Climbing the Ladder

Maslow's ladder that is. How many years have I spent scrabbling toward the topmost rung? At some point haven't I achieved the "right" to frivolous waste like lotion-infused tissues (see "Mankind's Greatest Inventions"), pre-packaged salads and 47 colors of nail polish?

What does self-actualization require? This will be my discovery in 2007. Maslow's basic needs are expressed as air, water, food and sex. I've got that covered in spades. The next rung includes security and stability. I'm privileged to have attained these to the level which any American can really possess them in the post-Katrina, post-9/11, post Patriot Act world. The third rung consists of social and psychological needs for love and acceptance. Again, I'm truly fortunate. Beyond these lie the peak experiences available to self-actualized individuals. Nowhere on the heirarchy of needs do I find a new sofa, cherry red lipstick, the crisp, creamy pages of a new book, sparkly earrings or an electric can opener.

If I'm shooting for profound moments of understanding, happiness and rapture (I'd settle for less), a self-sufficiency in the world, and an awareness of truth, justice, harmony and goodness, there isn't anything stopping me. Peak experiences must be based on choice and I can choose to find them in simpler ways. It may be harder but the journey may be, in itself, a peak experience.

1 comment:

LucidOnion said...

Interesting thoughts. What is self actualization? Perhaps it is not as much a struggle to achieve it as much as it is the realization that we already have achieved it.

Sometimes the maintenance of the things we possess can distract from other, more important, things in life. Like the ones you mention here.

Self expression in a discount-store world is a wonderful thing. I wish there was more of it.

It's interesting to me that our society tends to focus on the mechanism of self expression and social interaction more than the expression or interaction itself.

Things don't necessarily go better with Coke. Someone once said that some things that people believe are necessities are actually positive hinderences.

In my opinion, this is the path to self actualization.