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Boomers – WTF ! Maslow’s Hierarchy Rebooted  Vol14

December 9, 2012

Welcome back to Boomers – wtf, where everyone has an opinion, and they are all different. Wow, this idea of getting Boomers all on the same page regarding our future is going to be an interesting endeavour. For now, let’s take the high road, and see what happens.

In our last blog the idea of an economic fiscal cliff was colouring our future vision. In the Western world, and today much of the developing world, many of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs have been solved. You probably remember Maslow from our high school texts as the psychologist who said we satisfy needs in order of their importance. First was personal security, then safety, through esteem, and finally, to self actualization. His point was that we could not get to the final stage, the “do good” stage, until all of our primary needs were met. It’s hard to think about donating a piece of a new kill to a friend when there were family members who were hungry. Self actualization was the highest of the 5 levels of his personal social hierarchy. The point here is that Boomers all seem to be moving to reach this 5th level, without a definition of a cohort level 6 and beyond. What is next ?

One idea is to examine the difference between our needs and our wants. Today, this chasm seems to be the biggest in our history, because our ability to cross it is so available. We are big dreamers, but have little execution. Perhaps better said, we believe that we do not have enough money to do everything we want to, so all we do is fight to preserve what we have. We pull back from the future, making it a fight of me against everyone else.

 So, are Boomer relaxing in our new peace, in our Lazyboy Lounger, with our empty calories ? Maybe. Or are we cynical bastards who just want to consume ?

This needs versus wants discussion is easy to see when you look at our parents, the“Greatest Generation”. They had very few wants, mostly defined as surviving the hard wiring of the depression. They came from the physical labour of the farms and fought the wars we did not have to. They never expected to live this long, and change was at a, comparatively, slow pace. They started the economic miracle that is our rising GDP, and used that capital to initiate the civil wars on equality, women’s rights, and pollution control, while indulging us our hippie moments. What great parents. No helmet laws for us, as they knew the right way to raise kids to be self aware.

Poverty levels have decreased, women’s rights are increasing, we are living longer healthier lives, over population is slowing, Africa is turning the corner economically, there are no major wars. Wow, quite a To Do list. Too bad it’s not ours.

As Boomers, the best you can say is that we carried on, improving on the life we were handed. We continued the economic miracle, and now need to realize that it is our turn to pick the higher goals we want to realize and finance.

So, we need to define our wants, and differentiate them from our needs. We then need to fund our wants, just like our parents did. This is the great goal of our generation, and will not be an easy task. Everyone will have their own needs and will confuse them with their wants for our cohort. 

To set an example, and as an exercise in forward planning, what should be on the Boomer “To Do” list ?

–          Pick a collective goal, like going to Mars, and all that entails

–          Share some collective pain, like fixing global warming

–          Continue / redefine poverty goals to cement in our species progress

–          Help our parents by accelerating Quality Care ( i.e. cure dementia )

It could be fair to look back on our parent’s transition time, and consider their choices. In the 1970’s, our parents had few choices to self actualize – survival was more the order of the day, what with the Cold War, Vietnam, civil unrest, rising gas prices, and global inflation. It could be fair to say that they stumbled into a posterity that funded all the advantages they enjoyed. Time, technology, and immigration were set to accelerate the economic prosperity and build a large growing middle class. Boomers, on the other hand, are much more astute, aware of the world around them, and have the advantage of seeing their parents try some social experiments that did not work. Just look at what has happened to our Teachers !

Time to leave our parents shadow, and decide on our wants. This list has time to coalesce, and it may be prudent for us to focus and practice on some individual wants before we settle on some cohort goals. Maybe, getting off the couch would be a good start.

Next time, why “Sitting is the New Smoking”, on Boomers – WTF.

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One Comment
  1. I didnt expect this, but I love this, found it entertaining! Keep up the excellent work!

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