Thanks for writing this. I think there’s such a need for a renewed societal focus on where we derive our personal worth and value. In previous generations, so much stock was put in what you do for a living. For men, could you provide for your family? For women, were you a good mother and wife? Those roles have been shattered and the changing nature of work means many people are left without anything to derive personal value from.
In Maslow’s hierarchy, we never actually expected most people to be able to make a play at actualization. But in today’s society, a lot of people have those basic physical and security needs met, so they’re left with deep questions about identity and the meaning of life. We’re simply not preparing people to deal with that. I see all of this talk about a workless future, and to me, it’s just an impending existential crisis on the societal level.
We’ve got to take a step back as a culture and develop a new morality or ethic that can guide people to actualization and self-worth. All of the traditional markers are being eroded, and in an absence of something better, we’ll keep seeing more and more of these unproductive (if not outright destructive) identities that just fester.