A basic human need is to reject others
The last few days the newspapers have been full of the suicide of young Srikant Mallepallu. Not just young, but studying in India’s most prestigious educational institution – IIT.
All sorts of reasons are being given for the suicide – ranging from Srikant’s inability to cope with the workload at IIT and inability to be accepted by his class-mates to his Internet addiction.
That struck me. Internet addiction. X-Men, Manga, anime, blogs and chatting was Srikant’s life. He was on the computer until the wee hours of the morning. These activities of his were blamed for his poor grades…but anyone who escapes into the internet world does it only for one reason: to fulfill a human being’s very basic need – a sense of belonging. What I am saying is nothing new…Abraham Maslow said it years ago. The need to belong is just a little less important than our physiological needs. This means that once a human being has sufficient food, water and shelter – he craves for a sense of belonging. This need happens to be more important than the need to achieve.
In our heart of hearts we all know this…but do we do anything about it? It’s easier to grab a burger if you’re starving. If you are starving for company what do you do?
The need to reject others is strongly entrenched in human beings
Loneliness doesn’t have a simple answer because it is not dependent on just you. And that other might find it far easier to share his burger rather than himself. His need to reject may be far greater than his need to share himself at that point of time.
Human beings find all kinds to reasons to reject others. Social status, background, language, accent, race, grades, looks, manner, religion, sexual preferences, dress, colour, weight, intelligence or simply because of the person is new in the neighbourhood…
Poor Srikant. He was rejected not just because he was a ‘reservation’ candidate (he got admission into IIT because he was of a particular caste, not on merit) but also because of the intellectual snobbery prevalent on the IIT campus. Those with low grades are considered intellectually inferior (which is bullshit) and thus looked down upon. So here was a boy who was unable to walk into an inner circle. Probably his other inner circle (family) might have rejected him if he had not made it through IIT and/or had not got a good job offer. It has been reported that while his other class-mates had bagged several job offers, he had none.
There are too many people like Srikant in this modern world of ours. And there is one sure place to find them…on the internet.
Does Maslow’s Need Hierachy need to be re-drawn?
On the face of it, it looks like Maslow forgot something. This need that human beings have to reject others just so that they get to feel superior and exclusive. I am guilty too. I firmly reject those whom I believe to be dishonest or hypocritical or just plain immoral. They will never ever get into my inner circle. In fact I go a step further. I think my method of filtration is the best. I reject those who use other methods of filtration…like social status or caste or a million other things.
Naturally, Maslow couldn’t have missed this. This need is too important. And by studying his hierarchy of needs a little more closely…I got it. The need for rejection is right there – hidden under all those words in that green band. It says: ‘Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, respect of others, respect by others.’
Ofcourse. Rejection of others and moving around in “exclusive” circles increases one’s self-esteem – in a perverted way.
Related Reading: Suicide rates of the world and why people kill themselves
Some reasons for the high suicide rate in India
Some tips on how you can help people manage their depression and grief
Humans like forming ghettos
About Euthanasia – where it’s legal