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Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid Parodies refer to exploitable edits of Maslow's Hieracrhy of Needs, a model illustrating a theory presented by Abraham Moslow that supposes the stages of humanity's development. At the bottom of the pyramid are physiological needs, and once those are met, further needs are addressed until humanity reaches "self-actualization." In the exploitables, different items are edited to form either the bottom or top of the pyramid, describing either the joke foundation of humanity or the goal of humanity.
Maslow proposed the pyramid in 1943 in his paper, "A Theory of Human Motivation" (model shown below).
On October 25th, 2010, blogger M. Bamieh writing for thoughtpick posted a "hierarchy of internet needs" edit which compared how the categories in Maslow's model apply to the modern internet user (shown below).
Humorous edits to the pyramid intended began spreading in the following year. On April 14th, 2011, ashley_y on loltheorists posted a hierarchy of needs edit with various early-2010s internet-speak (shown below, left). The following year, an edit which placed "internet" beneath physiological needs appeared on Memecenter (shown below, right). This was one of the earlier edits to add a category to the pyramid, which would become a popular way to edit the pyramid in the following years.
Various edits appeared in the following years. For example, an edit that placed Shipping at the bottom of the pyramid was uploaded to KnowYourMeme on April 3rd, 2014 (shown below, left). An edit with "Wifi" placed at the bottom was uploaded to Imgur four days later and gained 75 points.
2017 Reddit Surge
In September of 2017, several Hierarchy of Needs parodies appeared on meme-centric subreddits. On September 18th, an edit which put "ass fucking iCarly" on the bottom was posted to /r/MemeEconomy and gained over 12,000 points (shown below, left). This kickstarted a surge in edits that appeared there and on /r/dankmemes. On the latter, an edit posted on the 19th which put "communism" on the bottom gained over 70 points (shown below, right).
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