Unmet Needs and Anger

The unexamined assumption of the American “more is more” consumer American-Express-Gold-Card culture is that economic success is the same thing as success in life, and that making money means that our needs are met.

Beyond basic material needs of food and shelter, our needs are not met by money; our needs are met in relationship with others.

Specifically, it is in relationship that our need for understanding and being understood is met; that our need to belong is met; and that our need to escape the prison of self-interest and narrow egoism is met. Everyone– with the exception of sociopaths– knows this, consciously or unconsciously.

The free-floating anger in American society is due, at least in part, to an epidemic of unmet needs. Like enraged infants who need held, we are screaming for connection– while ironically pursuing ways of life that are antithetical to meaningful connection. Placing supreme value on economic success works to sabotage meaningful relationships, and therefore the meeting of our deepest needs. Hence, the anger (which itself is displaced fear).

I’m not advocating a return to subsistence agriculture. I am suggesting that it is the role of religious people and communities– Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Whatever– to expose the vacuity and destructiveness of the dominant but false notion that making money means that our needs are met.

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2 thoughts on “Unmet Needs and Anger

  1. Modern Judeo-Christian leaders over decades past has only themselves to blame for pushing to co-opt the earth-centered pagan traditions of people in the western world. Halloween has been cleansed of its true Wiccan origins: a remembrance of the dead –those who have gone before us, out of this earthly life. Halloween is a time of prayer and reverence for many non-Christians. Lights in the pumpkin, bonfires, treats for the “spirits” who lurk at this time of year all mean something other than commercial celebration. It is fitting to reflect on the passing of the true ritual of Halloween and the importance death plays in life here on Earth. But I wonder how many of us talk to our children of Samhain, the veil between the worlds and the Celtic fire festivals of old. The truth is not often on our lips these days it appears. Perhaps it is only appropriate to ask, “Of what are we afraid?
    Peace.

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