Mazlow's heirarchy is what Douglas Adams simplified into the states of Survival, Enquiry and sophistication. - How can I eat? Why do I eat? Where should we have lunch?
It's a triangle, that is divided into layers. At the base are the essentials without which we'd quickly die. Air, Water, Food, Shelter, etc. At the top is the freedom to become, whatever that may be.
So, you have no food, and no means of getting any. Game over.
You have food, but you're sat in the middle of a minefield and the food is thrown to you from outside, by fickle and sadistic providers. You can eke out a precarious existance for a while, but your long term chances look pretty slim, and your quality of life is, bluntly, shite.
You have food. You're in the minefield, but the people throwing it in love and honour you. You're still up the creek, but isn't this a little bit better?
You're in the minefield because although you'd rather not be there, it's your job to be there. It's a job that holds prestige in your society. That's why the people are throwing food to you. They think you're the dogs bollocks. You're still in the minefield, but you have a full belly, and you feel pretty damn good about yourself.,
You defuse some of the mines, and leave the minefield and get to somewhere with infinite food and zero mines. Hoorah!!!
In the last few hundred years, we've grown and grown and grown and grown and grown. I could go on. For an increasing number of people, if not an increasing proportion of people, their physiological needs have been met. In spades. Ditto our material comforts. Where do widescreen tellies and the ability to talk instantly to someone 10 miles away fit in to this? To put it another way, can people who only just have enough to make it out of the bottom two tiers find love, esteem and self actualisation. To me it's pretty obvious that they can. I think it's true also that safety is not essential. It's a sliding scale. The safer you are the more likely you are to survive, but as long as you're alive, you too can find love happiness and some sort of inner peace or whatever.
When I first thought about it, I reckoned that as we hit the buffers, things would go from the top down. I now think it's exactly the opposite. It's the bread and butter stuff we need to be concerned about. If we have that, the rest will surely follow.
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