What happens when people turn to a baser instinct ? Currently, you may have noticed that there are people who are less patient, more rude, aggressive, even manifesting in road rage. Also, you may have observed that selfishness and callousness is also on the rise. “ The Alchemist “ by Ben Jonson features a cast of memorable characters including Sir Epicure Mammon who is described as follows:
“ Epicure Mammon’s name means a person who is devoted to sensory enjoyment and material wealth, and he is perhaps the play’s biggest con. He is also the greediest gull of the lot. Constantly comparing himself and the alchemist’s work with classical or antique riches, he is obsessed with food, sex, and the idea of getting his riches turned into gold by the Philosopher’s Stone.” ?The Alchemist (Jonson) Characters | GradeSaver https://www.gradesaver.com › study-guide › character-list
The current crisis between the executive and legislative governments point to a contrast of priorities. On the one hand one group wants to act upon principle and promote the preservation of government and then, on the other hand, there is another group that says no judicial oversight action is required.
When there is a lot of chaos going on in the environment, its understandable that people would feel numb, if not completely overwhelmed. Our current national government crisis has certainly produced that effect for quite a few people. There is the temptation to want to cocoon, to isolate and disavow any possibility that our lives are being affected.
How does the behavior of a chief executive effect whether I should buy a new car, a bottle of perfume or where I choose to go to dinner ?
The obvious answer is that there would not be a definitive connection between the two realities. What a President does regarding policy will not necessarily affect what you may purchase at a supermarket or a department store. As people, we can express physiological and aspirational needs.
Abraham Maslow developed his hierarchy of needs:
“ Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. … From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. “
One could argue that the country has been focused upon physiological needs, especially during this governmental crisis. When you are the bottom of the pyramid hierarchy, either individually or collectively, there really isn’t any time nor energy to strive for the top-that being self-actualization.
What will be interesting is to see the developments after this current presidency. Will we see a renaissance of ethical discernment in behavior, will there be more charity, more acceptance and support for diversity with people and communities ? Will we discover again the beauty and the grace of the common collective good ?
We need healing for our future.
May it be so.