The Lightning Path is a system/theory of human development. The goal of the Lightning Path is to help you heal and connect (or rather reconnect) to your own Highest Self. Connection is a process that occurs naturally when we are nurtured and protected during our developmental stages. Healing and reconnection becomes necessary when we are damaged by a Toxic Socialization process that destroys the Physical Unit and its ability to connect. We all experience toxic socialization. As a consequence of this, we all got work to do to get ourselves back to a condition of open and connected sensitivity. We all have to heal and reconnect.
Toxic socialization is not a necessary feature of sentient existence. On a healthy planet, we wouldn’t need to talk about healing and reconnection. On a healthy planet, we’d all be raised in healthy and connected homes by healthy and connected parents, and we’d all grow up to be healthy and connected. Unfortunately, this isn’t a healthy planet. It could be healthy, but it isn’t.
If you want to make this planet healthy, one of the first things we (as a species) are going to have to do is change the way we raise our kids and change the way we treat each other. Instead of putting children through a toxic socialization process, we’re going to have to put them through a healthy one. If we put them through a healthy socialization process, they will grow up healthy and connected. As an added benefit, if we institute healthy socialization, we (and by “we” I mean adults) will know better how to treat each other as adults, and we won’t mentally and emotionally deteriorate with trauma and damage over time.
The question at this point, of course, is, what is a healthy socialization process? We can tell you because it is not rocket science. It is very easy to conceive of how a healthy socialization process should look. Put very simply, a healthy socialization process is one where all our Essential Needs are met, one hundred percent of the time.
And just what are our needs?
- Physiological needs— We all have biological needs for healthy food, water, air, clothing, exercise, and sex. These biological needs are rooted in the physiological needs of the body and must be met else the physical body deteriorates and dies.
- Safety and stability needs— We all have a need for a safe home, safe spaces, secure finances, consistency, and stability. Safety includes the absence of assault of any kind, including physical assault (e.g., spanking), and emotional and psychological assault. Stability includes the emotional consistency of stable parental relationships; financial stability includes resources sufficient to remove the anxieties and uncertainties of survival. Safety and stability reduce toxic stress and allow energies to be directed at development and connection, instead of defence and protection.
- Attachment (i.e. love) needs— We all have needs for unconditional support, acceptance, attachment, and inclusion in a group of some sort. We need to feel wanted; we need to we belong. This biological need for attachments is rooted in ancient survival algorithms which encourage, because there is safety in numbers, group formation. Disordered or absent attachments lead to anxiety and, in cases where safety and stability needs have not been met, desperation Psychological and emotional disability, sometimes profound, also occurs.
- Truth needs — We all have a need for truth and understanding. We all have a need to know and understand. This biological need is rooted in ancient survival algorithms which encourage knowledge of the environment, because knowledge is power over the environment, and power over the environment increases the probably of survival. The existence of this need is self evident. “Mommy, why is the sky blue?” “Daddy, why are you angry all the time?” We all have a biological drive to know and understand the world.
- Esteem/Power— We all need to feel good about ourselves, and we all need to feel powerful and efficacious, like we can control the world we live in, and create the world we want. This spiritual need is rooted in the ancient survival algorithms which encourage,
- Need to alignment with Highest Self– We need to align with our Highest Self (Sharp 2017). Abraham Maslow called the process and satisfaction of this alignment need, Self-Actualization. Failure to meet the need for self-actualization leads to depression and feelings of diminishment, emptiness, angst.
- Need for connection with, and expression of, Highest Self— We need to make a strong connection with our Highest Self, and we need to express this Highest Self with purity. In Transpersonal Psychology, transcendence; in Western spirituality, salvation; in Buddhism, enlightenment; In Vedism, yoga)
With this basic understanding in place, a few additional comments are in order.
- The existence of these seven essential needs is self-evident, as is the necessity of their satisfaction. You don’t starve a plant of water or nutrients because you think doing so will “make it stronger.” Similarly, you don’t put human children through adverse experiences or limit the satisfaction of their needs, because you think doing so will “build character” or make them stronger. Failure to satisfy the essential needs of living organisms leads to reduced expression and stunted growth. In sentient species, failure to satisfy needs leads to psychological and emotional pathology, reduced CQ, and disconnection.
- In many species, including humans, satisfaction of these needs is inherently social. Satisfaction of needs is not something an individual does for itself, satisfaction of your needs is something others do for the individual, If an individual’s needs aren’t being met it is because institutions and individuals upon which the individual is dependent (parents, teachers, carpenters, farmers, corporations, the economy, government, etc.) are failing to meet needs.
- Satisfaction of human needs is a massive task. It is not something that just one person, like a mother, or a friend, or a teacher, can do. As the African saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In fact, that does not go nearly far enough. Meeting all the essential human needs requires participation of every single adult and every single institution on the planet. “It takes a planet to raise a child.” On a healthy planet, parents, teachers, farmers, business men, distributors, carpenters, librarians, etc., are all involved in the satisfaction of human needs.
- Because satisfaction of all human needs is a massive task, on a healthy planet, the System should be geared not towards accumulation of human labour, but towards the satisfaction of human needs. On a healthy planet, all human activity is directed towards meeting all human needs. On a healthy planet, we go to work not to make money, but to help others meet their needs.
