Flash back to before we established a “civilized” industrial-to-knowledge-to-conceptual economy such as we have been used to in modern times. Survival was a matter of basics and most humans resided firmly in the very bottom layers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid:
In absence of safeguards, systems and conveniences like government-supervised municipal programs, a regulated economy and electricity, humans basically focused on, well, the basics. Survival of the fittest and the potential of not arriving too early at death’s door.
As society evolved, we became more “civilized” and began prioritizing things like fitting into society and finding love. Once our class systems and social order were well established, self esteem became a priority: assuring ourselves that each one of us is valuable and leads a meaningful , worthwhile life.
All the tick-boxes been ticked, the penultimate spot on the pyramid has us jamming our flags into the not-so-solid ground of self actualization. From an anthropological perspective, I believe a good amount of that is signified in the construction of our modern homes and the requirements we have for our twenty first century nests.
If we are to truly live life as our self-actualized selves: awash in creativity and authentic experience and meaning and playfulness and all those things that make us feel like well-rounded humans, we absolutely need a number of things that no solid middle-class home can do without:
1. Centralized temperature control: at no point should we allow our bodies to feel too cold or too warm, lest we be uncomfortable in our space and unable to enjoy all of the other creature comforts that fuel our affirmation of self
2. A flat screen TV with as much cable as we can afford: multimedia exposure that takes the place of art: usually in a space of honor centrally located in our primary living area. Likely above the fireplace but always located up on the wall or encased / atop a surface in front of a wall directly across from a comfy seating area. Our window to the world allows us to choose the programming that represents our interests from a seemingly infinite set of niche-oriented choices, affirming our membership in the tribes we lay claim to peripherally assume membership of
3. Surround sound / a curated sound system: whether it be through an ability to create immersive experiences with our multimedia entertainment or to optimize our experience with music. Music, in particular, tends to cover a lot of self actualization bases so optimizing the way we experience it is a top priority for many modern humans in their households and in general. It’s why we also tend to prioritize taking musical experiences with us: in our cars or on the go with portable devices
4. A desktop / laptop computer or tablet with Internet access: see item 2 – a lot of similar reasons for this need overlap. In addition, it allows us to perform functions such as interpersonal communication, paying bills and creating things with speed and agility, which makes us feel important, productive and ultimately gives us a sense of personal freedom.
5. Refrigeration: so we can keep an abundance of food options available and preserved and enjoy the tastes we crave at whim. Food has “evolved” beyond a fueling-up function to a substance that contributes to identity formation, nostalgic comfort and creative exploration. What seems like something so rudimentary to us (like having a refrigerator) is actually a product of a very modern high-maintenance lifestyle rooted in this self-actualization portion of our needs.
There are many others to add to this list, but my presence is currently required to help prepare for the installation of our new sound system(by a third party who will not break all the expensive equipment we just purchased or drill a hole in the wall that’s too big). Feel free to add your comments and educate me on what I missed.
I suppose, however, that there is one more modern self actualization requirement I can add to this list (albeit outside the “household” niche) –
- Self-actualization, The Christianized Acceptance and Renaming of Sin: Calling the Crooked Straight (growrag.wordpress.com)
- Impetus (humancurriculum.wordpress.com)
- America, 2013: Life in Modern Times (batribune.wordpress.com)
- The Art Of Loneliness (technocraticoath.wordpress.com)