999