There are four basic human needs that should be balanced.
- love and intimacy,
- health and well-being,
- creative self-expression, and
- prosperity and abundance.
We fulfill these needs through effort, so money creates abundance, physical protection reinforces health and well-being, talents express our creativity, and honest communication facilitates love and intimacy. Fulfilling these needs generally results in wholeness.
The trick to maintaining wellness is balancing all four. A person too career oriented may be prosperous and healthy yet lonely, and a rich person may become terminally ill. We simply cannot achieve higher levels of success without balancing them all.
Our modern society groups people into social hierarchies that can lack balance in these needs. Service-oriented hierarchies (non-profit agencies, churches, rights protection organizations, etc.) can focus upon the betterment of society at the expense of the needs of its service providers. Righting the wrong can become so great that burnout ensues. An over emphasis on love can result in apathy.
Health and fitness hierarchies (health care facilities, health clubs, vitamin stores, etc.) can overemphasize physical health to the detriment of emotional and physical well-being. In such cases, the pursuit of physical wellness overwhelms psychological needs. Often physical prowess is valued greater than intellectual ability.
Creative hierarchies (schools and universities, museums and galleries, the entertainment industry, the media, publishing firms, etc.) can overemphasize individual self-expression to the point that community norms become violated. Art reflects life, but sometimes it drives public opinion and determines policy.
Financial-oriented hierarchies (banking, manufacturing, retail, etc.) are diverse, but often the drive for profit and sustainability supersedes other human needs. Everyone can think of a corporate scandal where the profit motive jeopardized human decency.
Membership in social hierarchies is healthy. Unfortunately, most hierarchies become competitive in the allocation of resources, and that leads to winners and losers. Competition creates citizens who can become too focused upon social justice, outward beauty, individual expression, or material gain. A balanced person is not a victim, power-hungry, control-oriented, or greedy. We need to stress diversity.