- Many jobs that are available right now, like weapons manufacturing, marketing, do not contribute to the satisfaction of human needs and will have to expire, or transform. Marketing can be transformed to serve education and truth needs, rather than the needs of corruptions for profit. Military can be transformed for rebuilding and reconstruction.
- Many jobs that do exist, like teaching, need to be tweaked. Right now, education serves primarily to prepare children for exploitation as workers and consumers, and involves limited authentic satisfaction of needs. Preparation to be productive members of society is a necessary function of education, but this should be conducted within a rubric that emphasizes satisfaction of essential needs, particularly the higher needs like self-esteem, self actualization, and connection. We can do a better job preparing children to be healthy and productive members of society if we ensure their needs are fully met and they are healthy and connected as they emerge into adulthood.
- It is important to develop a sensible rubric for meeting human needs. No single person can be responsible for the sum total needs of another person. A parent at home cannot be made exclusively responsible for meeting the needs of the child. a certain limited aspects of our emotional needs for stability and belonging, Others, like builders, growers, distributors, educators, healers, etc., must be involved. WE need builders to help with the satisfaction of needs for safety and shelter. We need growers to help with our need for food. We need trainers to help with our need for exercise. We need educators to help satisfy our need for truth and understanding, etc., and so on.
- Even when we are not directly involved in the satisfaction of an individual’s needs, we need to be aware enough of the significance of the essential needs so we do not subvert/undermine the work of others. A parent can be a perfect conduit for the satisfaction of their child’s need to belong, but if an uncle sexually assaults that child, if the child goes to a school and is shunned, shamed, or excluded, or if the child is exposed to hurtful and harmful experiences, even if not intended, all the hard work of parent, teachers, etc., can be undone in a single instant by callous, insensitive, or unaware actions of adults within, or that cross into, the child’s milieu.
- Failure to meet human needs leads, depending on the need, to stunted physical, emotional, and psychological growth, and deflation, depression, feelings of emptiness, etc.. When failure to meet human needs is accompanied by chronic violence and assault, disconnection of the human physical unit, mental/emotional, psychopathology, and even sociopathology may result.
- Powerful drives push an individual towards satisfaction of the seven essential needs. A drive is “an excitatory state” (Seward 1956, 195) produced by neuro-endocrine activities of the brain, including the limbic system. The drive itself is caused by a) survival imperatives rooted in evolutionary survival algorithms of the physical body and b) spiritual imperatives rooted in desire and will of Consciousness/Highest Self to obtain a healthy and fully connected physical unit.
- Unmet needs do not go away. Adults might deny the need for belonging, love, safety, etc., but drives remain salient and powerful. When unmet and thwarted, needs and the drives that power their satisfaction become unconscious.
- Needs may be met in a healthy fashion, or a toxic fashion. Toxic satisfaction of needs harms others in the satisfaction. Healthy satisfaction harms no one, and ideally includes mutual satisfaction. Examles of toxic satisfaction: are dependent on various toxic ways. People cling. People manipulate. This makes people easy to manipulate. Kanye West good example, sees Trump as father figure. Trump presents as father figure. Kanye attracted to Trump because Trump presents, to people like Kanye, as someone who can satisfy needs unmet because of absence of Kanye’s father. Manipulative however, as recently realized. Examples of healthy satisfaction
- There are more than seven human needs. Parental needs, for example, activated when offspring are present. Parental needs are not essential however, since they’re only activated when offspring are present. When present however, require satisfaction.
To summarize, if humans are going to grow up healthy and connected, their essential needs need to be completely satisfied. Full satisfaction of humanities seven essential human needs is impossible within the current global Regime of Accumulation and will require a fundamental transformation not only in that system, but in the way we think about our lives, and how we organize our contributions (i.e. our work) to society. We’ll need to go to work not to “make money” (i.e. accumulate labour power) but to participate in the collective effort to fully satisfy human needs. As outlined in the article, “The end of the world as we’ve known it,” this transformation can be initiated with simple legislative changes.
Seward, John P. 1956. “Drive, incentive, and reinforcement.” Psychological Review no. 63 (3):195-203. doi: 10.1037/h0048229.
Sharp, Michael. 2017. Lightning Path Workbook Three – Connection. Edited by Michael Sharp. Vol. 3, Lightning Path Workbook Series. St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.
Sosteric, Mike. 2016. Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt. St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.
Sosteric, Mike. 2018. The End of the World as We’ve Known It. Lightning Path.
Sosteric, Mike, and Gina Ratkovic. What does it mean to be human: Abraham Maslow and his hierarchies of need. Academia.edu 2018. Available from https://www.academia.edu/35635479/.
 The LP flattens Maslow’s need structure and instead of arguing for a hierarchy, emphasizes the necessity of meeting all needs simultaneously, with a special focus on ensuring certain needs are met during sensitive developmental periods.
 CQ equals Consciousness Quotient. https://spiritwiki.lightningpath.org/index.php/Consciousness_Quotient
 As noted in Rocket Scientists Guide to Money and the Economy (Sosteric 2016), our current system is geared towards exploitation and private accumulation of human labour. Within the current system, full satisfaction of needs is impossible because human activity is corrupted and the free flow of labour is subverted. Transformation of the System into a more humane/evolved system focused exclusively on the satisfaction of human needs is a necessary precursor to collective healing and connection. For some initial thoughts on initiating and navigating this transformation are provided in “The end of the world as we’ve known is,” (Sosteric 2018)