Posts Tagged ‘Maslow’

Projjal wanted to meet. He is the owner of the Aicon Gallery, a big gallery of contemporary Indian art. Projjal was trying to convince me to reconsider the director job for the gallery. It did not matter that I had already started helping Bruno with his startup. Projjal does not like to lose, and he wanted me. I did not budge. Our conversation left me thinking, however. Projjal wanted to know the reason for my decision. One of my arguments was that art is a frivolous activity, not a critical element of society . Given the state of the world, I told him, I wanted to devote my time to activities that were going to make a difference. Business, technology, and policy are what’s going to save us. His point was that art is essential to a democracy, and that a society without art no longer has a soul. He is right of course. And wrong also.

Global warming has thrown us back down a few steps along Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs. Collectively, we are no longer at the apex of the pyramid, where the actualization of our needs for aesthetics and creativity becomes an end in itself. Instead we are to deal with our more primitive needs, way at the bottom. The satisfaction of our needs for food, water, air, and safety, is being threatened once more, on a global scale. The very real anxiety I am feeling as a result, has caused me to reevaluate my actions, and to ask the question of, how can I contribute to the solution, given my set of talents and likes? I have become fascinated with the Internet, and its power to mobilize crowds and facilitate global change. With Bruno’s startup, I will get a chance to become a part of that whole movement.



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Life is about priorities, and what matters to me at this particular moment? If I am too stressed out in my personal life, how can I worry about the world? Lately, I have been too anxious to step out of my self. Too worried about what will happen tomorrow, to spend even a second on the bigger picture, the prospect of the earth disintegrating from all our collective blunders. It takes time, love, and enough personal calm and peace, to pay attention to the daily acts, that together add up to make a difference. The single mom in East Palo Alto, who struggles to make ends meet, and is subjected to the chaos of an unpredictable life, is dealing with another order of priorities: economic, emotional, and basic survival. Which brings me to the realization, that “being green” is a privilege of the relatively wealthy and happy crowd. In order to love the earth, one needs to have enough love to give.

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