Pyramid of Greed
February 19, 2018
A notable humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970), considered that “man is a perpetually wanting animal” and researched the dynamics of multiple determinants of human behavior. In “A Theory of Human Motivation” (1943), Maslow presented his views on the hierarchy of needs that serve as our driving force. The psychologist observed, "The average member of our society is most often partially satisfied and partially unsatisfied in all his wants."
Looking at the five-tier “Pyramid of Needs,” I can´t help but wonder how the requisites of an “average member of our society” differ from wishes of 'wannabe' members of the power elite.
According to Maslow, an individual whose deficiency needs (food, shelter, safety) are met, yearns for personal growth: we want love, recognition for our work, and finally, we hope to realize our full potential. If basic needs are common to all human beings (no matter the degree of megalomania), those who view themselves as belonging to a special group will long for power rather than love. The sense of entitlement will make them want to enforce their own rules and dominance at the very bottom of the pyramid. Their “personal growth” won´t be measured by the levels of life satisfaction, but by career promotion and the amounts of money they earn.
While our need to belong drives us towards forming meaningful relationships, toxic careerists perceive alliances as relevant only when they can advance their interests. They will also ogle political parties in the quest for privileges and exoneration. An exemption, both from duties for “commoners” and from criminal liability, is being viewed as freedom – and permission to climb yet another tier of the Pyramid of Greed. If operational, the individuals will seal their need for corruption and cronyism with red tape; crucial questions will be answered with “What difference at this point does it make?”
If given an important position, power junkies pose a danger to society because they consider that the authority granted to them is, in fact, a license for coercion. At the third stage of “greed development,” hubris brings immunity from human emotions such as guilt, shame or compassion.
It's noteworthy that external factors will prevail over internal motivations while accessing the top of the pyramid. Lack of accountability will both inflate the delusional egos and serve as a special pass to the dictatorial floor. The need of “crowd control” will emerge, and the increasingly poor taxpayers will be jailed in the dungeon of Maslow's pyramid of needs – “kept busy” surviving. Meanwhile, the greed-oriented types will try to hog the power and to advance their agenda “by any means necessary” - sabotaging changes, harassing “dissidents,” and plotting against the democratically-elected representatives.
Bearing in mind lessons learned from history, and from analysis of recent events, we must acknowledge the existence of Pyramid of Greed; learn to spot dictatorial types and to deal with them decisively. Let´s never forget: the top of Pyramid of Greed for them means the bottom of the pyramid of needs for us.
Well, Maslow was right to say that “a man is a perpetually wanting animal”; and so was George Orwell when he satirized our societal values in Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
The ones that drool over Pyramid of Greed are definitely not some superior life forms. Surpassingly ruthless, and yet very primitive - they are at significantly higher risk for developing power rabies than other “folks.”
Joanna Rosamond's main areas of interest: Countering coercive diplomacy and psychological warfare. She works odd jobs (as a coach, teacher, and consultant for PTSD Burnout), in order to be an independent Veterans' Rights advocate.