What Do We Really Need?

By looking at the needs established in Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy, we are able to get a greater sense of what is facing humanity, how we can utilize our resources in order to meet these needs, and assist our fellow brothers and sisters in accessing the abundance that is our birthright. Unlike his contemporaries, who studied pathologies and the nature of mental disease, Maslow’s focus was on those who were more successful at navigating the waters of good mental health and managed to create happy and fulfilling lives for themselves. In creating avenues through which a greater percentage of the population can meet their needs in order to have a more vibrant and fulfilled civilization, we are wise to follow the paths of those who have excelled rather than mire ourselves in the pitfalls of failure.

Maslow’s hierarchy has five tiers addressing the needs that humans encounter in their experience of Western civilization. First are the physiological needs of breathing, food, water, sex, sleep, homeostasis, and excretion. Among America’s growing homeless population, cultivated by the commodity world view which values a house for its investment potential more than its potential as a home, many of these needs are daily struggles which ensure that an increasing number of our citizens will not be able to fulfill their potential as human beings.

For those that do find food to eat and a place to sleep and use the bathroom, their struggles are further agitated as they strive for the needs of safety, such as security of body, of employment, of resources, of morality, of the family, of health, and of prosperity. Given that the vast majority of Americans are a paycheck away from having these securities stripped from them, and since morality is largely legislated and health itself has become a commodity, a huge portion of the population devotes much of their attention to meeting these needs. Again, due to the societal mismanagement of our resources and the inordinate disparity between classes, our standard operating procedures force us to dismiss an immense contribution to our economic viability because so many of them are devoted to aspiring to meet needs which are readily accessible yet held just out of reach by the complexity of the financial system and the ruse of its fundamental necessity.

hierarchy of needsFor those of us who manage to meet our physiological and safety needs, we can direct our attention toward addressing our belongingness and love needs, cultivating our friendships, family, and sexual intimacy. Finding a place and a people to which we belong, we are able to address our esteem needs, nurturing our self-esteem, bolstering our confidence, gaining a sense of achievement, thereby being respectful of others and garnering respect from others. With healthy esteem, we are able to focus on our self actualization to cultivate our own morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem-solving ability, lack of prejudice, and acceptance of facts.

If we as a society continue to operate in a way in which the majority of the population must struggle to meet the most basic of needs, how can we expect them to find belonging, to feel any sense of confidence or achievement, or to orchestrate their own self actualization? In moving forward together and realizing that we are all one human race headed in the same direction, should we actualize our unity by ensuring that our resources are managed in a way that will meet our collective needs, we will be able to grow and evolve together. Should we ignore our collective needs in deference to the game of competition that has manufactured them, we will continue to be engulfed in unmet needs.

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