Hunger. It is one of the most basic human experiences. In the developed world, it is also one of the most fleeting.

The need to satisfy physical hunger, to eat for survival, fueled and will continue to fuel evolution. But what of evolution when nourishment is either relatively easily attainable or not an issue at all?

It is still hunger, though not in the literal sense. It is a sense of visceral desire so strong that it evokes a physiological response in the body, a twisting in our guts, a salivating in our mouths, a shaking in our limbs that mimics what we feel when we are physically hungry. It is a hunger, a wanting that is impossible to ignore, that allows us to push onward, to find psychological, spiritual, intellectual nourishment.

If “evolution” is too strong a word (though it may be appropriate), then let’s substitute “success.” The most successful of us are those who are the hungriest.

In examining human progress, is there much difference between the forces which drove the first man to spear a fish with a sharp stick, Marie Curie to study physics, or Martin Luther King, Jr. to speak? Hunger for food, hunger for knowledge, hunger for equality.