Thursday, January 4, 2007

Living SMALL in the world of LARGE

What basis is there for equating QUALITY OF LIFE with STANDARD OF LIVING?

Standard of Living is measured by a person's income or wealth while Quality of Life is much harder to quantify as it has to do with the person's psychological well-being. Psychologist Abraham Maslow devised a hierarchy of needs which is usually diagrammed as a pyramid with the physiological or 'basic' needs at the bottom and the transcendent or 'higher' needs at the top. In between these extremes, from the bottom are safety, belonging and esteem needs.

While Maslow's hierarchy has its detractors, it seems to be generally agreed that, in our society at least, some arrangement which has the basest needs to be filled first and the highest needs at the pinnacle is correct. Even if you don't agree that this is generally agreed, I do and, since this is my blog, that's what counts. I feel better already for having said that so there's my proof.

For a discussion of Maslow's and other needs hierarchies, check this Wikipedia entry.

Assuming that you agree with my premise, a fair assumption since you are still reading, this puts a high Standard of Living at the bottom of the pyramid filling or over-filling basic needs and a high Quality of Life at the top, attainable only through self-actualization and transcendence. This would explain why I increasingly feel that the relationship between SoL and QoL is inverse rather than direct; the more financially secure I become, the less I seem to enjoy my life (within reason of course).

We tend to spend our lives earning, looking for promotion or a higher paying job, investing, shopping and using all our time and energy to fill the basic needs of life. This leaves us with no resources to put into being more than a basic, living organism. So, rather than risk being reduced to the status of an amoeba or slime mould, I started a blog; and you should too; or face the consequences.