Sunday, January 23, 2011

Maslow is Dead

...and he has been for about forty years now. But at least his ideas live on. Right?

May I present to you the modern Hierarchy of Needs, v2.0:


It's Maslow's Hierarchy, updated for the new millenium! Made with my society in mind, but probably applies to any society in the First World.

Right at the bottom, humans of this day and age need an education. It's the very most basic thing you can have in this world. Without it, prepare for a life of busking and road-sweeping, begging for food at every street corner.

Most people can get an education, but not only that, they need to be good at it. This means passing all your exams. No need to worry about actual knowledge, critical thinking skills or lofty philosophy: all you need is a basic grasp of simple facts and the knowledge of how to play the modern educational system, and you sail through it with flying colours and an impressive cirriculum vitae.

What do you do with your resumé? Like any other piece of paper which is worth more than its value in weight, you cash it in, of course! Trading that shiny ten-page monster bursting with your spectacular teenage achievements for a lifetime of constant income seems to be a no-brainer.

This is the real objective here. This should be the base of the pyramid, if they hierarchy could fit into a pyramid. Getting the money is the stepping stone for everything higher up in the system. And you can never have enough. So you invest in various stock opportunities and real estate, hoping to breed your cash like rabbits.

Having the money is not enough. You need to make sure you will always have the money. So some security is needed: in your job, in your investments, in your interest rates.

Once you have all the money, and you are sure that you will always have the money, you can now fulfill some of your physical needs, because you won't be able to get them without money. You can start going back for lunch break, and getting some sleep, because heaven knows how much of that you sacrificed while climbing the corporate ladder.

Not that you have sated your most primal physical desires, you can move up a level and satisfy your materialistic lust. This means buying stuff, and lots of it. Fill your lavish abode with things, stuff, objects and random paraphernalia, because the more stuff you have, and the more expensive they are, the more people will respect you as the rich mogul you are.

Which brings us to the penultimate level of need: esteem. You need to be confident that you are the wealthiest and most successful among your peers, a convenient indicator that shows you have made it to the top of the heap. You need your superiority. You need people to mutter jealously behind your back as you strut around, king of the concrete jungle.

At the end of everything, what a person in this society needs is a family and a sense of belonging. After all, every king needs an heir to pass down his vast inheritance to once his time is up. And now is the time to start making friends out of your enemies, before they jealously stab you in the back, with the intention of taking your place.

Morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, and an understanding of humanity's place in the universe. Pffft, who needs those?


What a man can be, he'll give it up to make more money.
The Edna Man

No comments: