Posted by: docdenbow | October 7, 2011

The Amateur Psychologist Or Sociologist?

My shameless self plugging of my blog led to quite a few people reading my piece about epilepsy. I feel I’ve banged on about it enough – probably to the point tedium and ennui. I will now consider the subject closed. That being said if any one wants to ask anything about epilepsy then post in the comments section and I’ll get back to you. I could become an “Agony Uncle!” Now that is a novel idea.

I posted about the big E then bemoaned the state of modern football and had a pop at both Joey Barton and to a lesser extent Frankie Boyle has made me think I’ve exhausted my ideas for the time being, but no I am going to write about something again. I am going to write about the psycho -sociological implications of a song in a Walt Disney film.

But first I must tell you that I went to my first football match in some 30 odd years to see Swansea City play Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium. I must say it was great to be amongst the atmosphere of a game once more – took me all the way back to my days on the South and North Bank at Molineux. The Liberty is a fantastic little stadium and the pitch itself, which is shared with the Ospreys rugby team, looked like a carpet, albeit one that was quite heavily watered.

Swansea basically played Stoke off the park, as they say on MOTD. Tony Pulis’ men basically hoofing the ball high and long up the field at every opportunity to give that rather odd physical specimen Peter Crouch the chance to foul, elbow and nudge for a full 90 minutes. In fact some Swansea City fans around me were shouting “incoming” with every ball played up the field by Stoke. I thought that was really funny.

Mick McCarthy was there and I hope he realized the way to beat Swansea is not by booting the ball in the air to the big lad upfront, as they were less comfortable when Cameron Jerome came on as a substitute running the channels and at Swansea’s defence. Anyway Swansea dominated the game far more than was evidenced on MOTD2 and Pulis’ comments to the interviewer were laughable. But hey ho I had the best day out I’ve had in years – very enjoyable.

This great day for me got me to thinking of footballers who sell their souls for the big bucks by not playing football for Manchester City. Are they happier not playing football in return for huge, obscene amounts of money than the Swansea players earning a lot less financially but held in the truly in the hearts of their supporters?

I started to ponder on the time I spent doing an Open University Foundation Course in Social Sciences. One thing we looked at – and I wrote about for an assignment was Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Now if this all sounds a bit academic don’t worry but read on. Basically it is all about what we as humans need and strive for in our lives and how they can be looked at as a hierarchy or staircase.

Let’s briefly explain this from the basic needs upwards. We all need food water and somewhere to live, and in the West there are very few people without these. The hippy in me sees no reason why this cannot be extended worldwide. In fact the late and very great Bill Hicks summed it up better than I ever could when he said: -“You know all that money we spend on the military ever year – trillions of dollars? Instead, if we use this money to feed and clothe the poor of this world, which it would do many times over, then we can explore space, inner and outer, together, as one race.”

Old Maslow then goes on about safety needs, which are pretty much summed up by its’ title, insomuch as none of us want to be blown up by terrorists or in a war – and we all want to feel secure.

After safety he talks about love and belonging, which I guess is all about feeling both loved by friends and family and being part of a tribe – be it with football fans or those folks who flock to rock concerts to see bands like Iron Maiden; very tribalistic.

After all that he wibbles on about esteem, this is all about how others perceive you and perhaps more importantly how you see yourself.

Then in Maslow’s hierarchy it gets to the bit that I am really interested in – self actualization.

Now a lot of clever psychologists and philosophers go for the “what a man can be, he must be” to reach this pinnacle. I may be being too literal here but I take that to mean that if I am capable of writing, say, a best selling novel but don’t, then somehow I’m a failure. Now I’m just an amateur psychologist and philosopher, but I think that definition is completely and utterly a bunch of dingo’s kidneys in my (not so) humble opinion. What he has missed out on is personality and happiness. I truly believe that if you can hit the bottom rung of Maslow’s ladder then depending on who you are and your personality that you can be happy.

Maslow, all the way up his hierarchy has droned on and on in big words and concepts about physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, the need for esteem and then the biggie self-actualization. Well it may be implied or you can make the inference that happiness can only come about it you get to the top of this tree. I disagree, I really do.

Now this is where we get on to the song from a Walt Disney film. The lyrics of the relevant lyrics are below (I just hope I don’t get sued)

“Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life
Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
I couldn’t be fonder of my big home
The bees are buzzin’ in the tree
To make some honey just for me
When you look under the rocks and plants
And take a glance at the fancy ants
Then maybe try a few
The bare necessities of life will come to you
They’ll come to you!”

I’m well aware that Baloo the bear didn’t write this song on his own – but I bet he wrote the lyrics. This to me sums up the reason that Maslow got it all wrong. Okay, this is just a cartoon and Baloo isn’t real, but his philosophy is very real and illustrates an individual who is happy and very comfortable with who he is and with his lot in life.

Me? Am I happy and content in my own skin? Well once again I’ll let Bill Hicks speak for me as again he was pretty much spot on in all he said.

“I was told when I grew up I could be anything I wanted: a fireman, a policeman, a doctor – even president, it seemed. And for the first time in the history of mankind, something new, called an astronaut. But like so many kids brought up on a steady diet of westerns, I always wanted to be the avenging cowboy hero – that lone voice in the wilderness, fighting corruption and evil wherever I fount it, and standing for freedom, truth, and justice. And in my heart of hearts I still track the remnants of that dream wherever I go, in my endless ride into the setting sun.”

Toodle Pip!

Ciao For Now




  1. I think it’s rubbish too. You’re not a failure because you haven’t done everything you’re capable of. Life is about choices. I’ve made sacrifices since having my daughter but I’m not unhappy.

    • The thing with sociological theories is that they are just that – theories. I don’t necessarily believe any of them, I take them in and make my own decision as to their validity.

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