Redefining Needs: Maslow, the Reality of Narcissism, and the Impossibility of Self-Actualization

“The majority of people never get there,” he said as he directed our attention to the peak of a self-drawn pyramid on the blackboard. “Most people think they do, but they don’t.”

The “he” in this instance was high school business teacher Mr. Paris. The “our” was a group of approximately thirty grade ten highly-pubescent teenagers, most of whom failed to grasp the importance of such a simple message. More than a decade later, I look back on that introduction to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as one of the most profound lessons of my high school life.

To understand that logic, we must first look back.

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The Collapse of the GOP: Trump not the Cause, but Merely a Symptom

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Source: The Atlantic

Fever, headache, joint pain, sore throat, fatigue. Anyone who has played Google doctor knows that these could mean anything from simple aging to the flu to an incurable disease and imminent death. Upon visiting a licensed practitioner, a more accurate cause of such symptoms can more often than not be identified, and appropriately addressed.

That’s how symptoms work: they are on the front lines, and often distract us from the real problem, usually hidden away, unnoticed. In terms of the 2016 US presidential campaign, many point to Donald Trump as the problem. Upon further analysis, he is simply a manifestation of a much more troubling, deep-rooted issue within the Republican Party.

Trump’s nomination and subsequent public demise is yet another utter failure of the GOP. With his nomination, the Republican Party tried to be more inclusive, less elitist. Instead, they made another fatal error from which they may not recover. Donald Trump occupies the disparaging spotlight, but chastising only him is narrow-minded; the entire party deserves criticism of the tallest order.

Trump is not the cause of the drastic downfall, but rather a symptom of a prolonged pathosis which has infected the party for over a generation. Continue reading

It’s Official: I’m 30

12112418_10103710375679472_1827329500092118583_n“Aren’t you too old to stay in hostels?” my brother asked me the other day as I was casually perusing travel websites. “When all those young folk are going out, you’ll be telling them to shut up ‘cause you’re trying to sleep.”

“I mean, you’re basically 30.”

I momentarily feigned offense before conceding the obvious: he was right.

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730 Days Later: Am I a Grown-Up?

“Where are my pants?” “Was her name really ‘Areola’?” “We gotta get Grose outta here.” “I think I’m going to follow through on our drunken deal to vomit on the bridge.”

And then we got on an airplane.

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At the airport coming back. Fresh out of the ocean, and into an intense hangover.

On this day two years ago, I set foot back on Canadian soil — carrying one of the worst hangovers of my life — with the intention of staying for a while. It’s been quite a ride.

In order to look forward, it’s first necessary to look back.

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Lengthy Voting Lines Definition of First World Problem

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. A lot. And you know what? We’ll all do it again, over and over. But I hope that not one of us does it tomorrow.

When you only plan to purchase one, small item and approach the supermarket check-out counter to find an extended line, the natural inclination is to return the product, leave, and come back at a more opportune time. In this scenario, the rationale makes sense. What happened last weekend, and what hopefully will not occur over the next twenty-four hours, makes no sense whatsoever.

canadian-voter1Last weekend I read about many Canadians arriving at advanced polling stations only to quickly complain or walk away completely at the site of the lengthy lines. This, I don’t understand. Are we that spoiled that the mere thought of an inconvenient moment will dissuade us from taking part in, arguably, the most important aspect of our society?

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It’s Been a While

man-mirror-david-wygant-300x200Well hello, there. I didn’t see you come in. It’s been a while since we last talked, and you better have a seat because we have much to catch up on.

When we last spoke, 2015 was just starting, and now it’s more than halfway spent. I was in the midst of a 21-day cleanse; I had also made various calendar-induced vows to myself — feebly disguised as New Year’s Resolutions — of which some I have followed through on and some that escaped my routine the moment my fingers left the keyboard.

My how times have changed. If you’re keeping score at home, here’s how things stack up at the halfway point: Continue reading

12 Months, 21 Days, and Another Year

“Are you sure you want to do this?” was the only utterance, phrased as a question, my mother could evoke moments after I informed her I was moving to Costa Rica. On that day, in the spring of 2010, I assured her that I would only be gone for six months with the rationale of finding myself, escaping winter, and fulfilling study abroad experiences that had up until then eluded me. Almost four years later, I returned to Canada for good.

The ice storm was a nice welcome back.

The ice storm was a nice welcome back, three days after arrival.

375 days ago I arrived in Toronto, severely hung-over and sunburnt, without a plan or idea of what the future might entail. I wrote at the time that coming back to Canada was as much a move abroad as leaving was, and the parallels, over a year later, have proven that to be true.

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A T-Shirt and Blue Genes

There was a queue outside one of the classrooms at work as many of us waited to get our flu vaccinations. Of those in line, many retorted their dislike for getting a shot. The absence of others spoke even more loudly of where their position resided.

I didn’t even flinch when the needle pierced my left arm. For me, needles have become so common that, for some reason, I now find myself enjoying watching the needle penetrate the skin, as if it adds some sort of challenge to the exercise. When you get blood drawn as much as I do, perhaps you need to add a little excitement to the mundane.

Flu season apprehensions aside, yesterday I found myself once again in a place that I pay a visit to on at least an annual basis: the hospital. Continue reading

Busy Is As Busy Does

I’ve become very proficient at not-doing. I don’t like that I’m good at it, but know very well that I can come up with a seemingly logical explanation to put something off, or simply get out or something altogether, under the guise of being busy. I’ve also discovered that this is a giant cop-out.

Everyone is busy. There isn’t a person in the world who has nothing to do. If someone tells you they did nothing on the weekend, they’re lying; they, by the laws of existing, did something. Though, whether due to embarrassment, privacy, or an insecure or irrational sense or priorities, it is painstakingly easy — and often reassuring — to talk oneself out of something, rather than indulging.

It is this thought process which I’ve recently grown to employ, and one which I need to stop.

JL Continue reading

Life for Dummies: Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

Drinks were had; sunsets were watched; discussions were launched; debates were left unsettled. And after everything, the only thing known was that we all knew nothing.

Regarding everyone’s favorite topic when you’re in your, ahem, late 20s — the future — we all disagreed what the next appropriate, proverbial step was. We also all agreed that that is exactly how it should be.

Some were buying houses; some could already claim to be homeowners; others were looking to travel more whereas another had grown frustrated with the status quo and was job hunting. After the arguments had been put-forth, counter-points tendered, and the dust had settled, the consensus was that life doesn’t have a manual; everyone has their own, distinct path.

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