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. 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 ain’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. Instead of putting them 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. In fact, it is very easy to conceive of what a healthy socialization process would look like. Put very simply, a healthy socialization process is one where all our Essential Needs are met, one hundred percent of the time.
- Physiological needs— We all have biological needs for healthy food, water, air, clothing, exercise, and sex
- 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.
- Love/belonging needs— We all have needs for unconditional support, acceptance, inclusion, being made to feel like we are wanted, and that we belong.
- Truth/understanding needs — We all have a need for truth and understanding. “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 can control the world we live in, and create the world we want.
- Need for alignment with Highest Self– We need to align with our Highest Self (Sharp 2017). In Humanistic psychology, this is known as self-actualization.
- 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 Christianity, Islamic, salvation; in Buddhism, enlightenment; etc.)
This statement of the seven essential human needs is straightforward, as is the statement that if humans want to be healthy and connected, all these needs need to be satisfied in toto, all of the time. When it comes to satisfaction of needs, you cannot skimp. This hardly seems an arguable point. The existence of these needs are self-evident, as is the necessity of satisfaction. You don’t starve a plant of water or nutrient because you think doing so will “make is 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, stunted growth, and difficulty connecting, and reduced CQ.
With this basic understanding in place, i.e. that healthy socialization is a socialization process where all our needs are met, a few additional comments are in order.
- Most important, understand, the satisfaction of these needs is inherently social. It is very important that you understand this. Satisfaction of needs is not something you can do for yourself. Satisfaction of your needs is something others do for you, In order to satisfy your biological needs for food, shelter, and safety, you need the help of farmers, carpenters, electricians, and so on. In order to meet your needs for love and belonging, somebody has to love you and make you feel welcome. In order to meet your needs for truth and understanding others, authors, scientists, teachers, parents, priests, etc., have to tell you the truth about things. In order to have good self-esteem, others have to work to reinforce you when you do good things in the world. Even your higher needs like the need for Alignment and the need for Connection.
To be clear, if your needs aren’t being met it’s because others around you are failing in their sacred tasks. By the same token, if others (like your children, or your students) needs are not being met, then perhaps you are failing in your task. Unless you are a child, in which case it is not your job to meet anybody’s needs, or an adolescent, in which case you’re still not mature enough to do more than participate in the satisfaction of your own needs, be supportive of others where it makes sense. Remember, needs satisfaction is social by nature and you are implicated in the meeting the needs of somebody else. Carpenter, farmer, administrator, parent, teacher, friend, somebody around you needs your help meeting their needs.
- Satisfaction of essential needs is inherently spiritual. As we learn in Lightning Path Workbook One: The Basics, your body is a vehicle for your own Higher Consciousness, Highest Self, Soul, Atman, Resident Monadic Consciousness, or whatever you want to call it. The point of meeting the essential needs is to make sure the vehicle is healthy, aligned, and connected. It’s exactly like owning a car. A car is a vehicle for your body. If you want the car to function properly as a vehicle you must “meet the needs” of the vehicle. You have to give it gas, oil, and other fluids; you have to take care of t, and you have to obtain regular maintenance. Of course, your physical unit is a lot less complicated than your physical body, but the idea is the same. You cannot understand the needs of a car unless you understand it is a vehicle for the human body. Similarly, you cannot understand or satisfy the needs of your body unless you understand it is a vehicle for your Highest Self.
- In addition to the fact that human need satisfaction is inherently social and spiritual, 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. The old 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 the participation of every single adult and every single institution on the planet. It takes a planet to raise a child. More to the point, it takes a healthy and connected planet to raise a healthy and connected child. On a healthy planet, parents, teachers, farmers, businessmen, distributors, carpenters, librarians, etc., are all involved in the satisfaction of human needs.
- Because the satisfaction of all human needs is a massive task, on a healthy planet, The System should be geared not towards the accumulation of human labour, but to the satisfaction of human needs. We go to work not to make money, but to help others meet their needs. As noted in Rocket Scientists Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt (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 2018a) and also Rocket Scientists Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt.
- Many jobs that are available right now, like weapons manufacture, marketing, do not contribute to the satisfaction of human needs and will have to expire, or transform. Marketing can be transformed to serve human education and truth needs, rather than the capitalists need for consumers to buy more. The military can be transformed for rebuilding, reconstruction, and authentic humanitarian aid.
- Many jobs that do exist, like teaching, will 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 with a rubric that emphasizes the satisfaction of essential needs. We can do a better job preparing children to be productive, compassionate members of society if we ensure their needs are fully met so 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 can be exclusively responsible for certain aspects of our emotional needs for stability and belonging, but from the provision of food and housing, to the satisfaction of our need for self-actualization and transcendence, other professionals need to be involved. We need professional educators to help satisfy our needs for truth and understanding. We need professional food growers to satisfy our needs for food. We need professional builders and engineers to help us provide for our need for shelter and safety, 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 toxic experiences, even if not intended, all the hard work of the parent 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 to “voids,” i.e., feelings of dissatisfaction and emptiness. It is important to understand, unmet needs do not go away. As adults, we might deny our need for belonging, love, etc., but they don’t go away. Our essential needs remain salient factors and, when unmet, become unconscious motivators, causing people to seek satisfaction of these needs in various, often toxic and unconscious ways. Kanye West is a good example. His toxic childhood left him with many unmet needs, in particular, his need for the love and acceptance of a father figure. His temporary alignment with Donald Trump, whom he openly admitted was like a father to him, was an unconscious attempt to satisfy an unmet psychological need. Kanye attracted to Trump because Trump presents, to people like Kanye, as the archetypal father.
- The presence of unmet and unconscious needs makes people easy to manipulate. If you have an unmet need for esteem and power, you will be attracted to opportunities and people where that need can be met. Anybody “in the know” can manipulate you by manipulating your need by offering satisfaction (they “stroke your ego”) or the promise of satisfaction.
- Consumerism is built on the false promise of need satisfaction. No matter how many products you buy you can never satisfy your need for power, esteem, love, belongingness, alignment, or transcendence.
- Failure to meet all the human needs leads, in the best of cases, to the diminishment of human potential and lowered CQ. In the worst cases, i.e., when failure to meet human needs is accompanied by chronic boundary violating violence and assault, failure to meet the essential human needs can lead to disconnection of the human physical unit and the development of mental infections. In the worst cases, failure to meet essential needs destroys empathy, compassion, intelligence, and our ability to connect with Self and others. In the very worst cases we see the development of the type of the type of “deplorable” hate-filled psychopathy that, when combined with old energy archetypal nodes (Sosteric 2018b), politicians can weaponize to further their economic agendas (Sosteric 2017).
To summarize, if humans are going to grow up healthy and connected, their essential needs need to be completely satisfied. Full satisfaction of humanity’s 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.
Sharp, Michael. 2017. Lightning Path Workbook Three – Connection. Edited by Michael Sharp. Vol. 3, Lightning Path Workbook Series. St. Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press. [https://press.lightningpath.org/product/the-lightning-path-book-one-authentic-spirituality/]
Sosteric, Mike. 2016. Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt. St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.
Sosteric, Mike. 2017. Trump’s manipulation of mass consciousness. The Conversation.
Sosteric, Mike. 2018a. The End of the World as We’ve Known It. Socjourn. [https://www.lightningpath.org/healing/the-end-of-the-world-as-weve-known-is/]
Sosteric, Mike. 2018b. “From Zoroaster to Star Wars, Jesus to Marx: The Science and Technology of Mass Human Behaviour.” doi: https://www.academia.edu/34504691.
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.