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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Support Human Flourishing and the Kingdom of God: Argumentative Essay

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Hardwired to connect investigates the theory that all humans are born with an inbuilt desire to seek close attachments to others, starting with our parents. We are all hardwired to connect. The film investigates the youth of America as a case study into how adolescents are suffering as a result of a lack of connectedness; “By every measure there are more youngsters suffering from depression, anxiety, diagnosable emotional illness, in juvenile lock ups, having trouble flourishing, experiencing failure academically. By all of these measures there are increasing numbers of youngsters in need of support.” (Hardwired to Connect, Elizabeth Berger, 2014). The film suggests the enforcement of authoritative communities in an attempt to support those suffering from mental health issues. Within these communities, institutions filled with supportive role models would be easily accessible to the suffering. (Hardwired to Connect, 2014). Burrhus Frederic Skinner’s psychological literature supports authoritative communities. He declared that children operate on the environment and operational conditioning that they are in. He believed that learning could be broken down into smaller tasks offering immediate rewards for accomplishments, and that this would encourage individuals to be better. (, 2019). This is a structured approach towards combatting the suffering of those who are conforming to societal pressures, as the standard social norms tend to conflict with basic human desires. Abraham Harold Maslow similarly suggested that some of our basic desires including physiological and safety needs, are not naturally met within society. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs highlights at the highest level, the need for self actualization or fulfillment. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Abraham Maslow, 2019). This supports human flourishing and the Kingdom of God that the innate desire to be fulfilled, will lead to unbinding happiness. ‘Hardwired to Connect’ highlights lowering levels of happiness resulting from the failure to fulfil our inner desire of connection. A comprehensive edification on the Kingdom of God and human flourishing, starting from the classroom will provide adolescents with the knowledge that we all do in fact strive for fulfilment either consciously or subconsciously. Introducing the notion of authoritive communities will be better understood as a result, additionally helping society become more hardwired to connect.

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The issue of a lack of connectedness can be solved by reviewing and applying concepts and principles from the Kingdom of God to society. The Kingdom of God in Christianity is held as the sacred spiritual realm over which God reigns as King. The Kingdom began with the death and resurrection of Christ. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Kingdom of God, 2019). The Kingdom of God is the fulfilment on earth of Gods will through Christ himself. Christians worship the Kingdom of God by living and thinking as Christ would have, simply, selflessly, forgivingly, graciously, lovingly, faithfully and communally. Origen, theologian of Alexandria stated that; “Although Christ was God, he took flesh; and having been made man, he remained what he was, God.” (Origen, A-Z Quotes, 2019). Jesus represents the Kingdom of God through his teachings, particularly in the first three Gospels where Jesus’ actions are metaphorical visionary symbols of the coming of the Kingdom. Very broadly the Kingdom of God is the world as God wanted it to be, more specifically, it is Christ representing God and his Kingdom through his teachings. One illustration of this is in the parable of the Good Samaritan, “But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.” (Bible Gateway, 2019). Jesus preached to all that we must put aside our differences and help those in need. These parables and other teachings are Jesus’ way of shaping the world as God wanted. The Kingdom serves as an order, and this order is delivered through the presence of Jesus. This order and this concept may be used as a metaphor for managing our society, and increasing connectedness in our youth. (, 2019). The story of the Good Samaritan portrays connectedness and happiness by supporting those suffering. It lines up directly to the case ‘Hardwired to Connect’ makes for authoritative communities. If this message is able to filter through society starting from our schools, we can increase connectedness while simultaneously continuing the work of Jesus in the Kingdom of God.

There are few things in modern society that can be deemed universal in meaning, most concepts change or evolve over time. One concept however has remained universal throughout time; “This concept has staying power and universal voice because it addresses what is most basic and innate to all of humanity, despite the diversity of race, culture, and values. It is a concept that proves to be the motivating force and end goal of all that humans do and think. This idea or theme can be identified as human flourishing.” (Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, 2015). Human flourishing is relative to our inbuilt desire to connect. This in built desire to connect is closely linked to the theme of belonging. Belonging is essential to human flourishing and to Hardwire to Connect. (Barnes et al., 2010). Psychologically humans instinctually need to belong. Belonging helps us in developing relationships with others, something we all innately seek. (Barnes et al., 2010). These relationships nourish us both physically and emotionally, providing a sense of identity, security and connectedness. (Barnes et al., 2010). The connectedness advocated in the film from authoritive communities and belonging, provide us with the obvious, friends, family and other communal groups, but most importantly it provides us with fulfilment. The fulfilment allows us to flourish, and such human flourishing allows us to live like Christ in the Kingdom of God. Developing authoritive communities and a sense of belonging will support our youth and promote human flourishing, “The research when kids have those connections with their families, with their communities and with guidance from moral and spiritual truth they tend to do better in life” (Hardwired to Connect, Bill Stanczykiewicz, 2014). Within the educational system, informed awareness for human flourishing must be a priority in order to fully achieve happiness and connectedness. Human flourishing is coherently linked to the Kingdom of God, promoting each and every individual to reach fulfilment as god has planned. Human flourishing is a key biblical theme woven through the actions of Christ, a man who symbolizes all life forms, and promises eternal and abundant life to all. (Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, 2015). Christ and human flourishing are both a part of Gods portrayal of humanity. The gospels speak to those broken, sinful and rebellious. It is God working constantly to redeem those who have sinned. From the promise of redemption in Genesis 3:15 through the climactic vision at the end of the book of Revelation, the Kingdom of God, his sacred realm, his realm of fulfilment at his own will, becomes the greatest biblical metaphor for his work redeeming humanity. (Institute for Faith, Work & Economics, 2015).

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