Psychologist Maslow alleged that only 1% of the population reach self-fulfillment. Why do the majority fail along the road?
Needs can be classified into five hierarchical stages. Once the first four levels are met, we can focus on self-actualisation. Our mind can not be deceived with excessive lower level satifaction.
- Biological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.
- Safety needs – security, law, stability.
- Belongingness needs – friendship, trust, acceptance, receiving and giving love, affiliating.
- Esteem needs – achievement, independence, status, self-respect, respect from others.
- Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential. It requires honesty, independence, awareness, objectivity and creativity.
Why are our states of mind always faltering? This progress is often broken by failures to meet lower necessities. Private and professional life events can make us swing between the stages. Different levels can appear any time and complex needs can require actions at more levels at a time.
Why do we start worrying about the meaning of life once our goals get achieved? Reaching the top level, we start musing life itself. “We may come to fear that death in inevitable and that life is meaningless, but at the same time cling on to the cherished belief that life is eternal or at least important.” This ‘existential anxiety’ can be treated with moral codes or even religion.
As I am finalising my post, very annoying questions invade my mind. Am I the captive of my biologic needs? Instead of seeking romance, delicious meals or soul mates, do I actually obey my biological calls? Am I a soulless group of neutrons claiming their protons?
Before the age of science, humans used to distinguish themselves as beings of conscience and spirit. By mapping the exact functioning of our organism, have we actually reduced our existence into a well-designed chain reaction of chemical molecules?
How should I define myself when my behaviour and preferences are said to be determined by nerve-tracts and chemical bonds? I am afraid that although science contributes to the development of our civilisation, it has some utterly soul-destroying side-affects. The old-world noble notions of humanity, such as benevolence, conscience, patriotism or love, have been labelled by the cheapness of their evolutionary benefits.