Thursday, July 18, 2013

a theory of human motivation

people need places
and names
and people.
food is nice, i suppose,
and clean water.

and then, Maslow would tell us,
people need some love;
a little respect (just a, just a little bit);
and self-actualization.

Maslow is not all wrong, but
he and Jesus would certainly have
a throw-down at the tip top
of his Triangle o' Need.
Jesus would be all
"It's about self-denial, you jerk! Ever heard the phrase
'utter dependence'?"
And Maslow would respond
calmly,
infuriatingly:
"I can see, friend, that you
have not yet actualized
your self. Might I offer you
a bit of respect
to help you on your way?"

Jesus' anger is always
more appealing
than platitude.
You know.

either way - Maslow's or Christ's -
the point is that people
need -
that people are in
need,
that people have
need,
that people NEED.

we know this.
we all are, after all,
people.
we need.

and yet.
we build up these barbed wire systems
with signs affixed to their fronts
declaring them systems of benevolence,
of generosity:
health CARE,
immigration REFORM,
mental HEALTH.
for the good
of society, we build these
leviathans
block by bureaucratic block,
towering monuments of
paperwork and
automated genius,
intricate weavings of
prerequisites and legal standards.

it is art.
the art of distraction
the art of automation
the aesthetic of mediocrity.

if we can turn people
and their need
into fuel for the robotic leviathan,
then:
maybe we can forget
that we are people
and that people
need.
maybe we can forget
how much actualization
we have to
undo.
maybe we can forget
Jesus' commands:
wash her feet.
invite him in.
call them by name.
repent.
deny yourself.
follow me.

if we can keep ourselves far from
those people,
their kind,
the lazy ones, the crazy ones, the sinful and the sad,
then maybe we can forget
the Lord's terrifying assurance:
    my grace is sufficient;
maybe we can forget
Paul's horrible reminder:
    love bears all things;
maybe we can forget
his harrowing assumption:
    my God will supply all your need.

because the worst part of all that crap
is that grace
and love
and God
tend to flow through us.
and we...well.
we are just people.
and ain't nobody got time for that.
grace
and love
and God?
"Come on," Maslow is whispering,
"you're headed the wrong way."




















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