Aside from the insights Maslow provides in his hierarchy of needs, it would be nice if someone were to also point to the obvious: not everyone, even at their best, care or want anything higher than a hedonistic existence. Spiritual pursuits in most cases are disguises vanity puts on in order to extend its perceived importance of itself. There’s sometimes a very fine line between an authentic search for higher ideals and principles, and a corrupted campaign towards self-aggrandizement. The outer form is often camouflaged and only a discerning individual can tell the difference at first glance. Typically, observation of results and behaviours through stretched out periods of time reveals which one is which. Cults, groups of tramps and lunatics, always include naive, well-meaning, innocent people who huddle themselves around the aura of charismatic, strong personalities.
What we generally do not realize is that the culture we live in festers in too many ideas. This is a fine environment for those who thrive in absorbing and digesting ideas, building themselves upon their backs, but there is a seriously wrong foundation at the core of our society when we assume everyone innately has this interest or capacity. It is what insists that all people be taught in the same way, raised in the same way and behave in the same way. This is the economical way to build systems of society and manage the needs of the people. But it typically creates fundamental problems by ignoring the essential differences in people.
“What are you talking about?” I hear you say. “Variety is good. People can choose what suits them.”
Take a man with no interest in ideas but raise him in a family and community which force-feeds him a diet of ‘nothing but’. We inundate everyone with everything. Is it not possible that people begin to build artificial dreams, artificial ambitions, based on the expectations that they find themselves waist-deep in? A man can come up to a random individual on the street and inquire about their aims in life, the talents they have allegedly been born with and the dreams they wish to discover and pursue. It is all rather presumptuous, isn’t it? The rest of nature seems to be satisfied with simply permitting a creature to follow its own course, without pressure or provocation to be something it’s not.