Self-actualizing people resist enculturation and are independent of their environments.
Taking Maslow’s theory further requires acknowledging the inherent limits of independence. Generally, we are born dependent on caretakers. As we grow older, we become more dependent on society for things like money (to fulfill children’s security needs), respect, and prestige. This comes with independence from our caretakers but dependence on a broader network.
Perhaps curiously, love is prior to self-esteem in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This suggests that while our need for love is more fundamental, it is also less fulfilling than the need or want for self-esteem.
Love is the bedrock of interdependence. Interdependence follows from independence–independence stems from dependence. Dependence is the root of our needs!
Being independent of the environment does involve transcending it. However–once we have done so–how do we treat the environment? Do we honor it as the substrate for all animals’, including our, existence? Or do we soil the soil we arose from?
The interdependent person accepts their place in our broader ecology. He and she trade strength with the environment equitably.
Self-actualizing collectives form from such individuals. Only these collectives can save Earth…so that they themselves can become worthy of salvation.