I am responding to Patrick Mac Donald’s Aug. 17 letter “Poverty gives rise to unrest”. As I was reading I was reminded of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Briefly, it shows that one cannot aspire to, never mind reach, the level of self-actualization, that is, the higher states of compassion and unconditional love for all life until the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and safety are met.
Patrick’s observation that the denial, abuse of or withdrawal of these needs leads down the slippery slope of violence, that has been repeated throughout history, brought to mind Jose Arguelles’ poignant observation: “Those who are deprived of the power of expression will express themselves with a drive for power.” Can we see this happening right now around the world?
There are more than enough resources on this planet to meet the basic needs of all. Hedonistic governments lack the will to share; greed, not compassion is their motivator. When 20 per cent of the world’s population uses, hoards and wastes 80 per cent of the world’s resources, mostly for “stuff”, why are we surprised when ‘they’ rise up and demand that their basic needs be met by us sharing and not hoarding?