My higher purpose is to optimize the conditions for all life to self-actualize.
I envision a development pathway that artfully continues to improve our relationship to each other and the natural world based on a deep understanding of our connectedness and the wealth that connection brings. I’m strongly influenced by the ideas of Manfred Max-Neef and Ivan Illich.
Max-Neef brilliantly articulates needs in a way that is far more extensive than what we refer to as “basic needs,” which are only the having level of needs. If we know that fully satisfied human beings require participation, understanding, freedom, identity and so forth, we need to create entirely different kinds of economic models that can be based on intrinsic right livelihood. Meaning must be at the foreground of all economic, political and social policy.
I believe each species has the right to live into its fullest potential. Illich (Tools for Conviviality-1973) articulates a vision for development that prioritizes choices based on what brings people closer together – into relationship, into a deep space of living with and among each other. This isn’t about appropriate technology (and it is,) rather, there is more of an element of craft and art in how Illich imagines human community health that is appealing to me. Illich was deeply concerned with the conditions that would evoke the full human spirit and I aspire to see a day that humanity decides that development is about self-actualization and not “civilization.” Civilization is a dead concept.
Civilization is not evolving, it is stagnant and we are living evolving beings all of us possessing the potential for self-actualization living deeply into meaning.