First published in his 1954 book book Motivation and Personality, Maslow's theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will be able to focus on the higher level needs. At any point in the person's psyche, the pyramid priorities can collapse if basic physical and safety needs are threatened or at risk. We are seeing the effects of that globally with Covid-19.
It is not uncommon for 'emotional eating' to become a thing now as we scan our environment for love and belonging. They don't call it comfort food for nothing.
When any of the lower levels experience a deficit, the mind and body will naturally refocus energy and resources to fill the basic needs before returning to higher values of self-actualization or transcendence. We saw it first as people began hoarding goods to ensure personal or community supply for basic physiological needs like toilet paper and shelf stable pantry foods. Next came the demand for safety supplies like hand sanitizer, antiseptic wipes, face masks and hygiene products.
After 60+ days of social isolation and stocked supply closets, people are taking a closer look at how the needs for love and belonging are being met with friends, family and intimate partners. In some homes, the isolation has triggered latent PTSD symptoms which exacerbate the proximity problem. A virtual intervention doesn't cut it when harm is imminent and protection is beyond reach.
Society is seeing increased rates of domestic violence as familiarity breeds contempts in homes that relied on outside activities or substances to keep the pressure off. As 14 days became 21 to 30 and then got extended, hope began to diminish for some and desperation set in. We are seeing evidence of that in conspiracy theories and standoffs over policy and politics.
Trying to balance self respect with societal respect can be a challenge in a divided world that wants to hurry up and get over it or get back to normal.