The Lightning Path is a system of self-directed human development, a bio-technology of healing and connection. Healing is necessary for all of us because of the Toxic Socialization process we all endure damages us.

How does one proceed towards healing? One of the first steps that we, as individuals and as a society, have to do is create spades capable of meeting all our Essential Needs. Essential needs are the biological needs of an organism that must be met if the organism is to develop and grow into a fully functioning member of its particular species.

According to LP Theory, which leans heavily on the seminal work of Abraham Maslow (1943), ##humans have Seven Essential Needs. These seven essential needs are

  1. Physiological needs — Our biological needs for healthy food, water, air, clothing, exercise, freedom from pain, and sex
  2. Safety and stability needs—Our biological need for safety, for a safe home, safe spaces, secure finances, consistency, and stability. Safety includes the absence of assault of any kind, including physical assault (e.g., spanking), emotional assault, and psychological assault. Stability includes the emotional consistency of stable parental relationships. Financial stability includes resources sufficient to remove the anxieties and uncertainties of survival.
  3. Love/belonging needs — Our biological need for unconditional support, acceptance, and inclusion. Our biological need to feel we are wanted and connected to something. We all need to feel that we belong.
  4. Truth/understanding needs — Our biological need for truth and understanding. We see this biological need emerge early, as children ask all sorts of questions. “Mommy, why is the sky blue?” “Daddy, why are you angry all the time?” As Maslow said, we all have a biological drive to know and understand the world.
  5. Esteem/Power — Our biological need to feel good about ourselves. Our biological need to feel powerful and efficacious, like we can control the world we live in and create the world we want.
  6. Alignment with Highest Self – Our biological need to be in alignment with and fully express our highest and best self. In Humanistic psychology, this is known as self-actualization (A. H. Maslow 1971; Daniels 1982). The need to align, the need to self-actualize, is a “universal aspect of human nature,” a basic “impulse to grow, to enhance and actualize itself, and to be all that one is capable of becoming” (Abraham H. Maslow 1991)
  7. Connection – our biological need to express and connect with our Highest Self. In Transpersonal Psychology, this is known as transcendence; in Christianity and Islamic traditions, this is known as salvation, “Entering the Kingdom,” etc. in Buddhism and Easter traditions, enlightenment). In Sociology, this notion is expressed in a Christian form in Troelstech’s conception of mysticism as the “perfection of the spiritual life” and “unity with the divine” (Steeman 1975). Evelyn Underhill points directly to this need when she says that we have an “innate tendency...towards complete harmony with the transcendental order, whatever the theological forumula under which that order is understood” (Underhill 2002).

To be clear, if humans are to be healthy and connected, they should be raised in environments where all their essential needs are met. When this does not happen, damage is incurred. One of the first steps towards healing that damage is to create spaces where all these essential needs are all met. When it comes to satisfaction of needs, you cannot skimp. This hardly seems an arguable point. It is the height of absurdity to suggest you should starve a plant of water and nutrient rich soil because you think doing so will “make it stronger.” Similarly, you do not put human children through adverse experiences, or limit the satisfaction of their needs, because you think doing so will “build character.” Failure to satisfy the essential needs of living organisms leads to reduced expression, stunted growth, and difficulty connecting. Ongoing failure to meet these needs leads to ongoing damage and an inability to heal and connect.

With this basic understanding in place, i.e., that a healthy socialization process is one where all our needs are met, a few additional comments are in order.

  1. Satisfaction of human needs is inherently social. It is very important that you understand this. Satisfaction of needs is not something you can do for yourself. Satisfaction of your needs is something others do for you, always. In order to satisfy your biological needs for food, shelter, and safety, you need the help of farmers, carpenters, electricians, and so on. In order to meet your needs for love and belonging, somebody has to love you and make you feel welcome. In order to meet your needs for truth and understanding others, authors, scientists, teachers, parents, priests, etc., have to tell you the truth about things. In order to have good self-esteem, others have to work to reinforce you when you do good things in the world.

To be clear, if your needs aren’t being met it’s because others around you are failing in their sacred tasks. By the same token, if others (like your children, or your students) needs are not being met, then perhaps you are failing in your task. Unless you are a child, in which case it is not your job to meet anybody’s needs, or an adolescent, in which case you’re still not mature enough to do more than participate in the satisfaction of your own needs, be supportive of others where it makes sense. Remember, needs satisfaction is social by nature and you are implicated in the meeting the needs of somebody else. Carpenter, farmer, administrator, parent, teacher, friend, somebody around you needs your help meeting their needs.

