People have a natural need to belong. Abraham Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs pyramid identified “belonging” as the mid-level need. Mid-level, meaning there must be some low-level and high-level needs as well.
- The low-level needs are associated with survival (food, water, oxygen, shelter), or the I Will Die Without, needs. The low-level needs, if not fulfilled, diminish one’s desire (or physical ability) to move toward betterment of one’s self.
- The high-level needs are associated with self (respect, status, confidence, freedom), or the Why Try Again, needs. The high-level needs, if not fulfilled, may lead one to become depressed, and thereby create a sense of helplessness; an inferiority complex.
Somewhere between basic survival and emotional stability, lies the middle-ground, the belongingness need. Most healthy people want to be a part of a cause that gives them a sense of meaning and significance.
However, those who advance beyond the survival, belonging, and self needs, will soon develop a desire for something larger than themselves. I posit that those yearning for the secret recipe, the magic potion, or the key to unlocking the door to life’s mysteries, are those who have transcended “self”, and become selfless.
I discovered a term that has become the focus of my interaction with other human beings; Gemeinschaftsgefühl – a German term used to describe a state of social connectedness and interest in the well-being of others, or othermindedness.
I welcome your comments; please feel free to respond…