Search for meaning

Back in 1943 Abraham Maslow produced a paper called A Theory of Human Motivation in which he contended that once an individual’s basic biological needs (food, water, sleep etc) have been met he/she would seek to satisfy a number of progressively higher needs. These range from safety through love and belonging to status and self-esteem. At the very top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was actualisation. Now I’m no psychologist but it occurs to me that one of the things that might be going on right now is that more and more of us have reached the peak of this pyramid and we are now searching for something more meaningful. For example, most people of a certain age (in certain countries) have now got enough stuff and buying even more stuff (no matter how new or wonderful) just doesn’t have the same effect that it once did. Hence people are shifting away from buying products towards seeking experiences. This explains everything from the boom in ‘holidays that help’ to the interest in spirituality. As I say, I am no psychologist (clearly) and perhaps this is way off target but the more I speak to people the more I think it’s true. There’s even a theory that the reason we are all in so much of a hurry is that we are in a rush to find happiness — and when we don’t find it we just run faster.

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3 Responses to Search for meaning

  1. Rob Smorfitt says:

    Find this link to Maslow extremely interesting. Perhaps it is also linked to the need for new careers all the time, and the lack of fear to change career which our parents had. One job for life is long gone!

    I think that this point is definitely worth further investigation, as I suspect it may have greater impact on many trends than we are aware of.

    Rob Smorfitt

  2. Larisa says:

    I love your reflections about rushing vs. happiness… and yes, is the way you say; just like that. That’s why when you are in love, life seems to be so smooth, so slow… just to make an example. Now that you make think… you just give me an answer for what I habe been feeling lately. Right now, I can almost see how my life is going on like an outsider, like a movie; everything is so quite, so calm, and definitely, is because i feel happy.
    Thank you very much.

  3. Robin says:

    Sometimes I think about Malsows theory and say what’s next? Maybe that’s human nature. Or maybe what’s next is the Buddist practice of being present. To stop wanting so much and just enjoy every step and breath and be completly present in your moment. It’ hard. I look at Maslows theory and look at events in my life where the steps came faster because of events out of my control. I know so many narsasstic individuals; I’m sure more now with new generations of my space and facebook; what percent pf people are at what stage? What percentage reach self acutalization and what the average age of that? Guess I should enjoy my Zenfull moment and stop wanting to know so much.


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