Questions about Level 1
Is there a way immediate gratification can last longer?
If you lick a lollipop instead of chewing it, it will last longer.
Why are things that we need for our survival, like food, so unimportant?
These things are not unimportant. God takes them very seriously. In the Old Testament, God sends manna from heaven so that the ancient Israelites who are wandering in the desert will have something to eat. Compassion and care for the poor, the homeless, and the hungry are extremely important ministries in the Church. Many saints became saints because of their attention to the Level 1 needs of others (tending to the sick, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, etc.). But what we hope you will see is that satisfying your Level 1 needs is only the first step to happiness. Levels 2, 3, and 4 each bring a kind of happiness that affects more people beyond yourself, lasts longer, and is deeper than the level before it. Because of that, we believe that the higher levels should be more important to us than the lower levels, but it’s up to you to decide whether you agree with this or not.
Is it wrong to have thoughts such as 'I am fat' or 'I wish I had more clothes'?
Not necessarily. If you are obsessing on your weight or your clothing, or judging your value by comparing yourself to others, that would be unhealthy because that kind of thinking leads you away from what is really important in life. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier, or wanting more clothing if that is truly a need. Remember that God does care about your Level 1 needs. He just doesn’t want you to obsess on it so much that it becomes the center of your life, and you forget about love and compassion.
Why do people do more Level 1 than Level 4?
Because it’s easier to get and it satisfies our physical desires very quickly. Level 1 is very attractive in that way. Level 4 takes work and time. You sometimes have to give up your own Level 1 to get Level 4 (like spending a few minutes talking to God before going to bed, even though you are really tired; or giving twenty dollars to the church’s fund for the poor instead of spending it on something you really want for yourself). Those things are not easy to do. They require sacrifice. Human beings have a fallen nature because of original sin, and it is not easy for us to sacrifice ourselves or our possessions for others. We have to be willing to work at it despite the Level 1 and Level 2 costs – and a lot of people are not willing to do that, even though the rewards are more pervasive, enduring, and deep.
Can God give you Level 1 Happiness?
Oh, yes! God is the creator of all of your physical desires, and He is the creator of everything that satisfies them. God often intervenes to assist us with our Level 1 needs. In the Old Testament, God made manna fall from heaven so that the ancient Israelites would have something to eat during their journey in the desert. You can ask God in prayer to give you a Level 1 happiness that you may be seeking. God cares about your physical needs very much. Jesus teaches us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread…” That means, “Take care of my Level 1 needs.” If God sees that answering your prayer would be good for you, He will do it. But God sometimes answers our prayers in ways that we do not expect, or He does not give us what we ask for because He sees that it will not lead to the greatest good for us. You have to trust Him with the answer.
If someone you know has fallen into Crisis 1, how do you help?
This depends on what they are doing. There are a lot of ways someone can fall into Crisis 1. It could be a sexual addiction, a drug addiction, or an addiction to money. It could be an obsession with food, alcohol, “toys,” computer games, or some other form of materialism or physical pleasure that is consuming their lives. You can pray for that person, and try to talk to him about how you are worried about him because he seems to be under-living his life. If the situation is really serious, and the person is posing a danger to himself or to others, you should talk to a trusted adult who may need to intervene.