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Belonging needs March 29, 2007

My professor was talking about belonging needs on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Since he’s a cool professor and it’s a cool class, a friend and I asked him about something (don’t remember what) after class, and we started talking about belonging needs. He was talking about when Bono turned down the offer to play for the Queen of England, he was showing that he was above the belonging needs of needing the prestige of playing for the Queen. Then he talked about how people tend to like to be in groups and travel in packs (remember cliques and the “jocks”, the “nerds”, etc? It’s still like that in college). That’s the reason why people are Catholics, Democrats, Republicans, etc., is because at a level we still need to satisfy our belonging needs, and those who operate outside of groups are higher up on the hierarchy. I left the classroom, thinking.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and I came up with a counter-argument a few minutes later, but I couldn’t very well go back to the classroom and tell him that could I? It’d look like I was arguing, and it’d look like I need to satisfy my physiological needs. He is of the same opinion of a few philosophers, where religion is “the opiate of the masses” and (this is unconfirmed) God’s existence is not proven. So, it is obvious that he might think that religion is only for those who are at the belonging needs. My brilliant counter-argument is that perhaps for some, religion is a person’s identity, and when it is, that person is at the belonging needs. But for some enlightened people, religion is just a part of a person’s identity. It is not an overwhelming aspect of those people’s lives. True, I am a Catholic, and I am pro-life, and I am a college student, and I am a sister, a daughter, a honor’s student, a Hermione-type, a Harry Potter fan, a reader, a writer, and a girl, and many other identities. Religion shouldn’t be shed just because you want to climb Maslow’s Hierarchy, or just because you’re in college now and can do what you want. In fact, I wonder whether those who deny the very existence of God are, despite their best efforts, succumbed under the popular movement and opinion and joined a group called Athiesm, and embracing and living out the ideals of Humanism in their lives. They can be said to have made their identities wholly humanistic. I just wonder.