Needy and Greedy

(A rant is coming…can you feel it on the wind?)

Human beings are rarely satisfied with what we have, even when we have what we need.

The number of people I know who are truly content can be counted on two hands…and I know (unfortunately) hundreds of people.  It’s all well and good to be dissatisfied when one doesn’t have what one needs but bemoaning one’s state of affairs over not having what one wants is just childish.  When I encounter this attitude, I want to scream.

Maslow’s Hierarchy is brought up over and over until the poor man must be spinning wherever he currently finds himself, but I’d like to use it here to make a point (pun intended):

Here it goes – if you’re focused on the top two tiers, you have what you need.  You can work toward attaining the next steps but, really, you’ve got more than a lot of other people and you need to stop your bitching.  Want and need do not equate…period.

Now, I’m not saying that survival is the goal; living in survival mode sucks, to be honest.  I’ve been there, done that, and torn up the complimentary t-shirt in a fit of pique.  That’s why I consider the bottom three tiers to be absolute necessities for living.  One can survive without love…but can one live without it?

But, this is a post for the Pagan Blog Project and, as such, I should somehow manage to bring this back around to spiritual needs and wants rather than screaming about the people that want a new car every year and whine when they don’t get it, right?  Right?

So, here goes:

You, like most of my readers, are a human being.  You are Divine.  You should focus on being the best human you can be instead of worrying about ascending to some other plane where you will be able to do mystical woo-woo shit, or being jealous over wanting to be a god-spouse without doing the work behind it, or making tM your BFF.  Those, my dear, are wants, not needs, and no one is interested in hearing your whinging.

Stop it.  NOW.

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6 responses to “Needy and Greedy

  1. Maslow’s Triangle is a bottom-up model which classifies the physical ‘stuff’ of needs in ‘safety’, and I’d also lump in the spiritual stuff there too. I think to many people, despite coming off as shallow because of their perceived materialism for it’s own sake, are really just insecure about simply living as the best human being they can. There certainly are those who are into materialism for it’s own sake and they should just shut up, but for the rest, they’re the ones who are filling up their lives with physical and spiritual crap to avoid the inevitable truth that they’re a human being responsible for their own lives and how awesome (or not) they are. Great post with an excellent point, thanks for writing it!

  2. I don’t know as someone lacking a few of the bottom tier items I agree, but I also see how the top two are important. I mean at one point I was able to reach for those and I wasn’t “satisfied”: but yeah, life was a helluva lot more comfortable than the jobless-couchsurfing-bartering-lonely existence of the moment.

    On the other hand, I am happy to have been able to achieve some of the higher needs since the skills I learned then help me “survive” now. Strangely enough, it’s like I know if I’m creative enough it will get better: and I know what I need to do to make life better: which some folks who are not as fortunate as I was, don’t even have a clue as to what to do.

  3. Why would anyone want to make m’Lady their BFF? Do they know Her, like, at all?

    On topic, though: I agree and disagree with what you’ve said here. For me, I have, more or less, the bottom tier of needs. Food is hit and miss, what with poverty and eating disorders and trying like fuck to be healthy, but, you know, I eat, even when it does me more harm than good. I have the third tier, again, more or less. I am concentrating on the top two tiers. But I do not have the second tier, and do not foresee a future in which I will, because the entire infrastructure of our society is stacked against anyone who’s not white/male/heterosexual/cisgendered/able-bodied/neuro-typical/rich/Christian.

    My security of health is directly tied to my ability to access good, healthy food; it’s directly tied to my ability to have the time each day to exercise and take things slow; it’s directly tied to classism, basically. My security of property is directly tied to my being able to afford a house with my partner so we can get out of the vicious cycle of too-expensive rents, and right now our only option for buying a house is a trailer park in (arguably) the worst part of town — and even if we did do that, we’d have nothing to show for it but a trailer that we’d doubtful be able to sell for much more than we paid for it. My security of body is dependent on me not living in a society that believes my body belongs to the rulers of the world, that I am not entitled to make my own choices, and that if I am violated, I have no recourse because I was asking for it. And it goes on.

