She was the kind of girl I never really thought about. Until she was standing right in front of me, I’d never noticed her at all. She had her peculiarities. I grew more than fond of them and my mind grew more than fixated. One day, she just disappeared. I never thought of her, as I’m sure she never thought of me. Some time passed.
Somehow, I don’t recall the details of it, she reappeared and seemed to expect nothing less than what once was but I’d changed, maybe not visibly, but so much had happened since she’d gone that I could barely trace the outline in my mind of who I used to be. I argued with myself over it, trying to reconstruct a character that no longer existed. For a while it seemed that we could get by, reengage in some good-natured giddiness and perhaps I’d even fooled myself into thinking we were becoming close but as time shall have it she began to drift again. I watched it, seated calmly knowing it was what had to happen.
We were now two pieces that didn’t fit in the same space or even belong in the same box. Part of me thinks it’s why I would’ve never thought about her before she was standing there, before I’d gotten stuck on all her little bits, before she shaped memories in me.
She’ll disappear again, I’ll store her peculiarities in me, and maybe I’ll think of her someday and maybe she’ll think of me too.
Anonymous asked: Hi John, what makes you say that Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs identifies people who are sick/hungry/whatever as "less human"? I learned about it in uni and the professor explained it to mean that it's hard to be thinking about school work when you're starving, or be productive at your job if you're really tired, etc. I'm just trying to understand your viewpoint on it. Thanks!
Right, but it’s not eating that makes us human. Lots of organisms can eat. What makes us human is making art and thinking the fancy thoughts that university professors think and achieving what Maslow called “self-actualization.” So saying that hungry or sick people cannot access “higher” needs is literally dehumanizing, because it claims the sick do not have access to the full range of human consciousness.
(I mean, Maslow literally put love between friends and family above the “basic needs,” and said that people who are hungry cannot experience love in the pure/true/real/unfettered way that unhungry people can.)
This paternalistic way of imagining need is in my opinion completely wrong. Yes, people who are starving report that it is hard to think about anything other than the desire to eat, but they also continue to write and love and read and have sex and do many things that Maslow associated with higher needs. I don’t think need is a pyramid at all; it’s a complicated web in which one need (like food) can transfigure another need (like love) without either negating the other.