I was looking back at this photo, taken during the latest live podcast in the Whale Theatre, and whilst I am looking at Barry Smyth talking I can see the back of my head as well as the back of the other guests heads. I have just asked a question and I am listening to really understand what my
guests, Barry in this particular shot, have to add to the conversation and have to add to my own ecosystem.
Aside from the sad truth that my hair is no longer capable to grow the way I would love it to, what I can reflect on while staring at this photograph, is that my quest for "self actualisation" is only possible with my ecosystem being a combination of my self awareness and the people that surround me at any given time of the day and that allow for my understanding and appreciation of everything, everywhere, all the time.
Whilst reading about about Abraham Maslow and his contribution to psychology, I wasn't too surprised to read that his famous Self Actualisation on top of his "Hierarchy of Needs" pyramid accounts for 2% of the population.
2% of the population.... according to Maslow, can reach self actualisation...
I am not great at stats or percentages, but I am pretty sure that is similar to the probabilities of winning the lottery.
I was never too keen on the term "Self Actualisation" and I think the part that always bothered me was the "Self" part of it.
I am nobody without everyone else around me, and that goes for ones close to me to the ones that I have yet to meet (as it was the case in point with the aforementioned live podcast. The 4 guests were unknown to me until we sat on stage and I asked them a few questions).
I am nobody on my own, because even if I were to "self actualise" by finding "the thing' that gives me purpose and meaning, what is the point without others.
Over the years the Maslow's pyramid has been updated by other psychologists that felt that on the very top has "Transcendence, seeking to further beyond the self and to experience communion beyond the boundaries of the self"
It is not and Egosystem, it's an Ecosystem.
We need each other to grow, we need each other to transcend beyond ourselves and sometimes simply looking at life's small everyday joys, everyday objects, everyday people and everyday interactions is where we may find it that actualisation that we seek.
"You will never understand
How it feels to live your life
With no meaning or control
And with nowhere left to go
You are amazed that they exist
And they burn so bright
Whilst you can only wonder why"
Common People - by Pulp
Songwriters: Russell Senior / Candida Doyle / Nick Banks / Jarvis Cocker / Stephen Mackey
Photo by Eoin O'Mahony
Whale Theatre, "From Couch to Eternity" Social Fabric Live podcast, available on www.socialdfabric.ie or wherever you get your podcast