  1. In addition to the fact that human need satisfaction is inherently social, satisfaction of human needs is a massive task. It is not something that just one person, like a mother, or a friend, or a teacher, can do. The old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In fact, that does not go nearly far enough. Meeting all the essential human needs requires participation of every single adult and every single institution on the planet. It takes a planet to raise a child. More to the point, it takes a healthy and connected planet to raise a healthy and connected child. On a healthy planet, parents, teachers, farmers, businessmen, distributors, carpenters, librarians, etc., are all involved in the satisfaction of human needs.
  2. Because satisfaction of all human needs is a massive task, satisfaction of needs requires a society organized around efforts to satisfy all needs. In other words, the various systems of society should be geared not towards accumulation of human labour, but to the satisfaction of human needs. We go to work not to make money, but to help others meet their needs. Within the current system economic system, which is a system designed to facilitate the enrichment of a few over the impoverishment of the many (Sosteric 2016), full satisfaction of needs is impossible. Transformation of the System into a more humane/evolved system focused exclusively on the satisfaction of human needs is a necessary precursor to collective healing and connection.
  3. Given the above, it is important to develop a sensible rubric for meeting human needs. No single person can be responsible for the sum total needs of another person. A parent at home can be exclusively responsible for certain aspects of our emotional needs for stability and belonging, but from the provision of food and housing, to the satisfaction of our need for self-actualization and transcendence, other professionals need to be involved. We need professional educators to help satisfy our needs for truth and understanding. We need professional food growers to satisfy our needs for food. We need professional builders and engineers to help us provide for our need for shelter and safety, and so on.
  4. Even when we are not directly involved in the satisfaction of an individual’s needs, we need to be aware enough of the significance of the essential needs so we do not subvert/undermine the work of others. A parent can be a perfect conduit for the satisfaction of their child’s need to belong, but if an uncle sexually assaults that child, if the child goes to a school and is shunned, shamed, or excluded, or if the child is exposed to hurtful and toxic experiences, even if not intended, all the hard work of the parent be undone in a single instant by callous, insensitive, or unaware actions of adults within, or that cross into, the child’s milieu.
  5. Failure to meet human needs leads to “voids,” i.e., feelings of dissatisfaction and emptiness. It is important to understand, unmet needs do not go away. As adults we might deny our need for belonging, love, etc., but they don’t go away. Our essential needs remain salient factors and, when unmet, become unconscious motivators, causing people to seek satisfaction of these needs in various, often toxic neurotic, and unconscious ways. Kanye West is a good example. His toxic childhood left him with many unmet needs, in particular his need for the love and acceptance of a father figure. His temporary alignment with Donald Trump, whom he openly admitted was like a father to him, was an unconscious attempt to satisfy an unmet psychological need. Kanye attracted to Trump because Trump presents, to people like Kanye, as the archetypal father.
  6. Often, as a consequence of the violence and repression of toxic socialization, people learn to fear full satisfaction of their needs. They learn to fear expression, self-actualization, and alignment. Running away from satisfaction of our needs leads to “neurotic reactions” and “illnesses, in the sense of breeding anxiety, inhibitions, and producing classic neurotic and even psychosomatic symptoms of all kinds, and generating costly and crippling defenses” (Abraham H. Maslow 1991, 120)
  7. The presence of unmet and unconscious needs makes people easy to manipulate. If you have an unmet need for esteem and power, you will be attracted to opportunities and people where that need can be met. Anybody “in the know” can manipulate you by manipulating your need by offering satisfaction (they “stroke your ego”) or the promise of satisfaction.
  8. Consumerism is built on the false promise of need satisfaction. No matter how many products you buy you can never satisfy your need for power, esteem, love, belongingness, alignment, or transcendence through product purchase.
  9. Failure to meet all the human needs leads, in the best of cases, to the diminishment of human potential and lowered CQ. In the worst cases, i.e., when failure to meet human needs is accompanied by chronic boundary violating violence and assault, Toxic Socialization in other words, failure to meet the essential human needs can lead to disconnection of the human physical unit and the development of mental infections. Failure to meet essential needs destroys empathy, compassion, intelligence, and our ability to connect with Self and others. In the very worst cases, we see the development of the type of “deplorable,” hate filled psychopathy that, when combined with old energy archetypal nodes (Sosteric 2018a)##, allows elites to weaponize the masses to further their economic agendas (Sosteric 2018b)##.
  10. Finally, it is important to note that satisfaction of essential needs is inherently spiritual. The ultimate goal is to develop a strong human body and mind capable of handling spiritual connection. The point of meeting the essential needs is to make sure the vehicle is healthy, aligned, and connected. It is exactly like owning a car. A car is a vehicle for your body. If you want the car to function properly as a vehicle you must “meet the needs” of the vehicle. You have to give it gas, oil, and other fluids; you have to take care of t, and you have to obtain regular maintenance. Of course, your physical unit is a lot less complicated than your physical body, but the idea is the same. If you want your body, your vehicle, to function properly, you have to give it what it needs and treat it right.

To summarize, if humans are going to grow up healthy and connected, their essential needs need to be completely satisfied. Full satisfaction of humanity’s seven essential human needs is impossible within the current global System and will require a fundamental transformation not only in that system, but in the way we think about our lives, raise our children, organize our contributions (i.e. our work) to society, etc. We’ll need to go to work not to “make money” (i.e. accumulate labour power) but to participate in the collective effort to fully satisfy human needs. As outlined in the article, “The end of the world as we’ve known it,” this transformation can be initiated with simple legislative changes.

References

Daniels, M. 1982. “The Development of the Concept of Self-Actualization in the Writings of Abraham Maslow.” Current Psychological Perspectives 2: 61–76.

Maslow, A. H. 1943. “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Psychological Review 50 (4): 370–96.

———. 1971. The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. New York: Viking. https://amzn.to/2FW0vpX.

Maslow, Abraham H. 1991. “How We Diminish Ourselves.” The Journal of Humanistic Education and Development 29 (3): 117–20.

Sosteric, Mike. 2016. Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt. St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.

———. 2018a. “From Zoroaster to Star Wars, Jesus to Marx: The Science and Technology of Mass Human Behaviour.” 2018. https://www.academia.edu/34504691.

———. 2018b. “Star Wars Is a Religion That Primes Us for War and Violence.” The Conversation, 2018. https://theconversation.com/star-wars-is-a-religion-that-primes-us-for-war-and-violence-89443.

Steeman, Theodore M. 1975. “Church, Sect, Mysticism, Denomination: Periodological Aspects of Troeltsch’s Types.” SA. Sociological Analysis 36 (3): 181–204.

Underhill, Evelyn. 2002. Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness. Kindle. New York: Dover Publications. https://amzn.to/2C91xNY.

Mike Sosteric (Dr. S.)

Just another loud mouth sociology professor, teaching sociology courses at Athabasca University. Check me out here at the Socjourn, over there at The Conversation and at academia.edu.

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