Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Personified

We saw the first stone building ever built on earth. It is located in Memphis – no not Tennessee. The diversity of artifacts and structures was impressive, but the trek to get there was not, and the surrounding grounds were not. On first glance it appeared that Egyptians don’t really value their treasures. As I thought about all the things that “should” be done to make these grounds more attractive for tourists, to preserve these priceless treasures to attract more tourists, thus make more money for Egypt, the “oh, I got it” light bulb lit up in my head.

I caught myself judging the site based on my American values. For a moment I assumed the “American way” was best way even for people who have had a sophisticated civilization for thousands of years. Even though my intentions were good, I caught myself judging instead of seeking to understand.

As I realized what I had just done, the second “news flash” came to me. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is still applicable today. When people are struggling to make enough of a wage to provide their family with food and shelter, they are not focused on self actualizing and acting for the greater good.

As I watched Atef, an older gentleman in bare feet and dingy clothes selling Egyptian coins for one US dollar- coins he dug up- coins that could be from a tomb a thousand years old- it broke my heart, but I also knew he was not interested in preserving these coins when selling them would put food on his table.

Hum, it just makes me wonder…