What does Self-actualisation, Human History and Heaven have in Common?

I recently visited the Greenwich Heritage Centre at The Royal Arsenal. Going there touched me, I felt like I had been allowed into a bygone age where things were simpler: language was simpler, desires were simpler, choices were simpler.  Yet, being surrounded by the memories and images of war also filled me with a deep sadness.

It made me thing of the stages of man, our evolution from simplicity to where we are now. What has been the agent that have driven us to be and live as we do now? If I think about my own culture as far as I can trace it, many of the changes from who we were to the people we are today has been always in the pursuit of more.

Self actualisation human history more

The change from who we were to the people we are today has been driven by the pursuit of more. Click To Tweet

When Nigeria was colonised, the message of change was to be civilised and embrace the Gospel and in doing so adapt and evolve, making space for a new dawn of humanity and losing what made us who we were. There is very little cultural heritage left and what was simple has been lost or forgotten as we continue to adapt and evolve.

In each era there has been a desire for more, that message of more simply says

This is not enough, this is not OK.

This has brought about a desire to change and a need to adapt. I can’t help but think of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The truth is that we are never truly satisfied with where we are, we are always looking for more it is part of what makes us human.  This pursuit of more is the best illustration of how incomplete we are and how flawed and weak we can be.  At our worst, more means more power, control, money at our best more life and freedom.

At our worst more means more money, control, power at our best more is a cry for life and… Click To Tweet

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs tells us that our most basic need is survival, however once we have mastered this we want more. We want to feel valued, important, confident, esteemed, on a micro or macro level. It is these desires at this level which has fuelled most change within the world: from inventions to redrawing lines of countries and states, people desire to define themselves and bring meaning to their life and the world around them.

What would have happened if we weren’t led by a continuous desire for more? Well, although this desire has brought about a lot of negativity and pain it brings to my mind a verse from the Bible.

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Daniel 12:4

Being in the Royal Arsenal surrounding by guns of numerous sizes, tanks and images of people making bullets and shells, and various weapons illustrates the truth of this verse to me. It is our pursuit of more that has increased our knowledge whether good or bad and in truth it was always going to be this way because this is the way we have been created, human beings want more. Our soul thirsts and hungers for more, but the more we strive for is tainted and flawed and we remain searching yet incomplete.

Our soul thirsts and hungers for more, but the more we strive for is tainted and flawed. Click To Tweet

Maslow speaks of self-actualisation, to me self-actualisation is a recognition that man desires God, and all his striving is towards this single end goal without fully being aware of it. In the midst of our weakness and brokenness we see a need for something which is better, more beautiful and beyond our own limitations. This is confirmed by the fact that Maslow added another level beyond self-actualisation which he named transcendence or self-transcendence, in other words going beyond the self or ego.

Humanity has been ruled by self for so long, the desire to increase self and survive at all costs. But this is not by accident, I truly believe that this has been by design. God knew and saw all of this, He knew and saw all our strivings and the desires of our hearts that would lead us to seek out more and increase knowledge to meet these desires. God has created us in order to yearn for Him, by making us incomplete (separate from Him) we yearn for that which completes us and gives us our true identity.

What would the world be like if there was no more, you or I, no self to lead to striving, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, jealousy, envy, pain, sorrow, grief or fear? It would be like Heaven of course. So there we go, man desires heaven without even realising it.

Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:3

I guess we can’t jump from survival to transcendence, but wisdom dictates that we should be aware that there is a purpose for this life and that purpose ultimately lies in reaching towards the One who can truly fulfil the desires of our heart.

yearning for God and home

Are you seeking more but feel like you can’t quite reach it?  The more is within your grasp but you might have to let some things go – let’s talk about it, contact me for a free discovery session.

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