Not Far From Zero

Poverty is a method of control, a way to keep a big group of people from self-actualizing. Many are familiar with Maslow’s work. He set out in the opposite direction of psychology at the time and began to study healthy, thriving people to find out what a person needs to transcend—to live so fully that they begin to achieve outside of themselves, create. He created a pyramid of needs, with physiological at the base, then safety, love or belonging, esteem, and the top chunk, self-actualization. The downside to this is that it takes money to climb the pyramid. You have to get away from zero. Some are born far, far away from it, into wealthy families, however, the majority of us are born very close to it. When I graduated my dad had managed to save a grand for me. At the age of 18, I was $1000 away from zero. And, not surprisingly, I’m not that better off at 31. What can a person do with no spare time and a paycheck swallowed whole by bills? Poverty and the suppression of our collective potential is an essential element of capitalism because transcendence ultimately usurps all systems of control.


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