Our Name, Maslow, and Mental Mountaineering

Our Name Says it All

The other day, I was talking to a friend about Trickle Down Wisdom (TDW); the first thing he asked me, was the meaning of our name. Good question.

We both turned 59 just a few months ago. In our 21st century, to be over 50 is considered traumatic for most, and in some cases, it even means one’s professional demise, with associated anxiety, followed by depression.

TDW can’t fix –although it may help understand and transcend them- our world’s problems; many, many minds would have to be fixed first. On the other hand, TDW is an unusual meeting place, a virtual social gathering, where whoever is trying  to climb Maslow’s Pyramid all the way to the top, can exchange views with other life mountaineers, and maybe learn from expert climbers, improve techniques, strategies, skills and –most importantly- change attitudes.

The GIGO ‘Garbage In Garbage Out’ makes this clear. Intelligent conversations, exchanges of substance, enrich neural connections, bring in new insights, novel perspectives, which in turn propel us up Maslow’s Pyramid. There new perspectives build vertical knowledge, as opposed to horizontal knowledge. Vertical knowledge is not interested in things, but is rather interested in their essence, i.e., the meaning we extrude from anything or circumstance.


At first glance Maslow’s Pyramid shows that the more we progress upward from its base, the better off we are. Most individuals reading this article may very well be half way up the pyramid, albeit hanging tiredly, mid-way through their life, bruised up, almost out of breath, some even ready to let go, looking down fearfully, rather than looking up willfully and purposely. Luckily, TDW is the weary climber’s refuge, the lost hiker’s shelter. TDW is where one can reassess, and keep climbing.

Does wisdom really trickle down?

Now, we still have to explain the ‘Trickle Down’ part of our name. Maybe it will be enough to understand what we read in the Kybalion, i.e., the Correspondence Principle “As above, so below; as below, so above.”, which manifests itself integrally in the physical, psychological, emotional, and existential realms. There is but one pyramid, and it is its outward expression –not its essence- that evolves from practical, mundane, conventional, to abstract, subtle, numinous, and outright transcendental. It follows that higher wisdom trickles down, suffusing our conventional day to day life. Our routine flourishes, ‘as by miracle’, self-harmonizes, going from dull to sublime.

COHERENCE does not fail or lie

¿How can this be? As we escalate the pyramid mentally, emotionally, and materially, its base also improve. The beauty in the attic beautifies the basement. Bringing light at the top, brings light below. The expression ‘bootstrapping’ is befitting; as we climb up the economic and social ladder through our individual hard work and personal improvement, the lower basic needs are met even easier. Midway up the pyramid (at the typical stumbling block known as Mid-Life Crisis) we have to jump from horizontal to vertical knowledge, that is, if we don’t want to stay stuck. TDW fosters this type of approach, a different perspective, thus helping us adopt a new rappel strategy, a totally new paradigm to reach the top, abandoning horizontal thinking, through an unusual vertical shift. Brilliant? Indeed. Einstein said it elegantly: “The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting to get a different result.” 

Bend the Mind, not the spoon

In the famous movie The Matrix, Neo ‘wakes up’ to the fact that Reality is not quite as it seems to be, and that a Matrix hides what is ‘really real’. In his quest, Neo visits The Oracle, and just before he is granted access, he meets a very young monk sitting in the “Lotus Position”, and who is bending a spoon he is barely holding. Neo, astounded, asks how the child performs such a miracle; the monk-child responds with the disarming directness of those having attained ‘bodhi“, “Do not try to bend the spoon; that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the Truth.” Neo, not quite up there up the pyramid, asks, “¿What Truth?”, and the young monk replies, “There is no spoon.” Neo looks at the spoon that is obviously in his hands, and asks bewildered, “¿There is no spoon?” the mini-Buddha, without pausing, goes on with his impeccable Dharma class, “Then you will see it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.” Neo, armed with this new insight regarding the nature of Reality, his very own nature, emulates the young enlightened being… Vertical Knowledge: know yourself, and you will be coherent with Reality.

Welcome to TDW, the mountain shelter mid-way between the base and the tip of Maslow’s Pyramid, a rest area for your tiresome ascent, the refuge where you can think outside the horizontal box, jump to the vertical box, and eventually, get rid of any box.

¿Are you interested in discussing tomorrow’s climb? Become a Member, complete your ascent, and Crown your Himalaya, crown your life, conquer yourself.