Abraham Maslow famously posited that we seek self-actualization — fulfillment and greater meaning — after we’ve attained lesser needs.
The hierarchy of needs looks like this, with the bottom level being our most basic and essential needs (or else we cease to function), trotting up the ladder to our highest aspirations once the other needs have been met:
self-actualization: morality, creativity, problem solving, tolerance, acceptance of facts
esteem: confidence, achievement, respect for & by others
love/belonging: friendship, family, sexual intimacy
safety: security of self, family, health, assets, work
physiological: breathing, food, water, sex, sleep
From my discussions with people who’ve undergone extreme destabilization in their lives from the 2008 crash, I perceive that many seek Self-Actualization before they’ve attained Safety, Love, and Esteem . . . an inversion of the hierarchy . . . or possibly a flattening.
When crisis hits there are those who seek the highest meaning in their lives first, as a bedrock from which to operate in the confusion.
What I’m noticing among some is that self-actualization is becoming essential even before lower level needs are met.
I’m meeting people who put spiritual engagement/fulfillment first. Their highest ideals become even more important in a crisis, not less.
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