    But I focus on the top two tiers regardless, because what else can I do? I have to forge ahead, sans security, with the hit-and-miss aspects of the bottom tier. Not to mention, for me focusing on creativity is the same as focusing on safety, because I am an author — my career is supposed to bring me income, which is supposed to bring me safety. At least some forms of it.

    Because most of those safety needs are dependent on money and class.

    So yes, totally agree with you about the speshul snowflake syndrome that seems prevalent with regards to spiritual wants; but I’d also argue about what’s classified a want or need, depending on the person. (F’ex, I need religion. Downright need it. It is the rock that I cling to and I would be a complete frakking mess without it. I want to be awesome at herbalism and to learn the poison path and to forge my own path of genderqueer paganism, and those are on top of the general need for religion in my life. And I do mean religion, and not spirituality. I’m already spiritual; I need practice and interaction with the divine on top of that.) And I’d argue that many of us do focus on the top two tiers even when we don’t have the bottom three; that is also survival. If you literally cannot do anything about the needs you are missing, then you should pursue creativity, self-esteem, confidence — because those things will never not stand you in good stead.

    I really hope I made sense here; it’s super-late and my brain is fried.

    • You make a lot of sense and I really hesitated when dragging Maslow out for this post. There needs to be a better model, and I think that second tier needs aren’t met when society’s hoops make it impossible for so many of us to achieve those things. I’m constantly railing against the fact that we don’t have (in the US) a decent health-care model – how can a supposedly “first-world” nation have such a “third-world” problem and not see it??? I recognize that as white and cis-gendered I am speaking from a place of privilege to an extent and I really tried not to let that color this post too much; perhaps I didn’t do quite as good of a job as I meant to.

      Religion is a need for me as well; without it I’d be one of those lone voices on a street corner somewhere because I literally wouldn’t be able to make sense.

      • There needs to be a better model, and I think that second tier needs aren’t met when society’s hoops make it impossible for so many of us to achieve those things.

        Agreed. I think Maslow is a fairly good starting point, but the reality is much more complex than a pyramid schematic. (Much like the “food pyramid” and individual nutrition — but that’s another rant.)

        I’m constantly railing against the fact that we don’t have (in the US) a decent health-care model

        Hells, even in Canada our health-care leaves so much to be desired. You know that joke where God and the Devil go on inventing the opposites of things, to one-up each other? There are a lot of versions…in one of them, God invents, like, an abundance of food, or something, so the Devil invents fast food, so God invents doctors, so the Devil invents Health Canada.

        Anyway, we keep losing our doctors to higher paying countries (and we have a nurse and technician shortage), so we have no infrastructure of actual medical professionals to support the ailing populace. Add on incompetence or prejudices of said professionals, and you get a lot of misdiagnoses or just plain old neglect, leading to severe health complications and, in extreme cases, death. I know a lot of people who don’t like going to the doctor’s at all because they know they’ll face prejudice and probably be ignored, so what’s the point? Pop some pain pills and hope it goes away.

        And we have no dental coverage, which can be even more dangerous than no health insurance.

        (Also, everything I say is true for BC, but not necessarily the rest of Canada — say, Ontario, where the capital and all the rich white dudes who run the country are. Of course, women/people who can become pregnant over 40 in Ontario get to have free fertility treatments to have kids, but paying for birth control for the rest of the country? MADNESS. We don’t get our birth control paid for because we’re not the politicians or married to ’em.)

        I recognize that as white and cis-gendered I am speaking from a place of privilege to an extent and I really tried not to let that color this post too much; perhaps I didn’t do quite as good of a job as I meant to.

        I think you did fine? I wasn’t offended, at any rate. I just wanted to point out the other side of the argument.

        I saw it more as calling out other privileged folk for being whiny assholes, with which I wholeheartedly agree.

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