The biosphere is a delicate and dynamic system of energy, as well as one of organic and inorganic matter. When we disrupt any part of it, the results ripple out and have far-reaching effects, often seemingly unrelated to their source. We search in vain to find some alien cause. Our attitudes regarding degenerative disease are a good example. When we focus on specific nutrients in our diet, we fail to see the bigger, truer picture. We often fail to see how our food choices are driven by emotional and social influences and not physical need.
In 1943, the famed psychologist Abraham Maslow published a paper called ‘A Theory of Human Motivation.’ This ground-breaking work laid the foundations for the next three decades of developmental psychology. Maslow was looking for defining principles of human happiness, for what makes us feel complete. His conclusions were simple yet profound.
In identifying what he called a hierarchy of needs, he established that we must meet our basic physical requirements before addressing other areas of fulfillment and joy. The first level of need includes air, food, water, shelter, warmth, sex, and sleep. When these needs are attained, we seek the second level – safety, protection from the elements, security, order, stability, and freedom from fear. Our desires for love, esteem, self-expression, creativity and the realization of our full potential, rest on the foundation of these first two levels. If they are not met, we risk living with constant anxiety, stress, and ill health. It would be fair to say that those first two levels are all about health. These considerations need particular attention, now more than ever, because we are living in an environment of our own creation.