Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

The 7 Belief systems – Needs, Wants and Beliefs

About a week ago, I had an epiphany relating to my concept of the 7 Belief systems. I finally realised how Beliefs fit into a much bigger concept. Essentially, humans have 3 levels of awareness: Needs, Wants, and finally Beliefs. The Needs have been thoroughly described in Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. Wants are better known as “consumerism”. The concept of Belief systems has been described in many of my blog articles.

When I now look back at the previous paragraph, I wonder why I didn’t see the beautiful simplicity of these 3 obvious layers before. Probably as the things that are closest to us, are also the hardest to focus on. The epiphany arrived when I was again looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs for guidance. I suddenly remembered a repeated remark on some of my draft blogs: “This is not applicable in Africa.” The word “needs” in Maslow’s hierarchy finally hit me.

Similar to the animal world, the first layer of human awareness is Needs. Our most essential human needs include food, water and shelter (physiological needs). Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs also recognises 4 subsequent layers of human needs: (2) safety, (3) belonging and love, (4) esteem, (5) self actualisation and self-transcendence.

The distribution of global wealth is the key reason why countries differ between Needs, Wants and Beliefs. Beliefs are indeed not very relevant to Africa where Needs are all that matter. Dreams about Wants are the reason for migration, as migrants are looking for a better life. For refugees, it’s all about the need for safety. The key difference is in motivation.

In the Western world, basic Needs are often fulfilled and Wants are the main goal in life: a bigger and/or better car, education, house, job, sound system, TV, vacation, etcetera. For many people, the stage of Wants is the final stage. Only a few move to the next stage: Beliefs. The tipping point for the previous transfer – from Needs to Wants – was dreams. The tipping point for this move – from Wants to Beliefs – is related: shattered dreams.

This feeling of disappointment and disillusionment is represented by a familiar line: “Is this all there is??” Is Life just about fulfilling Needs and chasing dreams about Wants?? There must be something more in Life. Beliefs fill that vacuum. My concept of the 7 Belief systems represents the extreme versions of those beliefs. The key criterion is the willingness to sacrifice your own life for your Belief(s). In that context, Beliefs are likely to represent the ultimate stage.

My Google search on the words Needs Wants Beliefs didn’t reveal any useful link to an existing thesis on this subject. I have always felt that my concept of the 7 Belief systems was part of another concept. I think, feel and believe that I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for. The elegant simplicity of this concept of Needs, Wants and Beliefs is its most appealing part. The best things in life are often “simple” – at a first glance.

The above also provides an explanation why the 7 Belief systems seem to be so relevant in our Western societies, whereas Africa is still largely in the stage of human Needs. Consumerism – or Wants – can easily bring spiritual emptiness. In that vacuum, radicalisation from facts to opinions and from opinions to beliefs is the result.

Doe Maar – Is dit alles (1982) – artists, Dutch lyrics, video, Wiki

Ga zitten want ik wil eens met je praten / Go sit down I wanna have a talk with you

Ik ben allang niet meer zo blij als toen / For long I haven’t been as happy as then

Nee schrik maar niet ik wil je niet verlaten / Don’t worry I don’t wanna leave you

Er is iets en ik kan er niets aan doen / There’s something and I can’t help it

We komen niets te kort we hebben alles  / We have plenty and lack nothing

‘N kind ‘n huis ‘n auto en elkaar / A child, a home, a car and each other

Maar weet je lieve schat wat het geval is / But darling do you know

Ik zoek iets meer ik weet alleen niet waar / I’m looking for something more but I don’t know what

Is dit alles / Is this all

is dit alles / is this all

is dit alles wat er is (2x) / Is this all there is

We zijn nu net een stuk in dertien delen / We are like a play in 13 parts

Aan het einde zijn we allemaal de klos / At the end we are all screwed

We leven trouw het leven van zo velen / We faithfully live the lives of many

Ik wil iets meer ik wil ‘n beetje los / I want something more, I want some freedom

Is dit alles / Is this all

is dit alles / is this all

is dit alles wat er is (2x) / Is this all there is

Note: translation by LO


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