We spend a lot of time and energy trying to address hunger in places like Africa, and rightly so, as this is a great and serious problem in the world. But perhaps Western nations suffer a far more serious problem, in their vast hordes of those starved for love. For those without bread are only affected temporally, however, those without love, and therefore life, may suffer not only sadness on earth but for a long time even after their physical death. This is a silent pain of the soul, not as obvious as a swollen belly, but suffering all the same. And being raised with a lack of love is a suffering that cannot be quickly remedied simply by providing bread.
From where does this problem arise? And what consequences does it have? Perhaps it arises from the spiritless belief that people are not much more than intelligent animals. All animals need is food and shelter. But while in some senses we are animals, we are also much more. Humans are spiritual beings, and this is forgotten in the writings of our materialist theorists such as Maslow. Maslow's famous hierarchy of needs has physiological needs as the first thing that must be satisfied before all else. In fact, Maslow perhaps reveals his materialist philosophy in a statement by him in which he states in regard to one who is hungry:
"Anything else will be defined as unimportant. Freedom, love, community feeling, respect, philosophy, may all be waved aside as fripperies which are useless since they fail to fill the stomach. Such a man may fairly be said to live by bread alone. "
But what about one who is hungry for love, who is alone and whose soul aches? Have you ever felt this way? What sort of 'food' do they seek? In this case cannot everything else but love be waved aside as unimportant fripperies?
Maslow's hierarchy is thus seriously flawed. The first and foremost needs are both bread and love. Love is no less important than bread, and in the long run, is in fact far more important.
So what is the effect of a lack of love? People will seek to offset this lack in other ways, through drinking, through sex, through vanity, through other - possibly anti-social - behaviours. Thus the effects ripple through society causing myriad problems and misery for all.
So what is the remedy? Our children especially must be raised with love. And at the risk of being called 'backwards' I will suggest that a child should have a parent who is available both physically, emotionally and psychologically when needed. This is an important role, traditionally of mothers, but as women have taken up work, many men have been happy to take on this responsibility. Not a role that will win one much worldly acclaim, but the rewards and benefits are worth far more than any worldly glory, and in return you will forevermore have your child's love and gratitude, even well after all your worldly cares and fame have faded to a distant memory, lost in the mists of your and your children's eternal happiness.