The Will To Aspire for Greatness




I wonder what we aspire to attain in our lives and what we aim to achieve. Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs clearly defines the five different stages of Human psychological motivation within any given society.

According to this theory, once all of the lower and more concrete or rather physical needs are met, one tends to thrive in attaining the higher and more psychological needs which leads to self-transcendence (the sixth and last step added by Maslow himself in later years). Though this pertains to an academic theory, it has for a very long time and still governs the way we function in our respective societies.

The obvious observations and somewhat rational theoretical advancements of Maslow’s theory though true are in his own words relative and general. Which is what made me wonder if we recognize these various needs we aspire to meet in our own distinctive paths that sometimes cross with others.

Moreover, I have been pondering about the necessity to meet all of these needs in the order in which Maslow understands, they should be met or the pressure to meet any of them at all, without considering the multiple cultural and economical differences across the world for the sake of this argument.

Microscopically looking into these different stages of human needs, it is relatable that any given person could at various points in time or at the same time often times find themselves aspiring to meet these needs. In fact, it is important to have shelter, food and health all the while being loved and loving in return. This is as well as having guaranteed safety, feeling good about oneself and if possible building an empire.

So I wonder what type of shelter or any of the other factors of this hierarchy of needs is acceptable enough to be defined or qualified as having reached the highest of the Human needs?

In the way the world is spinning, it feels like we are spinning with equal or double force on the opposite direction of earth in all aspects of our lives and especially socio-economically. In order for everyone to obtain the big safeguarded mansion, the perfect spouse with the big neo-orgasmic wedding, the perfect job or business with the perfect title all of which equate to success, we constantly find ourselves working ourselves to illness or better yet, death.

There is a Quote by the Dalai Lama that my father showed me once when I was little which reads “Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Which scares me half to death most of the time as the gear of this system has us focusing on what Maslow identified, as the lower stages of Human needs. Most of the time and aspiring to reach the highest ones, at later years in our life. This can be reflected on elders retreating back to religion or God as a form of renouncing the world and reconciling with their creator before they pass.

When we look into Maslow’s theory at the Macro level, then it can be understood that the focus of the human mind on these lower stages of needs. This can ensure a continuity of a capitalist system, that has been put in place in order to benefit the few whilst keeping the rest buzzing like bees in a colony.

Capitalism has been, more often than not, been analyzed and most importantly critiqued but yet still persists. It recently came to my attention that all of these trade agreements ensure just that – sustainable and durable capitalism. With all of these talks about TTIP and a wave of “Trumpy” candidates across the globe, it is necessary to understand a few simple truths that have been hidden in plain sight.

We have always been told that, as consumers, we have the purchasing power which basically allows us to endorse for the companies, trades and brands that we want to see prosper. Though true, there is only so much we can do to change much of anything, that is if we are the same ones employed by these companies we either endorse or not.

Long thread of thoughts short, if we are not a part of the shape shifters or in other words, if we aren’t aiming for the highest levels, sooner, we will undoubtedly be crushed, by the weight of the pyramid we carry. All of that being said, it is a breath of fresh air, to watch a lot of young entrepreneurs taking Ethiopia to the next level.

After which, we leave to each their own conscious in regards to business and trade ethics, environmental accountability and community development, binging us back to our initial question about Maslow and his gang of human needs .

What do we aspire to attain and aim to achieve?



By Christine Yohannes
Christine Yohannes writes about social change, performs at public events and conducts poetry workshops in schools. She has established a monthly event entitled

Published on Dec 20,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 868]


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