Christmas, Wanting, and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The Shoe Event Horizon

There’s an adage that people buy more when they’re stressed, feeling insecure, hungry, powerless, tired, and put-upon. Many advertisers use this to manufacture need, casting your current life as insufficient, reminding you of your helplessness (really, stirring up a childish desire to be in control of everything, a la the “High Chair Tyrant” of King, Warrior, Magician, Lover), and of how great life will be after you buy their product.

Hierarchy of Needs

Shopping for a cup of belonging

‘Belonging’ seems to get left out a bit, though perhaps warm fires and sweaters and family restaurants, and the old Latter Day Saints ‘ads’, fit in here. Perhaps Facebook ads try (and, IMHO, fail) to trigger this too, with fake social ads. And honestly I think we could all use a bit more belonging in our lives.


But that last level, ‘self-actualization’ — it’s tricky. Because it promotes the sort of thinking that unpacks ‘need’, the kind of introspection that involves critical thinking.

The Cure for Seasonal Wanting

This time of year, we want. You might say it’s seasonal. It’s cold out, and grey, and our bodies crave calories, and our eyes crave color.



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Alex Feinman

Alex Feinman


Obligate infovore. All posts made with 100% recycled electrons, sustainably crafted by artisanal artisans. He/him/his.