Maslow's heirachy has always stuck quite strongly in my mind - the notion that as humans we have 'levels of need / desire' - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs Without getting bogged down in too much debate over the validity of distinct levels etc, (nor the likely fact that many philosophers likely covered similar ground much earlier) the main reason it struck me is that it seems so clear just how many people are living out their lives chasing some form of validity, self worth, etc. (the 4th level according to Maslow) So many actions (as I see them) are motivated purely by the drive to further ones own self esteem. In a society that places so much value on the individual - do we effectively limit the fulfilment of this need? When anything we do can be written off as an expression of individuality, without distinct 'right and wrong', can one feel worthwhile? In what sense can one be worthwhile? Does / would a 'higher purpose' grant us further capacity to fulfil this need and 'move on' as people? Or would it simply direct this need in a broader direction than simply 'the self'?